Friday, June 20, 2014

A return to paradise!

I am usually a big fan of sites like trip adviser and yelp. Social media has done well for me over the years, and I usually trust it. That said, sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to see what is actually being said.

We returned to the Sirata Beach Resort on St. Pete’s Beach Florida last week for the third time, and I already have $150 stashed for our return next year. I guess that’s all the deeper you need to dig here, but you also know I don’t float any BS here. I just tell it like it is and let you make the decision. But some of the reviews on major travel sites will lead you to believe that the Sirata is outdated and dingy... Simply NOT the case!

The Sirata offers 382 hotel rooms right on the beach including 170 one-bedroom suites (We have never seen the suites).

We have always forked out the extra cash for beach front rooms, but nearly every room in the place has a view of the water, so if you are traveling on a budget there are no worries.

The last time we were at the Sirata was in June of 2012, I wrote about it HERE. They have done some updating since then. There is still a beautiful beach, three pools, one hot tub, three restaurants and they were considerate enough to leave the ocean right where we left it. The updated rooms are beautiful at very least. The color palate matches perfectly with the blues and greens of the gulf that you see just off of the balcony. The beds are comfortable and the AC works well. The footprint of the Rum Runner Bar and Grill has expanded and a pavilion accommodates wedding parties and reunions like a champ!

A refrigerator hides under the TV, next to the dresser drawers. You’d think this would be standard, but I am amazed at the number of resorts that we visit with no chill chest for our cokes and leftovers!

While we are talking about standard stuff that is often missing, I should point out the easy access to outlets on the lamps in the rooms. This helps keep all your techno-gadgetry charged up and ready... Even tho you should really leave that junk behind on vacation. The free WiFi is nothing to brag about, service is spotty on the balcony, but it’s there and it’s free. For those of us who tend to write a lot on vacation, there is plenty of room on the desk for jotting down your thoughts... If you don’t write on vacation, it works nicely as a bar top.

The grounds are immaculate at the Sirata with fresh flowers catching your eye at every turn and palm trees to remind you that you are on vacation... Just incase you forget!

Our favorite of the three pools is the one next to Rum Runners bar and grill. The food at Rum Runners comes from the Compass Grill, but is served either pool side or in their expanded shaded area between the bar and the beach making it pretty easy to keep an eye on the kids while having some “Adult Time” with your significant other or soaking in some of that beautiful Florida Sunshine in one of the plentiful pool chairs.

The Rum Runner bar has a full array of frozen cocktails to keep you in the vacation state of mind. If frozen Boat Drinks are not your style, they have some mighty fine cold beer or soda to keep you going through the heat of the day. There is also a Big Kahuna Sticker there. So that makes it better than the rest even if it weren’t a great beach bar! In-Fact, if you find my sticker and shoot me a photo of it, I’ll send you one of your very own.

We had spectacular luck with wild life on this trip! Usually Kahuna’s Chick is like the anti dolphin magnet. She loves dolphins and really enjoys seeing them, so naturally, they tend to hide from us! Not this time! We saw plenty of dolphins right off the beach, usually three or four at a time. We were within 10 feet of a Manatee on two different occasions, and even had rays surfing the waves within arms reach.

We always find Florida Fighting Conch, or “Aquarium Conch” as they are sometimes called, but we have never even seen a sand dollar, until this trip!

One afternoon we were about waste deep in the water and my daughter found a seahorse near the surface. As we all gathered around, I couldn’t help but wonder if we were watching him, or if he was checking us out. We must be pretty interesting creatures for all of the sea life to look at.

As usual, we went to the surf shop across the street and purchased a couple of boogie boards for the kids to play on, as well as some sand shovels and buckets. The cool part of this, is that we never bring that stuff home. On our last day, we make the kids find some other kids on the beach and give the stuff away. This is a great ice breaker to talk to people, and the look on the face of the children getting the water toys is priceless. We have met some really neat folks this way, including the couple from Germany and the couple from Minnesota that got our beach gear this trip.

We started this tradition almost 10 years ago when someone found us on the beach and gave us a tube and an inflatable pool float. Paying it forward is always the right thing to do!

In short, if you cannot have a good time at the Sirata Beach Resort on St. Pete’s Beach Florida, you simply cannot have a good time!

This place is 100% Kahuna Approved!


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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
with the Buck Reilly series