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.
- 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