“Staycations”…are they worth it?
“Staycations”, are they worth it or not? First let’s define a “staycation” as it is a relatively new term being thrown around because of the economy. A “staycation” is a vacation of sorts only you find new things to do and see in the area around your hometown. It could be an overnight trip or a one tank trip but for the most part a “staycation” is exactly how it sounds.
My wife and I recently took a staycation for our honeymoon because we have four kids, a limited window in which to vacation and pets we must consider in any cost or vacationing. The kids all went to grandparents for one week. Since we are a “blended” family each set of kids went to different grandparents which was ok and thankfully it was the same week. Cost is always a factor because with the pets you basically have to budget for another hotel room when boarding and having them taken care of. Which brings us to cost. For a normal vacation with the kids each night would cost the same as booking three rooms each night. One for the kids, the cost of boarding for the dogs and then our room. Occasionally we can get a suite with enough bedrooms for the kids at a discount so that helps.
This time the kids were away and the only consideration were the pets. We were on a limited (very) budget, so boarding the pets was not an option. We needed to stay close and stop off at home to take care of the pets while we were “away”, thus the term “staycation”.
We decided to go about an hour away to a little boutique hotel called Inn on Fifth in Naples, FL. It is an awesome hotel in the heart of Naples and the 5th Ave. shopping and historic district. With so much to see and do within walking distance of the hotel it made two days there seem like a vacation. The hotel is historic and lavish looking like a luxury hotel, but the room rates are surprisingly affordable. It has a beautiful pool on the roof on the second floor and a spa and weight room on the third floor. There was even a rumor that Country singer Keith Urban and his wife Actress Nicole Kidman were staying there the same nights. Visit their website for more information at http://www.innonfifth.com
We are lucky because we live in the middle of the vacation capital of the world Florida. We are literally 45 minutes to an hour from some of the top rated beaches in the world. If you are not as lucky as us look for hotels that are out of the ordinary or offer some sort of tropical vibe or resemble the hotels you stay at when you do get a chance to hit the islands or beaches.
This trip we did not make it to the beaches but did live the tropical lifestyle. Not far from the Inn on Fifth is the Tommy Bahama restaurant and shops in Naples, FL. Always a great pick for dinner or drinks and takes just minutes to walk to Naples beach from the restaurant if you book dinner early enough to go and watch the sunset. We had eaten a huge lunch at a local Sushi and Thai place, so we opted for Mai Tai’s and soup and appetizers. On a hot summer day (98 our first night) this is the way to go unless you have a huge appetite. The guitarist they had had the two dining areas on their feet dancing which was a new sight there. With the drinks, the coconut shrimp, lollipop chicken drummies,crab cakes and crab bisque soup it made a great meal and a perfect evening. The next morning we headed back to check on the pets and grab a coffee and then headed back to the hotel for night two. This time we listened to the music for a bit at the hotel restaurant McCabe’s and then headed over to the restaurant next door Yabba for a late dinner. Yabba advertises itself as a Island Grill and they do a great job living up to their name. The Crab Bisque soup was unbelievable along with the Caribbean spring rolls. My wife had a pasta with mussels, crab and shrimp in a Caribbean sauce with sun dried and stewed tomatoes and artichoke hearts. It was another amazing dinner and a great getaway at a local hotel.
The Inn on fifth has special rates if you are a Florida resident, so make sure to ask or look them up when booking a room there.
After two nights in Naples we decided one more night would be nice. Since this was the last night we could afford to stay out I decided to surprise my wife with a hotel on the other end of the scale. We went from small and quaint but lavish boutique hotel to the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando. The place is massive is the only way to describe it. With rooms overlooking one of three HUGE atriums and themed areas this was like getting away while still being fairly close to home. They Gaylord Palms resort has three areas representing different areas of Florida. One looks like Key West with a sailboat you can dine on inside the themed atrium area. The second area has a mock up of The St. Augustine fort, which is also indoors and is used for a variety of events from weddings to meetings and conventions. It is the Main atrium of the three. The third atrium has some old shanty’s in it which are home to a steak house and another houses live snakes and baby alligators (my wife’s favorite). Our room overlooked the main atrium which was spectacular at night. It is impossible to list everything we did in 36 hours here and then a side trip to Disney. So for more information on everything there is to do there just check their site at http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-palms/ If you go you will not need to go to any of the amusement parks as there is plenty to do there. But it’s nice to know those are also close.
So staycations may be the way to go if time and budget are restricted but you need to get away to keep your sanity and hold onto that long weekend life vibe. Relax and enjoy everyone.