When you have a toddler, the rhythms of time completely change. Often on a Tuesday evening, I think that it must already be Thursday. Other times, an entire morning disappears as I’m trying to get a two-year-old dressed and out of the house. An hour by myself spent completely relaxing feels absolutely luxurious. A full 24 hours sans toddler? Well, that’s called a vacation. And on Friday, my husband and I took a 24-hour vacation at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort in Marco Island, Florida.
On Thursday, we (my husband, toddler and I) had flown down from New York City to Sarasota, to spend a few days with my parents. And then on Friday at 1 pm, my husband and I drove two hours south to Marco Island. So this was actually a vacation within a vacation. We figured that neither my parents nor the toddler minded us leaving for 24 hours… Or at least, if they did, well, it was only 24 hours!
We arrived at Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort at 3pm, and our room wasn’t ready yet (check-in is at 4pm) so we checked our bags, got our towel cards and went right to beach, where we laid down on lounge chairs close to the water.
Before we had a kid, we considered the beach to be synonymous with relaxation. But with a baby or a toddler, the beach is not relaxing in the least (although it still has many redeeming qualities). I like to compare going to the beach with a toddler to going to a restaurant with a toddler: it’s nice to be there but it’s a very different experience. So, for about an hour we just laid on our lounge chairs and felt the gulf breeze. Then, I got a phone call that our room was ready.
We were excited to see our gulf-front room, and we liked the modern decor with its tropical color palate. The best feature was definitely the wraparound balcony — simply amazing! Hands down, it was the best hotel balcony I’ve ever had.
We didn’t want to waste the sunshine though, and headed back to beach for a long walk with frozen tropical drinks in hand. Marco Island’s white-sand beach is simply stunning, and it’s great to stroll along and see all sort of different shells. While nearby Sanibel (which I’ve never been to) is more famous for shelling, we were impressed by the diversity of shells and also by how many conchs we saw.
Then the sun was setting and we knew the perfect place to watch the fiery ball sink into the sea: our balcony. The sunset was outstanding; awesome sunsets are just one reason why Florida’s gulf coast is so special. I’m not sure if there’s truly an east coast—west coast rivalry in Florida, or if there’s just one in my mind because most New Yorkers head to the east coast. Regardless, epic sunsets are a major win for the west coast.
We had made a dinner reservation at Kurrents, which is the resort’s flagship restaurant. We enjoyed our seafood entrees — potato-crusted red snapper for my husband and Chilean seabass for me. But the highlight, literally, was the creme brule. It left the open kitchen on fire, and the flame burned out our table for quite some time. I like a dessert that makes a grand entrance!
After dinner, we went upstairs to Korals, the stylish bar off the hotel lobby. It was fun and lively, and the perfect place for a nightcap.
The next day, we headed straight to the beach. We had promised to be back at my parents’ house by 3pm (I guess this was actually a 26-hour vacation) and the goal was to maximize beach time. We could have gone to the fitness center, to either of the inviting pools, on a catamaran ride, but we just love the beach! I find the beach sort of addictive. And when I’m near a beautiful beach, I just have to be on it.
Luckily, we were able to eat lunch just a few feet from the beach at Pazzi’s, which has excellent pizza. I wished that we could have stayed longer at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, but we had to get back to our son and relieve some very generous grandparents. The one-day vacation was just perfect, as it was guilt-free and any longer we would have really started to miss our toddler. While it may sound like all we did was hang out at the beach, it was actually extremely productive. We packed a month’s worth of relaxation into one day!
Comped But Never Compromised: I received a complimentary stay at Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, but I am free to write whatever I want.