As promised, here is my first blog about my recent vacation. I would usually blog on each day as it happened, but circumstances never presented themselves in such a way that I could use my laptop. So here goes!
Here is a basic summary of the week’s plan:
- Day One (Monday): Check in to JW Marriott, Grande Lakes, Orlando. Dine at Norman’s and enjoy the pool.
- Day Two (Tuesday): Check out of the JW Marriott and drive West to Tampa Bay; Check in to the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Enjoy some of Tampa in the evening.
- Day Three (Wednesday): Visit Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the Florida Aquarium and whatever else we find.
- Day Four (Thursday) through Day Six (Saturday): Check out of the Hyatt Thursday morning and drive South to Sarasota; Check in to the Ritz Carlton Sarasota. Stay till Saturday. Enjoy beach and St. Armand’s Circle shopping district.
Monday morning was hectic…I had to take care of multiple things – I sold a book on Amazon and had to mail it at the post office. I also had to stop by Publix and get fruit and vegetables for the parrot. Our cat/bird sitter did not respond Sunday, so we had to scramble and find her Monday morning. Also, I had to pack! Around 2PM…a little later than I expected, we were on the road. The first stop was to pick up Kryzia – L’s friend…who was a good distance North. Getting her went smoothly…and we were soon on the road.
We arrived at the JW Marriott property around 3PM. I stopped by Valet Parking and unloaded the car…and we stepped inside to check in. When I checked in, the registrar said that I had been automatically upgraded to a “Ritz Suite.”…and I was told to pack up and head over to the Ritz! I was a little perturbed at this, and my wife was notably irritated at having to pack up and leave moments after arrival…but it dawned on me that we were being upgraded…to the Ritz…so we had the bell captain reload the car…and we were off.
5 minutes later, we were at the Ritz, which actually adjoins the JW Marriott. The bell captain unloaded our car again…and we were led directly to the registration desk again. After a lot of typing and tinkering, the lovely Lady at the desk said…”well sir, all we have available is the Executive Suite with King Bed.” Fine, I said, and commented that we really needed double beds. They said…”No Problem, we can get you two rollaways and comp them.” With that, we were off to the 6th floor, room 612. The Executive Suite is a very roomy suite – there is a half-bath at the entrance, followed by a large living room area. Double french doors lead to the master bedroom which has a full bath, including tub, separate shower and water closet. Bvlgari bath essentials were strewn about, including a loofah sponge!
After we settled in, we all sort of headed different directions but each of us ended up at the Lazy River Pool at the JW Marriott, which is about 0.25 miles from the Ritz, accessible either from a connecting corridor or from a beautiful outside walkway. There are two main pool areas – the Ritz has a nice pool, but the JW Marriott lazy river is where you need to be. Here are some pics of that:
After a good night’s sleep, we had a good breakfast at the buffet (which was included in our package deal). After breakfast, we took a walk along Grande Lake. One of the first things we saw was a small alligator, which was obviously looking for handouts. There were numerous birds along the walk, as well as an abundance of fish in the lake. The walk around the property is truly amazing – it is a sight to behold.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves from here on out, saving me 1000 words.