Sanibel, one of the most unique islands in the world, is known for its sugary-white sand beaches, colourful foliage, and world-class wildlife preserves. Known as the ‘Seashell Capital of the World’, the island is also famed for the abundance of seashells found along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
With sun, sea, and pristine sand beaches, Sanibel Island makes for the perfect laid-back, sun-soaked escape – and thanks to its sub-tropical climate, this charming beach town in southwest Florida offers outdoor activities year-round; including kayaking, water-skiing, boating, and canoeing to name a few so you can enjoy the best the island has to offer any time of year.
Sanibel Island also offers a fantastic array of gorgeous hotels that range from romantic boutique options to casual beachside retreats and more luxurious hotels by the water. Here are the top cool and unusual hotels on Sanibel Island, Florida (in no particular order)...
1. Sundial Beach Resort & Spa – a spectacular beachside resort with full sporting and spa facilities perfect for an active holiday
Perched on a beach on the Gulf of Mexico, this hip and stylish resort is a 2-minute drive from the boutiques and markets of Periwinkle Way. Vibrant, modern suites and studios at this chic hotel are equipped with private patios and fully functional kitchens whilst some units have sleeper sofas and washers/dryers ensuring a comfortable, homely stay.
The cool and contemporary Sundial Beach Resort and Spa hotel also boasts two casual cafes, a sushi bar, a restaurant and an infinitely Instagrammable poolside bar.
Make the most of the resort’s ample amenities with access to tennis courts, an adjacent golf course, swimming pools, and the use of beach chairs, bicycles, and kayaks. After a day filled with unforgettable activities, why not unwind in the full-service spa?
Address: 1451 Middle Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
2. Seahorse Cottages – a cute adults-only retreat boasting quaint private cottages and an inviting pool area made for romantic escapes
Nestled just 3-minutes’ walk away from the spectacular Gulf Coast, these beautifully finished yet charmingly rustic holiday cottages feature four individually decorated rooms with a separate living room and comfortably furnished patios making Seahorse Cottages a great option for those looking for a cool, quirky stay on Sanibel Island.
Each private holiday home is equipped with a flat-screen TV complete with cable channels, ironing equipment, a dining table, a full-sized refrigerator, a coffee maker, and a microwave allowing for a relaxing stay in your home away from home on Sanibel Island. Communal amenities include an outdoor pool, laundry facilities, and a garden with barbecue equipment ideal for those balmy Florida evenings.
When you’re ready to venture out of your secluded romantic hideaway, then popular attractions near the property include Sanibel Lighthouse, Gulfside Beach and Bunche Beach.
Address: 1223 Buttonwood Lane, Sanibel, FL 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Seahorse Cottages
3. Casa Ybel Resort – a glamourous coastal resort, nestled amid spectacular grounds overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and offering picture-perfect Insta-worthy vistas
Choose from Casa Ybel Resort’s range of gorgeous ocean view suites – each boasting its own private balcony or patio – and you will find yourself gazing out over the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Each suite has a fabulously appointed living room with a sofa bed, a full kitchen, a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, free Wi-Fi, and an iPod dock and so provides and chic and contemporary base from which to explore the many highlights of Sanibel Island. This high-end, all-suite resort is a 4-minute drive from the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
There is an on-site restaurant dishing out Asian-European fusion in a glamourous, romantic setting whilst the two swimming pools, beach volleyball and basketball areas, a kids’ activity club, six tennis courts, and a poolside bar/grill offer plenty of opportunities to stay active during your holiday to Sanibel Island.
Address: 2255 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Casa Ybel Resort
4. Island Inn – a sprawling 10-acre beachside resort so perfect relaxing retreat for Millennials, Gen-Zs, couples and families alike
A plush, historic resort Island Inn is located on a private beach located six miles from Bowman’s Beach, with JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge reachable within a 2-minute drive.
Bright, modern studios at Island Inn are equipped with kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, and screened balconies. Suites come with full kitchens, while each of one- to three-bedroom cottages have living rooms, pull-out sofas, screened-in porches, and beach or/and Gulf views. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms.
Complimentary amenities include parking and continental breakfast, which is served in the on-site restaurant which in the evenings serves wonderfully fresh local seafood.
Other on-site amenities include tennis courts, outdoor games, a heated outdoor pool, and communal BBQ stations, so you will have plenty of options for everything from daytime activities to sophisticated evening dining.
Address: 3111 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Island Inn
5. Blue Dolphin Hotel – a cool and quirky beachfront hideaway finished in a typically tropical style and filled with Floridian character
A family-owned, tropical-style beachfront hotel located directly on a sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico, the Blue Dolphin Hotel is one of Sanibel Island’s most charmingly unique beach hotels.
The bright, airy rooms at the chic hotel have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minifridges, microwaves, and coffee makers whilst kitchenettes are available in premier rooms.
One-bedroom suites have full kitchens and separate living rooms and many offer stunning beach views that make for the perfect backdrop for an evening cocktail or two.
Complimentary extras include hire bikes, beach umbrellas and chairs, and a generous continental breakfast. Blue Dolphin Hotel also boasts a beachfront deck, BBQ facilities, and a luxuriant garden with shaded tables for whiling away a few laid back hours with a book.
Address: 4227 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Casa Ybel Resort
6. Sunset Beach Inn – cool, modern beach hotel with great facilities close to golf club and boasting spacious rooms amid well-kept gardens
A laid-back, modern beachfront hotel on the eastern end of Sanibel, about two miles from the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge the simple yet elegant rooms and suites at Sunset Beach Inn are each outfitted with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and microwaves.
Some rooms feature screen balconies and/or Gulf views, while upgraded rooms and suites offer full kitchens. Free Wi-Fi is available in each holiday apartment.
A picnic area with gas grills, a heated outdoor pool, a beach with a dedicated shell-washing station, and tennis and shuffleboard courts make up the communal outdoor areas and are a consistent hit with hotel guests, whilst the spacious rooms provide the perfect place to recharge after a day of soaking up the sun and before heading out for a delicious dinner.
Address: 3287 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Sunset Beach Inn
7. Nerita Home – cool and contemporary holiday home with light and airy living spaces, perfect for friends’ holiday by the beautiful local beaches
A shabby-chic holiday home featuring four bedrooms each with private balcony, three bathrooms, a living room with plush seating and flat-screen, fully functional kitchen with abundant storage plus a 3-person breakfast bar and a laundry.
Outside you will find a stunning additional summer living space, featuring both patio and decked areas; a swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers as well as a hot tub.
If you can drag yourself away from that fabulously Insta-worthy outdoor pool area, then opular points of interest near Nerita Home include Gulfside Beach, Sanibel Lighthouse, and Lakes Regional Park.
Address: 788 Nerita Street, Sanibel, 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Nerita Home
8. Villa Dolce Vita – a stunning private villa close to the beach and offering a host of luxury amenities as well as the ultimate in Instagrammable glamour
Located on Old Trail Road near Gulfside Beach, Villa Dolce Vita features five well-appointed bedrooms and can sleep up to twelve adults – making it the perfect place for a larger group of friends and family to gather and celebrate a special occasion in luxurious style.
The interior of this elegantly furnished holiday villa is decorated with a tasteful monochrome palette and features a games room with a pool table, four bathrooms, a laundry, a living room with a fireplace and a flat-screen, an adjoining dining area with white-table-cloth chairs as well as a full kitchen with not one but two breakfast bars.
Outside you will find a large terrace complete with sturdy outdoor furniture and a beautifully modern swimming pool area complete with sun loungers and BBQ area.
The popular beach spot of Tarpon Bay Beach is located just a 2-minute drive from the property.
Address: 390 Old Trail Road, Sanibel, 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Villa Dolce Vita
9. SANDDOLLAR A303 – a unique and quirky holiday apartment with a thoughtfully designed oceanic theme that makes for the ideal beach stay
An artful apartment located on Middle Gulf Drive, less than a mile from Gulfside Beach, Sanddollar A303 has three individually designed bedrooms, two bathrooms equipped with showers, a kitchen with a 3-person breakfast bar, a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, an adjoining dining area with seating for six, and two screened balconies.
Other amenities include a heated outdoor pool surrounded by sun loungers, a patio with outdoor furniture, and barbecue facilities quite literally made for whiling away relaxed evenings with loved ones in the laid-back, casual atmosphere of Sanibel Island.
Those who wish to can enjoy cycling and walking nearby whilst other popular attractions near the apartment include Bailey Matthews Shell Museum and Punta Rassa Beach.
Address: 1785 Middle Gulf Drive, Sanibel, 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Sanddollar A303
10. Blind Pass Condominiums – a hidden jewel in Sanibel’s crown located on the island’s quiet west end a short walk to the best shelling beach on Sanibel
Blind Pass Condominiums, a wonderfully secluded, tropical holiday home with minimalistic furnishings features two coastal-themed bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry, a living area with a flat-screen TV, a kitchenette with a 3-person breakfast bar, and an adjoining dining area with seating for six.
Outside, there is an outdoor pool and garden, both of which are shared by the guests of all three-holiday homes within the development.
Guests are encouraged to make the most of the range of activities on offer in the local area, including canoeing, hiking, and tennis. Both the beautiful Bowman’s Beach and spectacular Tarpon Bay Beach are located just a short walk from the property, so you’ll have a choice of locations from which to soak up the Floridian sun.
Address: 5117 Sea Bell Rd Unit D205, Sanibel, 33957, United States
- To book, check prices or availability for Blind Pass Condominiums
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Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued his taste for seeking out new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring everything from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, street food, playing carrom, and fine wine and knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations.