Time to get away. The gulf breezes are warm, the sunsets sizzling. You can enjoy a spot of culture or just press pause and absorb some positive chi. On the heels of the Winter that Would Not End and The Spring that Wasn’t, it’s time to get away — to the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, Florida. There you can lie by a turquoise pool with a rum cocktail in hand. About a three-hour flight from New York, this property in paradise is a perfect weekend getaway — cosmopolitan, charming and colorful.
Centrally located between Fort Myers and Naples, the resort has won countless awards, including TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, AAA’s Four Diamonds and the Orbitz Worldwide Best in Stay. This Hyatt is casual yet elegant with a poolscape that’s the largest south of Orlando and a collection of amenities that includes an off-shore semiprivate island and beach. The property overlooks Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and boasts four pools, five water slides, a luxury spa, multiple restaurants, shops and a golf course on its 26 acres of lush landscapes. A two-hour drive from Miami or Tampa, the resort offers tranquility from the hustle of Orlando’s theme parks and the bustle of an over-the-top mega-cruise.
Are You Being Served?
Immediately evident upon checking in are the basic human characteristics of care and kindness. I was greeted with warmth and smiles — lots of them. Throughout my visit, I continued to find personal service in many small yet meaningful ways. An example: When I asked a staff member directions to the spa, she took me there instead of telling me. Later, lazing by a pool, I merely raised the small flag attached to my lounge chair and, voilà, a waiter quickly appeared to take my order. From an on-site wedding planner who provides a tearful surprise for the bride by flying in her best friend, to the recreation team fulfilling a wish for an ill child, the resort’s associates see and act for the well-being of guests. Yes, I was being served on a grand scale — and I loved it.
Food, glorious food
There are several distinctive dining options on the property for some remarkable culinary experiences. I dined one evening at the Tanglewood. Given the option of indoor or patio seating, guess which I chose? Warmth, splashing fountains, perfect azure sky: It was a no-brainer. I was told that I had to try the famous conch fritters — and now I know why they’re famous. The restaurant has been awarded the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award singling out its fresh local catch and extensive wine list.
Another evening, I tried the Tarpon Bay restaurant with its screened porch overlooking the resort’s pretty lake. Here I was shocked and awed (in a good way) as a Seafood Tower was brought to our table laden with mussels, shrimp, clams, oysters and lobsters. Later, a group of us strolled a long boardwalk down to the marina where we boarded a boat for a brief spin while sipping Champagne and nibbling mini-desserts. It was a perfect end to a supreme seafood feast, after which I made my sated way back to the room to sit on my private balcony and gaze down at the property, made magical with small, shimmering lights placed throughout.
When not eating, we’re moving
Move we did, as there were loads of fun activities here. Want to climb a wall? Here, you can. How about zooming down one of the towering water slides that will dump you, unceremoniously, into the Lazy River, where, on an inner tube, you’ll lazily wind your way through crashing waterfalls and catch your breath as you admire lush and fanciful flora? There’s a private boat to whisk you away to Big Hickory Island and the resort’s wildlife preserve on Estero Bay to see bald eagles, osprey, pelicans and flocks of migrating birds. Oh and let’s not forget, if you’ve brought kiddies along, Camp Hyatt kids’ camp, designed especially for guests ages 3 through 12 and managed by trained counselors, will keep your little darlings occupied with hula dancing, pottery painting, movies and some nifty educational programs.
The Barefoot Massage
At the exceptional Stillwater Spa, all 19,000 square feet of it is smooth, deep and still — precisely what I was looking for. There were facials, body treatments, a Watsu pool for aquatic bodywork, steam and sauna rooms, a full-service salon and massages. The Barefoot Massage sounded intriguing. I’d be barefoot, naturally, but what about my masseuse? Perhaps I should have known. My small, spry therapist entered the room sans shoes and quickly, yet gently stepped aboard my back and proceeded to administer a barefoot deep tissue massage, the likes of which I won’t soon forget. It was a unique experience, one I might even do again — in the distant future.
Green makes the scene
The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa’s impressive green initiative, which includes in-room recycling, has led to it being the first recipient in Florida of the Three Palm certification for green lodging as well as TripAdvisor’s Green Leader Gold Status award. There’s also the resort’s Raptor Bay Golf Club being the first-ever recipient of the Audubon International’s Gold Signature Sanctuary Certification. These well-deserved kudos underscore what make this Hyatt such a special place.
For more, visit coconutpoint.regency.hyatt.com