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“Great service, beautiful grounds. Not enough beach loungers though!”
Review of Casa Ybel Resort

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Casa Ybel Resort
Ranked #13 of 19 Hotels in Sanibel Island
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Great service, beautiful grounds. Not enough beach loungers though!”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

I am here now and initial impressions are that it is a great resort. It is clean, welcoming and has that manicured American feel. The views all around are stunning. The appartments look very well maintained and have a luxury look. Disappointingly The longer I am here however, the more holes I find to not give it 5 stars.

Firstly the positives -
The one bed (garden room) is a great size for my family of 2 adults and 2 young children. We like to have the flexibility to cook basic food like pasta dishes that we know the kids will eat if they have been fussy in the day. The appt is equipped with a coffee / hot water machine, a huge oven with hob, microwave, fridge freezer with ice machine and dishwasher. There are plenty utensils, cutlery and crockery to ensure you won't need anything. Overall first impressions on this appartment were excellent.

The daily maid service is also EXCELLENT. Our maid comes in and runs the dishwasher, empties it, cleans the appartment thoroughly and Provides clean towels and bed linen. She is happy and friendly and comes across trustworthy.

The facilities are good - there are 2 swimming pools. An infant one which is 2 ft deep and the adults which goes from 4ft to 11ft. There are plenty of pool toys to keep the kids happy at the towel shack. The recreation guys giving out the towels are friendly and provide bike rent services and beach chair rental.
There are a number of shell washing stations dotted amongst the property for the kids to wash their treasures which is a great idea.
Pool bar - great guys providing a friendly service. The food menu is for me a real draw. I love wraps and salads and can highly recommend them. The kids menu is good too and this is a real weight off my mind. I find the general quality of food in the U.S poor however here I find it a pleasure to look through the menu.

Kids club - open 10am-1pm on most days. My 2 were very nervous about going in but after their first experience they loved it and are going back for more. The main reason we chose Casa Ybel was for the kids activities. My husband works hard and on holiday throws himself into playing with the kids. A couple of hours down time a couple of times in the week is a real treat. It also keeps the kids out of the sun for a little bit!
There are also some mini craft activities (parent accompanied unless you pay $10 supplement) which we haven't tried yet but sound great.

So the downsides?
The drinks - cheap alcohol just drives me crazy. I expect cheap brand when I go to an all inclusive resort. I get that the hotel won't give premium spirits away for free however here I am paying $10 for a cocktail and feel very short changed. Also the bar has run out of a few ingredients a number of times which is disappointing.

Beach chairs / umbrellas - there are just not enough of them. I haven't been able to hire any for 4 days. The beach is covered in shells and not really comfortable to lie on. If I was travelling to a beach I would take beach mats and towels. I didn't expect to need those here. The pool is busy and to escape to the beach isn't really an option at the moment.

Overall - very happy we came to Casa Ybel. Their website doesn't do the resort justice in my mind. It really is a stunning looking resort. It is an expensive holiday to come on which you know when you book and spending money just depends on how often you eat out and how many drinks you consume at the pool bar!

Would we come again? Having been to Barbados twice in the last 2 years and now here I think next time that Barbados will win. We like a holiday to feel a little 'edgier' and have missed the cultural variety that Barbados brings. However if we moved to the U.S and a short internal flight makes Sanibel an easy hop then without question we would visit again.

.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank fi33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (144)
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Casa Ybel is such a wonderful spot on Sanibel Island. It has a great location, nice staff and wonderful accommodations. It's right on the beach, so it's perfect for beach lovers. Very family friendly with a large pool and fantastic pool bar. The Mudslide is our favorite!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DCFoodLover2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2013

This was our first time to Sanibel Island - stayed at Casa Ybel after hearing about it from a friend. I tend to be picky but this place was absolutely beautiful and great accommodations. We have 2 girls - 8 and 7 years old and I was nervous how we would fit in a one bedroom condo but it was fine. Our girls slept on the pull out couch which pulls out into a queen size bed (it was a little difficult to pull out the couch but I think it was brand new). My husband and I had a king size bed in a very nice bedroom. Bedding was perfect. Kitchen was great - black granite countertops and white cabinets - looked new like it had been recently renovated. No dishwashing soap so make sure you pick some up at Jerry's groceries near the resort. Great screened in lanai with steps leading down to the beautiful grounds and beach area. This was so nice and convenient to just run down the steps to go off somewhere but they do encourage that you lock your doors before really leaving the resort. Pool is great - Coconuts makes AWESOME drinks!! They do not skimp on the alcohol at all --- GREAT drinks and food. Coconuts closes at 5pm - wish they were open longer. Go with an open mind about what to expect though - you will have to pay to rent bikes anywhere on the island - either through the resort or you can do it by contacting Billy Bikes. Billy's Bikes will DELIVER and pick up the bikes at your unit- delivery is only $ 10! Either way, renting bikes is so much fun! Sanibel is very flat and our family had a great time biking all around. You will also have to pay to rent umbrellas on the beach - but again, you can do this through the resort or via Billy Bikes but we didn't really use it because my kids loved the pool. At night, make sure to step out on the grounds and look up at the sky! So many stars because no light pollution!! Incredible!!!

Room Tip: Do not be deterred if you are placed at the far side of the resort. Only a 5 minute walk to the pool...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank suzanne4794
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2013

I was on a mission to find a fine dining location for our quarterly company dinner. Top location, customer service and fine food were all on the top of the list. Ft. Myers while a beautiful city is somewhat of a culinary waste land for the fine dining experience for a larger group. At the last hour, I visted Casa Ybel - thank goodness. After a "test" lunch to experience the cuisine, wait staff and location - I finally found the perfect location. The staff ensured that our 20 plus dinner was exceptional. Want a fine restaurant for that special occassion - go here!!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank LIfeFit13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glenview, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2013 via mobile

My husband is VERY particular and ridiculously "type A". So, I need to be very careful when selecting vacation accommodations. Even grading on the "sleepy island curve"-- Casa Ybel is doing it right.
Beginning with the reservations process: polite, professional and "warm". Only issue to note is that I had to ask "what else can we buy"-- meaning--I had to prompt to make reset actions for bikes, lounge chairs and umbrellas. Had I not, I fear they would have been gone. Also--I had to ask about high chair/pack and play. Maybe they can train reservations to ask about ages and then suggest items they might need. Life would not have been easy had we not had somewhere for the one year old to sleep. Minor training issues though.
We arrived prior to the 3:00 check in. They promised they would try and get the condo clean but I wasn't holding my breath. They were sold out. I get it. She took our cell number though. Room finished at EXACTLY 3:00. Needless to say--little one didn't get a nap. Not their fault. Although, another training opportunity would be to move up in the cleaning cue rooms where check in had children under four --especially onescthat called the day ahead like us (we did that at The Ritz when I worked there in college). Not complaining though.
Property grounds are lovely and meticulously groomed. Buildings are well maintained. Five out of five there.
Condo was great. I'd give it a four out of five (grading on an island curve and using Trump Chicago as a five). Two bedroom has LR kitchen and screened porch facing the ocean. Upstairs two bathrooms and two generously sized bedrooms. Common laundry on main floor of building (was kind of a pain since always full). Everything recently updated nicely. New everything--including tile/toilets/cabinets/appliances/etc. The place kind of reminds me of the first generation Residence Inn units--only remodeled.
Our big issue is that the unit never cooler down. I called maintenance who promptly callee their contracted HVAC company. Very long story short it was resolved. They took ownership and got it repaired. Not as quickly as my spoiled husband would have liked--but he is just unreasonable. Turns out all of our issues were caused by previous occupant leaving open the windows and not turning off a/c unit. It froze. They fixed it but then unit took A LONG time to remove all the Florida humidity. Like--six hours. Sleeping wasn't easy. Again--not complaining. Training issue (make sure housekeeping closes the windows before they leave). Resort manager sent a lovely note and a plate of excellent house-crafted chocolates as an apology. . Perfectly appropriate and appreciated.
Beach is incredible. Pool clean but very small for the number of guests this time of year. Poolside musician is perfect.
They offer daily kids programs. So far my daughter has only taken part in the tie-die t-shirt. Had a blast. Returned with a high quality beautifully crafted shirt.
My husband grew up going to South Seas Captiva but had heard from friends place has gone massively downhill (confirmed by others while we have been here).
Overall--so far so good. Crazy expensive ($6-700 a night for two bedroom plus all amenities extra) but will return!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank primadonnaswife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queens, New York
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

Casa Ybel Resort has many good qualities. It is immaculately clean and well maintained. It is in a beautiful location. It aspires to be (and markets itself as) a top-shelf destination, but falls victim to cutting corners in ways that detract from the overall experience.

Let's start with positives. We had booked a one-bedroom unit and were upgraded to a two-bedroom unit on arrival. Sounds nice. Yes, but ... no daily maid service comes with the two-bedroom unit, although we were assured that we could request such during our stay. Not really bait-and-switch, but not really what we signed up for either.

One thing about our two-bedroom unit is that it was two-story with both bedrooms and bathrooms up a flight of stairs. This could be inconvenient for people with young children or older adults with mobility issues, so you might inquire if all units are like that.

The pool area is very nice. This is a family-oriented place, so you need to be open minded about having children playing in the pool area and hearing children about the property.

The resident tennis pro, Kerry Kendrick, is an excellent instructor and the tennis lesson fee is reasonable ($50/hour). It would be nice if the courts were lit for evening play, but they are nicely maintained.

Now, for examples of the annoying little things that keep Casa Ybel from really being a classy place. You are charged $28 per day for use of beach chairs and umbrellas at the shoreline. Poolside chairs are free, but not those on the beach. That does not make sense. Raise the room rate by $20 and include the beach chairs so people feel they're getting their money's worth.

The list of accommodation amenities on the website is extensive (Gulf of Mexico view, screened in porch, fancy toiletries, etc.). New York Times and Wall Street Journal are listed there too, and, it turns out, you pay for those. It's the only item on the extensive list that you pay for and nowhere does it say that you pay for them. It was an unpleasant surprise when we paid the bill. The expense was modest, but, once again, you get that sense of being nickeled-and-dimed by a place that’s supposed to be luxurious.

The front desk staff is generally pleasant, although several of the women have a tendency to speak with forced enthusiasm generally reserved for kindergarten teachers speaking to their students. Less phony friendliness and more professionalism would be a good thing.

Maybe the managers of Casa Ybel should stay at a Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental property. My newspaper is always complimentary there and those hotels would not dream of making me pay extra to sit by the beach, the very attraction that would bring me to Sanibel in the first place. So, decide Casa Ybel. Are you going to fulfill your advertised brand promise? If not, maybe you should tone down the snob appeal so guest expectations are better managed.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Silasroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LaSalle, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed at a nearby condo but went to the pool area for a late lunch . We were waiting for friends to show up but they got stuck in traffic coming onto the island . We moved over to the covered restaurant by the pool . That was likely the most expensive dinner I have ever eaten in my bathing suit! The waiter was entertaining and helpful and the menu choices were good.
I guess I was expecting more casual fare as we were outside .The friends had the Pompano, my husband and their son had the $42 steak selection. I had macadamia nut encrusted fish. We made the mistake of ordering the Seafood tower x 2 @ ? market price. The shrimp was good, but I did not enjoy the fight with the crab. I felt like the crab and lobster wasn't the freshest. No one ate the oysters.
When the afternoon was done , it was a $600.00 visit. To be fair , there were 8 of us , of which 3 were teens. Not sure I would ever do that again. It got cold and windy also. The waiter turned on the heater a few minutes before we were about to leave. The restaurant was nice but for the price , i have had better on the island or Captiva. I would never move from the pool area to the outside of the restaurant again.
The alligator in the pond was interesting .

Room Tip: We did not stay here - only had lunch at the pool and dinner at the restaurant.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lizc004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Ybel Resort

Property: Casa Ybel Resort
Address: 2255 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-6104
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sanibel Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Sanibel Island
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Sanibel Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Casa Ybel Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 114
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Natural, secluded and exclusive, historic Casa Ybel Resort epitomizes the sanctuary, old-island spirit of Sanibel. Occupying 23 acres of beach front property isolated from commercial enterprise, the resort forms a sheltered getaway where romantic surroundings and outdoor recreation attract couples and families alike. Travelers have found respite and hospitality here since the 1890's. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Ybel Hotel Sanibel Island
Casa Ybel Resort Sanibel Island
Casa Ybel Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island Casa Ybel

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