By Barbara Barton Sloane
Special to The Vindicator
Time to get away. The breezes are warm, the sunsets spectacular. You can enjoy a spot of culture or just press pause and absorb some positive chi. Think about this:
Planning on driving to one of the beaches of Lake Erie? Well ... wait for it ... in a scant 50 some minutes more, you can fly to a tropical haven – Bonita Springs, Fla. – and more specifically, at The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa. Shortly after that you’re lying by a turquoise pool with a rum cocktail in hand. This property in paradise is a perfect weekend getaway – cosmopolitan, charming and colorful.
Centrally located between Fort Myers and Naples, the resort has won countless awards including TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, AAA’s Four Diamonds and the Orbitz Worldwide Best in Stay. It’s casual yet elegant with a poolscape that’s the largest south of Orlando and a collection of amenities that includes an off-shore, semi-private island and beach.
The property overlooks Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and boasts four pools, five water slides, a luxury spa, multiple restaurants, shops and a golf course on its 26 acres of lush landscapes. A mere two-hour drive from Miami or Tampa, the resort offers tranquility from the hustle of Orlando’s theme parks and the bustle of an over-the-top mega-cruise.
Are You Being Served?
Immediately evident upon checking in is the basic human characteristics of care and kindness.
I was greeted with warm hospitality and smiles – lots of them.
Throughout my visit, I continued to find personal service in many small yet meaningful ways; an example: when I asked a staff member directions to the spa, instead of telling me, she took me there.
Later, lazing by a pool, I merely raised the small flag attached to my lounge, and voila!, a waiter quickly appeared to take my order.
From an on-site wedding planner who provides a tearful surprise for the bride by flying in her best friend, to the recreation team fulfilling a wish for an ill child, to smaller gestures such as a surprise anniversary dessert at dinner or a bottle of water after a morning run, the resort’s associates see and act for the wellbeing of guests. Yes, I was being served on a very grand scale – and I loved it!
Food, Glorious Food
There are several distinctive dining options on the property for some remarkable culinary experiences. I dined one evening at the Tanglewood American Grille. Given the option of indoor or patio seating, guess which I choose. I mean – warmth, splashing fountains, perfect azure sky – a no-brainer.
I was told that I had to try their famous conch fritters – and now I know why they’re famous! The restaurant has been awarded the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award singling out their fresh local catch and extensive wine list.
Another evening: the Tarpon Bay Seafood Restaurant with its screened porch overlooking the resort’s pretty lake.
Here I was shocked and awed (in a good way) as a seafood tower was brought to my table laden with mussels, shrimp, clams, oysters and lobsters.
Later, a group of us strolled a long boardwalk down to the marina where we boarded a boat for a brief spin while imbibing champagne and delicate mini-desserts. A perfect end to a supreme seafood feast,and a good time to make my sated way back to the room to sit on my private balcony and gaze down at the property made magical with small, shimmering lights placed throughout.
When Not Eating, You’re (hopefully) Moving!
Move you will, as there are loads of fun activities here. Wanna try to climb a wall? Here, you can. How about zooming down one of the towering water slides that will dump you, unceremoniously, into the Lazy River, where, on an inner tube, you’ll lazily wind your way through crashing waterfalls and catch your breath as you admire lush and fanciful flora.
There’s a private boat to whisk you away to Big Hickory Island and the resort’s wildlife preserve on Estero Bay to see bald eagles, osprey, pelicans and flocks of migrating birds. Oh, and let’s not forget, if you’ve brought kiddies along, Camp Hyatt kids’ camp, designed especially for guests age 3 through 12 and managed by trained counselors, will keep your little darlings occupied with Hula dancing, painting pottery, movies and some nifty educational programs.
Still Waters Run Deep
I found precisely what I was looking for at the Stillwater Spa. There are facials, body treatments, a Watsu pool, steam and sauna rooms, a full-service salon and a spahhhh massage.
Of course this was the treatment for me, and their Barefoot Massage sounded intriguing. I’d be barefoot, naturally, but what about my therapist? Perhaps I should have known.
My small, spry therapist entered the room sans shoes and quickly, yet gently, stepped aboard my back and proceeded to administer a barefoot deep tissue massage, the likes of which I won’t soon forget. It was a unique experience, one I might even do again ... in some distant future.
Green Makes the Scene
The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa is the quintessential vacation destination steeped in southern-style hospitality. Add to that an impressive green initiative – from in–room recycling to being the first recipient in Florida of the Three Palm certification for green lodging as well as TripAdvisor’s Green Leader Gold Status award. There’s also the Audubon Gold Certification given for the very first time for preservation, innovation in electronics and water conservation initiatives throughout the property. Kudos well deserved.
The Hyatt Regency Coconut Beach, my friends, offers a chance to shake off the doldrums of this past snow–bound winter and truly awful spring. The time to get away is now!
Find out more at Coconutpoint.regency.hyatt.com.