When you hear the brand “Best Western” you probably don’t first think of a beach resort, but on Fort Myers Beach in Florida, this one with a Plus in the name is a top waterfront choice.
Ft. Myers Beach doesn’t get as much attention as its nearby island cousins of Sanibel and Captiva, but it’s a miles-long stretch of white sand that, in any other state besides Florida, would be the main attraction. It’s got all the elements you would expect in your beach break, like seafood restaurants, beach bars, ice cream shops, and a long pier. It’s also close to the ferry terminal for Key West Express, a passenger ship that sails between here and the Florida Keys. (See our review for Chelsea House Hotel, where I ended up.)
Best Western Plus Beach Resort Hotel in Fort Myers sits just north of the bridge coming over from the mainland, walking distance to dozens of shops and restaurants but removed enough to be quiet. It has one of the most attractive beachfront areas on the strip, with lounge areas, shuffleboard, a pool, and nice landscaping.
The only thing missing is a staffed bar. The one thing this property does have in common with its brand moniker motels is minimal staffing. There’s a full breakfast in the morning, the front desk crew is helpful, and housekeeping does a diligent job. There are no real facilities here though that would require more people to run. Fortunately that means they don’t care what you drink outside as long as it’s not glass, so you can hit the local 7-11 or liquor store and make your own group party if you want. There are even gas grills for a cookout.
Speaking of buying supplies, one huge advantage of the rooms at this Fort Myers Beach resort is that they have full kitchens. Even the smallest standard rooms have a full-sized fridge, cooking burner, microwave, coffee maker, sink, and utensils. There’s a granite counter and small breakfast bar. The style is beach hotel basic, with light tile floors and lots of white, but bedding provides a splash of color and every room faces the blue Gulf of Mexico waters through or across palm trees. A sliding glass door opens to a furnished balcony for taking in the view.
Other amenities are ample, including an electronic safe, included WiFi, an easy chair, wall-mounted TV, padded headboard, a phone with free calls across the country, and standard toiletries in the bathroom. The alarm clock here does double duty: it provides two regular outlets and two USB outlets on your end table by the bed.
Mini suites add a living room set in more space, with a fold-out bed for the kids. Actual suites have separate living and dining rooms, up to a two-bedroom master suite that’s 1100 square feet.
There’s a lounge area in the lobby and plenty of sitting areas outside. The pool is not huge but it is well-maintained and is right by the beach. The restaurant is only open for breakfast, but it’s a good breakfast with a range of hot and cold items to choose from. It’s bright and cheerful too, with large windows facing the greenery and the sea.
The main reason people come here is the beach, of course, and this resort deserves kudos for having its own beach chairs out front for guest use—and no shady “resort fee” tacked onto the rates as a stealth charge for them. You will have to pay up to rent watersports equipment, but parking is included in the rates.
Rates are higher than you’d probably expect here thanks to simple supply and demand, sometimes topping $400 a night with the local 11% taxes in high season. Between June and November they can dip down closer to $200 for a standard, especially if you are eligible for a discount via AAA, AARP, or active military. See the official hotel site or the Best Western site to book direct, check prices at Hotels.com to compare.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted one night at the property for purposes of review.