Author: normandie vigiani
Date of Trip: September 2012
DAYTONA BEACH: A 3 DAY RUN-A-WAY
Every so often we get cabin fever and need to get out of town. Very often it’s to the Daytona-New Smyrna Beach area of Florida. Since we live only an hour away on I-95, it’s a gas-saving way to be out of town, yet not too costly.
We’re always looking for bargains and this time we used a package we had gotten at the Ft. Lauderdale Welcome Center last year. We were going on a short cruise on the Celebration to Freeport, Bahamas and had to register at the Welcome Center. On the counter were these pamphlets for $29, two-night, three-day get-a-ways. We purchased two and put them aside. Last week we decided we needed a break and pulled one of these pamphlets out and sent it in with a date only two weeks away. It was sent right back with a confirmation.
We had never stayed at this hotel before, the Plaza Ocean Club, right on Daytona Beach. It’s a very large hotel, not so new, but nicely kept. They seem to be doing some refurbishing and were painting the ceiling of the entrance when we arrived. The lobby is large and there is a restaurant in the building also on the lobby floor. Since we had come on such an inexpensive package we didn’t expect an ocean view, but the receptionist put us in room 507 which not only had a little balcony but also had a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean. Even though the room was not brand spanking new, it was quite acceptable. It was clean, had two double beds, TV, a good-sized bathroom, a small refrigerator and microwave, and my all time favorite – free-WiFi. There is also a very large, wonderful heated pool. This hotel also accepts pets for a nominal fee. We certainly didn’t need more than that.
There was one hitch we hadn’t been told about when we purchased the package. We were required to do a “vacation village travel talk.” Considering the price, this was not unreasonable. The “talk” was set up for the next day at 10 a.m. and included a free breakfast.
There are quite a lot of things to do in the area even now that it was the beginning of the “off” season. There is the Ocean Center, which is a convention, entertainment, and sports complex, also performance centers at the local colleges (Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona State College), museums, the tour of the Angell & Phelps chocolate factory, miniature golf, and our favorite, shopping in the little local as well as the major chain department stores and everyone in between. And, of course, the beach and pool.
There are loads of places to eat, big chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Pizza Hut, little mom and pop places, and there are large places that have been there for many years and have a big following, like Charlie Horse. We went to Charlie Horse specifically for their “all you can eat crab legs.” It’s not cheap but definitely the best in any town! You will find just about anything you want for any budget.
I would suggest filling up your gas tank before you hit Volusia County because the gas prices are a minimum of ten cents more a gallon there.
After our little “vacation village talk” which lasted from 10 a.m. to a little after 12 noon, but included a very nice breakfast in that amount of time, we left to drive around and look at real estate. We were looking for a place that we could rent for a month on or near the beach in the off-season. We were able to get a few leads and possibilities, which we are now looking into.
Here is an example of a little something extra the hotel did for us. The hotel was not full, so we spent a lot of time in the pool all by ourselves. Nan had gone down to the pool and brought the key to our room in it’s folder with our room number on it. She left it under the pool towels on the table. When I got to the pool, I asked her where I could find towels; she said they were on the table with the key. I didn’t see anything at all on the table: no towels, no key. I immediately went to the front desk and told the women who had checked us in. She rekeyed our room keys and told me to go up and use the new keys so the old ones would not work. I did that and then came back down and went back to the pool. A few minutes later, the receptionist came to the pool and said she wasn’t comfortable with just changing the room key, she had someone waiting for us upstairs to help us move to another room. I went back up, and the gentlemen helped me into the new room. We felt this was a very considerate thing to do for us and we really appreciated her concern for our safety. We also liked the new room even more because this room actually had a separate little kitchen! I told the receptionist so when I went down.
All in all a nice get-a-way, but we prefer to be gone more than just 3 days. By the time we pack, get there, unpack and get settled we’re ready for a 4- or 5-day stay at least. But this was nice and we did enjoy ourselves. Since we have one more package available, we will be returning.