The upscale 213-room Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa is located on the north end of Fort Meyers, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Matanzas Harbor. This self-contained, condo-style resort has several pools, including a kids' pool, and bright rooms all have full kitchens. Bowditch Point Park nature preserve is just next door, and the city's own bustling Times Square is a 15-minute walk from the hotel. Breakfast is free, and the beach restaurant and bar are major highlights as well. The Pointe Estero Beach Resort has similar features and will be cheaper, but the Pink Shell's on-site activities make it a popular choice for families.
Upbeat resort with multiple activities for all ages
The Pink Shell started as a single cottage in 1953 and now comprises four buildings on 12 acres. The main building is a lovely pink nine-story structure with green shutters and palm trees across the front. Guests drive up to the large covered entrance on the ground floor, then take the elevator to the lobby level for registration. Valet parking is free. The lobby deck out back offers colorful Adirondack chairs with fire pits overlooking the main pool and beach. The atmosphere is upbeat and busy, with lots of families and couples enjoying the many on-site activities. Expect to see plenty of activity on the beach, around the multiple pools, and in the casual indoor and outdoor dining and drinking venues.
Located between Matanzas Harbor and the gulf with its own marina
This luxury resort is situated on the north end of Estera Island, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Matanzas Harbor on the other. Other resorts and hotels line the road as you approach the hotel. It is a 10-minute walk from Bowditch Point Park, a state park that is a birder's paradise. Times Square, the center of Fort Myers Beach, with plenty of shops, dining, entertainment, and a pier, is less than a mile away -- it takes 15-minutes to reach on foot, or two minutes by car. The Fort Myers Beach Trolley stops at the resort and will take guests to Times Square and other places in Fort Myers for a fee. Sanibel Island is 30 minutes away by car, and Captiva Island is about 50 minutes away. Golfers can get to Shell Point Golf Club in 15 minutes and to Dunes Golf and Tennis Club in 20 minutes. Southwest Florida International Airport is about a 35-minute drive from the resort.
Bright, cheerful rooms with kitchenettes or full kitchens, some with gulf views
Room choices include studio apartment-style villas and one- or two-bedroom condos. Island-style decor is homey and bright, with white bed coverings, tropical artwork on sunny yellow walls, and white or light wood furnishings. They are simple, with tan carpeting and tile floors, and all units feature some sort of seating area with a pull-out couch and chair (though larger rooms have more furniture). All accommodations feature refrigerators, microwaves, cooktops or full stoves, coffeemakers, toasters, dishes, pots and pans, iHome systems, and flat-screen TVs. Some units have a washer and dryer. Bathrooms are generally spacious and have granite countertops and tile shower/tub combos. Furnished balconies provide nice views of the intracoastal waterway or the gulf, and some have hot tubs.
Free breakfast and solid on-site dining, beach, and multiple pools
Jack's serves a breakfast buffet daily with indoor and outdoor seating with views of the beach. Bongo's Beach Bar and Grill is a casual open-air space by the beach and pool for American fare and cocktails. Guests also can opt to have a private dinner on the beach. Food gets resoundingly positive reviews and breakfast includes hot and cold dishes plus an egg station. Volleyball and water sports are available on the wide, sandy beach, and guests have free use of lounge chairs and umbrellas. Cabanas are available for rent. Three heated pools include an Octopool complex with a giant octopus, waterfalls, huge shells, sponges, and underwater speakers. There's also a splash area for kids. Lounge chairs and umbrellas on the pool deck allow the less active to relax poolside. Sparky's Kidds Kammp entertains the little ones ages 4 to 12 with games, crafts, and water fun, and there's also a fishing camp. A full-time naturalist leads nature walks and answers questions about wildlife and the environment. The 6,000-square-foot full-service Aquagene Spa offers a variety of treatments in 12 rooms. The spacious fitness center is filled with natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows and provides the requisite equipment and a flat-screen TV. Yoga classes are offered on the beach. The resort is popular for events and has 37,000 square feet of space indoors and out, including the Lido Ballroom, a pleasant space with soft blue and white walls, and arched windows. Smaller spaces are suitable for meetings and conferences, and the hotel offers a variety of wedding packages. The business center has three computers and a printer for guests to use, and Wi-Fi is free throughout. A gift shop sells resort wear, souvenirs, snacks, wine, and necessities.