Over my birthday weekend, we decided to take a long weekend vacation to Clearwater, FL. Kind of our last little getaway as a family of three, before baby arrives in November. I love writing these travel blogs, and letting people know great restaurants to eat at, places to stay, etc. in cities we travel too. I know I look for blogs to get tips on these things before we travel to a new city, and what I hate the most is wasting a meal opportunity in a new city, on something that isn’t great haha!

With all that being said, this blog has been kind of challenging for me to write. All the travel guides I have written in the past year, have been about cities, and hotels I have absolutely loved…Clearwater, well I think LOVE is a strong term. And at the same time I don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat! I “liked” it, but honestly don’t think we would vacation here again. And I just want to be honest about it, incase you are reading this blog, and deciding on a city to take your next family vacation.

So lets get into it and start with some pros & cons…

Pros:

Easy to get to, direct flight Indy – Tampa, and then a 30 minute drive

Amazing beach with really clear, warm water

A lot of bars, shops, and restaurants within walking distance

Lots to do for kids – beach, playgrounds, blow-up slides, pools, boat rides, pier, etc.

Our hotel had good food

 

Cons:

Extremely touristy

Most restaurants were bar food or as they called it “beach food”

Our hotel, The Wyndham Grand, was very pricey (more on this below)

Very crowded, even in August, when most kids had started back to school

 

The Resort: 

The Wyndham Grand – it was decent, kid friendly, but everything was so expensive, that it just got me in a bad mood…like two adults and a toddler paying $60 for breakfast each morning, not how I want to start the day. Now let me say the food was great, and it was so convenient to walk down, eat breakfast, and walk to the pool or beach all morning, but man $60…am I just being cheap? I don’t know, and I guess we could have walked or driven to another restaurant, but I wanted to go down, eat something, and be on the beach for the morning. Valet parking, which is the only option, is $25 a day, and we never used our rental car once. Then everything you order…, lunch or drinks at the pool, breakfast..it all has a 19% gratuity added. Oh and then there is the $25/day resort fee. If you order room service that is an additional 22% fee. Things just really add up!

View from our room

Like I mentioned above, the food at the hotel did not disappoint! But it wasn’t always the easiest to get. So a big breakfast buffet was served each morning in the nice dinner restaurant, or they had coffee and like yogurt you could grab, but again $4 coffee, $8 yogurt, etc. Lunch you could order at the pool. Dinner at the pool, but only until about 8pm or at Ocean Hai, but this is a nice, white table cloth restaurant, at least $100+ meal. (They do have a kids menu, but not really a place I would normally choose to take a toddler.) So basically after 8pm, if you wanted something to eat, you had to order room service, which this food wasn’t as good in my opinion.

Hotel Breakfast

Hotel Breakfast

Hotel Breakfast

Dinner at Ocean Hai

 

Dinner at Ocean Hai

Pool eats

The pool was warm, nice, but pretty small for the large amount of people there. Service around the pool was good, plenty of free fruit-infused water, which is always nice.

 

The workout facility was great. It looked like it was just redone and had a lot of new equipment. My husband had a massage at the spa, and said it was average.

 

The room was nice, big enough, and had bunk beds for Jaxon, which were a huge hit! Only downfall is the second day we didn’t get our room cleaned, and the third day it still wasn’t clean at 5pm.

 

Ultimately I wouldn’t recommend staying at this hotel without kids. It would not be a relaxing couple’s trip! Friday and Saturday nights they play a movie at the pool for kids. It is suppose to start at sunset. Well Friday night it didn’t happen and the staff we asked didn’t know why it was canceled. Then Saturday we got all set in the pool for the movie at sunset, about 8:05pm, and it didn’t start until 9:15pm! The other bummer, it would be nice to get drinks and food during these, but again the restaurant closes at sunset. (Also some people got in a fight during this, and had to be escorted out and separated by security!)

A couple other different things at the hotel…no traditional room keys. They wanted you to wear a plastic watch looking thing that unlocked the doors. We kept misplacing ours because we didn’t want to wear it all day. Also each person gets a card, and every day you take it down to the pool and get one towel per person with it. Then when you are done with your towel you get your card back. So you can’t take your towel up the room or get more than one towel. If you lose your card it’s a $45 fee.

Okay, enough complaining about this resort. Again, it wasn’t bad, but with the money we spent, I would choose differently next time.

AND we still had the best time as a family!!

Short walk to the pier at sunset

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