This month our family had the pleasure of heading to Florida for a much needed holiday. We spent part of our trip at Walt Disney World after which we headed further south to the lovely community of St Pete Beach to enjoy some sun and sand. St Pete Beach has many different accommodation choices, we chose to stay at the Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts which happens to be smack dab on one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen. In an earlier blog post I’ve written all about why we chose the Island Grand, head over to read it HERE.
Today’s article is all about our experience, we fell utterly in love with St Pete Beach and the Island Grand and I can only hope to be able to reflect why. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back and get comfy because this could take a while. The resort is jammed with activities and amenities worthy of telling you about.
Arriving at Island Grand we were excited and probably very chatty as we drove up to the gate house. There a friendly man greeted us, checked our names against a list of incoming guests and guided us to the front entrance. As we pulled up near the front door a staff member immediately appeared, greeted us and began joking with the kids. He called over a porter who loaded our bags onto a cart and we headed to the reception desk. Check in was simple, the staff is courteous and thankfully wrote down any and everything we needed to know. This is a large resort so I was thankful for the reception clerk’s notes on the map in the upcoming days.
Our Room at Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts
Island Grand has 13 different accommodation choices to suite the needs of it’s guests. From your standard hotel room to pet friendly suites you can almost find a room which would suit anyone’s tastes. We stayed in a Tropical One Bedroom Suite which was perfect for our family, it actually surpassed any expectations we had.
Our suite was recently renovated, as we opened the door we immediately found ourselves in the bedroom which was decorated in warm, inviting tones. Each of the queen beds had mattresses which were of excellent quality and provided the perfect amount of support for my bad back. The beds were made with soft linens, a light coverlet and extra bedding was available in the event we needed it.
There was one dresser in the room, along with a full sized closet and one side table which had space for storage. There was a TV in the room which made separating the girls for down time simple, one in the living room and one in the bedroom = everyone happy.
At the far end of the bedroom there is a solid door which lead to a hallway. This door allows the bedroom to remain a quiet zone when other family members were talking or watching TV in the living space, further into the suite. Passing through that door you find yourself in a hallway with the doorway to the bathroom on your left.
The bathroom was also recently renovated and we really liked the warm tones chosen. The counters are granite, the towels fluffy and absorbent, the bath products left to use are of higher quality and the space was spotless. The counter space was something which impressed me, far too often we see hotels skimping and it ends up being a hassle to organize all of the products our family needs available. Not an issue here.
Leaving the bathroom you continue down a bright hall a few steps and find yourself in the living space. The far wall is completely windows and right now I’m resisting the urge to share the VIEW with you and stay on program describing the living room and kitchen…sigh just like when we were there the view is drawing me in.
This suite has a kitchen which suited our needs. There are all the amenities from home one would need to serve meals as preferred. There is a microwave, cooktop, toaster, coffee maker, fridge and all the plates, glasses and utensils one would expect. There is also a mini-bar stocked with beverages and snacks which runs on an automated system. The moment you remove something from the mini-fridge it’s billed to your account, this is important to note…worthy of a family meeting to explain to the children.
We had a rental car so it was simple to load up on groceries, we made sure to keep the fridge stocked with water and other drink/snack choices for our days on the beach or poolside.
The living room was large enough for all four of us to chill out in together. The couch pulls out into a double bed which surprisingly the kids didn’t insist upon using…guess those beds were just too comfy to resist. With a wall of windows overlooking the beach, the room was consistently bright and fresh feeling.
Here we go…onto the view!
This suite comes with a balcony, it’s narrow but one hardly notices because there are cute little chairs and the VIEW simply captures you. This was a feature of the room which my husband and I especially enjoyed. At night once the kids were sleeping, we’d sit here and enjoy time alone. It’s time which is precious to us as a married couple and as we celebrated our 11th anniversary on that balcony, it’s time we won’t forget.
One morning as I sat quietly enjoying the view, Chelsea came out, leaned on the balcony rail and asked “Does every kid in the United States wake up to this mama?”…sigh, she’s so adorable.
Activities at Island Grand by Tradewinds Resorts
There are simply too many activities for children at Island Grand for me to list. I’m going to choose a few of our favourites to feature here but please do head to their website to see a full list.
There are 7 heated pools within walking distance at TradeWinds which again are designed to suit the needs of everyone. We spent most of our time in one of the deeper pools which also had a toddler pool, perfect for those families with little ones. Right next to this pool is the children’s activity centre “Konk” which holds daily activities for a fee. You can also enrol your child in different supervised programs in Konk if you’d like some time alone with your spouse.
The beach front pool is flanked by a restaurant, the adventure centre (where you get free towels and pool/beach toys are available to purchase) and has quick access to the beach. It’s also a lovely spot to relax in the sun on a windy day when the beach winds were a bit too much.
Our kids managed to make fast friends with another family during our stay and these kids were enamoured by the meandering river which winds its way under bridges around the resort. They were chuffed when they found out there are FREE paddle boats which they could take out. I’m not sure the lovely swans in the river were quiet ready for this bunch!
Who knew that ping-pong would be such a draw for our eldest daughter? Apparently she has a VERY competitive streak (like her Mum) and insisted on daily ping-pong matches with my husband and anyone else who happened to walk by. This was some old fashioned fun which was hilarious to watch….we may have lost some ping pong balls in the river…
Each day there is something scheduled for the children, from poolside game invasions to campfires our kids were keeping track and having a BLAST! It was a pleasure to be able to attend the activities without ever having to leave the resort to do something different.
Food & Drink
When travelling to a resort for a holiday, we often find ourselves bored with the food and drink choices after a few days. This simply didn’t happen at the Island Grand. Between our own meals which we made in our suite and the restaurant choices available we found a variety of foods which was more than acceptable. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet, a pizza party and even some fine dining!
How could I possibly be on a trip without a Mocktail? There are some fabulous choices available for non-drinkers…like this beauty!
I could easily write an entire article based solely upon the experiences our family had on the beach, honestly it’s left me with such deep-rooted feelings that I am transported back there by simply looking at the photos. Sigh, its white sand, the breeze, the feeling of the sun on my skin…it’s all coming back to me as I light the fireplace here in the ‘burbs.
With your resort amenity fee you are granted access to many things, including these gorgeous cabanas. You simply sign yours out for the day and you can come and go as you like. From the cabana you can order yourselves food and drink whenever you’d like, simply scan a barcode located on the cabana table and you can use the FREE wifi to place your order which will be brought to you beachside. How awesome is that!
The kids simply aren’t going to lounge on the beach all day, thankfully there are games and of course the massive High Tide Water Slide for them to enjoy! This was a hit with my children and even my husband….and I managed to capture some of it on film…
From sun up to sundown we were drawn to the beach, in the evening when the tide came in we found jellyfish along the beach which lead to some learning opportunities with the girls.
There were also dolphins which we were able to see both from the beach and our balcony, talk about a sense of awe watching them emerge and play. Unfortunately I didn’t even think to grab my camera with the zoom lens but I did manage to capture this one from our balcony, you can just see the dolphin diving.
Now I’ll share some of the amazing images from among the hundreds I snapped during our beach time…
Our trip to Island Grand by TradeWinds Resorts in St Pete Beach far surpassed any expectations we may have had. The staff are friendly, professional and courteous, the grounds are well thought-out and maintained. Each day we discovered something new to enjoy and this goes down as one of our BEST family trips in history!
Disclosure: We were provided our accommodations in return for sharing our honest opinion.