Saturday, November 24, 2012

TradeWinds: Island Grand Preview!

I love to stay in a great place when I'm on vacation. When I travel (and before I started doing reviews) I spend weeks trying to find a unique place that we can afford. We've stayed in some amazing places and years later, we still talk about them. I like to visit properties that leave a lasting (and good) impression. When I began looking in the Tampa area, I found a couple of possibilities. I settled on my favorite, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. My stay was confirmed and I was thrilled! I visited their website daily and began planning my stay! It's not often that you find a place that offers so much, you don't have to leave during your stay. I don't think I've ever stayed at a resort that offered as much as TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resorts.
Hotel dining can be hit or miss. I never have really high expectations if I'm eating at a hotel unless they charge more than $50 per entree and stay busy all week. To be honest, I knew I'd go with the flow here at Island Grand, but I didn't think I'd have some of the best food I've eaten in years. It didn't just happen at one restaurant, it happened at two! Lunch was slightly above average too! More on that when I post the review!
Our stay was perfect! The suite had everything we needed. If we wanted to dine in and cook, we had a cooktop, pots and pans, and plenty of glasses and plates. I can't imagine dining in when dining out is so wonderful here!!! I'm still thinking about the Blackened Grouper I had last night and the Ribeye and whipped potatoes I had tonight!
The drinks have been great too! We have been bar hopping and trying drinks from different bars and restaurants. I went with something new and tried the Monkey Fist! It's made with ice cream and it's similar to a Tropical Monkey. It may be my new favorite drink!
There are five heated pools and a few hot tubs on the property. We liked the pool closest to our room and spent every afternoon and evening either swimming or warming up in the hot tub. It was a little chilly outside! The beach was perfect! The water was cold, but not cold enough to keep the kids away. We walked all over the resort and tried to see everything. The walkways are neat and well lit. The tropical manicured gardens are lush and offer perfect photo ops for the family. I have a tour in the morning just in case I missed something during my stay. I am looking forward to it!
Our first experience with an employee of TradeWinds was before check in. We met the gentleman that worked at the gate and he was very helpful and directed us to the entrance. Check in was painless. Everything was written down (which helps because I usually can't remember everything I need to know) and everyone was so friendly! After we parked and began walking to our unit, my husband noticed how happy I was. Usually when I review a property, it's a stressful experience. I am constantly trying to figure out what I am going to say about each experience and I try to remember all the details. I take notes and it takes up to a week for me to write about the experience. This is the first time I've taken the time to do a written preview with photos before the review. I didn't need any notes and I haven't experienced any stress.
This hasn't been the most luxurious place I've stayed in, but it ranks in the top four luxurious hotels I've visited. I think overall, if you combine everything this place offers like dining and entertainment, along with the beautiful room and amazing customer service, it puts it ahead of all the others. As soon as we arrived, I knew they wanted me to be here. Even before I checked in, the staff wanted me to be happy and they went out of there way to make sure I knew that. The smiles and wonderful memories will not be forgotten. I haven't left and I already want to come back. Look for my review later this week!
Disclosure: A stay was provided in order to complete this review. A favorable review was not required and financial compensation was not received.

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