I have to say, after reading some of the 'bad' reviews of this resort, my expectations were somewhat lowered, but after staying here 7 days, I am now wondering if those people stayed at a different ' South Seas' Resort. Our stay was nothing less than relaxing and spectacular. The property is beautiful, the staff was friendly, the amenities were perfect. My guess is that the poor reviews were to keep people away so others wont discover this gem. But...since I am a fair and honest man, I and going to write a fair and honest review. Here we go:
We checked in on a Sunday afternoon. The entrance to the resort is gorgeous and gated, and the security personnel were welcoming and very helpful in directing us to exactly where we needed to go. The main building is beautiful and, like all the building here, very clean and tastefully decorated. The young lady who checked us in made sure to answer all of our questions and saw that we made it to the Harborview Hotel without any problems. We were given key cards that acted as our room keys and a credit card for on-site purchases. Our room was spacious, clean and well decorated in a light Florida plantation style.
We stayed in room #1848, which had a view of the harbor toward the Gulf, and the marina. I highly recommend this room or #1850. We often saw dolphins swimming by. Our room was set up with 2 queen beds at our request in advance, had a safe, coffee maker, refrigerator, HUGE tub/shower combo, very nice (large) bathroom, flatscreen TV, desk, closet, dresser, and a great balcony with 2 chairs on it. There is excellent free wi-fi as well, which I am using at this moment on the last night here to write this review. The cleaning service was prompt and friendly, and always accomodated any special request for extra towels, shampoo, etc. One day my wife took a nap during the cleaning rotation and there was a phone message letting us know a number we could call if we needed the cleaning staff to come after hours that day! When does that ever happen anymore?
The resort restaurant, Harborview Point, has romantic marinaside dining and interior tables. The food is quite good. I recommend the tomato salad and the steamed mussels. It will feed two persons, trust me. I've seen some reviews complaining about the prices which made me chuckle. I guess some of those folks don't travel much to resorts. We ate there 4 times, and the service was very good, all except the last night when we got a server with a bad attitude and worse work ethic. He was tipped accordingly. But generally, it was quite good. I'd go into town to eat a good breakfast or catch a bacon/egg sandwich at the Ships Store. The buffet at Harborside is just average, but their dinners a re very good.
Rent a car before you come here, you'll need one, although they provide free trolly service around the resort. The trollys are clean and cute, but who wants to wait on a trolly? Besides, you'll want to go into town and do some things. They like to promote bike and golf cart rentals too, but there aren't the appropriate safety lanes, so I'd still rent a car.
There is an on-site provisions store called, "The Ship's Store" which has fresh sandwiches, drinks, wine, clothing, groceries...basically everything you forgot to bring. However, if you prefer a less costly alternative there are a number of good resuraunt, grocery and food options in town. I recommend Baileys Country Store in Sanibel. Great selection- good prices. I also recommend RC Otters for lunch, and The Island Cow for dinner, both on Captiva. The food is excellent at both and there is often live entertainment.
The beaches at the resort are within easy walking distance and are beautiful. They are uncrowded, and there are plenty of lounge chairs and a beachside snack shack. Ocean sunsets are NOT to be missed, and are an event here. If you stay harborside you will get the bonus of daily waterview sunrises as well! The golf course is pristine, though I don't golf, so I cant speak to the service. Mid-week we received a phone call by the management making sure we had everything we needed and all was going well, a nice touch.
The pools are beautiful, with plenty of chairs and umbrellas, live entertainment and servers taking drink/ food orders. TIP- go early to get an umbrella spot near the Gulf edge of the pool and you'll see plenty of dolphins and beautiful shorebirds while you are enjoying the pool. I recommend a drink called a "190" with a shrimp 'po-boy' sandwich. You won't regret it. At the pool is a great cafe and a really cute 50's styled Soda Shop selling pizza and ice cream and loads of candy.
I attended a sailing school while I was here (Offshore Sailing) which I also recommend if you are into that sort of thing. The school is right here on the property and the instructors are excellent. Personally, I love to sail and this is a good location to learn more skills. My wife made use of a nice spa in Sanibel which was reasonably priced and she enjoyed very much.
There is an abundance of activities in the area; sunset cruises, charter fishing, wave runners, parasailing...all the standard ocean style stuff. The water is stunning around the island, and I would never come here without planning an abundance of on-water activity. There is also great "shelling" on the Sanibel beaches.
This was our first stay at South Seas, but it won't be our last. It is a wonderful resort, and I can't imagine anything nicer for the price. I think it's perfect for a couples retreat, or a family getaway. Is it the Peabody? No. But then, it isnt supposed to be. If you are looking for an attractive, friendly, reasonably priced, safe, quiet, clean seaside resort in one of the most beautiful locations in the States, put South Seas on your short list. Well done, South Seas, well done!