In late July, we took our first real vacation since COVID. We visited Captiva Island with our kids and my parents and spent four nights at the South Seas Island Resort.
My family has visited the resort countless times since I was a child and I have so many fond memories playing in the pool, spending the evening at the kids club, searching for shells on the beach, playing games in our condo, and eating at the many restaurants on the island. Bringing my own children to the resort brought back so many fond memories from my childhood.
Planning a vacation during the COVID19 pandemic was certainly not without its share of stresses and anxieties, but we felt that a beach vacation would be safe – we would be primarily outdoors and able to keep to ourselves. The South Seas Resort made us feel, overall, very comfortable. They were very open and transparent about COVID-related changes and closures and answered any questions we had as best as they could.
If you’re planning a vacation during this time, of course you’ll need to consider your personal family situation and comfort level with travel generally. I am not in a position to advise anyone on whether they should or shouldn’t travel. But I hope that in this post, I can provide some information to help you make your decision.
South Seas Island Resort did a great job of making guests feel safe. Staff were masked and masks were required for guests in public areas like shops, indoor restaurants, and check-in. Staff frequently sanitized areas, even chairs on the beach.
Most of the on-site restaurants were open, though hours were limited. The grocery store was closed for shopping, but available for ordering groceries for pickup. Amenities like the gym and pool slide for children were open, but were closed occasionally for cleaning. Both times we worked out at the gym (immediately after a cleaning closure), we were the only ones using the facility. The gym was fantastic with updated equipment and a beautiful view of the harbor, where you can frequently see manatees. I especially enjoyed the LifeFitness cardio equipment where you could choose a real-life trail to run/walk/bike.
On the flip side, the closures for sanitizing could be inconvenient at times, but that was something we were more than willing to accept. While public areas were sanitized, there was no regular maid service. Again, this was fine with us, but we did have to ask for new towels during our stay since they were not restocked during typical room service. Because of the sanitizing requirements, the resort did not offer early or late checkout, but we found we were able to leave slightly later than checkout by asking.
The resort was much more crowded than we expected and it seemed that our building was filled with guests. Camp Skullywags (the kids club) was closed and trolley services were limited. This wasn’t an issue for us, but it’s worth knowing for planning purposes.
Our only real complaint was that beach chairs and umbrellas were not available until either 10 am (Sunset Beach) or 11 am (South Beach). This seemed unreasonable to us. As a parent of a toddler and infant, the best time of day to be at the beach is early in the day before it gets too hot or sunny. When I inquired as to the reason for the late opening, the response was unclear but seemed to be based on staffing shortages.
Overall, we felt very comfortable staying at South Seas Island Resort and would recommend it to anyone, both prior to and during the COVID19 pandemic. For more specific and up-to-date information, see the resort’s reopening statement here and a current list (as of September 2020) of open and closed amenities here.
How do you feel about traveling during the COVID19 pandemic? If you have traveled or plan to travel, what was/is your destination?