As I have mentioned before, we rarely travel without our kids. At the same time I am a firm believer that all couples should get away occasionally, if at all possible. Of course, you want to have people you trust, in order to leave the kids overnight. Fortunately those people (my in-laws) live right across the street from us.
Yes, we are very much like the sitcom “Everybody loves Raymond”. The similarities are uncanny sometimes. If you are a fan, get “Exporting Raymond” from Netflix, a documentary from the creator of the series and his trip to Russia to help launch its own version of the sitcom. You won’t regret it!
At this point we only go away for 1 night at a time and only stay within driving distance from our house. Since my kids are quite small, I personally am not comfortable flying out of state, in case something happens. Though that may change when they get older.
Originally we were supposed to go to Renaissance Vinoy in St. Petersburg (thats in Florida) in September. I used my Marriott free annual certificate that comes with Chase Mariott visa. The annual fee is 85 dollars, so its not technically free. Sadly I got sick and had to cancel that reservation.
Since the category of the hotel went up from 5 to 6 earlier in the year, my certificate wasn’t going to cut it at the Vinoy anymore. I was able to book it at the old rate but after cancellation the new rate would apply.
Fortunately I had plenty of choices. Naturally I wanted to get the best bang for my buck (or my free night in this case), so that narrowed it down to oceanfront hotels. Always check on those first when using certificates, because they are usually the most expensive.
The winner was Courtyard Hutchinson Island Oceanside/Jensen beach which is a category 5 and normally runs 25000 points. The paid rate is around 135 dollars per night, plus tax. Its located about 2.5 hours from where we live, so it was quite a drive for just one night. But worth it! An update: This is currently a category 6 hotel, so the anniversary certificate will no longer qualify.
When I saw the name Courtyard I honestly didn’t expect much. But the hotel was quite nice and the rooms had this semi-upscale feel to them. Thats the only way I can describe it. It also looked like it was recently remodeled.
It was also very clean which is the most important quality to me other than the lack of bed bugs! I loved that the room didn’t have an annoying motel A/C unit that cycles on and off all night. I hate those!
At the check-in I asked for an upgrade to a an ocean view room, since the certificate was only good for standard parking lot view. The lady said that its normally reserved for gold elites (we are not). However she made an exception and gave us the upgrade anyway. So always ask politely. What do you have to lose?
The breakfast was not included but they did have a bistro on premises. The food was delicious, though sandwiches were a little expensive at 9 dollars each.
The place had a pool and a hot tub with a little waterfall. Apparently it created quite a romantic atmosphere, because there was a couple there really enjoying each other. 🙂 Needless to say we waited till they left before getting in the hot tub.
The only negative about the hotel I can think of, is the lack of soundproofing in the rooms. Which is why I always pack my Marsona sound machine. A lifesaver! All in all our escape was sweet indeed. And we barely argued, a rarity during these sort of trips!
Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.