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“Delightful - great location, great value!”
Review of West-End Paradise

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West-End Paradise
Reviewed August 24, 2011

We have just enjoyed our first trip back to Florida in over 2 years. This was our first visit to The West End Paradise, and we wished we had discovered it many years ago.

What a place"! Excellent value for money on Sanibel. The housekeeping was immaculate. Darwin was very evident and thoughtful, ensuring that every whim was catered for. Nothing was too much trouble, and he certainly made us feel welcome.

We were surprised and disappointed to read a few negative comments from other reviewers. Perhaps they were comparing this delightful little place with somewhere like The Four Seasons or similar, but we think their expectations are totally unrealistic, and they should be aware that you are looking at very good accommodation - and Sanibel places. The West-End is a definite bargain!

The beach (very close by) is - we are told by locals - the best on the island, and wow! - they are right. With all the facilities on offer, this is definitely an excellent value choice. We highly recommend it, and look forward our next visit - hopefully sooner rather than later.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ohtobeinbocagrande
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 - 68 of 144 reviews

Reviewed August 17, 2011

It has been 8 years since I wrote my first review of the West End Paradise and my wife have stayed there likely 20 times since then. We even used it and the beautiful beach as the spot for our wedding in 2009. Those who have never been can see that there are 2 bad reviews. The first way back before the previous owner(s) so it is superfluous.
I don't know what is up with the other people, but I can tell you that everything in my first review is still true and the fact is that Darwin has over the years improved and upgraded much other facility since 2003. New furniture, stereos, linens, landscaping, Wi-fi, I could go on. Read my review below and trust the 98% majority of of reviewers here that this place is a true rare gem in a world of look and feel a likes. When you get there tell Darwin Ed & Betty said hi and read the comments in the guest books....hundreds of guest comments that if posted here would make you jump on a plane or hop in your car today to enjoy one of the nicest little places on Sanibel Island, a treasure of what the rest of Florida should be like.

REVIEW FROM 2003:
I have been to Sanibel many, many times over the past 20 years. My fiance and I have stayed in Cabins, Cottages, Resorts and private homes. All have their good and not so good points. The West End Paradise is like all of the good things about the above mentioned choices all rolled into one. By way of analogy its like finding that rare, distictive shell on the Beach you've always sought for, you always wanted to find but never thought you would. (Shelling Sanibel Beaches is a must for me when I'm there!) Tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood is a "Bubble Room" pink 7 unit motel unlike anything you've ever stayed at. Small, clean, quiet and unique describe the building and its location on the island. WHAT MAKES IT THE GEM THAT IT IS, are the current owners, Jennifer and Darwin. Imagine staying at an island motel being run by your very best friends. That's what its like! You are warmly welcomed and instantly feel like you've known them forever. No its not right on the Beach, no its not a glitzy resort and no its not for everybody....but if you are looking for heartfelt hospitality and an authentic Sanibel Island experience, offered by two individuals who genuinely enjoy what they are doing, then you must become a guest of the West End Paradise Motel. (On the other hand) there are hundreds of cookie cutter hotels, motels, resorts, condos, cottages, time shares, etc. on Sanibel/Captiva to choose from. Choose one and just like some other fancy-shmancy or hum-drum place you've probably stayed at before you will likely have a good time. Ahh, as the kids say.....been there, done that. I'm writing this today because I felt passionate about my stay. Try feeling passionate about your stay at the Deluxe/Luxury/Holiday/Hilton/Western/Yawn/YourJustAnotherNumber/Condos.
A vacation is made up of the memories and experiences of those days.
For us those memories and experiences were greatly magnified by these two wonderful people. We have found our long sought after, special 'Shell' on Sanibel. I've lived in Florida almost 25 years and my favorite place in Florida is Sanibel Island. Its different, its unique, it slows me down and shows me a little bit what life was like before the institutionalized world of today with its ever repeating Walmarts, McDonalds, Walgreens, Mega Quikie Store gas stations and on and on and on. My favorite place on Sanibel Island is the West End Paradise. Its different, its unique, it slows me down and shows me how wonderful an experience can be had when two people sincerely care. Thanks Jennifer and Darwin!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank BetnEddie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2011

Warm and cozy rooms, relaxing atmosphere and smiles from everyone. Ahh! Paradise! I found the place exceptionally clean and quite. Wildlife was everywhere and the beach was close by. I loved not having to rent a bike and being able to ride almost everywhere. I would recommend this place for anyone who wants to 'get away from it all' read a book, take a nap, walk an almost deserted beach or watch a magnificent sunset. Darwin, the owner, makes you feel right at home and will help with anything you need. If your looking for off the beaten path, plenty of wildlife and out of the 'vacation' crowd, this is the place. Truly A Gem!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled solo
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3  Thank kayaklvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2011

We have stayed twice at West End Paradise and both times had nothing but a great experience. Darwin is an excellent host and we never found him to be nosy or enter without knocking. He is very helpful about local restaurants, etc. This place truly is a gem - way better than all of the larger, overcrowded hotels. It was a home away from home. The units were very comfortable with everything we could have wanted - blender included. The beach is wonderful, never crowded. A great place!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TwavelingTweedies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2011

We loved this place and would recommend it to anyone, but with some exceptions. This will be a long-winded, but informative, review, The place is in a residential area, VERY private and QUIET. The apartment complex has around 7 units, all one-floor units. The owner has poured his soul into the place and was around frequently, working on things. He seemed interested in where we went, ate, and what our plans were, but only in a friendly way. He was not at all nosy, but was genuinely interested in our well-being. He routinely asked, "How do you like the place?" and so on. The beach was the highlight of the trip and is a short bike ride (around 1 minute), or a 30-second drive. If you're going to take the umbrella, chairs, etc, I suggest driving and parking. Either way, the beach is a hike from the bike trail or lot, and I like that--it preserves the environment. Hands-down this is the best beach I've ever visited. All the homes are 1/2 mile or so from the ocean, so you feel secluded. The beach was never crowded. The apartment we stayed in was unit #3, a 1-bedroom, queen mattress (VERY firm mattress, whcih we loved) apt with bath and beach (separate) towels, shampoo, hair dryer, Kleenex, paper towels, sink, fridge, silverware, dish soap, scrubbing brushes,etc, microwave, oven, pans, pots, plates, bowls, cutting board, etc. The living area has a long couch with a bed that folds out (we did not use), two chairs to sit in, and a table with 4 chairs for dining. The screened porch has two chairs and a table which backs to a small pond. There were coasters everywhere for drinks. The closet contains two floater-noodles, umbrella, small shovel/bucket/shelling equipment (think Fischer Price for kids and that's ok), one recliner/folding lounger and 3 folding chairs, all nice and great for the beach. The umbrella is wide and effective--just plant its base at least 3 feet into the sand--to do so, dig a hole with your hands, insert the base, then backfill with sand. The apt has two separate, fluffy beach towels besides the bathroom towels. In back is a shelling station with a hose where you can spray your feet off/shells. The laundry room was next to our screened in porch and Darwin has two brand new appliances, VERY upscale washer/dryer stacked atop one another. These are brand new machines that appear very upscale, front-loading, and well-made (Whirlpools, I think). Detergents were included in the laundry room.

The place has local menus, guides, magazines about Sanibel, LOADS of paperback books, and board games. The place has cable TV with about 50 channels, a DVD/VCR combo, then also a separate stereo with cassette player (no CD that we saw). We rarely , if ever, watched TV, but the TV is in the living room--not the bedroom.

What we loved about the place is its location: a quiet residential street where a car travels maybe once every 4 hours.. we loved biking down the street to the beach. We often drove down, set up everything, then came and went as we pleased, leaving the umbrella on the beach for 2-3 hours at a time (it was not crowded and we were not taking up anyone's space.. we always "set up" 1/2 mile + down the beach in either direction). We felt like locals for sure and were never bothered. I swam past the buoys on most days and saw dolphins daily. One time, a dolphin came within 2' of me, popped its head up, but again, I swam very far out into the sea. I googled the current directions and wind speeds prior to doing so. I saw at least 100 dolphins, often in schools of 10+, during our 5-day stay, on that stretch of ocean. Rarely did the beach-goers seem to notice the dolphins (their loss)! But again, I was pretty far out into the ocean. The "noodles" for flotation included by West-End Paradise were great and effective. I wore water shoes, but did not need them. As a matter of fact, the "shelling" was okay at best. It was easy to walk barefoot anywhere on the beach or in the ocean. Since I am not into shelling, I could have cared less, but I was expecting millions of sharp, jagged shells, and there were none (jagged) that were dangerous. This, again, is by far the best beach I've been on (and I have been to Waikiki, Bahamas, Mexico Pacific/Maya, NC, SC, and Anguilla).

We dined at Doc Fords, Green Flash, and shopped at Baileys and Jerrys, but prefer Baileys. We dined in most evenings and ate cereal in the mornings. Doc Fords was by far our favorite restaurant, but Green Flash has amazing burgers and is on the water.

What we did not care for about the place was this: apt#3 has an adjoining apartment, separated only by a locked door (maybe two doors, who knows). The adjoining apartment must be VERY small, though. When we stayed at the place, half our stay had no occupants in the room and it was quiet. However, once people checked into that room, it was noisy as hell. Seriously. Their bathroom backs to the kitchen of apt 3 and their TV literally backs to the door separating the two units. Their TV awoke us every morning and kept us up every night. To drown this out, we turned down the air conditioner as the AC unit is outside, right behind the bedroom. We heard every conversation, every TV show--we could hear the guy showering through the kitchen wall singing (he had a good voice, though). There is literally zero soundproofing in the walls of this 30+ year old and we heard their TV at 6 AM each morning--it was very annoying and this alone would prevent us from returning. I guess we're took picky. The other larger apartment in our building has a similar room, it appears. These adjoining apartments have no numbers on the outside, but we thought they were offices. The neighbor's TV literally sounded like it was in our room, in our hallway. It's literally placed, it sounded like, right by the adjoining door. We felt very intruded upon. We paid $700+ for our 4 night stay. We did not mention our displeasure to Darwin because he'd mentioned the place was "full" during our last two nights. The people were not even loud, but it did not matter. We met them and we both joked about how we could hear one another's TVs and conversations.. it was very awkward, actually. Those rooms should not be rented out unless a family desires a "2nd bedroom.." in my opinion. The owner should mark up the price of apt#3 to offset the loss of the sale, in my opinion. I'd pay it. The only way I'd return is if I a) had a guarantee that 2nd adjoining bedroom were not booked or b) if I/we paid for it in addition to our rate.

The beach cannot be beaten , nor the amenities. The included bikes are well-kept, new, and have baskets on front for carrying towels, and so on.

all in all, I would recommend this place, with the caveat of either wearing earplugs or addressing that concern prior to staying. I know a lot of people will rip and "respond" to this review with "we heard nothing," etc, etc, etc.. honestly, I don't care and wished I'd have read my type of review prior to staying at this place. I would say the place is peaceful, but very basic, and was perfect for us until the couple checked in next-door. FYI the larger apt across from us is separated by the laundry room and we could not hear them. the owner takes pride in this place, but we had to mention the adjoining room's ZERO soundproofing--it was highly annoying--otherwise, the place is perfect.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with friends
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13  Thank blah114
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2011

We stayed here over July 4th weekend. We live in Fort Lauderdale, and this was our first trip to Sanibel Is. I chose this property through reviews on Trip Advisor. We were not disappointed. The property is lovely. The grounds and units are kept immaculately clean. There is nothing it lacked. The unit is quite roomy. When we walked in, it was as though a friend had prepared for our visit. There is material to read, all the basics you need in a kitchen, and even ice cubes made in the trays in the freezer. It is true, that if all you brought was a bathing suit and toothbrush, you'd probably be just fine! It is obvious that the owner takes great pride in his property. He is helpful and can fill you in on details of the island if you need.
It is very quiet here. It was easy to feel at peace.
The bikes are a wonderful plus! They are the best way to get around the island. We had quite a bit of rain this weekend, so we rode only as far as Tarpon Bay and the beach here, but Captiva Island is only a few miles one way, and town is about 5 miles the other way.
The NWR is fantastic. We ate out only a handful of times, and I will post reviews on that as well.
The property sits in a residential area. Of all the places we drove past on both islands, I think this is the best I saw! I felt like I lived here, not so much like a tourist. The beach we have access to is private and not crowded. And we were here on a busy holiday weekend!
The beach is home to sea turtles who nest this time of year. An early morning stroll gave me the opportunity to see a nest built just the night before. You can often see dolphins playing off the shore (that is, if you aren't too busy to look up from the beautiful shells on the beach!).
Here are a few suggestions for your stay here:
Bring paper plates and cups if you don't like washing dishes on your vacation.
Bring most of your own food. It gets expensive to eat out every meal. We brought ours from home, but there is a grocery store in Fort Meyers before getting on the island. Here, there is a CVS pharmacy, and a 7-11 and small grocery, but nothing impressive.
Bring bug spray!!! This should be number one! The island is primarily wild life refuge. The property itself is surrounded by tropical setting. If you forget bug spray at any time, you will get eaten alive.
Bring binoculars! There are nesting birds right out your window! Don't miss what is around you!
During Florida's summer - bring rain ponchos!! Having them have saved our vacations more than once, and this time was no exception!
If you like to smoke, bring an ashtray to use outside. No smoking inside!!! But my husband enjoys an evening cigar, and had to use a fast food cup to collect his "butts". You wouldn't want to litter this beautiful place.
Bring your own wine, etc. Island liquor is again expensive.
If you like good coffee, bring your own. There is stuff here, but it's just standard stuff. If you like to go out for morning coffee, I suggest you skip Sanibel's coffee shops. They both were blah. There is a Starbucks 6 mi from here on Captiva Is.
Bring your own water bottle and coffee mug. It's nice to take coffee to the beach at sunrise and water is a must anywhere you go in the summer.
Buy bottled water to keep here. It's all I drink, and the water here doesn't taste good.
Stop and get a small bag of ice at 7-11 on the way in.
Internet is good. Bring your computer.
Bring DVD's and microwave popcorn if you like to relax in the evening. I never get time to watch movies at home, and wish I had remembered to bring some that I had been wanting to see.
Last bit of advice....STAY AS LONG AS YOU CAN!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank jbtrip2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2011

We just got back from a four-night stay at West-End Paradise and we loved every minute of it. Darwin is an excellent host; he is very helpful and he has thought of everything a guest might need during their stay. We wanted for nothing and thoroughly enjoyed the private beach. It is so uncrowded and secluded! Unbelievable! It had maybe ten people on it at any given time (and sometimes we were the only ones on the beach) and the shelling was incredible! You can't go wrong with this place!

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Goomba3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about West-End Paradise

Address: 1389 Tahiti Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33857
Location: United States > Florida > Southwest Gulf Coast > Sanibel Island
Amenities:
Beach
Hotel Style:
Ranked #26 of 45 Specialty Lodging in Sanibel Island
Price Range: $95 - $235 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
West-End Paradise Hotel Sanibel Island

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