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“A Romantic Escape” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Island Inn

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Island Inn
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   3111 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island, FL 33957   |  
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Ranked #7 of 27 Hotels in Sanibel Island
GreenLeadersSilver level
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“A Romantic Escape”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013 via mobile

We stayed twice in the same week in a deluxe room with kitchenette. We just loved Sanibel, the beach, the shelling, the romantic atmosphere, the gentle staff. We will return if we can. The restaurant is romantic too but the breakfast (complimentary) is very basic. But the place has its own magic - we travel all the time and there were few places, simple as this one, so fit for a romantic escape.

Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 12, 2013
Thank you for staying at the Island Inn and leaving a review of your experience. It is such a compliment that you stayed one night and went out of your way to return later in the week.

The accommodation you chose, the Gulfview Kitchen Suite in our Kimball Lodge, is often recommended for couples and I’m glad it suited your needs and expectations.

I know it is quite a long trip, but I hope you can find the time to return to the Island Inn and Sanibel Island for another romantic getaway! :-)
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768 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (249)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Swedish first
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English first
Richmond, VA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

I've been bringing my family to the Island Inn for almost 30 years. In the past, the Inn was modified American Plan in season, with two meals a day included. The food was good, the service railroad-style. As those days drew to a close, the Inn tried a variety of alternatives, all without much success. When they stumbled on Traditions, they had a real winner! A complimentary continental breakfast is served each morning, with the restaurant open for dinner at night. Hotel guests receive a substantial discount for dining there. Live entertainment is provided most nights, and the quality is excellent, both for listening and dancing.

The Inn is owned by a group of private shareholders dedicated to preserving the traditions and style of the first hotel on the island. Many of the guests are repeat customers who return often.

The Inn is conveniently located. The rooms are modern and comfortable, with accomodations a bit like a cabin rather than a hotel. Many of the rooms come with a small but adequate kitchen. Most have outstanding views of the ocean.

The rooms have modern amenities, like big screen TV, cable chanels, A/C, large modern baths, but you are missing the true experience of this hotel if you spend a lot of time in your room.

The public areas generally have a game of cards, or two, and a few puzzles in the works. The conversation is congeanial, and the feeling is almost like being on a cruise ship. At sundown, many guests gather on the balcony at the rear of Kimbel Lodge each night to watch the sun go down. (Put on bug spray for this!)

I have saved the very best for last, however. The beach in from of the Inn is one of the best shelling areas on the entire island!

If you are looking for a glass and chrome high-rise hotel experience, give the Island Inn a pass. If you want a relaxing vacation with the feeling of being on a cruise ship, this would make a great choice.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 12, 2013
Thank you for being such a loyal member of the Island Inn family and for taking the time to share your experiences at the Inn. Of course, the staff at the Inn remembers you and it is truly our pleasure to host your family’s stay each year. We’re glad you approve of the Inn’s goal to provide modern accommodations and amenities in a historic, beachfront setting. We will be anxiously awaiting your return and you can trust that the Inn will continually reinvest in its facilities, accommodations, amenities and guest service, in an effort to be the most desired accommodation option on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
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Waterloo, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

We enjoyed the accommodation and the beautiful beach location You can't beat it! We were really looking forward to great meals at the Inn, however we were sorely disappointed with the quality of the food and the preparation ... two nights consecutively. We did enjoy the great music and our servers - they made up for the lac-lustre meals. Come on Island Inn - you can do better!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Thank you for staying at the Island Inn and for leaving a review of your experience. I’m glad you enjoyed our facilities, accommodations, amenities, guest services and location.

The Island Inn leases its food/beverage operation out to a separate owner, but I will be sure to bring your comments to restaurant ownership’s attention.

Thank you again for stay and I hope you can return to Sanibel Island soon! :-)
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Fox Point, WI
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

My husband and I spent a week in one of the deluxe rooms with kitchenette. Loved how clean our room was and was maintained all week. Thanks, cleaning staff!

The room itself is nothing fancy, but when your days revolve around beach, sand, biking and kayaking it seemed a fitting place to stay. We slept like babies every night & liked the firm beds.

Having the fully equipped kitchen made our stay comfortable. We picked up groceries at nearby Bailey's Market & made our own breakfasts and an occasional lunch. (Went to the breakfast buffet the first morning, but preferred simply having cereal in the room over the sweet rolls provided.) A tip: Pack your favorite spices in ziploc bags. The knives are incredibly dull, so may want to bring your own knives (in your checked bag!) if planning to do any serious cooking. I nearly hacked off my finger multiple times just trying to cut limes and mango.

The weather was warm enough for a swim in the pool for 2 of our 7 days on Sanibel. We took a few enjoyable dips to cool off after bike riding.

The rental bikes at Island Inn are basic 1-speeds, but that is all you need on this flat island. No one is racing around at high speeds on the bike paths. We rode our bikes all over the island, and would pick up groceries on bikes too. Loved leaving the car parked as much as possible.

We tried a few appetizers at Traditions. Highly recommend the fresh oysters that are ordered by the dozen. A huge treat for a midwesterner in February. The live music was geared for the retired crowd, but very lively and fun to see lots of couples dancing. What a shame that my generation never learned to dance properly!

Our other dining favorite was small plate dining at Sweet Melissa's. The chef/owner works elbow to elbow with her staff and you can taste the passion that goes into the food. Call for a reservation, as this place fills fast.

Enjoy the shelling and bird watching. Both are amazing. We forgot our binoculars and bird book, but next time we will be properly "geeked out" to enjoy these activities.

Thanks to all at the Island Inn for a fabulous week! We hope to come back soon.

Room Tip: Get a room with kitchenette if possible.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 10, 2013
Thank you for staying at the Island Inn and for taking the time to share your experience. It sounds like you folks truly embraced the symbiosis Sanibel has with its surrounding natural environment. Great suggestions on restaurants, too!

I hope your travels home to WI were safe and you are able to return to the Island Inn and Sanibel Island soon! :-)
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Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

I write this as I drive to the airport and away from Sanibel and Island Inn. While I loved the Island itself, I am less than impressed with this place. We stayed in a Kimball room which seemed initially to look like what was advertised. Looking closer we found that when we climbed into bed the sheets were very dirty...if they were washed we cannot understand how the staff didn't SEE the huge dark stains all over the place and decided to put these on the bed. We were forced to sleep without sheets the first night due to this, as there was no on available to give us clean sheets on the inital night. they did put new nice sheets on the next morning though, but we should have never had this happen and it actually put a bad taste in our mouth for the remainder as to the cleanliness of this place. The remote also did not work so we had to wait until morning to alleviate that also.....new batteries which i would have thought they would check out when cleaning and prepping for new guests but i guess not. The bed was very uncomfortable and the mattress was very soft and seemed very worn and dished out. There was a rip in our screen outdoors and therefore we had no see ums or small flies inside the entire stay and this was not fixed after reporting it. The room was ok, but really it was a small suite, very small for the price and did not allow for much storage place for luggage or anything else. Just one step up from a basic hotel room really. The breakfast was mediocre at best as MANY have said. It got old after day one. Actually day one it seemed old and blah, but they will tell you "they are the only place offering free breakfast". Well the breakfast is worth $1.99 so dont let that sway you into thinking its worth anything...because its not. Two othe rcouples stayed at alternate locations, one at Tween Waters on Captiva (less than this place and MUCH nicer ) and one at Tarpon Beach condos (hugely inexpensive for a 2 br 2 ba - $120 a night) and both of these locations and properties were nicer and gave much more bang for your buck in different ways but still....you got MUCH more for your money. These rooms may be ok for about $125 a night but NEVER more than that. If you are paying $200-$250 per night LOOK ELSEWHERE becaues you can find GREAT NEW LARGER GULF FRONT CONDOS for that much or less than that. The food at their restaurant was mediocre at best, and the fish selections we had were definitely not fresh fish. Go elsewhere to eat. There are MANY other places to eat on the Island or in FM or on Captiva that are nicer atmosphere, fresh seafood, and more upbeat. This seemed like a gereatric nursing home to me. There is NOTHING special about this place unless you are spending about $100 a night. If you are spending more than that look somewhere else, LOTS of deals to be had with just as good a location on the beach, and this is not one of them. The staff was ok, not good or bad, just there. Nothing special about them either.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 10, 2013
Thank you for staying at the Island Inn and for taking the time to share your feedback.

I must say your experience is markedly different than others on this site. I can see how having improper bed linens as a first impression may have set things off on the wrong foot. For rare issues such as this, there is a night phone number to call and an Island Inn employee will quickly resolve this issue. However, I will bring this to the housekeeping manager’s attention to insure correction.

As for your cost comparisons, the Island Inn is highly competitive, as shopping around will show.

Thank you for your stay and I’m sorry you did not enjoy your time here. I hope your travels back to GA were safe and you are able to find a satisfying vacation experience in the near future.
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Des Moines, Iowa
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

Island Inn was recommended to us by family and it was fantastic! Wonderful beach (main reason for our visit - to "escape winter") and views were just the beginning. Very clean comfortable rooms,screened porches, great beds, and kitchen with everythiing we needed. Island Inn is one of the few places that has rooms with kitchens that also serves breakfast (great scones, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc). The staff couldn't have been more helpful and friendly. With all that said, the atmosphere is very laid back and relaxing. We have already booked for next year and added an extra week; one week was just not long enough! Great place!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 10, 2013
Thank you for staying at the Island Inn and for taking the time to share your Island Inn experience.

The staff at the Inn remembers you and we are so happy you’ve chosen to return next year! We will be anticipating your next arrival and are so happy to have you as part of the Island Inn family.

I hope you have a terrific 2013 and will look forward to seeing you soon! :-)
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Farmington, Connecticut
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

Very nice experience. Stayed there 8 nights. It's in a great location on the back side of the island so you get the amazing sunsets. Also convenient to Ding Darling, Tarpon Bay, Bailey's Market and plenty of biking trails. Weather in January was excellent.

Hotel is very nice, nothing fancy. The main building helps to differentiate the property. Has a restaurant, interesting rooms, books to borrow, and is a place to stop in during the day. The restaurant is known on the island and does a good dinner business.

Staff is pleasant and very accommodating. Rooms include continental breakfast which is a nice touch. They could easily make an improvement by adding a few simple, low cost items, e.g. cold cereal, oatmeal, and/or other basic breakfast items.

Overall, a great place to stay and we will come back again.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fishingflats, Manager at Island Inn, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Thank you for staying at the Island Inn and choosing our resort for your Sanibel vacation. I’m glad you found our facilities, accommodations and guest services to meet your expectations and needs. We hope your travels home to CN were safe and you will be able to visit Sanibel Island again soon! :-)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Island Inn

Address: 3111 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sanibel Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Sanibel Island
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Sanibel Island
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Sanibel Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Island Inn 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voted "Best Inn on the Island," the Island Inn, with its combination of old Florida cottages and modern lodges, sits on 10 beautiful Gulf front acres, offering 550 feet of beach with some of the best shelling in the area. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Island Hotel Sanibel Island
Island Sanibel
Island Resort Sanibel
Is Sanibel

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