Kokilaa Kapur and Akshay Kapur went on a holiday with their children to Florida in June 2014. Here is their ‘trip report’ which gives you some ideas about doing a different Florida.

We are back home, back to routine after a fabulous vacation to Florida. When you think Florida, you think Orlando, Disney, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, etc. Well, we did see animals, but not the kind that talk back!!! Thanks to Suhasini and the Lighthouse team we were able to put together a trip which was a perfect blend of the sun, sand and beach, accompanied by the gorgeous American countryside and, of course, some much needed retail therapy.

The Breakers at West Palm Beach was our first stop. It was a perfect fit for my scuba diving husband and pool obsessed kids. It had something to offer for all age groups. With 4 pools, a gaming centre and hourly activities for the kids, I was able to squeeze in some serious R&R…sipping citron lemonade and reading my book by the poolside. The day would get off to a great start with a snorkelling trip each morning. Our 8-year old son would eagerly await this activity. He also took his first scuba diving lesson in the pool, which was very special for my husband, who hopes that some day this could be an interest they both share together. On my husbands dive trips, he saw gigantic 6-10 feet wide turtles, which would surely put a smile on even the most demanding diver’s face. Our younger one, age 4, had plenty to do on the property as well. Feeding the resident turtles, getting glitter tattoos, making collectible sand art and participating in treasure hunts, to name just a few, kept her well occupied.

Not too far from the hotel was Rapids – a water park, which well satisfied our need for an adrenaline rush. We also took the kids to Lion County Safari, which was one of a kind in Florida. Five glorious days came to an end before we knew it. We were not sure our next stop would match up to the kind of fun we had here. But boy, were we in for the time of our lives!!!!

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Where do I start?

Our next stop was Creek Ranch. It was in the middle of no where. I am soo glad we trekked there, ’cause it was one of the most special places we have ever visited. One may have stayed at fancier properties no doubt, be it a One&Only, Four Seasons or a St. Regis, nothing seems to match up to the love and personal care we received here. Creek Ranch is spread across 1300 acres of the most gorgeous Florida countryside. Cows in the pasture, horses in the barn, baby gators in the swamp, beautiful lakes made complete with stunning sunsets.

As we entered the house we were awe struck by its beauty. Each of the five rooms at the bunk house were spectacular!!! Every room has its own unique look and feel, multiple dining areas each with a different exquisite setting, state-of-the-art kitchen, and a beautifully appointed living area. You could tell that the host family had gathered artefacts from all over the word over their decades of travel.

Rhonda – the house manager – made us feel completely at home. She was great with the kids, and her attention to detail was unsurpassed. I would look forward to her table setting at each meal. Her warm smile and her willingness to tend to every guest’s need makes her the most gracious hostess.

Rose – the chef – was just simply outstanding!!! She made us have some of our best EVER meals. While Rose puts a glorious meal together from scratch, you are welcome to sit and chat with her. Her stories are as entertaining as her food.

Jimmy – the cowboy and his assistant John, were the instrument of all the fun for us at the ranch. From fishing, swamp buggy, horse riding to pontoon boat ride, they made sure the kids time in the outdoors was both constructive and fun!

None of what I say does justice to the actual place. We experienced the beauty of nature we didn’t know existed in Florida. A real disconnect from the modern world. Even weeks after our trip is over we have fond recollections of our visit. For this I have to thank one and only one person – Suhasini. This stop made our vacation complete at all levels. It was exactly what I had in mind.

At the end of 4 days, with heavy hearts and great memories we were off to Miami beach. We made Fountaine Bleau our home for the next 5 nights. FB with its energetic vibe was mini Vegas in Miami. We had some great gourmet meals and shopped till we dropped!!! A private yacht through the inland water ways of Miami is a must do!!! Sipping chilled beers while admiring the homes of celebrities was super fun…

With that our grand holiday came to an end…each one of us came back satisfied!!! I once read somewhere ‘travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’. Thank you, Suhasini for making our lives so much richer, thank you for helping us create memories we will cherish forever!!!

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