December 29, 2016
We just got back from a very relaxing week in Safety Harbor, Florida. My husband loves to travel so I am used to wheeling and dealing and getting great deals.
Airfare --- since it was a last minute flight, I didn't have time to shop around and get super deals - I ended up flying Spirit, basic airfare was $700, but after bags and seats and government taxes, I ended up paying $1,056 not great for 4 people.
Car - I've found time and time again that Costco Travel has the best rates for rental cars. For the week, I spent $370 for a standard size sport utility.
Hotel - I found an all inclusive deal in Tampa, Florida -- more on that later. But for the first night we stayed at a Fairfield, Marriott I've used before - nothing special - especially since our flight took off 2 1/2 hours late and we didn't get into Tampa International until 11ish. We just needed a place to sleep that first night, so $90.
Now - The Hotel -- We stayed at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa -- I found it when I was searching for an all-inclusive in Florida. I called first think Friday morning, and my room was already ready. That was nice. I booked a package that included the room, breakfast and dinner, as well as drinks for both the kids (water, juice and soda) and adults (free "drink of the day" plus more) I thought with included meals I'd save some $$$. Maybe, but I don't know if it was worth it. First night - they had a pasta bar so instead of ordering off the all-inclusive menu, we went for the pasta bar - cost me a couple extra dollars per person, but worth it - fresh shrimp and pasta - yum. The next morning there was an egg station set up, so breakfast was good, as it was Sunday, but every day after that was kinda borning and the same. Dinners .... after that first pasta night ... yuck. We tried the shrimp and rissiotto -- 5 nice size shrimp, and about a pound of heavy, sticky rissiotto. No one ate it. Nadia had salmon and cous cous ... better, the asparagus was still crisp, but the cous cous ... tasted leftover not fresh. That was the last time we tried dinner there. So my recommendation - don't do the food package. They do have great spa services, so a package with included spa treatments would be my next choice. The rate for the room with breakfast, dinner and drinks plus unlimited use of the spa pools and hot tubs, steam room, sauna, ect was $251 per night, but the added "fees" like Occupany Tax of $9 per night, and 4 different state taxes combined $18 night, plus $16 night hotel service fee, and then another $2 tax on that --- brings the total per night to nearly $300 per night. Total bill was nearly $1500 for 5 nights for 4 people. If we had eaten every meal there it would have been a decent deal ... I did find out that you could apply the coupons toward menu items - we may do that next time. But the part that was worth it ..... the spas and pools. Amazing. Had my first ever facial. Relaxing. Went to differernt water classes (free and included in package) and outdoor pool, the only places under 16yos were welcome, an outdoor lap pool, and indoor spa pool and 2 hot tubs, in the ladies locker room - a sauna, steam room and plunge pool (men had the same but no plunge pool) Amazing and clean. They give you robes and flip flops upon request. Plenty of locker rooms to store your stuff. There is a bar right next to the one outside pool - plus a tiki grill. They had the best food that we enjoyed while we were there. Overall, a very enjoyable vacation, and I will visit the Resort again ---- but maybe next time without the kids.