My trip to Club Wyndham Palm-Aire started after a great drive down from Virginia. Some people think I am a little crazy for enjoying the drive as much as a do, but I love the open road. We are blessed in America that we can get in our cars and go. Moving freely and covering such amazing distances safely and quickly.
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Day One Arrival
Arriving in Pompano Beach, FL at Club Wyndham Palm-Aire was easy. I think in my brain I expected to be on the ocean because of the dreamlike photos of the water shown with the resort. But the resort itself has its own private oasis. Being back a few blocks from the beach itself means you still get the salt air breezes, but you reduce the noise and activity level of being right on the beach.
If you have read about my last trip to Atlantic City then you know that sometimes being off of the strip or beachfront has its advantages. I imagine for families it would allow you to relax a little more knowing that your kids can not simply run into the ocean when you are not looking and that you are sheltered from the larger public. That would make me feel like the family unit was a little safer in these crazy times.
The resort amenities read like the ideal list one would imagine.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Hot Tub
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- BBQ Grills
- Business Center/Fax
- Golf Course (18-Hole)
- Fitness Room
- Concierge Services
- Hot Tub
- Indoor Pool
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Live Entertainment
- On-Site Security
- Convenience Store
- Pool Bar
- On-Site Security
- Beach Volleyball
When looking at the site’s features one that grabbed my attention immediately was the pool bar. I enjoy grabbing a drink at a pool bar, taking a dip in the pool on a hot day, and sitting back with my drink while drying in the sun. To me, that is very close to an ideal description for pain relief.
The resort also boasts a golf course and a mini-golf course, unlike almost every business person on the planet I am not an 18-hole guy. But the mini-golf is something I enjoy as a flashback to childhood. I used to play daily in the summer when I would stay with my grandparents and my grandfather worked at the local shipyard. Often, he would sleep in after working the 3rd shift, and grandma would send me to the putt-putt which was just outside of their apartment complex with some money to play. It was awesome. So mentally if I ever want to feel about 8-10 again, I just play a little putt-putt (mini-golf).
My room was great with a full kitchen, a balcony overlooking the pool, and plenty of room. I stayed in a 1-bedroom deluxe model room. This meant that you also have a large bathroom with jetted tub and a nice big shower.
I enjoy large showers because as a big person at 6’4” and too many pounds if feels great to have room and not feel cramped. This bathroom was nicer than my setup at home for certain.
The balcony view was great and I could see myself sitting up here in the morning with a local newspaper, some coffee, or even some breakfast one morning soon.
After settling in, it was time for my tour of the resort. I want to settle in getting a lay of the land when I first check in to the resort. Often if I arrive early for check-in, I will use that time while I wait to check in. Today I just arrived after check-in had already started, so I was following my process in reverse.
Looking back at the amenities list you see that they have a hot tube, steam room, and massages available. A little mental birdy made me think steam room and then a massage would be amazing after my drive. I stopped by the Concierge and set up the massage for 1hr from now. I figured that would give me time for a quick look around then the massage followed by 30-minute steam or so.
My plan worked perfectly. The masseuse was great, her hands had a level of expertise that you rarely find in a resort. I chose a dip tissue massage, and that really made the muscles release tons of stress. Even though I enjoy a great drive, I had driven 8 hours today and was too tight. It was a perfect choice for something to do on, day one.
After the massage and steam, it was time to go back to the room, shower, and change and think about dinner. Often, I would normally eat on-site given the massage, my drive, and so on. Instead, my shower had helped me recover from lazy mode and I wanted to find something fun and local.
I chose the Foundry for my dinner. I was not sure what I wanted and saw that they serve American Fare, so I thought I would give it a try. When I arrived and got a table, I smelled the wood-fired pizza and I was all in. I chose a pie with aundui sausage and pepperoni. Their sauce was great, and the wood-fired pizza had the crunch of the crust that makes it so unique.
This location was much more than a pizza joint and should be higher on your list for a great meal in the area. They do a brunch as well that I want to make sure to catch.
After this great meal, I was stuffed and worked my way back to the resort for some rest.
Day Two at Club Wyndham Palm-Aire
OK, yesterday was a great start. I had a great massage, a fine meal, and much more. This morning I wanted to start slow with a local paper on the balcony, some fresh orange juice, an omelet, and some sausage links and toast.
This was a great unrushed start to the day. When you travel solo, one of the nice things is that you can go at whatever pace you like. You are not trying to make others happy, so you just do what makes you happy. Not selfish but more like self-nurturing.
After breakfast, I told myself I wanted to go to the beach itself. Florida has some of the best beaches in the World. Luckily the resort has a beach bus or rather a beach bus that runs every 15 minutes on the dot all day long. I had my car but did not want to hassle with parking, so this was ideal.
The trip to the beach was simple, easy as can be. The driver was nice, a semi-retired guy from Ohio who just enjoyed helping others have fun. We chatted some on the brief drive to the beach. We did not have long to talk because it is a fast drive. I do not know, maybe 6 minutes?
Anyway, you are let out almost right on the beach, and that makes life easy. I had a beach towel and clothing on my back and I was happy with that arrangement.
If you have not been before Pompano Beach, FL offers all that a beachgoer would want. Calm seas, rolling waves, plenty of sand, and room to move around. The beach was not overcrowded, and even the public access area the bus let you out on was not too busy. That makes it nice. I enjoy people-watching, but I do not like feeling like a giant pushing aside people when things are too busy.
I stayed at the beach for about 4 hours and enjoyed my time. After getting hot, I made my way back to the bus spot for pick up and returned to the resort. It was time to change and find an early dinner or late lunch.
I chose laper ladi pompano it offered the best Sicilian-style Italian food you can think of. I had not had this good of food since I went to one of the original Sicilian spots in Chicago. The sauce and the fresh-made pasta were great. You can always tell when a chef is in the kitchen and they make their own sauce and fresh pasta. The food becomes like another food group.
I decided to choose two entrees and take the leftovers back to the resort. Since I drove, the whole leftover back, the thing was as simple to do as when I was home.
Choosing first the Fettuccine Bolognese Fresh ground beef in a traditional meat sauce over house-made fettuccine. This was an easy decision. It was the best of the things the chef did: fresh pasta and fresh sauce. Simplicity at its best. For the second item, I chose Vitello al Marsala which was Tender veal scaloppine, sautéed with mushrooms and Marsala wine in a brown gravy sauce. This was the best veal I had had in a long time. Mentally it will go on my top 10 list. Right up there with the place in New York, I stumbled into at 17 with a girl I had a thing for from High School on a school trip. You could tell that the veal had been pounded to tenderize it, then perfectly breaded, which is a science or art (not sure which). This with the marsala made it heavenly and light.
The deserts looked great too,, but I opted out since I was already taking back food, about half of each item. Most friends of mine who think about traveling alone or eating alone like this say “I couldn’t do it” or “I would feel too self-conscious”. My answer is no, you would not. After you do it 1-2 times, it feels very comfortable and there are benefits to going at your own pace in life. Just as one benefits from time alone in nature, taking time to travel alone and reflect on your life can be powerful.
Dinner was amazing, but the night was young. After I went back to the resort and dropped off my late-night snack or odd but amazing breakfast (not sure when I was going to tackle it) I headed out for a few drinks.
Not wanting to drive, I made it to the resort bar. Many times, resort bartenders are great, but they are like the “B” team compared to the trendy bar staff that works at the most successful spots in town. I got lucky with a bartender at the resort who was very experienced, kind, and great at conversation. Marcie also provided me with some ideas for my travels tomorrow.
Day three: I remembered the brunch offering at the Foundry. I am a sucker for a great brunch. To me, brunch is like a touristy thing to do, and I love touristy things. Looking at my love of all things tourist I think it is because they make me feel nostalgic, and at the same time are a powerful reminder that I am really on a vacation. Sure, I am writing during this trip, but I truly enjoy those things that make me feel a little childlike again. A great brunch is one of those.
Take a look at that brunch menu and you already know it is great just from the options alone. While I prefer the brunch buffet setting to a brunch menu, this one was great, and the unlimited mimosa or bloody Mary was something to consider as well. I did the bottomless mimosa because even though it feels girly for this manly man, I love the fresh juices, and when in Florida why not.
I had sticky buns, and the chef special of the day, which was an egg casserole kind of dish that was very flavorful.
It is not often that I will go to the same restaurant two times on a trip. But the first meal was good, and I have seen the brunch menu so I broke my rule of thumb.
Today I wanted to do something on my last full day in town that was different from the beach or pool. Not sure if I was mentally waterlogged, or just missing out on the touristy element I so love.
I would have gone horseback riding, and the idea did go through my mind. But I said to myself that we were too far from Bush Gardens, they likely did not have a Clydesdale in the area. (Did I mention I am a big and heavy dude?)
Instead, I chose to go sailing. Since I had not been in a long time, I chose to charter a small boat for myself. It is not every day that you can take time to go sailing. Also, I have found many people still have never been sailing. I decided to invite my new favorite bartender and one of her friends along. Neither has sailed before, so it was a great opportunity for them, and more fun for me to not only enjoy sailing but to enjoy it through the eyes of someone experiencing it for the first time.
Things like a charter rental for sailboats with a captain seem expensive until you start to book them. When you look at the cost per person per hour, it is really affordable, especially for a new experience for friends. It is hard to replace the power of new experiences.
This would also be a great thing for a family to do together if you have teens or mature children who could be responsible on the boat. They would really get a kick out of the experience, and so would you.
I miss the time I used to be able to spend on the boat with my grandfather, and all the sailing I did at camp for a few summers growing up. I went camping seagull in NC and had daily access to boats every summer for a month for I think 3 years in a row. That was really something.
Having your own sailboat may not ever make sense financially or for where you live. But enjoying sailing via charter on vacation is an easy decision.
I never quite know how to end these blogs, because to be honest I could write for days about my experiences and never share enough. This resort is a great choice for couples or families. I would say it is a great fit for families since they offer 3–4-bedroom units and the bus to the beach as well as the onsite amenities.
Give this resort a try for your next Florida vacation and remember to travel Tzort Style.