Dreaming of a Hawaiian getaway, but can”t ignore the screams of laughter coming from your wallet? If watching dolphins, stunning sunsets and over 200 species of birds — all in a balmy climate with warm turquoise waters — is your thing, we have great news: just off Florida”s southwest coast is an island that”s both affordable and tropical. The gorgeous Marco Island is the largest of Florida”s Ten Thousand islands and hums with luxury resorts and budget-friendly hotels, plus restaurants and eco adventures. (Ten Thousand islands? Not really, it”s just a fun name for a couple of hundred keys.) Consider one of these Marco Island family hotels for your next vacation.
Written by Wendy Irvine
Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
The Hilton serves up four dining spots that include a piano bar. The property"s opulent 10,000-square-foot destination spa impresses with arched marble hallways, beautiful fountains, and a lovely vibe. The full spa menu includes a Jet Lag Treatment, Pre-Natal Indulgence, and a Couple"s Bliss Package. The secluded outdoor terrace provides elegant chaise lounges and an adults-only whirlpool.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Sunset Cove Resort
The Holiday Inn"s complimentary shuttle chauffeurs guests to three beaches. (Cool shuttles mean no parking hassles!) The hotel also hands out complimentary beach chairs and bikes. The property has a small - but artfully designed -- zero-entry outdoor pool, whirlpool and sundeck and a dedicated concierge is on hand for coordinating excursions.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort
The outdoor heated pool is wreathed in rolled towels sitting atop chaise lounges all overlooking the white sand and sapphire waters. The stunning beach comes with helpful guys who set up complimentary umbrellas and chaise lounges. The flagship restaurant, Sale e Pepe, is a high-end dining experience that delivers jaw-dropping Marco sunsets. The property also has several casual restaurants better suited to kids. In honor of the sea turtles nesting on Marco in the summer, kids are treated to Turtle Turndown that includes a brief education into the lives of turtles along with a stuffed turtle keepsake. The property also has a high-end spa with a full treatment menu. And every evening at sunset, a captain"s bell is rung on the terrace just as the sun melts into the water.
Marriott's Crystal Shores
The Marriott offers a load of fun with a family pool paired with a twisty slide and a quiet pool. Along with villas, new additions to the property include a third quiet pool and a poolside grill. A kids" activity center is stocked in TVs, computers, arts and crafts activities, oversized chess and more. A Ping-Pong and a pool table are also both available. Stilts Bar and Grill is located beachside for casual dining and a colorful Gulf view.
Marco Island Lakeside Inn
A stay at the Lakeside Inn means you"re a short drive to one of Marco"s two public beaches, but word to the wise: Tigertail Beach is a stunner with great parking, yet also delivers a trek to the sand. The Southside Beach has less parking, but is easily accessible.
Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Fitness classes, beach towels and chaise lounges and umbrellas are all rolled into the $25-per-day resort fee. A handy motorized bar cart drives up and down the beach meeting your every cocktail need. Parents will love the resort"s two off-campus 18-hole golf courses (that sit an easy 15 minutes from the resort using the complimentary Marriott shuttle; ask about the Kids-Golf-4-Free program), and a full-service spa offers a wide range of experiences including spa treatments and salon services, plunge pools, a steam room, and a fitness center that brims in classes and machines.
Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites
The Olde Marco Inn"s units are each individually owned, but guests can reserve a room as easily as any hotel room. Visitors can choose between the two-bedroom suite and the deluxe two-bedroom suite, but make note that the deluxe suites have been recently renovated and their new beauty shows. Also good to know: the inn"s units don"t receive daily cleaning service, but if you stay seven nights or longer, your unit will receive a mid-week sprucing. If you stay at the inn two nights or longer, a $50 fee, plus tax will be added to your bill. Reduced cleaning service - in the end -- equals a lower bill at the end of your trip.
Boat House Motel
The property has several room configurations and every room boasts free Wi-Fi, refrigerators, Keurig coffee machines, microwaves and free parking. Charcoal grills are also onsite to meet your barbeque needs. The Boathouse also has a small heated pool, coin-operated laundry, and specific rooms set aside for families traveling with a pup.
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