It was very difficult for me to decide what rating to give this inn. The room was beautiful and clean - decorated perfectly for a Florida island. I found the room to be more inviting than their website photos indicate. The indirect and recessed lighting was an especially nice touch. The king room we had was spacious and the bed was extremely comfortable. If I were rating just the room this place would definitely be a 5.
First of all, be aware that this is in no way a "resort" in the sense you are accustomed to. This is a small strip mall like area that has a nice outdoor seating area surrounded by the Inn, a Thai restaurant, a tiki bar and grill and a couple of other businesses. There is also a tiny grocery store across the parking lot and there is a marina on the street behind it.
I have lived in Florida all my life but I had never been on Gasparilla island (which is essentially Boca Grande). What I found was a small island that is almost entirely residential (and of course very wealthy) and that has only a few restaurants of which all are overpriced. I'd say the food is about 50% more than what you would pay in most towns. (Although I do recommend the Thai restaurant next to the Inn.) Even though I grew up in South Florida I felt like I was experiencing a completely different culture on this island - a true island mentality.
I like to consider myself a fairly laid-back person but I was pushed to my limits by the staff here. My issues started with the reservation I made months in advance. When making the reservation they were unable to give me a confirmation number and said that they would email it to me. I got busy and forgot to check on it. The day before I was supposed to arrive, I looked through my email for the confirmation and discovered I never got one. All I had were the notes I had taken the day I made the reservation. I immediately called the Inn but had to leave a message - I was very concerned and asked that they call me back ASAP. It was approximately 5:15 pm at that time and I discovered later that they had already gone for the day. Their office hours seem to start around 9 or 10 am and go until around 5 or 6 pm depending on ... well actually I don't know what it depends on. They are also gone for lunch but their posted time out of the office doesn't necessarily reflect the actual time they are away. I called back a few times the next morning and finally got someone to answer around 11 am. They looked and could not find my reservation. Luckily they take a $50 deposit and there was a folio number on my credit card statement. From that they found my reservation which they had as me coming in on the previous day and staying 5 days instead of my requested reservation of 4 days. I told them that the reservation was wrong plus I would like to check in a day later than planned if there wouldn't be a penalty. The good news here was that they didn't really seem to care what my reservation said. They just asked when I wanted to check in and how long I wanted to stay and that was OK with them. Then I was told that they would immediately send my confirmation. I never received this new confirmation but I was contacted by them late that afternoon when they got around to returning the call I had left the night before. I told them I had already spoke to them but didn't get my confirmation for which I was told they had problems with their reservation system. (Did I mention this place only has around 18 rooms?)
Check-in was easy. I walked in and told them my name and they handed me an envelope with a key in it. By the door there was another envelope with a key and an invoice with no information other than the total number of nights and the total price. The total number of nights was wrong so I told them that and also verbally confirmed the rate. Two days later I got an envelope with the correct number of nights but this time the rate was wrong. I went to the office during the posted hours to talk to them about it and the office was open but empty. I went back 10 minutes later and it was still empty. So I asked a cleaning woman where the guy was who runs the office and she said she was surprised he wasn't back yet from wherever. Then we saw him walking toward us so I walked up to him and before I could speak he said "I'll be back in the office in 5 minutes". At that point I decided that the problem here wasn't merely that they were terribly disorganized but they also really didn't care about customer service (or perhaps on the island customer service has a different definition).
All-in-all everything turned out OK for me - everything got corrected. But, needless to say, I was annoyed and inconvenienced. However, my husband witnessed something much more concerning. Sometime around 6 or 7 pm after the office had closed two women had arrived with their luggage and went to their room to find that their key was not there. You see, if you don't check in before the office closes they put your name and room number on a sign with instructions to pick up your key under your front door mat (not kidding). It is unclear what happened with those women but as far as I could see there was not an after hours phone number posted.
I'm sure the beaches here are beautiful (although I did not visit them) as are all the beaches in this area of Florida; but my recommendation is that if you are looking for a beach getaway but have no particular reason to choose this island, look elsewhere. And if you are going to stay on this island be aware that other than the couple of restaurants attached to this Inn, you will have to drive a while to get to anything else. "Downtown" Boca Grande is not in walking distance.
One other tidbit... There is a $6 fee (for 2 axle vehicles) every time you cross the bridge onto the island.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxurious accommodations, access to recreational activities, island-themed decor, and impeccable service blend together to create the perfect vacation experience at the Boca Grande Resort, which sits on the gorgeous white sands of Gasparilla Island off the SW coast of Florida. The resort provides the ideal spot for wedding parties, corporate groups, family reunions, and adventure seekers looking to enjoy a secluded beach, tropical weather, local cuisine, and leisure activities offering excitement and fun. This exclusive hotel offers 18 deluxe rooms, on-site dining, and weekend entertainment in addition to a centralized location offering accessibility to everything the island has to offer. Note that our restaurants are closed in August and September. ... more less
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