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Florida, A Place To Lay Your Head

screen-shot-2010-08-05-at-12_13_34.jpgFOR OUR THREE week trip around Florida, we chose to stay in Holiday Inns, Staybridge Suites and Crowne Plaza, all part of the InterContinental Hotels Group where we know that service, quality and cost are what we are looking for.

Staybridge Suites, International Drive, Orlando

Staying away with small children often means a bit of a
squash in a hotel room. Holiday Inn’s Staybridge Suites gave us all the advantages of a hotel, but with the space of a small apartment.

Our suite had two double bedrooms, both en-suite and a large TV in each bedroom as well as in the lounge. A fully-equipped kitchen (including dishwasher, thank goodness!) made it much easier to get organised for days out during the week we spent taking trips out to Orlando’s theme parks. The place is family-friendly, with a swimming pool to keep children happy.

We had a complimentary breakfast in the dining room each morning which gave us the opportunity to discover freshly made waffles with every topping you can think of. Snacks were available at other times from the bar, and there are so many eating houses nearby that you never need worry about going hungry.

The Suites are on International Drive, only a 20min easy drive from Orlando airport, and within very easy reach of all the attractions (Disney, Seaworld, Aquatica, Universal). And unlike many roads and boulevards in the States, International Drive is a street where you can enjoy a stroll.


Holiday Inn, Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Imagine dazzling white sands, warm blue ocean and the big wide skies of North America.

Fort Myers Beach is a small town on a narrow island in the Gulf of Mexico, and there is no better place to stay than right on the beachfront.

The Holiday Inn is located at the slightly quieter end of the island. Laid out almost like a motel, the rooms are spacious, airconditioned (if you choose it- we enjoy the heat!) and have a kitchenette which is ideal for small meals and snacking. The hotel also has a guest laundry, vital for us on a three week tour of Florida.

Best of all, we had a spacious ground floor room with a small, shaded patio outside. Hop over the small wall, and you were right on the huge expanse of beach. We hired umbrella and loungers for the week and sat back to watch the pelicans and other wildlife with periodic dips on the ocean to cool off. On days when there were a few too many stingrays about, we swam in the pool instead, or sat in the bar/restaurant and enjoyed our meals, the occasional musical entertainment or the beach volleyball competitions near our patio.


La Concha, Crowne Plaza, Key West

For style, comfort, atmosphere and a wonderfully laid-back elegance, there is only one place to stay in Key
West – La Concha Crowne Plaza. Nearer to Cuba than the US mainland, Key West lies at the end of a 100 mile long chain of islands (the Keys) and has a character all of its own. Set in narrow streets and wooden buildings, La Concha is the highest building in town. The rooftop lounge & bar is the perfect place to watch the spectacular sunsets for which Key West is renowned and gaze out across the ocean views.

And you’ll be in good company;

Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams are just two of the hotel’s famous visitors over the years. The rooms are stylish with all the mod cons you expect in your hotel, and when it comes to mealtimes, there is Jack’s Seafood Shack in the hotel or a wide range of other restaurants nearby. The hotel also has a good-sized car park which was great for us on our driving tour of Florida. All the attractions are close by. The hotel is situated on Duval Street, the old town’s main street so you can walk straight down to the seafront past shops, bars and cafes or take a few paces out the back door and stroll down a quieter street under the shade of the banyan trees.

There is also a swimming pool, with loungers and a bar which is a welcome break from the boiling, humid heat of Florida in the summer. All of course, beautifully done and well in keeping with such an iconic hotel.
Holiday Inn Miami International Airport We rounded off our trip to Florida with a few days around Miami. We based ourselves at the Holiday Inn, close to the airport a few miles from Miami Beach and an easy drive to the Everglades and many other attractions.

The top floor restaurant provided a birds eye view across Miami on the one side and the aeroplanes landing & taking off on the other, but thankfully without the noise.

The hotel also offers free shuttle buses to the airport and also to some of the big shopping malls.

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