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Lia Vincent


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Marco Island, Florida

I would like to start off by saying, “What a magical place!

I am just returning from a holiday weekend where we stayed at the JW Marriott, Marco Island. This is the flagship of Marco Island. When I was checking in I heard one of the employees say it was the busiest Marriott in the United States. I believe it and for good reason. Here’s how the weekend played out.

The JW Marriott Marco Island Resort & Spa, or the JW, as I will refer to it going forward in this blog site, is about 1 hour from the Ft Meyers airport / RSW. It sits on an amazing massive white sand beach (they even have food and drink service on the beach!).
The resort has a large conference center and can quickly fill up with groups, so this is somewhere I’m glad we booked early.

The room options are mainly 1 king or 2 queen beds with some adjoining doors for those traveling in larger families. There are multiple restaurants on site including one of the best wood fired pizza places. The pizzas run $18-$22 and a Caesar is $14. Tip - The salads are meant to share just like the pizza so just order one per 3 or 4 people with your pizza. In addition to the pizza place, there is also an adults only restaurant, sushi bar, and more. We really had more choices that we didn’t get to try all of them.

There are multiple pools which are heated in the winter to the low 80s. There’s a large resort style pool with cabana rentals and a family pool with 0 entry, slide, waterfall, spraying splash pad type things and more. Each pool had a casual outdoor dining option next to it with the family pool having the tiki bar with the most amazing Miami Vice frozen drinks. Tip- If you don’t know what a Miami Vice is then it’s half pina colada and half strawberry daiquiri. It’s a perfect combo. They have the machines right there so it’s a perfect ice purée. They will also serve these poolside with a great staff working drink orders with little flags at the chairs.

Tip - I loved how they had a water station where you can use their cups or a refillable bottle at no charge. I told my kids that was their option during the day and the fact that it was DIY made it more fun for them.

One of the highlights of this resort is 10K Alley. This is on level 5, and an oasis of fun. For starters, it was the largest arcade I’ve ever seen at a hotel. We joked we had Dave and Busters right there on site. In addition to video games, 10K also has bowling (smaller ball version where you don’t have to put your fingers in it and not special shows required). Bowling was $10/game (not per person) and was a hit. You can also order food and drinks to be served at your lane.
In addition to bowling, 10K also has neon mini golf. It’s a small course of 6 holes and runs $8/person. Tip- Don’t play the last hole and let the kids play to their heart's content before the last hole, so it’s not $8 over and over again.

We explored a little outside of the hotel mainly to just try restaurants. Our two favorites -

1. Snooks Inn - This is how I picture Saturday nights on an island. It’s a restaurant on the docks. There’s a huge outdoor bar with live music and people just enjoying the fun atmosphere. There’s indoor and outdoor seating. I heard from multiple people to order the blackened grouper and I’m so glad I did. It’s melt in your mouth fresh. The meals also come with a great salad bar and pickles. I should have asked about the pickles but they had a whole tub of HUGE pickle slices which were so crunchy. I’m salivating just writing about them. If you eat off hotel property, Snooks needs to be on your list. During the day you can also arrive by boat and that just sounds so fun to me. It’s a destination in itself.

2. Doreen’s Cup of Joe - WOW! This breakfast place has indoor and outdoor seating, a huge menu and some of the best OJ I’ve ever had in my life. This place is a well oiled machine with a stream of customers, a line to put our name on the list but then we only waited about 30 minutes for a table on a holiday. They have fresh squeezed Florida orange juice like pressing it right there while you wait. Wow! I keep saying wow but yes I was wowed. So good! I ordered the famous Crunchy French Toast which I will now dream about until we go back to Marco. It was cornflake crusted with strawberries and whip cream. My husband had their Mexican Skillet. He loved it and it came with a fresh made biscuit. Tip- He asked for a side of gravy and for a small charge he turned that biscuit into biscuits and gravy. Brilliant! Please be aware - they do not have a children’s menu or coloring/entertainment. They do offer simple meals that pleased my kids like plain pancakes or a scrambled eggs/bacon/toast option.

A couple of expenses to keep in mind when planning this vacation while staying at the JW. There’s a parking fee of either $25/night for self parking or $30/night for valet. We had plans to do self parking but we kept going out and about with kids falling asleep on the way back so valet was so convenient.

There is also a resort fee of $33/night plus tax. The resort fee included wifi (and really wifi is important here since it seemed data signals were pretty low), q hour tennis court rental, 2 spa fitness classes 2 chairs and umbrella on the beach during the day, and golf course shuttle.

There is a lot to do in and around Marco Island. We would have taken advantage of more if we stayed longer.

Family Vacation Must do’s when we go back

- Rent a boat. There’s a '10,000 Island' boat tour where you will go to one of the only places in the world that have both alligators and crocodiles.
- Day trip to the Naples Zoo. We passed by and it looks really nice. It would be a great half day excursion with littles.
- Ferry to Key West. I think this sounds fun. It does look long but I love a Key West day trip. The added bonus to arrive by boat is intriguing to me.

All in which I’m sure you can tell, we loved the JW and Marco Island in general. We have always been big Hawaiian family vacationers and we had that Hawaiian island feel for an easy quick flight for a weekend trip.

Lia Vincent

OWNER of Vincent Vacations

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I have been in the travel industry since 2002. I manage our store front travel agencies and locations for All Inclusive Weddings - Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Vincent Magical Vacations - Disney, Vincent Events - Groups & Corporate Incentive Trips, & Vincent Vacations!I also manage our large group of independent travel agents, who work from home.  I LOVE helping couples with their Destinatio...  Read More >>>

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