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Celebrating Summer on Sanibel and Captiva Island

Of course winter and spring constitute high season in Southwest Florida, and Sanibel and Captiva island fall into that mold. Yet there’s something about summer on the islands. Something more intimate and personal. Something more authentically Floridian.

So why plan a summer trip to Sanibel and Captiva islands? For one thing, the most practical thing, rates at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa and Castaways  Beach & Bay Cottages on Captiva Island; and West Wind Inn and Beachview Cottages on Sanibel dip drastically from high season, plus other incentives make it an especially attractive time of year budget-wise.

For instance, right now, all four resorts are giving away a free night when you book three. They are sweetening the deal with $100 in reward coupons and, in the case of ‘Tween Waters and West Wind, dining credits. PLUS, if you book by June 30, you score two free logo Tervis tumblers (call-in reservations only, mention “tumblers”).

The newly remastered Old Captiva House

Speaking of dining, summer means no lines, no crowds, no waiting at your favorite resort restaurants, such as Old Captiva House at ‘Tween Waters and Normandie Seaside Cafe at West Wind Inn. Likewise, on the beach, it’s easy to find a spot  you won’t be sharing with anyone but the birds of summer.

Watch for manatees in the summer.

Bayside, watch for manatees, who mate this time of year close to shore. They favor the little cove on the south end of ‘Tween Waters’ bay shoreline. Get out on a paddleboard or kayak to see more of the islands’ wildlife come alive. Baby birds are hatching. Gigantic sea turtles are laying eggs, and adorable gator hatchlings are crawling out from their nests.

Not only fauna, but flora gets showy in summer. It’s that time of year when mangoes blush with serious, ponderous sweetness. Poinicianas, oleanders, crape myrtles, bougainvillea, and hibiscus blossom. Late afternoon rains bring the islands to their lushest.

Summer: It’s a season ripe for taking life easy, waterside, with a cold drink and a good novel. The Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts have your lounge chair and cocktail ready. Just add sunscreen.

 

 

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Relishing Sanibel Island’s best breakfast at the Normandie Seaside Café

Bloody Marys and sauteed plantains. The Normandie had me there. Because when it comes to breakfast, I seek the unusual. The creative. The eye-opening. The excellent. Normandie Seaside Café at the West Wind Inn – one of the Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts group – has thereby become my favorite breakfast restaurant on Sanibel Island.

Let me preface it by admitting that my bestie breakfasts in the world have been devoured in the Bahamas. True, the Normandie doesn’t serve the Bahamas’ sheep tongue souse and fish soup breakfast specialties. But there are those caramelized sweet plantains, which are an alternative to grits or home fries as a side dish to Normandie’s ambitious array of breakfast specialties. (But, truthfully, the crispy potatoes fried with sliced onions makes for a tough decision.)

I find tropical influences, too, in its grilled French toast inventions: crusted with coconut and toasted almonds or, ta-da!,  topped with banana-strawberry cream cheese, fresh strawberries and bananas, and powdered sugar.

The omelet menu takes a more global tour. The kitchen fills the Pesto Omelet, for instance, with basil pesto, ham, tomato, and parmesan cheese. There’s also an Italian and Greek, but my favorite, the Fiesta Omelet, bulges with roasted red pepper, mushrooms, onions, salsa, and cheddar.

Its specialty breakfasts, on the other hand, salute the American flag with bennies and breakfast sandwiches. Seduced by the velvety hollandaise sauce and the quality English muffins, I sway often in the direction of the classic Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine.

As for the Bloody Marys, they’re just spicy, just strong enough. When we order mimosas instead, they come with just a dash of OJ, exactly how we order them.

Muffins, pancakes, granola, and a tasty bacon and egg wrap: No matter what the Normandie cooks up for you, it delivers excellence. And perhaps the true and most important test of its excellence is a seasoned service staff that knows the value of making guests feel immediately welcomed, no matter how busy they are, and ultimately satisfied. I can think of no better way to start the day.

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Win a Free Vacation at Any of the SCBR Properties

What’s better than a vacation on Sanibel and Captiva Islands? How about a FREE vacation, at your choice of four spectacular Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts properties. SCBR announces the “Choose Your Paradise” sweepstakes— a year-long celebration of the vacation choices SCBR provides!

Enter to win, “Choose Your Paradise” and you’ll have a chance to win one of three, five-night vacations, across three phases throughout the year. The Grand Prize winners will choose from Beachview Cottages, Castaways Cottages, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa or West Wind Inn to stay five consecutive nights in a spacious and comfortable guestroom, or similar, based on availability. Winners will be randomly selected from the entry database three times throughout the year, May 31, August 31 and November 30, 2019. Entrants may enter once per day to increase their odds at https://www.sanibelcaptivabeachresorts.com/choose-your-paradise/.

In addition, all four Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts are celebrating “paradise” with its “Spring Ahead to Summer Sale,” which provides guests an additional night free when staying three or more nights. When you book direct at the property websites, you enjoy guaranteed lowest rates versus other travel sites; 100% complimentary resort fees; $100 value Resort Rewards coupon book; plus up to 20 exclusive, free amenities and services not otherwise available.

The ”Choose Your Paradise” sweepstakes celebrates the variety of options available when booking with Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. Choose from Sanibel or Captiva Islands, intimate cottage settings to beachfront resorts with a full-range of amenities, properties with marinas and properties with beachfront views. Guests have the luxury to choose it all: Choose your island. Choose your beach. Choose your style.

Choose Your Paradise and enter to win today! https://www.sanibelcaptivabeachresorts.com/choose-your-paradise/.

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Booking, Dining, Amenities & More — It’s All Here

What does ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa have to offer that other resorts in the area do not? From VIP Book direct benefits, to no resort fees, to on-site dining, boating, spa and more, “It’s All Here.”

When you book direct with ‘Tween Waters, you are guaranteed the lowest rate out there! Find a lower rate? Give us the details and we’ll match that rate, because we guarantee that what you find on our site and with our reservationists is the absolute best we’re offering. So when you’re booking your next vacation, we’re the one stop shop, because, “It’s All Here.”

And making your reservation isn’t the only way that ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is your one stop shop. From bike rentals to boat rentals, spa to dining, Serenity Pool to hopping Oasis Pool Bar, there’s no shortage of things to do while on vacation, and no reason to leave the resort — because, yep, “It’s All Here.”

And while you’re taking advantage of everything ‘Tween Waters has to offer, you’ll enjoy the resort’s policy on resort fees — there’s isn’t one! Unlike some resorts and hotels in the area that charge you for the convenience of the amenities all in one location, ‘Tween Waters doesn’t charge a resort fee.

From booking, to vacationing, to enjoying all the resort has to offer, you’ll find it all at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, because “It’s All Here.”

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Butterflies on Captiva

Southwest Florida is the shelling capital of the world, and while there are so many types of shells to love, there is one that sparks my interest and flies with my heart — butterflies.

You may have noticed Conquina shells before — they litter the Captiva beaches and are often purple or pink in color. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find that many of them are still attached together. This is because they are very tiny clams, connected at the hinge. This gives them that beautiful butterfly look. There are a ton of colors to collect, and they are my favorite hidden gem on Captiva Island.

Innsider Tip: Stay silent by the surf, and you will hear these shells wash ashore. They help provide the tinkling sound as the waves wash the shells ashore — millions of little pieces of shells making music with the ocean!

Crouching on Captiva, you’ll find more than 250 species of shells, but if you’re not as lucky as me to have a local shell-educated friend, ‘Tween Waters, Captiva Island and Sanibel Island boast a variety of local experts willing to take guests on shelling expeditions in search of knowledge and the perfect souvenir (for a small fee of course).

With an abundance of shells to chose from, you’ll be sure to go home with a souvenir or two when you visit the beaches at ‘Tween Waters. PRO TIP: Don’t forget a container to keep your shells in as you search, so that these butterflies aren’t crushed or disconnected when you bring them home!

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Green ‘Tween Saves Energy with GeoThermal Pool

For many years, guests have enjoyed and luxuriated in the ‘Tween Waters’ Olympic-sized pool, and now more than ever, that experience is to be celebrated. As a leader in green policies, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has partnered with Symbiont to install a GeoThermal heating units, which use the earth’s heat to warm or cool the pool — making these the greenest pools on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

This time of year, with air temperatures in the 80s and 90s, keeping the pools at a refreshing temp actually comes from the earth’s heat! The GeoThermal unit can both warm and cool the pools at ‘Tween Waters. This works by utilizing the heat of the earth to transfer energy, rather than employing the heat of the earth as the heating source.

Utilizing two wells, one to bring the water from earth, and another that transfers to a heat pump, this geo-thermal process utilizes water in the ground and then returns back to the ground. This process is 30% more efficient than a traditional heat pump that uses air, and 80% more efficient than a heat pump that uses gas (what most hotels use to heat their pools). This all results in less energy being used, less waste and more use of our natural resources to provide an eco-friendly swimming experience. Plus with two pools to heat and cool at ‘Tween Waters, that’s double the energy savings!

Not only is geo-thermal heating more eco-friendly, but it’s also economical and reliable, meaning the hotel saves money on gas bills and can utilize that budget toward additional hotel improvements. This system also lasts 15-20 years (whereas a typical gas system lasts between 5-10 years) meaning less breakdowns and repairs, meaning guests will enjoy the pool all year round without issue!

This installment isn’t new — the ‘Tween Waters has been using GeoThermal energy for a few years, but the significance of how ‘Tween is staying green makes this newsworthy. For more information, visit https://symbiontservice.com Plus, visit our sister property, West Wind Inn, who has newly invested in this GeoThermal system on Sanibel Island.

 

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New: Book Direct and Stay Perfect at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa

book direct tween waters inn

While those BIG travel sites suggest that it’s easy to get the best rates by booking with them, the fact is — they’re wrong. They may advertise a low rate, but sites like Expedia, Travelocity and TheNextBigIdea often hide or disguise resort fees — fees that you don’t pay when you book direct with Tween-Waters.com or on the phone with our friendly, on-site reservationists at 800.223.5865!

But that’s not always obvious, which is why today we’re launching our new Book Direct & Stay Perfect campaign. It’s about making sure you know where to find the very best, guaranteed lowest rates, combined with a host of FREE services and amenities that are an additional cost when you book somewhere else.

Take a look at all that you enjoy free when you book direct with us:

  • NO Resort Fees Like Other Travel Sites Means Guaranteed Lowest Rates Here!
  • FREE Resort Bike Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Tennis, Pickleball (and Racquets), Shuffleboard, Beach Volleyball, Bocce Ball and Fitness Center!
  • FREE $100-Plus Resort Rewards Coupon Book for Discounts on Lunch, Dinner, Beverages, Parasail, Jet Ski, Paddleboard, Spa Treatments, Apparel and More!
  • FREE Standard Wi-Fi, Local Newspaper, Parking and Housekeeping!

 

Oh, and have you ever tried to change a reservation or cancel one with those BIG travel sites? Generally, you’re on the phone for hours, talking to machines or people all over the world, and there’s a good chance you’ll hang up unhappy. Again, not with us at ‘Tween Waters when you book direct — we make changes fast, easy and stress-free!

Want to learn more? Just visit our Book Direct page here, then book online at our fabulous website or call 800.223.5865 now!

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Getting High Over Captiva.

‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa is excited to announce that now, we can take your Captiva beach vacation experience to new heights!

That’s right, parasailing has come to ‘Tween Waters Inn — and getting high over Captiva is as easy as making your reservation at Captiva Water Sports at our Marina!

Rates are $90 per person (single) or $80 per person (two or three people), and up to three persons can take flight at the same time. Captiva Water Sports will make sure you’re safe and secure, and it’s as easy as sitting back and taking off — up, up, up above the Gulf of Mexico to a panoramic, breathtaking, beautiful and perfectly peaceful view of our islands that compares to, well, truly nothing else! Note: “bottoms up” dip in the Gulf waters upon return no extra charge.

Just click here to book your parasail adventure now or call 239.472.6336 for the time of your life!

 

 

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Sweating it Out on the Tour de Captiva

OK, I’ve finally conceded that I’ll never be mistaken for Lance Armstrong.

But while a month on a bicycle in France isn’t viable for a 45-year-old who breaks a sweat taking out garbage, it’s lucky that Southwest Florida is not without more suitable two-wheeled options.

And if you’re seeking to get your pedal on, why not enjoy a little scenery along the way?

Some natural roadside scenery
Some natural roadside scenery

The quest for mild exertion amid world-class visuals begins conveniently at the Tween Waters Inn’s bayside marina, where a full complement of non-geared bikes are available for rental by resort guests. Rates start at $15 for the first two-and-a-half hours and $5 per hour thereafter, an outlay which provides instant access to a fleet of ready-to-roll machines stationed a turn or two from Captiva Drive.

From there, the options are only limited by the spring in your legs and the air in your lungs.

My Saturday adventure (rentals are available starting at 9 a.m. sharp) began alongside good friend and colleague Michael Korb, who joined me in the mid-morning scorch as we hung a left out of the parking lot with visions of a full 28-mile trek from resort to Sanibel lighthouse and back.

It only took a trickle of middle-aged perspiration – which arrived after barely 60 seconds – to get us rethinking those objectives. And by the time we’d rolled two miles to picturesque Blind Pass, we were content with the idea that a 15-mile ride with higher aspirations would substitute nicely for a nearly 30-mile version that was 50/50 to end with a next-of-kin notification.

Fortunately, there was enough eye candy in our midst to distract any battered 40-plus ego.

Picture break at Blind Pass
Picture break at Blind Pass

Our leisurely tour brought us past the familiar cadre of fishermen on the bridge, alongside the occasional white egret strolling the fence line of the sprawling “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and face to face with a vagabond gopher tortoise happily munching grass in the linked video while cars whizzed past just feet away.

We used the refuge’s parking lot as a pit stop prior to a thankfully tail-winded return trip to the resort, and the jaunt was capped by a visit to the pristine beach across the street before the bikes were re-racked alongside the marina steps just a few minutes before noon.

It’s far more sand than Champs Elysees, but as finish lines go it’s pretty tough to beat.

The perfect finish line
The perfect finish line
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‘TWEEN WATERS INN LAUNCHES NEW INTERACTIVE WEBSITE

newwebsite‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort launched a new website at www.tween-waters.com today, dedicated to enhancing the visitor’s trip experience to Captiva Island. The new site maintains current content as well as new and expanded content, however boasts a more interactive web 2.0, new messaging, new packages and promotions, and QwickClick VideoTours featuring activities, dining, and fun at the resort.

Introducing new pages such as an image gallery and video tours, the design was focused on creating an experience that would not only be aesthetic, but also more user-friendly and interactive. With easy navigation tabs, the website gives users the ability to book reservations, review the resort, share experiences, view rooms, contact the resort or check rates, while maintaining many of the “fan favorites” such as the beach cam and Tidings blog. Interactive novelties such as the two-minute QwickClick videos allow visitors to receive a more up close and personal introduction to some of the ‘Tween Waters Inn amenities without ever leaving the computer chair.

“Visiting the new website is an experience,” says Jeff Shuff, General Manager of ‘Tween Waters Inn. “It’s not just a place to book reservations or find rates. It’s a place to discover your next big adventure. We are really excited to deliver added value to our customers so that visitors can make informed decisions about their vacations.”

The ‘Tween Waters Inn website was first remodeled in 2004, increasing online reservations and revenue substantially. The resort plans for the new design to continue to increase reservations, but also awareness of the resort with search engine optimization through the site’s novel use of viral video, interactive media and social media. While the enhancements to the website are significant, the location has not changed: www.tween-waters.com.

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