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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WE HEAD TO FLORIDA FOR WARMTH. HUH???

181 South Ocean Ave.
West Palm Beach, FL 33404
(561) 836-4000

Back at Palm Beach Shores Resort and Spa for the third time, I feel as if we are coming home. Our stay this year, from February 21 through March 7, becomes two weeks of below normal temperatures. Not the vacation in the sun I know and love. The temperatures put a definite kink in plans to luxuriate on the sands, but we are away from those miserable northeast snowstorms, so this is the place to be.

We come here on a time share trade. Walk in off the street or book through Travelocity and this hotel will cost in the neighborhood of $325.00 per night. Our one bedroom suite is immaculate, totally stocked to make our stay easy and very comfortable. From our balcony we have a beautiful view of the heated pool and, more importantly, the ocean which this year, unfortunately, is colder than the air temperature. The ocean isn't tempting, but watching it and hearing the surf pound the shore is sooo relaxing and soothing. The pool is heated, the spa is at 104ยบ which is the temperature we keep ours at home, and the beach just a short, inviting walk across the sand dunes. On the beach we can rent a wind screen or umbrella if we wish. There’s food and bar service, and that works out well. On three days during our stay Rob and I did spend time on the beach, but this photo was taken on a day I bailed out and, in a rare moment for us, left Rob to soak the rays (freeze) on his own. I did try to persevere but when I had to wrap up my toes.... At Palm Beach Shores, for timeshares at least, towels are changed daily, supplies are replenished, and trash is removed, but only once during the week is there complete housekeeping. If that is a concern, for an extra fee one can have complete housekeeping services, but frankly, I can make my own bed without any adverse reactions. Palm Beach Shores Resort is a Gold Crown Resort, the highest ranking in the timeshare resort world, and it is because of the amenities and because it is right on the beach. That is our main requirement. This is far from some of the luxurious resorts in which we've stayed, but it suits us just fine, and we will be back again. This is no place like home where the beach and the ocean are a long car ride away.

Another extra special aspect of this hotel is the staff. The staff is efficient, friendly, and an absolute pleasure. That has been true each time we've stayed here, so I know it's not an aberration. They aim to please, and they will react quickly to requests, make very good suggestions, and offer ways to make our stay enjoyable. Last time we were here, for instance, I forgot my bathing suits when we left for home. I realized it when we reached Orlando for a three-day stop at Epcot/Disneyland. I called, and by the time we got home four days later, the package with my suits was waiting for me.

With the weather as cool as it has been, it was particularly heartwarming that the one night when a freeze was forecast, notes were slipped under the doors reminding us to draw the drapes to hold in the heat and also reminding us of extra blankets in the closet. That's just one example of the little extra thought shown here. I like that.

Certainly I'm not in favor of the daily parking fee; on the other hand there is valet parking. I don't like the daily in-room safe fee either. But I love the free internet in the room—either wireless or cable. There is also wifi in the lounges downstairs. They have a very good restaurant, the Islander Grill and Tiki Bar with daily specials. There's a happy hour, live music around the pool, two movie nights, and daily walks and activities if one chooses to participate. The exercise room is also nice, but Singer Island is a wonderful area to walk—if it's not too cold. The John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is close by, and there are wonderful walking trails there too. Each year we intend to ride bikes, but we haven't yet. Maybe next year.

If you're a time share owner who trades through RCI, think of Palm Beach Shores Resort and Spa, or if you're looking for a nice, suite hotel on Singer Island, Florida, think of Palm Beach Resort and Spa. But please make sure you leave two weeks for us! Look in Third Age Traveler labels under Florida for some good restaurant suggestions and our reviews of the auto-train which we took one-way this year.

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