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Bel-Air Beach Club - Ft. Myers Beach

codon

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Has anyone stayed recently at the Bel-Air Beach Club in Ft. Myers Beach? I have only been able to find older reviews and their website doesn't show much. Is their things to do close by, such as an aquarium or zoo?
 

theo

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Has anyone stayed recently at the Bel-Air Beach Club in Ft. Myers Beach? I have only been able to find older reviews and their website doesn't show much. Is their things to do close by, such as an aquarium or zoo?
It's an older and somewhat spartan facility, but it is well situated pretty much right on the Gulf beach. It is located at the busy (northern) end of Estero Island (a.k.a. Fort Myers Beach), within easy walking distance of Times Square and the Fishing Pier. The entire FMB "island" is less than 5 miles long from one end to the other.

FMB is very "touristy" --- there is no aquarium, art gallery, museum, etc. to be found there. It could be argued that there is a zoo however, but mostly in weeks 10 and 11 when the college "students" descend en masse for their Spring Break, often behaving like animals. Zoo-like, to be sure, but just one species and (sadly) no cages --- except temporarily for those who manage (demand?) to get themselves arrested for drunk and disordely public conduct.

I like FMB, but you'll have to leave the island for anything even remotely resembling cultural or educational activity. The Edison House in nearby Fort Myers (a separate, entirely different city) is a good take. If you're interested in the outdoors, the Ding Darling preserve (one of the first national wildlife sanctuaries in America, established by / during the Theodore Roosevelt era) on nearby Sanibel Island is also a good take. On FMB itself, the (...ahem) "culture" is comprised primarily of bars and joints, bicycle & scooter rentals, a tattoo parlor, two liquor stores, a Hooters, numerous restaurants and various tacky "T-shirt and trinket" shops in and around Times Square.
The phrase "cultural wasteland" actually comes promptly to mind for FMB, but despite that undeniable fact I actually like FMB --- but certainly for other reasons.

Don't know when you're going, but getting on and off the "island" of FMB in winter Snowbird season is a slow and tortuous process to be dreaded and / or avoided --- much worse at the northern end if entering or leaving FMB over the Matanzas Pass bridge.
 
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Free2Roam

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Don't know when you're going, but getting on and off the "island" of FMB in winter Snowbird season is a slow and tortuous process to be dreaded and / or avoided --- much worse at the northern end if entering or leaving FMB over the Matanzas Pass bridge.
Good info... How bad will it be week 52 (New Year's Eve)? Is that also considered snowbird season?
 

joewillie12

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Heavy snowbird season doesn't start until Feb. This is when schools start to let out for spring break,folks up north start to feel the pain of the winter cold and the Red Sox and Twins come to town.
 

theo

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Good info... How bad will it be week 52 (New Year's Eve)? Is that also considered snowbird season?
Any part of winter can be loosely regarded as "Snowbird" season, but generally speaking the peak is weeks 5 through 15, inclusive. These are also the weeks which are rarely (...if ever) available for "floating" week owner access in coastal SW FL (including anywhere in FMB), since most all of the weeks in all of the units during that Snowbird time frame are owned by fixed week owners. Exchanging into FMB during weeks 5-15 is very difficult and a really good score, if successfully obtained.
 
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rapmarks

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it is always busy there, if you want the beach take it, if you don't find a less congested area because that is very congested
 

Sea Six

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FMB, as they say at Hooters "Delightfully Tacky, Yet Unrefined".
 

Free2Roam

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I guess I'd better mentally prepare myself for the crowd. Already confirmed for week 52 in 2015.
 

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No need to worry yourself. Most of the flock will still be up north and us locals can't swim in water under 90 degrees so you'll be fine. The Key West Express is a few miles away if your looking to take a day trip down to Key West. Not a bad deal if you never have been to KW.
Enjoy your trip.
 

theo

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Opposing viewpoint...

The Key West Express is a few miles away if your looking to take a day trip down to Key West. Not a bad deal if you never have been to KW.
3 1/2 hours each way = 7 long (and very boring) hours out of your long day, just sitting around in a moving vessel. We did it once --- never again.
Witnessing numerous landlubbers being terribly (and visibly) seasick on the return trip was not exactly a "magical" visual or olfactory experience either.
The few hours ashore in Key West before the long slog back is not really much time to actually see or do a whole lot with all that there is to see in Key West.
To each his / her own of course --- YMMV. :shrug:

OTOH, if you stayed in Key West for an overnight (or two) before or after your timeshare occupancy, it might make the whole "Express" experience more tolerable.
There is ample (...and free, as far as I know) parking at the Key West Express departure point in Fort Myers, enabling you to leave your vehicle there for a few days.
 
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Can anyone tell me more about the resort itself?
 

theo

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Can anyone tell me more about the resort itself?
As stated previously, it's an older facility; somewhat spartan but reasonably well maintained, situated Gulf-front. Actual street address is 780 Estero Boulevard.

The building is made of concrete. There are 5 floors. All units are 2BR units, all essentially identical. I believe that most or all units have an attached screened porch.
No covered parking; open (paved) parking lot. There are four sides to the building; only west facing units have a direct Gulf view. Unremarkable pool on site.
Properties at that busy and congested (i.e., northern) end of FMB tend to be situated quite close to one another and this one is certainly no exception.
I don't believe that they schedule or conduct any organized activities on site, but that detail can of course always change from year to year.

Phone# for the facility is (239) 463-7773 if you actually need to know color of the drapes, brand of towels and / or other such minutia. :rolleyes:
 
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rapmarks

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that end of the beach is quieter, but we had a hard time getting off the island from there. you can actually drive all the way south to Bonita Beach from there, which I might do if I were going south.
We live near by too and never go to that beach if we can help it. Once we attempted to go to a restaurant near there from the south, and turned back and headed home and that was int;he fall. It will be worse later in the year. They have a big deal in Times Square on New Years Eve, and you can walk to that.
 

theo

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Nope --- that's a different facility in a different location...

Check TripAdvisor, they have current reviews also go to http://www.belleairbeachclub.biz
Sorry, but that provided link is actually for an entirely different place in an entirely different area. That link is for a place in Belleaire Beach (which is just south of Clearwater, north of Indian Rocks Beach --- and a good 75+ miles away from Fort Myers Beach where the Bel-Air Beach Club under current discussion is located).

I have a close friend who lives year round in Bellaire Beach, which is a very nice, quiet, upscale community. However, the Bel-Air Beach Club timeshare facility under discussion in this thread is located at 780 Estero Boulevard in Fort Myers Beach; 75+ miles away from Bellaire Beach and a different world entirely --- in lots of ways.
 
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