Thursday, May 27, 2010

Want a "thrill" on Sanibel: We Think We Have the Answer

Though a lot of people, maybe most, come to Sanibel Island for rest and relaxation, apparently many don't.

Of the 16 attractions named at TripAdvisor for Sanibel, the Sanibel Thriller came in number 1.

If you have not heard of the Thriller, then let me enlighten.

According to their website, The Sanibel Thriller is "A beautiful, new, fast, safe, diesel powered 55' motor yacht piloted by a 100 ton U.S.C.G. Licensed Merchant Marine Officer.

And, also per the promotional site, "You will cruise the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound, circumnavigating the shores of both Sanibel and Captiva Islands. During the narrated tour and dolphin watch you will be amazed to see that even the dolphins are thrilled with the Sanibel Thriller. "

Of course one also takes all statements on a website with a grain of salt...or in the case of the Island, a grain of sand..... but it's not just the site that is providing accolades for the Thriller.

TripAdvisor, arguably the largest resource for reviews on vacation destinations on the world wide web, states that The Sanibel Thriller is the number one ranked activity by travelers to Sanibel, beating out Bowman's Beach and the Bailey's Shell Museum which come in as numbers 2 and 3 respectively.

With so many boat trips available on Sanibel, we were curious as to why Thriller enthusiasts were, well, so enthusiastic about this particular ride.

Here are some comments posted by the initiated "Thrillees":

This was the experience of a lifetime - truly the best money I have ever spent.
The crew was fun and knowledgeable - they really knew where to find the dolphins and how to get them to come and play, and play they did. It was like they were waiting for us - we had dolphin playing with us for almost a solid hour - it was very exciting.

And then there was the Thrill rider who wrote this: was also beautiful for sightseeing and learning about the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. It is appropriate for all ages and a must do if you are in Sanibel or nearby.

Yet another lauding the possibilities:

We loved the cruise around Sanibel and Captiva so much we went on the day excursion to Boca Grande, rented golf carts and toured the Island, had lunch, toured the lighthouse and went shopping!!

Sounds like a thrill is just waiting for you in the water if you tire of our beautiful and pristine beaches and lovely shops on island.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener on Sanibel: The Island's Links

Sanibel boasts beautiful beaches, great nature viewing, lovely restaurants and shops...and golfing "par excellence."

The courses are lovely and offer a range of challenges.

The 18-hole "Dunes" course at the The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, pictured here, features 5,578 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 70 . The course rating is 68.0 and it has a slope rating of 123 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Mark McCumber, ASGCA, the Dunes Golf Course opened in 1973. The Dunes course is rated four stars by charges, based on season, a range of $70 to $110 for the 18 courses. The Dunes has a restaurant open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those looking to add some "meat" to their greens!

The 18-hole "Beachview" course at the Beachview Golf Club facility features 6,400 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71 . The course rating is 70.8 and it has a slope rating of 127 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Ray Fenton, the Beachview golf course opened in 1976. rates Beachview 3.5 stars. Beachview Steakhouse & Seafood Restaurant's in-season hours are now in effect. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days per week from 9:00am til midnight. Relax with your favorite beverage from a fully stocked bar while you enjoy the natural Beachview surroundings.

The 18-hole "Sanctuary" course located on the far west end of the Island at the The Sanctuary Golf Club facility in Sanibel, Florida features 6,806 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72 . The course rating is 73.0 and it has a slope rating of 138 on Bahia grass. Designed by Arthur Hills, ASGCA, the Sanctuary Golf Course opened in 2005. The Sanctuary Course has earned 5 stars by The Sanctuary Golf Club is a private golf course and does not offer online tee times to the general public but if you know a member, you will find playing the Sanctuary is as good as it gets!

Both the Dunes and Beachview courses are public and are sanctioned by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses protecting the environment and preserving the natural heritage of golf. Both courses are set among a beautiful natural, island backdrop.

And our rental guests who golf have confided to us that the setting for the game is often as important as the game itself. Sanibel does provide a special treat for those looking to play the greenest of greens!

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Refund Policy at Sanibel Holiday: Oil Spill Contingency

As you may have heard through the media, the oil spill is far from over; and the Gulf States are potentially in crisis mode. The state of Florida, Lee County and Sanibel Island are hoping for the best and working diligently to prepare for the worst.Sanibel Island is not currently impacted and is open for business - our pristine beaches are as beautiful as always.

We would like to believe that this devastating accident will stay far from our shores. (Actually, we are horrified that it happened at all!)But we need to think ahead and plan for the worst while hoping for the best.We are advising owners and vacation rental guests to keep up to date on the spill by visiting the The City of Sanibel Website.We are also working with vacation rental guests who are inquiring, advising them of a new policy on refunds should the spill come to the Island.The policy states the following:

Sanibel beaches must be declared “closed” by the City of Sanibel at the time of cancellation AND during your vacation dates.

  • Your reservation MUST be paid in full at the time of cancellation in order to qualify for the amended cancellation policy.

  • If cancellation is received prior to the above 2 conditions being met, then the amended cancellation policy DOES NOT apply.

  • If you are already staying at a Sanibel Holiday property at the time of impact, you will be refunded any unused portion of your rent if you choose to check-out early, less the non-refundable reservation fee and linen fee.

  • Sanibel Holiday’s goal is to provide our guests peace of mind while planning for their Sanibel Island vacation. We trust the amended cancellation policy will provide them with the confidence necessary to continue with your vacation plans.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking your boat to Sanibel: How and Why

We realize that with all the boat rentals, cruises and crews for hire available, taking one's own boat to Sanibel Island is often not necessary or considered desirable.

But we do on occasion get calls from vacation rental guests who want to come to the island on their boat or with their boat in tow.

For someone who has a keen attachment to home, I can understand this preference to have your own rather, than rent a boat. You know your own boat and its idiosyncrasies, you have supplied your boat in the way you feel most comfortable. You may even have decorated your boat a bit to make it feel like home. So why not bring it along?

There are several places on the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva where you can dock your boat.

For those staying on the far west end of Sanibel, dockage on Captiva, easily accessed would make the most sense. Tween Waters Inn on Captiva has 41 slips for guests and non guests at their marina. And for those with smaller boats, several homes on that far west end offer sufficient parking where boats can be kept and boat launch ramps are not very far away.

Going in the opposite direction, dockage can be found on the far East end of the Island. The Sanibel Marina is nestled near the lighthouse on the southern tip of Sanibel Island. The Sanibel Marina’s ideal location grants boaters traveling up and down the Intercoastal Waterway direct access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Island’s gorgeous beaches as well as Florida’s fantastic fishing. The Sanibel Marina has 65 slips for boats up to 70'. Several east and west end homes have pools, so wouldn't it be nice after a day on the water to come home and take a dip in the water?

But you don't have to stay in a private house to have nearby docking. Sanibel Arms West is one of many complexes where boaters can dock very easily. In addition to your private beach, you’ll have access to a boat dock on the canal. Try your hand at sport fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving or just soak up the rays on the gorgeous blue water of the Gulf of Mexico, all just steps away from your condo door. Aside from all the recreational activities, the complex is conveniently located near a variety of restaurants and picturesque shopping villages.

With all the pet friendly accommodations on Sanibel, we often say there is no reason to leave your pooch behind. And, with all the places to dock and launch, there is no reason to leave your boat behind either!