Captiva Island, FL: ´Tween Waters Inn Island Resort

Kategorie: Americas

As of June 2011

After some six hours from Key Largo we arrived on Captiva Island, Southwest Florida. As we were not familiar with the location and the property we parked our car on-site and walked towards the reception, when an employee rushed towards us and wanted to know why we parked our car there. He was quite a bit on the harsh and unfriendly side, but nevertheless showed us inside, when we kind of verified that we were guests and going to be checking in.

Check-in went easy and smooth. Thank you to the friendly ladies at the front desk! Finally another employee took a golf cart and asked us to follow him to the Palmetto Building as he would show us to our room. We parked our car between the stilts and underneath our building and used the elevator to take our luggage upstairs to room 232 (second closest room to the stairs), which –as we found out later- was called a motel room. Our first impression: small and quite dark BUT with a balcony featuring a table and two chairs! Due to all the mosquitoes and other insects the entire balcony was screened-in. But we still could watch the sunrise from our bed, which was breathtakingly beautiful.

Parking was free but limited, especially on the weekends when everybody came back in the evening from their tours and excursions. Only a few spaces were assigned to VIP-guests. Some other guests were parking their cars, sometimes including their trailers, *criss-cross* on the property so it was sometimes hard to find a free space.

Some *downsides*: In case we left our balcony door open during the night we could hear the noise from the A/Cs all around us and there was not a minute without noise as one A/C switched off and another jumped into work mode again. Besides that our A/C was too noisy as well to keep it running through the night. Without that disturbing noise it would have been perfectly quiet and one could have enjoyed the sounds of the night.

The room had furniture and a carpet which revealed their age, but everything, including the tiny bathroom (bathtub/shower, toilet and sink) seemed to be clean at first sight. The two beds were quite comfortable and we had a fridge, a coffeemaker, tea and coffee.

During our stay we recognized that housekeeping was not really working so well, as we sometimes found our towels already a bit dirty before we used them, we found black hair in the bathroom and on the linen. One of the linen even was too small for the bed. Mildew was found in the bath tub. And the water-tap wasn’t fixed. There was a hole in the wardrobe door. Some holes in the main door were not repaired sufficiently. Some of the cloth hangers were a bit rusty. The cover of the A/C was broken.

During the site inspection we found out that our room as well as others on the same floor were about to be completely renovated in the near future. We were able to see rooms which were already done and they did look nice.

The safe offered plenty of space for laptop and camera equipment. Unfortunately it was installed wrongly as the door could not be opened without hitting the wardrobe door.

Free internet access was available in the room, but the connection failed almost every time I tried. When I asked for the reason the ladies and gentlemen at the front desk said, that this is how it is sometimes on the island and that they would invite me to come over and work at the reception instead. I wonder how they can do business with internet access like this.

We walked around the property on our first day to get familiar with the location: The pool area is quite nice, with a nice pool, chairs and loungers. But soon we would find out, that already early in the morning guests would put their bath towels on the loungers to reserve them accordingly before heading for breakfast. During the weekend pool and bar were really crowded with families and kids. Instead you can go to the wonderful beach right across the street.

Here you have the choice to rent two chairs for USD 15 or a Cabana (two loungers with a shade) for 20 USD a day (upon arrival you get a coupon book, which reduces those rates a bit). Later on we would find out that we were about to use the smallest pool towels we had ever seen (they were about the size of regular towels).

The Spa area is located right above some noisy construction room. Maybe it is a central control unit or else. So I wondered whether a spa treatment would be as relaxing as the client wishes it to be. I did not want to try it out. The public toilet and shower were of modern design and make and looked much better than our own bathroom appliances and style. The fitness area seemed to be state-of-the-art.

In the evening we were attracted by the *Friday Fish and Chips Night* at Crow´s Nest Lounge and ordered said fish and chips.


The restaurant was designed like an old diner with some flair. The lady took us to a corner booth, but after sitting down and realizing that the seat was worn and uncomfortable I asked to be moved to a table with chairs, which she did with a nod. After we ordered, a group entered the restaurant. Finally all staff gathered to serve that group of about more or less 15 people. It seems as nobody really paid attention to the other guests anymore, who also looked a bit curious. We were never asked anymore for a refill or a dessert etc. When we asked to pay the bill and mentioned this, they just said, that everybody had to take care of the group. Well, I found this attitude a bit disturbing.

We usually had breakfast at the Old Captiva House, which looked very nice from the outside. When you step inside you find yourself at the Osprey Gift Shop, full of *knick-knacks, what-nots and memories*.

Once the employees decide to look at you they ask for your room number and take you to your table. I wondered why they so seldom smile to give you the feeling that you are welcome in this place. In case you continuously try to look them in the eyes and smile at them, try to get in contact and talk to them they all of the sudden will recognize you as a guest not a number and smile back to you. Where the entire service was concerned I was under the impression that most of the staff did not really like their job at this place as they just wandered around, did their duty and that was it. For example there was a young man sitting at a table next to ours and eating his breakfast. All of the sudden one of the staff approached his table, took a chair away without saying anything and left. The young man obviously was quite irritated by this, got up and left his table without finishing his breakfast.

Another guest ordered some hot breakfast. After a while one staff member put the plate in front of him, mumbled *Enjoy*, turned around and left without asking if there was anything else that the guest might want. So he could not see or hear that his guest did want to order something else.

The setting of the breakfast area was very nice. I liked the tables and the chairs. I liked the tableware and also the paintings on the wall, which told all those stories of days long gone by. I liked the breakfast items, the fresh fruit selection and the juices. It would have been great if staff would dry the plates before putting them out on the buffet, as quite often they were still wet. Hot breakfast was not included in the buffet price. Temperature in the restaurant was fine.

Then I was quite surprised about the amount of Take-Aways. The guests were taking everything with them in little boxes: fruit, bread, cereals etc. I have not seen this before, but I did appreciate this when we had the chance to do this as well because one morning we lacked the time for breakfast.

During the Site Inspection I had the chance to see different room categories as well as to check on some of the cabanas. Some of the rooms I had a look at were already renovated: They featured modern appliances and furniture and looked quite stylish and inviting. In the following years all the A/Cs will be replaced. Right now they are mostly installed underneath the window and connect to the balcony, which causes the disturbing noise. When they are replaced by modern types I think they will look nicer and be a lot more convenient. Still there is a lot of work going on right now at the `Tween Waters Inn: Tiles are replaced on the walk ways and on the steps and paintjobs are being carried out. But this work doesn’t really affect the guests.

The cottages I have seen still feature the wonderful *old charm*:

The Tarpon cottage (No. 115) with three bedrooms and two baths is the biggest and the former *Owner´s Cottage*.

The Orchid Cottage (No. 111) is smaller and has a small porch and also a smaller kitchen than the Owner´s Cottage. Very sweet. I learned that this one is supposed to be listed soon in the *National Historic Register*.

Anyway, my feelings for the ´Tween Waters Inn changed a bit during our stay. Before booking our trip I had a look at the photos on the website and was under the impression to find a resort type of accommodation, modern, luxurious and really beautiful. When we arrived and got to our room I instantly wanted to turn around and leave again, much more after that first dinner. (By the way, we did not have dinner at the Inn anymore). But the more I learned about the ´Tween Waters Inn the more I was able to understand. This is kind of a historical accommodation. Old fashioned and … after a while … somehow pleasant. This is a family place. Kids will love it. If you approach the ´Tween Waters Inn by boat the marina has a total of 41 slips available for dockage. Manatees are visiting quite often. And the wonderful beach is across the street. I think if the attitude of some of the staff changes and once the renovation is completed it will be a fantastic property. We were looking for a peaceful and quiet place, luxurious and a wonderful finish to our long trip. Captiva Island and Sanibel Island were the destination to really end our tour in a wonderful way. But my feelings are a bit ambivalent whether or not ´Tween Waters Inn was the perfect location.

Now that I am writing this, I am somehow missing ´Tween Waters Inn and some of the people. If I had known before exactly where I would get to it would have been perfect. But I had different imaginations.

Maybe I should try once more.

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