For most people, staying in Fort Myers Beach rather than the city of Fort Myers is the best course of action. The draw of the salt air far outweighs any time savings one might have in getting to the handful of sights in downtown Fort Myers, and honestly, the lodging options downtown are fairly limited.
The best budget lodging in the area is in the city. Both the Fountain Motel (14621 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 239/481-0429, from $66 d) and the Ta Ki-Ki Riverfront Inn (2631 First St., Fort Myers, 239/334-2135, from $59 d) are clean and affordable options. Neither is fancy, but for basic economical short-term lodging they are your best bet.
There are plenty of accommodations to choose from on Fort Myers Beach, and among the best are the Silver Sands Villas (1207 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 239/463-6554, from $149 d). As welcoming and unpretentious as the town itself, the casual, colorful, and semiresidential atmosphere definitely makes it feel like a home away from home. Twenty guest rooms are scattered around the property in cottage-style buildings. Some are basic hotel-type accommodations; others are like tiny houses complete with living rooms, multiple bedrooms, and kitchens. All are brightly painted and have beach-friendly hardwood or tile floors. Flat-screen TVs, soft towels, and deluxe bedding add a surprising touch of restrained luxury, but from the neighborhood cats who roam the property to the super-friendly staff, there’s nothing terribly fancy about this spot.
Similarly cozy are the 20 apartment-style units at the Dolphin Inn Resort (6555 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 239/463-6049, from $109 d). Outfitted with kitchens, the guest rooms are a bit old-fashioned but comfortable and clean; there’s a heated pool and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
The Neptune Inn (2310 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 239/463-6141, from $159 d) is a traditional beachfront hotel, complete with two swimming pools, shuffleboard courts, and barbecue grills. There are 70 guest rooms in two wings; reserve your room in the newer north wing. The guest rooms in the south wing are a bit frayed around the edges, and the newer guest rooms are crisp and clean. Guest rooms have mini-kitchens, which may account for the popularity of the Neptune among families on a budget.
Another exception to the “stay at the beach” rule is the Hibiscus House Bed & Breakfast (2135 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 239/332-8922, from $159 d). Situated on a beautiful stretch of historic McGregor Boulevard, the Hibiscus House is close to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, and while it may not have the historical cachet of its nearby neighbor, the tree-covered property and five tiny guest rooms are charming.
The expansive grounds of the 12-acre Pink Shell Resort & Spa (275 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 239/463-6181, suites from $299) pack a lot of amenities onto the property, with two restaurants, a spa, an enormous pool, and a specially designated kids area. Reasonably modern and well-maintained suites range in size from 650 to over 1,000 square feet; there’s even a private old-fashioned beach cottage for rent. All the accommodations have full kitchens, dining areas, and separate bedrooms. The best bets are the recently added Captiva Villas; although they’re not the largest, they boast the nicest furnishings and appointments and are in their own quiet building.
The recently built, all-suite Edison Beach House (830 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 239/463-1530, from $260 d) is a great option for couples or families. Guest rooms are large apartment-style accommodations with full kitchens, dinning areas, sitting areas that feature 47-inch flat-screen TVs, and balconies. The management is fastidious about their cleanliness standards, extending them all the way out to the beach, which is raked every morning.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition