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Stay at the Islander Resort | Islamorada, Florida Keys

When searching for an affordable, beachfront hotel option in the upper Florida Keys, I came across the Guy Harvey Outpost Islander Resort. The photos caught my eye, and the resort had decent reviews on Booking.com. I booked a three-night stay for us to explore the Keys during our recent trip.

(If you’d like to try Booking.com, consider using my link.
When we drove up to the resort, an outdated sign greeted us. I didn’t remember seeing that in any of the photos, and the rest of the resort was in better condition. The lobby was decorated nicely and the front desk agent was super friendly and energetic. She informed me that we were in a poolside suite, which according to her is the best option. 
We drove up to our unit and opened our door with a good old-fashioned key (no hotel key card). Our room had a full kitchen, something I appreciate because it helps save cash by allowing us to cook some meals. There’s also a screened patio area and lounge chairs outside.

We typically request rooms with two beds so we don’t have to share with our toddler. The room contains a large closet and drawers with plenty of room. (That’s where I found the safe, which wouldn’t open. I didn’t bother asking the front desk for help.) As I found out during our stay, the poolside location is nice, but it does get a bit noisy sometimes during the day. It was convenient when we wanted to go to the pool, restaurant or beach, though.

Have a seat and admire the view from the pier. 

The A/C in the unit was also a bit loud at times, but it wasn’t an issue. We weren’t in the room that much anyway and we only needed it one day.

The laundry came in handy. I was able to do laundry one day for $1.50 per wash and $1.50 to dry. There is no detergent vending machine, though. I bought a $1 bottle of detergent at a nearby dollar store. 
I enjoyed both restaurants at the resort, especially breakfast at Bonefish Flats. The service was great at the latter. (See my previous post for more details on the food and prices.)
Was Islander Resort the fanciest option? No. But it was comfortable and not too expensive. The amenities were nice (You can rent kayaks and other gear at the beach!) and the location was convenient for us. Nearby we found many parks, the scuba diving museum and lots of shops and restaurants. It was about 40 minutes from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon and about an hour and a half from Key West. I would stay here again.

Have you visited the Florida Keys?

Staycation at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Graham and I have been together for 3 years! We wanted to celebrate, but a trip was not possible — we are trying to cut back on spending in preparation for our wedding.

So we did the next best thing: a staycation!

We booked a stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Neither of us had ever stayed there, and we were excited to spend a weekend at its pool. We were hoping it wouldn’t be teeming with children, and it wasn’t! Most of the kiddos were at the East Pool, which has two slides and a water ride.

And really, is there any better place to be on a hot Valley day?

The South Pool on a Sunday.

I sipped on a frozen Amaretto sunrise, worth every penny.

The sprawling property has retail shops, restaurants, a spa and multiple pools, but my favorite part was the bunnies scurrying about. If only they weren’t so quick to run away when I tried to snap a photo. …

Fireworks — held every Saturday night — helped us celebrate our special night.

https://www.youtube.com/v/oQCfeHE1WhE?version=3&f=user_uploads&c=google-webdrive-0&app=youtube_gdata

Relaxing at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

 A recent day at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa opened my eyes to the staycation possibilities.

My cousin invited me over to her spa suite and to relax at the pool for her birthday. A highlight was the view of Praying Monk on Camelback Mountain. It made me want to spend my own relaxing weekend at a Valley resort. If only my birthday weren’t amid the busy (and pricey) tourist season …

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