We loved it so much, we visited the sales office on the resort grounds and bought a unit on the spot. This was in the mid-80's when the bottom was falling out on time shares due to shady practice, broken promises, and a recession. However, these were small clusters of ownership units tucked within the grounds of a very large, fully functioning luxury resort. It had hotel rooms, rental villas, beach cottages, several restaurants, more than a dozen pools, a 9-hole golf course, and more than 3 miles of gorgeous, pristine beach along the southern Gulf coast. The price was so ridiculously low that we bought it using a credit card!
My son grew into his teen years visiting and enjoying that resort every year. Now, 32 years later, we could introduce his two kids - my grandkids - to all that this stunning resort has to offer!
My unit is a two bedroom, two bathroom condo with fully equipped and modern kitchen with all amenities. The management company for the timeshare units, is Hilton Grand Vacations. Over the years they have done a spectacular job of maintaining the units, refurbishing, refurnishing, updating and managing them. Even through Hurricane Charlie in 2004, when the resort took a direct hit and suffered quite a bit of damage, they had the properties cleaned up, restored, and ready in two years. Same for the resort property itself.
The hurricane hit while I was there. I had to cut my visit short and changed my flight to get off the resort and back home on Wednesday and the storm hit on Friday. Before I did, though, I rented a bicycle from the resort and took a photo tour to capture the resort as it looked before the storm. View that album here: South Seas Resort
I returned that first year it reopened and, while I've not gone back every year, now that I am widowed, I do like to go maybe every other year, depositing the other years' weeks with Interval World and trading for other locations around the world. The resort has changed significantly since that hurricane, and for the better. It is now more family-friendly, with much better pools and restaurants, better amenities, a totally redesigned golf course, but just as beautiful as ever.
So the plan was for me to drive to Florida rather than fly, and then pick up the family at the Tampa Airport along the way. The family were flying as I was driving my first day. I stopped in Tallahassee for the night, and they got a hotel room at the Marriott at the airport. This worked perfectly! I got to Tampa right at noontime, we loaded the car with their luggage, and then headed the last 100 or so miles south toward Captiva.
A stop at the big Publix grocery store in Ft. Myers, located just before we cross the causeway to Sanibel, pretty much filled the car! $400 worth of groceries for a week for 5 people, plus a few beach toys. Now we're all set!
|Groceries and luggage for five people. Crammed to the roof!|
The drive from the mainland, through the entire length of Sanibel Island, then the length of Captiva Island to arrive at the resort on the northern tip takes about an hour. It's slow going, with speed limits of anywhere between 25 and 35 mph. But...finally! We enter the resort property, stop at the main gate to get our car tag, then to the registration center to check in. I knew the condo would be full, and I also knew that I'd want some privacy and "space" here and there throughout the week, so I booked myself a room at the hotel which sits on the marina and is right across the resort road from my timeshare condo. It would be perfect!
We unloaded groceries and luggage into the condo, and then I dragged my wheeled luggage over to my unit and dropped them off. We'd purchased a rotisserie chicken for dinner the first night, so I returned back to the condo, had dinner and made plans with family for the upcoming week. I had purchased a few items to have in my own room - fruit, cereal, snacks, sparking water, wine - so I said good night and then returned to my own room with my groceries.
It was going to be so much fun sharing this great place with the grandkids!