Wedding-crashing Sanibel Harbour Marriott

Girls staycation anonymous

My group of travel buddies loves to party so much that we stay close to home (less travel time means more woohoo time). Because we tend to end up meeting new people we’d often rather not have remember us, we adopt aliases.

I can’t tell you my alias, but I can tell you ours range from Spice to Cosmo, Pumpkin to Tripp. 

But what you’re really wondering is “Did they really crash a wedding?” 

Naw, we were invited to do so. That just takes the fun out of it. Although we had a chance at five weddings the three days we were there. 

It was a three-year reunion. We had started our annual, sometimes semi-annual tradition of girlie staycationing at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa, just mainland side of the Sanibel Island Causeway, in 2009.

Since then, the resort has come under the corporate Marriott thumb, and we’ve spread our wings to quickie getaways in Naples, Fort Myers Beach, and Bradenton Beach. 

How had the resort changed in three years? How had we? 

First the resort, although the weekend WAS all about us. Some things disappointed, but overall there was improvement where it counted for all-about-us: food, drink, and massage. 

We’re the noshing and sipping sorts, so Charley’s Cabana Bar is typically our first choice, and that’s where we settled in Friday night after admiring a

Sunset from Sanibel Harbour Resort

bulbous sunset from our 11th floor suite overlooking the bay. The night was clear and breezy, the drinks well-mixed and icy. 

Known for its brick oven flatbreads, Charley’s features a flaming gas oven at the door that was off-scenting the round bar that evening.

The patio was better, and we dug into buffalo chicken flatbread with Maytag blue cheese (scored an A and oohs for spiciness – from Spice, of course), three-cheese stromboli (B:  the marinara sauce fell short), margherita pizza (A), and crab-artichoke-spinach dip (B: slightly bitter).

The cosmos rated A (by guess-whom). The 280-degree view overlooking San Carlos Bay? A+. 

How we ended up on the boat dock at midnight with tomorrow’s wedding party isn’t important (or disclosable). Suffice it to say that a late night made staying in our PJs the next morning tantamount, so room service it was. 

I’ve always believed that if room service eggs benedict arrive a picture in perfection, the hotel has its F&B act together. A-pluses for it and the omelets. 

After Bloody Marys and Sparky had plucked all of our eyebrows clean, we headed poolside for Angus burgers that make my stomach growl even as I remember them. 

The Cove poolside bar and grill also makes a laudable chicken and avocado wrap and a sweet-tooth drink called Bumping Bananas that’s hard to quit. 

Our Sunday spa treatments had improved since our last visit. The fitness center still ranks among one of favorite resort gyms in all of Florida. 

On the downside, the beach seems to have shrunk, and some of the recreation programs are gone. We had some housekeeping issues, and service (outside the restaurants and spa) could use some sharpening. 

As for us: One would have hoped for maturity in three years’ time. No more mature, only noisier, it turns out. All we now hope for is staff amnesia so perhaps in three years we will again be welcomed back.

Group portrait

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