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Marco Island Resort Florida. Marriott Crystal Shores Review

Marriott Crystal Shores is a spectacular resort in Marco Island, Florida. The resort has amazing apartments, fully equipped with the comforts of home. You’re right on south beach, and its beautiful white sands. The resort also has tons of activities to keep your family occupied. Swimming pools, hot tubs, water slide, shuffle board, table tennis, coffee tasting and so much more.

I stayed for one week with my family. I had an absolute blast. The view from my apartment on the 15th floor was EPIC! The inside of the apartment was just as good. The kitchen was fully stocked. The furnishings were luxurious.


I was in two minds when I booked the resort. The photos on Marriott’s website don’t do justice to the resort. The photos don’t capture just how beautiful this place is. However, everyone I spoke to, raved about this place!

I took the plunge and decided to visit. I’m glad I did!

FYI: My photos in this article are better than the ones on the Marriott Website! This review has more photos than any other article on my blog (I think!). Each photo can be clicked, to open out the full slideshow.

During our vacation, we had intended to do daily excursions to the Everglades and other areas. We ended up cancelling those plans. We were having so much fun at the resort!

What I Liked

  • Beautiful 15th floor apartment, with amazing view
  • Prime location on South Beach, Marco Island
  • Three swimming pools
  • Water slide
  • Daily activity schedule. Coffee tasting, bingo, beach yoga and much more
  • Table Tennis Table, pool table, shuffle board and other games
  • Large Fitness Centre
  • The staff were wonderful
  • The resort was beautifully designed

What Could Be Improved

  • No kids club
  • No housekeeping

The Booking

Marriott Crystal shores is a Marriott Vacation Club (MVC) Property. This means that the property has apartments, rather than hotel rooms. I’m a member of the program, which is how I booked the resort. I used my annual allocation of MVC points. As an MVC member, I don’t pay resort fees or parking charges.

My 2-bed apartment would have cost $9,100 in cash. Which I could never afford!

There’s a number of ways you can save money, when staying here. Don’t pay $9,100 for a week..

The most popular method is to stay on a ‘preview package’. You pay $900 to stay for 4 nights (yes, that’s nine hundred). You also get 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points. What’s the catch? You’ll need to sit through a 1 hour presentation, about Marriott’s timeshare program.

There’s no obligation to buy anything. Obviously, if you don’t want to sit through a presentation, then you shouldn’t book a preview package.

However, if you do want to book a preview package, then email me. Provide the below information.

  • Name
  • Telephone Number (include country code)
  • Email address
  • City you live in


The packages get released every so often, and they go fast. If you want one, then I wouldn’t wait around.

Another trick to save money, is to use Marriott Bonvoy Points. I would have needed 420,000 points to stay for the week. You can buy those points for $4,038. Under half price, compared to $9,100. You can buy Marriott Bonvoy points on this page.

If you’re not a member of Marriott Bonvoy, then sign up via this link. As a reward, you get a bonus of 2,000 points, for each of your first 5 bookings. In theory, I will earn 2,000 bonus points too. In practise, I probably won’t. Each year, I earn bonus points for the first 5 people I refer to Marriott Bonvoy. You’re probably not one the first 5 people I referred this year. Don’t be upset!

The Location

Marriott Crystal Shores is a Marco Island resort in Florida. Marco Island is a beautiful spot on the Gulf Coast of Florida. There are stunning white sand beaches. This resort is located on South Beach, which is the prime spot on the Island. Marriott Crystal Shores is surrounded by upscale resorts, including Hilton and JW Marriott.

The nearest airport is Fort Myers. Which is 50 miles away. About a 1 hour drive.

Another airport you can use is Miami International Airport. Which is on the east coast of Florida. I flew into Miami with my family. We then drove to Marriott Crystal Shores. The drive was 2 hours, to travel 100 miles.

In terms of shopping, there’s some local shops on the same road. To be honest, these shops are a tourist trap. Overpriced. There’s a gas station across the road. It has some basic groceries. The nearest supermarket is Publix, which is 3 miles away. About a 10 minute drive.

The Resort

Marriott Crystal Shores is a Marriott Vacation Club (MVC) Property. This means that the resort has apartments rather than hotels rooms. The apartments are fully stocked, with all the comforts of home. Kitchen, living room, washing machines, utensils etc. As I’m an owner with MVC, I was given an apartment on the top floor (15th floor).

The resort had the following facilities:

  • Beach front property
  • Three swimming pools
  • Two Jacuzzis
  • Water slide
  • Large Fitness Centre
  • Table Tennis
  • Pool table
  • Giant chess
  • Shuffle board
  • Corn hole
  • Daily activities schedule
  • Two restaurants


The swimming pools, games and activities are located in the centre of the resort. The apartments surround the centre of the resort.

Marriott Crystal Shores is right on South Beach. To get to the beach, you walk across the wooden bridge at the back of the resort. The beach is public. It’s large, and has amazing white sand.

There’s loads of activities to keep you occupied. Table Tennis, Pool table, giant chess and shuffle board facilities are available. I really appreciated this. The time really flew by, as there was so much to do.

The resort had a packed, daily activities schedule. From 8.30am to 6.30pm. The activity schedule is shown below. We had loads of fun. Each day started off with coffee tasting. You got three small cups, each a different blend. They changed the coffees each day. We also took part in bingo and beach yoga, amongst other things.

 

 

 

There's no kids club at the resort. This is a little annoying. It means that I needed to entertain my daughter the entire day...

The activities staff were lovely and friendly. I have a young family, and they made an effort with us. They made our vacation much better!

There’s two restaurants on site. One is a pizza place. The other restaurant is a fast food joint. Think burgers, fries and comfort food. We ate at each restaurant twice. The food was decent, although not to my personal taste. I try to stay healthy.

The lobby entrance was at the front of the resort. It’s a modest lobby. Marriott Vacation Club Properties prefer to spend money on the apartments, rather than a grand lobby. I like this, as I spend more time in my apartment.

There’s a business centre in the lobby. Just a table with a couple of Mac computers. I don’t think I saw anyone using the computers.

 

 



The resort had a very nice design. There were a couple of cool water features. One was at the front of the resort, next to the lobby. Photo below. There was another water feature at the back of the resort, next to the adult pool. 

 

 

The Activities

Marriott Crystal Shores has a full schedule of activities, every day. From 8.30am to 6.30pm. We had loads of fun. Each day started off with coffee tasting. We also took part in bingo and beach yoga, amongst other things.

One day, there was a game for couples. You were asked questions about your partner. The winner was the team that got the most questions right. Me and my wife came equal bottom!

While there wasn’t a kids club, there’s a dedicated activities centre. This was catered to adults and kids. The arts and crafts activities were held here. Coffee tasting too.

In addition, the following games were available.

  • Table Tennis
  • Pool table
  • Giant chess
  • Shuffle board
  • Corn hole
  • Putting green

 

The Apartment

I stayed in a 2 bed apartment. It was EPIC! The best apartment I’ve stayed in.

I was given an apartment on the 15th floor, which is the highest floor. The view was insane. I had an amazing view of the ocean, the resort and of Marco Island.

The inside of the apartment was stunning too. With lovely furniture and classy design. It had the following features:

  • Two large bedrooms
  • Two bathrooms
  • Living room
  • Large kitchen
  • Large terrace
  • Washing Machine and Dryer
  • Coffee Machine


I have a family of four. With Marriott Vacation Club, we get to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel room. For us, this is fantastic. We cook our own breakfast and dinners. This saves us lots of money and means we can eat healthy food. We can also wash our clothes. This is wonderful, given that my kids are experts in making a mess!

The kitchen was excellent. It was fully stocked, with every utensil you might need. There were plates, bowls and cutlery. There was also a blender and a Toaster. A drip coffee machine too.

The apartment was furnished to a very high standard. The TV was large, the furniture was in great condition and the kitchen was top of the range.


 

The apartment had a large terrace. There were two sun loungers and dining table. We didn’t spend that much time on the terrace. Simply because there’s so much to do at the resort.

However, I spent 30 minutes each morning with a cup of tea. Sitting on the terrace, enjoying the view.

There was no housekeeping during our one week stay at the resort. In the US, hotels are looking to save money on housekeeping costs. So you just need to be careful. Clean up after yourself!

The view from my apartment was phenomenal. I was given an apartment on the 15th floor. This was the top floor. From our apartment, we got a view of Marco Island, the resort and the ocean. You can see photos of the view below.

My apartment wasn’t the best in the resort. There are ocean front apartments, with panoramic views of the sea. These apartments are the most expensive. To be honest, I preferred the view from my apartment. I got to see the resort and the ocean.




 

 


 

 

The Beach

Marriott Crystal Shores is a beach hotel. Right on South Beach, Marco Island. At the back of the resort, you walk for two minutes along the bridge, to get to the beach. South beach is a large public beach, with beautiful white sand. The beach is very wide. A large patch of sand, before you get to the water.

The water was quite rough during my week. I was there during the peak season in winter. I didn’t see anyone swimming in the ocean.

There’s loungers, right outside the hotel. These loungers are owned by an external company. You need to pay extra to use the loungers. There are no loungers for hotel guests. Which is always disappointing. If you paid $1,000/night to stay here, you shouldn’t have to pay extra to use a lounger.

I thought the beach was really nice. The white sand was something special. I enjoyed those sunset walks.

 

 

 

The Swimming Pools

The Upper Cascades Pool

 

The Upper Cascades Pool is one of three pools are the resort. It’s located on the upper level. Closest to the resort, and furthest away from the beach. It’s an unofficial adults pool. Guests are encouraged to be quiet while using this pool. Most kids will be using one of the other pools. After all, there’s no water slide here!

The pool itself is a pretty nice. It’s rectangular shaped and heated to a nice temperature. There were two jacuzzis on either side of this pool.

 

 

 
 
 
 

The Lower Cascades Pool


The lower cascades pool is on the lower level. It’s closer to the beach, and further away from the resort. It’s a rectangular pool. The pool was heated to a really nice, hot temperature. It felt nice, the moment you got in.

One end of the pool is very shallow, so toddlers can use it. Around the pool, there’s a number of fun activities.

You have shuffle board, table tennis, pool table, giant chess and cornhole. I got a little annoyed when I played corn hole. My wife beat me fair and square, without cheating. I was in a bad mood for two hours, after that!





 

 

The Grotto Pool

The Grotto pool is the kids pool. The pool is smaller than the other two pools. There’s a large slide. There’s also a fountain that sprays water.

The slide was really good. It’s really fast. I say this as someone that loves water slides! When you first enter the slide, it’s really dark and a little scary. After that, it’s fine.



The Fitness Centre

The resort has an impressive fitness centre. It has tons of machines and free weights. It’s the sort of gym that people pay good money for. It was busy most times I went by. However, I was able to get a few snaps when it was empty.

The cardio machines included treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines and cross-trainers. There were a bunch of resistance machines too.

There were also free weights. A large variety of dumbbells. A cable machine too.



 

The Fire Show at the JW Marriott

Marriott Crystal Shores is on the same road as the JW Marriott. It’s a 10 minute walk along the beach to get there. Every day at sunset, there’s a free fire show. It’s definitely worth a visit.

You probably wouldn’t pay to see this show at home. But it’s a fun thig to do while you’re on holiday. I took a video when I visited. You can see this below.

 

Conclusion

I absolutely loved my stay at Marriott Crystal Shores. The resort is spectacular. It’s right on the beach and there’s tons of activities. Table tennis, shuffle board and giant chess are all available.

The swimming pools are nice. My 15th floor apartment was amazing. The hotel is one of the very best I’ve been too.

If you want a Marco Island Resort in Florida, I definitely recommend Marriott Crystal Shores.

Waikoloa Ocean Club is a resort in Big Island, Hawaii. It’s also a Marriott Vacation Club Property. Review here. It’s a beach front property. With three swimming pools and four jacuzzis. It’s a great base for your Hawaii vacation. In the article, I explain how to book the hotel. $700 for 4 nights.

The Intercontinental Miami Doral is a 5* hotel, near Miami airport. Review here. In my view, it’s the best hotel near Miami airport. It’s also great value. The hotel is beautiful from the front. There’s also a lovely pool at the back.

I’ve also reviewed the Los Angeles Hyatt Regency. It’s a pretty good airport hotel. They have a free shuttle to LAX and a 24 hour Starbucks.

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