Food & Drinks Hotels & Resorts Travel

Sun, Surf and Sand…..A Much Needed Staycation

Our amazing getaway to the Bilmar Beach Resort in Treasure Island, Florida

Sometimes, we all need to get out of town and go somewhere that our minds can rest and our souls can restore. Although Magic Streamdom is one of the most amazing things to be a part of and I am so honored and blessed to be included in a group of the most incredible channels that work so hard for Give Kids The World Village, it is a lot of preparation and overwhelming on many levels both physically, mentally and emotionally, all in a great way.

So, learning from last year and knowing that we were going a full on 24 hours this year, we made sure that we scheduled some R&R in afterwards and the only place to go for some rest, restoration and renewal? The beach.

We are blessed to live in the sunshine state, enveloped by hundreds of miles of beautiful white sand and glimmering and shimmering surf. For this getaway, we headed to Treasure Island, Florida, a place that we have visited before and truly love. We were invited out for our mini staycation by the Bilmar Beach Resort, a beautifully tropical themed, blue resort right next to the soulful sounds of the Gulf of Mexico. As we hit Gulf Blvd, we could smell the salt in the air and feel the breeze from the water and, breathing it in deep, I could just feel my blood pressure lowering and my body relaxing.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Our room was spectacular! Themed to bring the beach indoors, it is decorated with subtle colors and fun and whimsical tropical artwork. There is plenty of space to move around with lots of seating areas both inside the room and on the balcony.

The bedding is simple and the beds were super comfortable. Whether you are just getting off of your feet, reading a book or watching television, being able to open the drapes and look out the window and see the gorgeous views of the beach, morning sunrise or sunset (whichever is appropriate) makes your stay at the Bilmar Beach Resort one of a kind.

It has a good size kitchen, inclusive of a ceramic top 2-burner stove, microwave, full size refrigerator and breakfast bar that seats 4 people. The kitchen was well stocked with everything that you need from plates, glasses, silverware, toaster, coffee maker, pot and pans, to make that meal during your stay and keep those adult beverages cold. We had two queen size beds, plenty of plugs, a 55″ flat screen TV, a sofa, plenty of closet space and the star of the room, the very roomy balcony overlooking the white sands and beautiful ocean. If you want to see even more of the room and the resort, hop over to my Instagram story under Bilmar Beach Resort.

The bathroom was well stocked with towels and paper products and even though housekeeping is modified due to the safety regulations they have in place, you could ask for anything that you needed and they would make sure you received it quickly.

We could also see the fire pits surrounded with adirondak chairs in beachy colors and of course, no Florida hotel would be complete without the competitive corn hole set up and relaxing shuffleboard courts.

The Bilmar Beach resort has a variety of different types of rooms, from standard value rooms to larger rooms like we were honored to be given, the premium beachfront room with kitchen. They have accessible rooms as well and for the larger family suites and penthouse rooms boasting over 1,200 square feet, two balconies and two bathrooms and separate bedrooms. No matter what you are looking for in a beach vacation, they will have what you are looking for.

On our third day, we enjoyed breakfast and walked down to take some pictures along the paved walkway that snakes it way behind many of the hotels and condo buildings, making it a very nice walk and easily accessible for anyone looking to enjoy the beach. You can pop into other tiki bars at the neighboring hotels as well or take off down one of the laid out beach paths directly to the beach. There was a very serious game of beach volleyball going on we discovered and the hotel attracts locals that come to get in some exercise, competition training or just meet friends for a fun and lively conversation over some adult refreshments.

DINING:

Bilmar Beach Resort boasts one of the most popular and hoppin’ beach bar/restaurants on the beach, Sloppy Joe’s is a Key West inspired restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. From their traditional eggs and bacon, fluffy poolside pancakes or more of a Caribbean flare of shrimp and grits or eggs benedict, this is not your typical beach bar food. Their signature sloppy Joe sandwich – known as “The Big Sloppy” is their namesake but with their long list of ‘Hemingway Favorites’ like Key West Lobster Tail and Filet Mignon, to simple favorites like Fish and Chips and Key West Conch Chowder, you cannot go wrong with whatever you choose off of this menu. I really liked the fact that they highlighted each dish with a key, for gluten free, dairy free and non shellfish. With that being very important to many people, it was a pleasant surprise and kudos to Sloppy Joe’s and the Bilmar Beach Resort!

Although the food is high end as far as quality, the prices are very reasonable and the two-tiered deck and overall beachy feel make this the perfect spot to grab a bite and be super casual. We loved the fact can go eat or just stop in and grab a drink and as the sun sets, they have live music and some fun beach games.

The Waves Fun Zone and Events is a friendly cafe/lounge with a super beach vibe and serves drinks and food from noon till sunset. The bartenders were super friendly and welcoming (even while wearing their masks which are required by staff and guests at all times while indoors). You can eat or drink inside, under their covered patio area overlooking the beach or in the very quaint courtyard looking over the pool area. We did not get a chance to eat here but we did grab some drinks and talk to some guests and the bar staff which was a lot of fun. They also have a pool table and family games (like a humongous tic-tac-toe game) as well as some fun souvenir drinks that you can keep to remember your amazing vacation.

Social distancing markers are in place not only in the lobby area but in other indoor areas where guests may wait for food or drink. We noticed that everyone was very compliant throughout our stay and even when we visited other restaurants and places around Treasure Island, people were social distancing and wearing masks.

AMENITIES: As if the beach is not enough to keep you busy for the day, the Bilmar Beach Resort offers many fun things to do and see during your stay. As I mentioned, there are lots of games around the resorts from corn hole to shuffleboard but there is also things that the family can do together. As part of the resort fee, you can check out a beach cruiser and ride along the beach or the wide pathway and check out the many souvenir stores, ice cream shops and more along the boulevard that goes from one beach town to another. They also partner with Free Beach Rides so you can grab a shuttle (or some cool go carts) and they will drive you pretty much anywhere along the beach. You can also take out a kayak, yes I said kayak, or a paddle board and see the beaches in a completely different way. Complimentary WiFi is in your room and throughout the resort as well as a business center if you need to send an email or print boarding passes. The hotel offers free parking at two locations (the place is big), a safe in the room and two complimentary beach chairs for when you want to take in the sun and work on your tan next to the ocean. If you like to golf, they offer guest membership at Seminole Lakes Golf & Country Club not far from the resort.

At check-in you are given a $5 welcome certificate that can be used at either of the two restaurants and children are given a welcome gift as well. There is an on-site fitness center (which was very nice but closed right now due to safety precautions), a very big gift shop and grab and go area, two heated pools, an incredible whirlpool spa, which we enjoyed both of those very much, a rooftop sun deck, onsite laundry services (which we took advantage of), miles of sandy white beaches, and of course toiletries in our bathroom and even paper towels and dish soap in the kitchen. All you need is your toothbrush and bathing suit and you are good to go!

If you are looking to have an event or a wedding, Bilmar Beach Resort is the perfect place as well. With onsite catering and the beautiful Crystal Sands Ballroom allowing private access for up to 200 guests. They will also do ceremony set up on the beach or you can do your ceremony and reception at the Waves at the Bilmar venue with over 3,000 square feet of outdoor covered space that overlooks the amazing beaches at Treasure Island. No matter what the weather, they can make your special day one to remember.

THE BEACHES AND SURROUNDING AREA:

The weather did turn a little on the chilly side during our stay so we headed over to John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk on the advice of our friends. We were informed that, The “Pass”, as locals refer to it, was created by a hurricane on September 27, 1848. A pirate, John Levique, made the first passage through the newly created pass, hence the name, John’s Pass. Located on the waterfront, this place that looks like a turn-of-the-century fishing village is Pinellas County’s #1 tourist attraction, made up of shops, restaurants and entertainment. We set out to grab some matching hoodies but after four or five “tourist” shops, we settled on some great looking Madeira Beach, Florida sweatshirts, and boy did they come in handy. We had a great time looking around, and even scoped out a pizza place there, but we had to get going as we had reservations for dinner down the way. We did order from there the following night and shout out to Delosa’s Pizza, it was awesome!

For dinner this evening, we went to RumFish Grille, an amazing restaurant at Tradewinds Island Grand Resort. We were joined by our good friends and got a seat next to the incredible aquarium. Built by the famous guys from “Tanked” this Guy Harvey inspired tank is over 33,000 gallons and houses tarpon, grouper, an incredible stingray and a green moray eel named Frankie (she is a girl by the way). I love this tank as I have had the awesome experience of swimming with these fishes last year, and we became friends. Being able to enjoy a meal while watchingthe fish is so much fun. There was a cute little parrot fish that really took a liking to Alessa and they seemed to really bond while we were there.

The food here is on point and even though their menu was condensed from the last time we were here, it was still amazing. They even made a custom meal for me (you know, I am a simple dude that loves chicken) and the chef made a simple chicken breast a work of art, alongside their truffle mac and cheese that is a must have when you come here. We also had an incredible charcuterie board and warm cheese rolls which, if we weren’t careful, were so good it could fill you up. Our meal was delicious and we were stuffed with enough for lunch the following day brought back to the hotel for the next day.

After dinner we returned to the Bilmar, and sat out on the balcony, in awe of how beautiful the view was at night. Lights were beckoning on the horizon and buoys danced in the water. Not too far from the hotel, their was a sand sculpting event called ‘Sanding Ovations ‘ presented by Corona (I thought that was a little comical) but sort of a wink to the pandemic and Tropical Storm ETA that almost cancelled the event. We walked from our room over to the lighted display that was themed “SandHenge” a sprawling Paleolithic village packed with inside jokes about modern conveniences (like shell phones or the first dating app). The craftsmanship and artistry that went into them was beautiful, and learning that the sculptors were made up of artists from America and Canada coming together, it kind of had a special meaning for us during this trip. They were lit up with different colored lights at night and reflecting off the white sand in the middle of the beach was just breathtaking. We ended up walking the beach till about 3:00 in the morning, so surreal and peaceful, allowing your mind to calm and the body to take in the sights and smells of surf, moon and mist. It was a great way to fall asleep and the best way to end the day.

The next day, we hit the beach again, although unfortunately, the sun was hidden behind the clouds as a cold front was moving in, but we made the most of it. We played some corn hole and hung out at the fire pit, listening to music and trying some of the recommended drinks for the lounge, relaxing in those bright colored, wooden chairs and the palm trees swaying over top of us. We did not get a chance to take out the kayaks, but I can tell you, we will be back and that will be one of the first things to do on our list. We loved the walks down the pathway and at night it is lit up with lamps that really make it a great jogging path for locals or a perfect way to get in a walk after a satisfying meal either at Sloppy Joe’s or one of the many other choices along the boulevard. It is also the perfect spot to grab a picture with your family or that special someone.

We found out that the Bilmar Beach Resort was hosting a beach market the following week with music, food, vendors and art and we really were disappointed that we would miss it. There is always something happening along the beaches and fun experiences hosted by the hotels and resorts as well as local community groups. There is something to be said about ‘living the beach life.’

I cannot say enough about how wonderful our stay was and we will absolutely be back again! There was more that we wanted to do, not only at the Bilmar itself but the area around it. I can tell you, I would be very happy living this beach life and it will be a tradition after major live streams to get some rest, relaxation and restoration. If you are looking for something away from the hustle and bustle or you want to extend your Disney vacation to include a few days of beach life, go to: https://www.bilmarbeachresort.com. Who knows, maybe we will run into each other and grab a drink while taking in the beautiful waves.

Again, a huge thank you to the Bilmar Beach Resort and their staff for making our stay amazing. From the hospitality to the personal touches in the room which greeted us, it was just what we needed and we look forward to coming back again!

Spokesmayne; Bilmar Beach Resort