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We went on our first real family vacation a couple of weeks ago. Getting away was wonderful. You can see a bit of a recap here and hear more about how we planned this trip here. Today I’m sharing my review of South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, voted one of the top 10 family friendly beach resorts in the country by Parents Magazine.

Expectations

To be honest, I had high expectations of this resort. The photos on the website are beautiful. They rank high for a family friendly options and a close trusted friend stayed here and had a great experience. We paid a lot for our flights (more than what we would normally pay for something like this) and the resort since we had an opportunity to travel at the last minute. I wanted it to be fantastic.

In reality, our experience was average.

Resort accommodations 

We started out in a 1-bedroom bayside villa and the space was bad.

We were told it was an updated villa so were expecting it to be fairly nice but when we walked in, I was immediately disappointed and felt pretty uncomfortable. While the huge teal lamps were adorable, the rest of the place wasn’t great.

While I wasn’t happy with it at all, the deal breaker was that besides the door into the villa, there was a second door going into the bedroom. It had no lock. Yes, you read that right. It only had the top latch which would allow someone to open the door about 5 inches, see in our room etc… before it would catch. The resort had placed a dresser in front of the door, but that was the only attempt we could see. While some might not worry about such a thing, we were quickly concerned.

Bodhi opened and closed the door over and over again and could almost squeeze out the door. Not happening!

Besides these issues, the bayside villas are very far from almost anything. With a toddler who only has a few hours in the morning before nap, we would’ve spent too much time walking, driving, biking or trolleying back and forth to the pool or beach each day and it would be exhausting carrying him and all of our stuff.

The good news is that the front desk handled this situation very very well. They allowed us to go view a hotel room at Harbourside Hotel which was right on a small beach and very close to the beautiful, fun, kid-friendly pool complex.

The room was a king and was nice. It wasn’t luxury by any means, but it was decent and well decorated. The balcony was small, but clean and had a beautiful view. Dolphins swam right in front of our room almost every day of the trip. The bathroom was large and spacious and mostly clean. There were a few dead bugs in the bathroom throughout the trip, but I guess that’s to be expected.

Housekeeping

The staff handled our housekeeping requests quickly and well, but only had to do so because we were missed every day but once. We were there for four days and canceled the last night (but still had to pay). When we did call to request clean towels, extra trash bags and coffee cups, they arrived quickly and were very friendly.

OK, I think you are understanding why I’m calling the resort average, right? The rooms are not amazing, but they are very comfortable and spacious enough with one child. Housekeeping is a bit hit or miss with timing and schedules but again, they quickly fix issues when you call them up and let them know you were missed.

Beaches, pools and other amenities and activities

There are some major positives to this resort as well. The beaches are beautiful! Very beautiful! The water is so warm and the beach staff are extremely helpful. The resort takes care of their guests at the beach.

The pool complex is huge and features three large pools, one with a water slide and two with a zero depth entry which is great for toddlers. The pool complex definitely makes you feel like you’re at a 4 or 5 star resort. There are bars, a restaurant and a little shop within the complex that are all fantastic. There are plenty of pool chairs for everyone.

Bodhi LOVED the pool.

We also took a dolphin sailing cruise one night and it was wonderful. The staff on the boat were lovely and the location is fantastic if you’re staying at the North end of the resort.

Staff and other thoughts

The staff were very kind and attentive. Even though things weren’t exactly what we expected or how we expected it, when we did have a problem they handled it quickly and were very nice about it.

The kids area, called Skully’s, offered some fun programs for all different ages and there were things to do in the building and outside of it. The restaurants and shops were all clean and reasonably prices for being on a resort.

Would we go here again or recommend it to others?

I think we would go here again, but we would explore other options for accommodations. My friend Alexandra stays here with her parents in their timeshare. The timeshare spaces are in a wonderful location and from the outside, they look much more modern, updated, clean and generally pretty! And my friend Lisa had a wonderful experience in the beach villas.

It’s hard to be a little bit critical on the blog, but I really wanted to share my honest opinion about this resort. I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Tell me, do you have a favorite vacation spot with your family? Please share. We’re always looking for our next family vacation location.

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Photo credit: Top three photos used with permission from South Seas Island Resort.

Please note that this is not a sponsored review. I did NOT receive discounts, product or compensation. I just like to share my travel experiences with my readers.