This is another beach resort review for you. Today we will be sharing our experience at the Fantasy Island Resort II in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Video by 601 TRAVELS
Day One Arrival at Fantasy Island Resort II
I chose again to drive down to Florida over taking a flight. The drive to Daytona is easier than some parts of Florida, but Daytona sits on the North-East Coast of Florida. This makes it about four hours closer than Miami or other locations further South.
Daytona Beach was founded in 1870 and officially became a city when it was incorporated in 1876. The beach itself became famous in the United States because it had miles of hard-packed sand and a wide beach area. This made the area popular for early car racing. In the 1920s Daytona was referred to as “The World’s Nicest Beach.” Over the years as auto racing became more popular, the now-famous race track was built, and the beach was then retaken by people over the cars.
Along with the popularity of Daytona for cars came its popularity for motorcycle owners as well. Every year the beach hosts Bike Week where motorcycle owners travel from all over the Nation to Daytona to have fun and enjoy time on the beach and in the community. This started in 1937 with the first Daytona 200.
This racing car and bike history have made the hospitality industry very skilled at providing great service and dealing with large crowds effectively. When you arrive at Daytona, you have the sense that the beach community has its act together.
I arrived at about 2 PM and thanks to my smartphone, drove right up to the driveway of the resort by 2:30 PM. I can barely remember how we found locations before smartphones. It was a lot of using landmarks and looking for building and house numbers.
The resort itself is at 3175 South Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach, FL 32118 which is easy to find because it is right off A1A and on the beach. Visually the resort has two large palm trees painted onto the exterior, which makes it easy to identify as well.
When you arrive, you may swallow a little thinking that you are staying at the Fantasy Island resort, which is the older-style resort next door. But fear, not your resort is the newer of the two and is much more modern.
It was too early for normal check-in when I arrived, but I thought I would see what the staff had to say. Sometimes they are ready and will let you in early. I will often ask if I have just driven a long way, making sure I am not in any way demanding. Over time, I have found that most staff will “hook you up” if they can.
Today they were working on a turnover and needed more time to prepare the room. No problem at all. They did offer to store my bags for me if I wanted. I had not yet taken them out of the car, but I declined. I was hungry, so I chose to go get something to eat and then come back.
I quickly found Millie’s Restaurant which was very close and sat down and ordered lunch. Since the restaurant brags about farm-to-table and fresh fish, I decided I would grab the fish sandwich. Today they had fresh Redfish which I have not had on a sandwich before, but it was good. The fresh lettuce and tomatoes also must have been right from a local farm because you could still taste the sunshine in the tomato.
After my lunch, I wiggled my way out the door and back to the resort for check-in. Checking into the room, I made note of the resort amenities and features of the room.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Whirlpool Bath
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- BBQ Grills
- Sunbathing Area
- Concierge Services
- Hot Tub
- Outdoor Heated Pool
As you see, the room had a full kitchen and a Whirlpool tub which was nice to see. I do not know why, but I enjoy taking a relaxing bath in a tub I know I do not have to clean and deal with. When it is a whirlpool or hot tub, it is even better.
At this resort, the one-bedroom villas were 592 square feet in size, which for the beachfront is very generous. The bedroom was to the left of the door to the unit kind of tucked away. Then you walked into the unit with the kitchen area, living room, and beyond that the balcony. I liked the layout because the bedroom would not get the massive amounts of morning sun in case I wanted to sleep on one of the days while I was here.
The balcony in the villa had a great ocean view, and it felt great getting in and opening the door to the balcony, and just listening to the ocean. Once I unpacked, I made my way to the couch near the balcony door, leaving the door open, and took a pillow from the bed, and took a nap. With the salt air coming into the room, I was out like a light in no time.
After the nap, I woke refreshed. It was not almost dark and I think I woke because the temperature had dropped in the room with the door open to the ocean. Time for dinner.
Often on trips to these resorts, I will take advantage of the kitchens and go shopping for groceries when I first get to town. This trip I was feeling lazy and other than just a few breakfast and snack options, I think I wanted to eat out most of the time I was here.
So off I went in search of dinner. I think I have shared before that I try not to go to chain restaurants when I travel. I want to try local food and experience new things. But less than a few hundred yards away was a Red Lobster, so I was like what the heck. I can walk to red lobster and not even move the car. So, I made my way across the moderately busy street before dark and went in and grabbed a table.
Red Lobster often has a special they call the Lobsterfest, and it was that time now. I ordered a 3-part menu item called the lobster dream which was 2 different lobster tails, and a shrimp and lobster pasta dish all in one. It was a good meal from start to finish. After finishing, I made my way across the now-darkened street back to the resort and up to my room.
It was now cool enough that I either needed to grab a blanket or close the door to the balcony. I opted for the blanket and stayed on the comfortable sofa for a while longer. I love the sound of the ocean and the smell of the salt air.
Day Two at Fantasy Island Resort II
Well, I woke up a little stiff because instead of getting up and going to bed I have fallen asleep on the sofa and never moved. How I did not need to get up during the night at least once is beyond me. Maybe the salt air?
I also woke with the sun because I had left the door to the balcony open all night. Never fear I had turned off the unit HVAC, so at least I did not feel guilty about running it all night. Though given the nighttime chill in the air, it may have not come on, anyway.
It was time for some breakfast. Again, just across the street, I found another chain. The Waffle House was the other way across the street, but just as close as Red Lobster. If you do not have Waffle House near you, they are an affordable breakfast chain that cooks pretty much everything on a griddle in front of you if you sit at the counter. These days often the counter seats are not comfortable, so I sit at the table.
I got my usual (there is a location near my home in Virginia Beach) the All-Star Special which comes with a Waffle, 2 eggs, toast, and bacon or sausage. When there is a choice, I always choose sausage. I also opted to add cheese to my eggs. This makes an affordable, hearty breakfast.
Once I had finished my breakfast, I walked back to the resort, grabbed my car, and went to the grocery store just for a few essentials. As I mentioned earlier, I intended to eat out for most of this trip.
After picking up a few items from the local Publix supermarket (just out to the right from the resort less than a mile.), I returned to the resort and went to the beach. I remained relaxing on the beach until late afternoon when my stomach began to insist that my mind was wrong as it must have been a year since I last ate.
Maybe the salt air not only makes me breathe better and sleep well, but it also makes me hungry.
For dinner, I found an Italian spot near the road over to A1A that I had taken when coming into the resort. It was very close and easy to find. The menu has many of my favorites, so it was a little hard to choose at first. But then my eyes found the dinner I wanted, and I ordered happily.
For my money, it is hard to beat Veal parmesan, when it is cooked right. You have to be in a real Italian restaurant or you will end up with a frozen piece of veal and that is not the same thing. You can get a veal parmesan at dinner, but 80% of the time it will taste like something else because the veal itself is not great. But at a good Italian restaurant, you get real fresh veal, lightly breaded, and you also get a great marinara sauce. This was one of those meals.
As I often do, I also got some to-go food. Since you have those refrigerators in a room and microwaves, it seems a no-brainer to take something to go back to the room. I had smelled the Italian sausage here, so I took some back with me.
I was full, but the smell of the sauce and the sausage was so good on the way back to the resort that it almost made me hungry again. I knew a late-night snack was in my future.
What do you do in a town when you have beachfront access and a heated pool on the ocean? You wake up and get in the pool at the start of the day. I stayed in the pool until my skin looked like I was 111 around my hands and feet. Then since it has warmed up, I moved to a chair and let the sun dry me off slowly.
It was March and the high today was going to be 81 degrees. Man, you have to love Florida. I had left Virginia in the 60s for the daytime high, and here about 12 hours from home I felt like it was summer. I have lived one summer on the beach, but never this far south. I wonder if I could take the warm climate all year. Perhaps someday I will have to find out.
I spent the rest of the day having fun in the sun. Tomorrow would be here before you know it, and I would have to leave this nice beachfront spot. I did not want to go.
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