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South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island 

5400 Plantation Road
Captiva Island , Florida
Tel: 866 565 5089 (toll-free)
Tel: 239 472 5111
view web site ›'s insider take:

Set on an old Key lime plantation on the northern tip of Captiva Island, this exclusive, lushly landscaped resort is far removed from the mainland strip-mall hurly-burly. A $140-million renovation in 2008 brought the 330-acre property all the way back (and then some) from the widespread damage inflicted by 2004's Hurricane Charley. The resort has 105 water-view hotel rooms (second-floor corner units 1850 and 1852 overlook the manatees and dolphins swimming through Pine Island Sound and North Point Marina) and rooms on the beach; larger, kitchen-equipped condo units and trophy homes are also available for rent. This is a one-stop-shop kind of resort, with two miles of fine, white sand beaches, two busy marinas, 19 tennis courts, a gulf-side nine-hole golf course, and a pair of cabana-rimmed lagoonlike swimming pools overlooking the sound. An arcade, water park, and children/teen activity program boost the family-friendliness quotient (more than half the guests are repeaters), while on-site cafés and stores like Starbucks and Lilly Pulitzer eliminate the retail commute. And everyone will enjoy "Don't Stop the Carnival'' on Saturday nights, a festival featuring live music, fire eaters, and local artisans. A drive-market family destination in the summer, during the winter the resort fills with snowbirds from the Northeast, Midwest, and Europe, especially Britain and Germany.

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