What stands out about this wonderfully charming hotel is that every single room has a deck overlooking the Gulf, and you feel you have your own private beach and yet are still remarkably close to
anything else you would want. And the ambience the staff has created is unparalleled! You know those places where the concierge is obviously getting kickbacks from the restaurants he recommends? This is NOT like that. Here you have what seem like your own private concierges, incognito, dispensing tips casually and warmly as they go about their jobs. For example, Tess, who runs the gulf-front breakfast bar, manages not only to keep it perfectly stocked but somehow to also be scanning the gulf to alert you when dolphins are cavorting, always a thrill to watch. She then tells you the Blue Angels are practicing that day and where to best view them from the island – and oh, by the way, there’s free outdoor music tonight, just down the beach. Note that all these are free activities, part of the joy of staying at the beach, but often not highlighted by other places. Then there’s Brian, one of the maintenance staff whose attentiveness to the physical environment means that every detail is considered, whether that’s lighting calibrated to protect the nesting turtles or just making sure everything is in its place and functioning. At the desk, Brazilian-born Carolina will put you instantly at ease and smooth your stay – as will any of the others, all so happy to have you there. ALL the staff are welcoming and warm and I found out they are led from the top by a management team that includes two who have been here 31 and 32 years respectively. That means they keep coming back too, day after day, just as the guests do, year after year. That says a lot about what they have created and how they feel about being there and creating such hospitality. Why would any of us ever want to go anywhere else? Thank you! I love this hotel and can’t imagine staying anywhere else.
One more rave: I like eating healthy and usually eat very carefully around the free breakfast bars and get weary of hard boiled eggs and yogurt. I’m now a fan of the new eggwhite vegetable omelet, which is honestly delicious, and can be used to create a breakfast sandwich with a toasted whole wheat muffin. I know others love the cinnamon buns, the biscuits and gravy, and the make-your-own pancakes, but this became my go-to breakfast and I’m going to go home and try to create it. First recipe I’ve ever wanted to copy from a hotel breakfast bar! [Less]