Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort: All In a Day’s Vacation

Marco Island Marriott Resort Florida

A view of the pool and the beach from my gulf-front room at Marco Island Marriott Resort

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.
florida hotel room with balcony
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.

sunset florida gulf coast march

A beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, as seen from our balcony.

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.

One of the Marriott’s two pools

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.

Conches in a tidepool on the beach

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 creme brule is on fire at Kurrents at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort

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.

7 Responses to Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort: All In a Day’s Vacation

  1. Anita Mac
    Twitter: wheretogoam
    March 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    Looks gorgeous! Love that you finished with a Creme Brule – the perfect ending! (Needless to say – that is my all time fave dish, regardless of the stunning surroundings in which you had the pleasure of eating in!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Monday Morning Series: Life is in session

  2. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    March 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Toddlers are hard work! I have one too and definitely need a vacation from him every now and then even if it’s just for a few hours. I feel like I’m a better Mom when I’ve had some time to straighten out my thoughts, relax and miss his company. :)
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..How a Rainy Day in Yangon Turned Into My Best Ever Travel Moment

  3. Larissa
    Twitter: changes_long
    March 13, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    I’ve only ever been to this resort as part of a business conference, so it was a very different experience. But it’s nice to know it’s really more of a resort.
    Larissa recently posted..Free things to do in Cairns, Australia; even free scuba

  4. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    March 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    This definitely happens to teachers of toddlers, too! Amazing how exhausted I am after a day or two, so I’m glad you got to enjoy yourself with the kiddies!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Apparently, I’m Not the Only Guiri Who Dislikes Barcelona: Aga’s Take on the Ciudad Condal

  5. Reena @ Wanderplex March 14, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Looks gorgeous! I love all the windows overlooking the beach from the room.

  6. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    March 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Oh, heavenly! A full day without the kids would be a wonderful treat!
    Micki recently posted..For the Love of Squares, a Walk Around Centro, Madrid

  7. wandering educators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    March 17, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    LOVE this!! i am crazy abt that photo of the conch shells in the tidepool. WOW!
    wandering educators recently posted..The 5 Best Gastronomic Reasons to Visit Paris: Paris by Food

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