Wyndham Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach, FL. This resort location is close to a ton of neat spots on the lower East Coast of Florida.
Day One Arrival
Since I was just moving from one resort to the next, the drive from my previous resort in Fort Myers Beach was a quick one, being just 2 hours. Going from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ocean seemed a bit like a different world for a place just 2 hours away. Both are special but very different from beach towns go.
Here the resort was easy to find and check-in was a breeze. I was staying in a 1-bedroom but the resort also has 2-bedroom, and studios available as well.
My one-bedroom has the standard amenities one comes to expect from these resorts.
- In-Room Safe
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Jetted Tub
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Activities Center
- BBQ Grills
- Beach Access
- Bocce Ball
- Live Entertainment
- Hot Tub
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Laundry Facilities
- Owner Lounge
- Outdoor Heated Pool
- Wi-Fi Internet Access
I love having the kitchen even if it is just for snacks or a light breakfast. When you are with the family, it is nice to have the option to cook to cut down on expenses during those lean years, we all have in life.
Here the room offered the jetted tub, which was nice for relaxing in, and a nice water view, which was a sound side-like view of the water. The resort itself was steps from the ocean across Ocean Blvd, and on the sound side with limited balcony views of the water. A nice location that was convenient too many local spots and the water on both sides of the resort.
If you feel spoiled by beachfront resorts and need to be on the beach, then my earlier resort in Panama City Beach on the Gulf might be the one for you. I like to stay in resorts on the beach like anyone, but the value of staying just a little off the beach can free up money for going out, or that vacation when financially you might not be able to get away otherwise.
To get a better feel for the resort yourself check out their 360 tour here. You will see it is a top-shelf destination and well-maintained. If you look at the 1-bedroom unit, you can see the jetted tub is actually in the bedroom. Feels like saying that should come with some bow ckicka wow wow, kind of music. Certainly, a neat feature for couples.
The villa had a nice sized kitchen but seemed to be missing bar stools until I realized how smart the designers were because they added a lower counter where you could use the dining room table chairs for breakfast or eating at the counter. That could be great for a father or grandfather making his famous pancakes or omelets or whatever and serving them up hot for the kids. It was a neat idea.
A quick resort rundown from the staff later and I found out the resort has private beach access, as well as access to a marina as well. So it is much more than it appears at first glance.
Some reviews from their recent guests.
All Worldmark/Wyndham properties should modern their resorts and staff after Santa Barbara.
Great staff, clean units, the pool area was very clean & organized & not crowded. I definitely recommend this resort & will be going back.
Very friendly and courteous staff, helpful and obliging in every way, made our stay fabulous and we plan to be back to visit our Santa Barbara family often! Great quick access to the lovely beach and nearby shopping, dining etc. Highly recommended!
Impressive recent reviews for Wyndham Santa Barbara for sure. I stayed here almost a year ago as I am writing this now but I am posting these recent reviews so you get a fresh feeling of how much people like this resort and staff. My experience was much the same. The staff here in part make the location so special. I felt like I was in an episode of fantasy islands just for the greeting part at the start of the show. While there was not tattoo there were smiled all around which really makes a difference on a vacation. I am sure some of them were having a bad day being humans like us all, but you sure could not tell. As a former manager, I wanted to meet the general manager here to shake his or her hand. They were someone who knew their business and how to work with staff for sure. It really shows when a place is well managed. The staff feels appreciated and valued. This means that they also treat you as a customer much better as well.
After checking in, it was time to sample some local food. I headed to Deep Oceanfront which is really within walking distance, but I was feeling lazy so I just hopped in the car. Their website also links to the Pompano Beach Cam which is a great way to look at the beach here live and get a feel for the beachfront before you arrive, or even before you head to the beach in the morning.
I started my meal with a Caesar salad then moved on to the entrée and I chose a just off-the-hook Mahi Mahi which is a favorite fish of mine. Here you can view a virtual tour of the ocean side seating beneath the Tiki style roof outside.
The meal was great, and I started having maybe a few too many cocktails to drive back legally to the resort, so I carefully walked instead. Making sure doing so would not get my car towed. The waiter took care of me with that concern. I would come back in the morning and grab the car. I did not fear for my safety in driving the short distance, but I have no desire to get a DUI just because I had one extra drink on a vacation.
I was in full control of my faculties, but legally I felt like I would not want a breath test. Years before I would have had a small breathalyzer with me just to be safe. But now at 50 I just do not risk anything at all. It is just not worth it.
Day Two at Wyndham Santa Barbara
I woke feeling fine since I really did not overdo it last night. But it was time to go get my car and then find somewhere for breakfast first thing. I could have just eaten at Deep Ocean again but I found a spot called Denise’s Kitchen that I wanted to try.
This has an old-time lunch counter feel to it, with a friendly staff, good prices, and great food. The girl that waited on me was called Jenifer and was very nice and made a point of learning my name and being very kind while getting the food out hot and fast. It was another breakfast that reminded me of the breakfast scene in the movie Defending Your Life which if you have not seen it, you should. A funny comedy by Albert Brooks.
After breakfast, it was back to the resort and then to the beach. Pompano Beach is a great beach to just unwind and relax. Not too big and busy, and not wild like some beaches in Florida tend to get. I spent the better part of the day at the beach until late afternoon when amazingly after my large breakfast I was hungry again. Amazing how just sitting still you can still get hungry. My stomach does not judge if I have been active or not, only if I have eaten recently.
For lunch slash early dinner, I went to the Briny Irish Pub which was a hole-in-the-wall kind of place and I bellied up to the bar for some great fish and chips and a few beers. A little hair of the dog if you would. Though today I only had a couple. The fish and chips are something that you would think would be an easy dish to get right but many places overcook the fish or use frozen fish and you can taste the difference. Here the fish and chips tasted great and went down smoothly with a few black and tans. Hey, when in an Irish pub and all.
The pub is next door or even attached to an ice cream place so that was my next stop. It has a funny name for Razzleberry’s but the ice cream was made on site and very tasty. It is open until 9PM so it was a good transition move after dinner to keep me moving. Even though I am not a big drinker anymore, an Irish pub can trap me in a happy zone and see me closing a place down, so the ice cream was a great distraction.
I tried a double dip in a waffle cone and I was off to a sugary zone of happiness almost instantly.
Day Three seeing more of Pompano Beach
I wanted to not only spend time on the beach here but also get to know the area. I liked what I had experienced so far. Pompano is above Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beaches. It is in a nice area of its own and seems to be a good blend of touristy with locals here too.
I went to the Festival Marketplace, which is a large indoor air-conditioned building with many local vendors inside. A great place to support small local businesses with your hard-earned dollars. I was going for some gifts to take back from my trip to my family.
Here you will find 250 shops again all indoors so on an 85-degree day it can be a welcomed break from outdoors during the hottest part of the day. I ended up just getting some custom t-shirts made at a place called boardwalk gifts inside. Then I grabbed some of the typical beach travel gifts, like fridge magnets, and a few hats for other people.
Since it was still blazing hot outside without any breeze in site, I drove to Sunrise Florida to a car museum. This one is the Dauer museum. Here you can do either a self-guided tour or a guided tour depending on your time and budget. I went with the guided tour and they made an exception for me on the one-ticket rule. I think they felt sorry for me, thinking I was lonely. When in reality this is the kind of thing I love to do solo unless there is a niece or nephew that has real interest.
The collection includes 56 cars or so and a few machines and gadgets. I really liked seeing the old-school convertibles. They just do not make cars like these anymore. I want someone to come out with a new model land yacht-style car but no one wants to be looked at funny by environmentalists I guess so there are none.
After this museum, I was in the car mood so I drove to Fort Lauderdale and the antique car museum. Here a ticket was $10 via a donation and it was a smaller collection but much older cars in general. If you are a car nut or a grandfather wanting to show the kids something either one of these locations would be fun for a stop. All of these cars were before my time, but they were great to see.
It was time for some food and then to finish my day on the beautiful beaches here. For a late lunch, I went to Houston’s this was pricy but for the quality of their steaks a worthwhile expense. It had been a while since I had a good steak and I was almost all seafood out. Even when it is wonderful every day, the same thing does get old.
I had asked them about the best steak in town from the concierge, and this was what she recommended. If I was not 25 years older than her, I would have asked her along lol. Beach towns and cute girls go together well.
The meal was outstanding, but it would be a place most would reserve for a special meal like an anniversary or such, not to bring the entire tribe for dinner. At dinner time the entrée could be north of $40 worth it, but rough on a family of 4 for some. If you booked through TZort thought you did save a great deal on your villa so who knows maybe you splurge here.
After my late lunch, I went back to the private beach to catch the sunset and spend a little early evening time on the beach. When the beach cools on a hot day at nighttime, those hours seem magical. I was wondering if I was missing living music somewhere, but I was too lazy to go looking for it, and I was comfortable on this private stretch of beach.
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