At least four times a year Mrs. IAH and I make the trip across the Gulf of Mexico to Ft. Myers, Florida, in order to visit my parents grave site and change out the flowers. For the past seven years we've stayed at the Fort Myers Hotels | Courtyard Fort Myers at I-75 and Gulf Coast which is a nice hotel with a wonderful staff and excellent bartender (gotta have meds per jerrycoin) however; the beds are really not that comfortable any longer and/or I am finding it much more difficult to get a good nights rest on them. Directly across the parking lot a brand new Residence Inn opened up in October so I reserved us a room to check it out, and since it's a short 20 steps over to the Courtyard to see the bartender why not stay there!!
We headed out to the airport and the UA flight on the A320, WiFi included (which is a story to itself that might end up in the Aviation Geeks Unite! thread) and arrived early into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). A quick walk to Avis spot B12 and off we were in our Mustang Convertible ($94 rental thank you) for the two mile ride to the Residence Inn Fort Myers at I-75 and Gulf Coast Town Center: Fort Myers Extended Stay Hotels and our Studio, 1 King, Sofa room.
We were met at the Front Desk by Cassidy and Andrew who welcomed us and even gave us recognition for being a loyal Marriott Platinum, pretty nice for a joint that's been open less than three weeks. Our room on the top floor was just perfect, plenty of room and a nice view of the pool. The decor of the entire hotel is very very crisp and clean while being upscale compared to the old RI designs. Our bathroom had a large walk in shower good lighting and the kitchen well stocked with utensils, plates and glasses.
We grabbed the wine glasses and filled them to the top in order to check out the new property. This place was simply put extremely well done inside and out. Nice fire pit (which we needed the second night), large gas grill that we'd be using, a handicap lift at the pool and a basketball hoop to the left of the pool.....no erc I did not attempt a dunk over the wife!!
After a glass of wine across the parking lot it was time for some sushi at Blu Sushi | The art of sushi for the always tasty Spicy Salmon Oscar roll. We strolled back to the hotel to sit outside and enjoy the surroundings and talk with Cassidy and Andrew, both students at Florida Gulf Coast University taking hospitality courses, they were just delightful and so very polite during the entire stay.
A great nights rest on the very comfy bed and it was time to head to Marco Island to get some fish to grill that evening and lunch at our favorite spot lately http://www.cjsonthebay.com/ so down went the top on the car and off we went for the 45 minute drive. The cold front had just moved in which dropped the temperature all the way down to 72 , but the 25 MPH wind made it a challenge to not lose your napkin and 1/2 full beverages....only way to combat that issue was to make sure the waiter kept the "med" coming. CJ's is a fun spot with great food so if you're in the Marco Island area give it a try.
Fish market....Black Grouper and Stone Crabs were found at Paradise Seafood & Gourmet Market - Homepage, these guys were the best giving us tips on cooking the fish, providing us with Mustard Sauce to dip the Stone Crabs in, lemons to put in the fish while grilling. I don't mind at all spending money on wonderful fish, but giving it to the local fish mongers made it seem much better particularly after the outstanding service they provided.
Back at the homestead it was time to get the fish ready and enjoy the Stone Crab. They were sweet as sugar and so very fresh, we love us some Stone Crab and were very happy the season started on October 15th and runs until May 15th. WOW I could have eating 10 pounds of that stuff.
Dinner was just as good as the Stone Crab with a small carry out order from Outback that gave us a Salad and Steak to go along with the Black Grouper......OMG!!!
Having a small kitchen is sure nice when you want to cook your own food rather than dine out, cleaned up the dishes and out to the fire pit to enjoy the cool weather over a glass of wine and meeting new friends around the fire. The last night of daylight savings time was upon us as we chatted the night away with folks from West Palm Beach, Chicago and someplace in Texas called Dallas.
This joint is so new that it even gave me some technical numbness when the alarm clock rest itself to standard time, incredible stuff for us geezers to absorb. Another great nights rest (wine helps too) and down to have some breakfast before heading out to the cemetery. Are you kidding me, waffles......the likes of bejacob, erc and a few others would go crazy with these waffle irons......so of course I had to try my hand in making a waffle something I can't remember when the last time was I ate a waffle let alone made one. Here's to you guys!!
Maybe not how you'd dress it up, but since I was only having a small portion of it I did it my way!!
With the flowers changed out and a 2 PM checkout it was off to P.F. Chang's for a late lunch of Seared Ahi and a Spicy Tuna Roll before going back to RSW. Pre-Check is a real hoot at this place, you get an orange card that allows you to keep your shoes on however; all liquids (ya know we have to carry-on ssindc), laptop, and watches much be put in the trays.....so why have the orange cards in the first place? Oh well, they were very confused by the items in the roll-a-board so they did the bag check and of course had no idea what you can pack in these things. The two containers of Isreali Cous Cous we got from the fish market and were transporting across state lines really threw the TSA Agent for a tizzy....she didn't even know what it was so of course the Supervisor had to be called over.
Cous Cous and all boarded the UA Express E170 and off we went for a wonderful flight back to IAH. Excellent little plane with a six seat First Class that is as comfortable if not more so than most of their mainline airplanes. The flight attendants were so friendly and kept the beverage full for the entire flight. Hats off to the crew of 3474 and the smooth landing by the young Captain.
Thanks for coming along to the new hotel, a great spot to return with special thanks to Cassidy and Andrew for their customer service, smiling friendly faces and can do attitude. We need more of those type employees at all Marriott Hotels.
Nice write up and a fine looking property, hard to beat the new Residence Inns (I'm aiming for the 35k a night Central Park beauty). Dunk, heck I'd have been impressed if you even got in the water, good looking pool (although our new contributor kb would be disappointed, no lionfish to spear). And no that's not how you doctor up a waffle, it looks like you walked under a guy eating a funnel cake, but you're a rook, so no harm, no foul. That automatic time setting alarm clock is the type of technology I like.
Thanks for the post, helpful for my Independence Day trip (where I've yet to find a car deal).
ps - you're at the stage where virtually every pilot is a young Captain
Great trip report, Cap! Yummo on the seafood and good on you for roping that pony deal.
Hey erc, next RI or SHS, we want waffle pics.
Many of my waffles are consumed on the sly (elsewise the Food Nazi would strike me down ), so there's very little photographic evidence to nail me with. However, it normally consists of waffles, butter, syrup (some places used to even have it heated, but alas) berries, straw and blue, and hidden underneath in case I'm caught, some of that famous Smucker's caramel sauce - no powder, no whipped cream - way too obvious .
Thanks for the helpful review. I will be staying at the MVC Crystal Cove on Marco Island Thanksgiving week and look forward to fresh seafood and adult beverages. The black grouper looks great and I will be sure to stop at Paradise Seafood Market. I haven't been to Marco for several years and can't wait to get back,
Thanks for the terrific review of the Ft Myers RI, and the comment re Ft Lauderdale airport - worth checking out. Our issue with RI, especially in FL, is that dogs are allowed and there are some nasty stories around involving dogs left barking, etc. Maybe not happening too often, but have noticed, especially the older RIs, that there can be an odor remaining. Not very pleasant! Until a couple not plesant experiences in FL, we frequented RI - now a bit leary.
dancer the airport is actually Ft. Myers not Ft. Lauderdale. Yes, they allowed pets in this new property however, we only saw them on the first floor so not sure if that is policy or coincidence.
superchief1, we just love Marco....we were going to visit Sunset Grill which is past the MVC at the entrance to Apollo Condos, but there was a huge bike ride like a pub crawl so we opted out of that and returned to CJ's which also ended up being inundated with the pedaling folks. Caution as you pass CJ's area they are doing construction on the bridge that is over the canal so you might find traffic to be pretty darn slow......good news they finally finished the main bridge from the mainland a few years back so at least it is no longer single lane.
lindseyh, I love sharing travel stories as many others do here on Insiders, that's what makes it a wonderful spot to learn from the experiences of others.
foxglove when you head to the Gulf Coast one has to be totally livin to forget about the blue hairs!!!!
Sounds like a wonderful adventure. I rented a Mustang convertible for the drive from Miami to Key West a few years back. There's just something fun about being able to put the top down to enjoy the Sunshine State.
It's nice to see you jumping aboard the waffles bandwagon. Now you see why we like them so much. I'm hoping my stay in Arlington next weekend has them. I think erc and foxglove would agree that they are way better than frozen.
You really made the most out of the features of the property (grill, fire pit, etc.). Way to go!