Last year was the first time we visited the island of Eleuthera 🏝 and we fell in love with it so much.🥰 Eleuthera is only a short one and a half hour flight from Orlando, ✈️ but you feel a world away. (For those who have not been following me for awhile, I REALLY hate flying.) For whatever reason, it’s still a hidden gem 💎 with next to no common tourist downfalls you associate with other locales. You really get the true native island vibe and it’s an excellent place to relax and put yourself on “island time”. So when we were invited to visit Bird of Paradise Beach Front Cottages 🏡 I was beyond stoked.🙌 My excitement was only hampered by a bit of nerves, since we usually vacation in resorts. I have heard so many horror stories about people booking online to stay in cottages that had beautiful 📸 pictures and reviews, 🤔 only to arrive and find the property was nothing like the online pictures!!😩 (What a nightmare that must be!) Well, the Purple Papaya cottage is the polar opposite of that. It truly exceeded all my expectations and is a real slice of paradise.🌺

Cris and I always talk about when both our girls go off to college, we would love to retire on a private island. 👫🏝 Even though Purple Papaya is not on a private island, it sure makes you feel like it. Bird of Paradise Beach Front Cottages has three adjacent properties equipped with anything you may need while you’re staying there.

Cottage: The cottage has absolutely all the comforts of home and it’s a smart home too, so everything is done with just a click of a button. You have very fast high speed internet 💻 and a generator as well, so you will never go with out AC.😅 Everything you may need or want is there, from a fully outfitted kitchen 🍽 to a 🏊‍♂️ heated infinity pool. You can view the cottage tour and insta stories from our trip here.

Food: The three cottages sit right next to a restaurant called Tippy’s. So its literally a one minute walk if your not up to cooking and they have excellent Flatbread pizzas🍕among other things. There are a few other small restaurants and also local grocery stores in the little downtown area nearby also.

Beach: The closest thing to having your own private island! 🐚 We walked nearly a mile in each direction without ever running into anyone. The beautiful pink sand is thick and soft and it feels like clouds when you walk on it. It’s complimented by 50 shades of blue water 🌊 disappearing into the horizon. We had a blast snorkling, paddle boarding, swimming and running around with our kids.

Things to do: Tippy’s next door has live music a few nights a week. You also have Queens Bath, Glass Window Bridge, Light House Beach and more. Also, make sure to catch the sky on a clear night! We were in absolute awe 😱 viewing the clarity of the Milky Way 🌌🔭 without the light pollution we have back home. But my top recommendation is to kick back and relax.💆‍♀️ While it’s an island that’s over 100 miles long with lots to explore, you tend to be happy right where you sit. You’re on island time here!

In Conclusion: I will definitely be visiting again! In fact, Bird of Paradise has invited us to go back and visit their bigger cottage, so stay tuned for our next visit to this beautiful island! I would highly recommend the properties without reservation. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  These beautiful cottages feel 100% like home away from home.

           Check out our video below to see how much fun we had.🙌

While researching what beaches to visit in Florida, I came across a gorgeous picture of a swing on the beach in Longboat Key … and as a blogger, it was an immediate must-visit place for me.😍 So I quickly looked up places to stay nearby and stumbled across Zota Beach Resort. The property had great reviews and beautiful pictures as well. So now, this too was a must-visit for me.😋

Room: Zota Beach Resort is a contemporary luxury resort in the Gulf of Mexico with 187 guest rooms and suites. Room choices vary from pool views to gulf views or both and they have numerous room sizes and sleeping configurations available to accommodate your party. We selected an ocean front room on a high floor with an awesome balcony overlooking the gulf. We had breakfast there in the mornings and watched the beautiful sunsets in the evenings. The rooms are super comfortable with plush beds, flat-screen televisions, refrigerators and coffee makers. Cris did a little work from the room and found the desk area to be plenty comfortable and the high-speed internet was very fast. Our girls loved the daily turn down service, especially because the staff put extra chocolates under their pillows for them. What kid doesn’t like chocolate before bedtime, right?😝

Food: The hotel has two restaurants, Viento Kitchen + Bar and Cascades Pool Bar. We really enjoyed them both. The Viento Kitchen + Bar was a great place to have an early dinner and watch the sunset, since the elevated outdoor seating overlooks the pool area and the ocean. Their menu included bucatini bolognese, lobster ravioli, grilled Alaskan salmon, espresso bone ribeye, and more. They also have plenty of kids options too, with classic favorites like chicken fingers for your picky eaters, lol. Cascades Pool Bar had your bar food favorites like pizza, wings, french fries … but more importantly, they had wonderful hand crafted drinks and a daily happy hour.

Pool: As you can see in the photos, the giant oceanside pool and hot tub are the center piece of the resort and the poolside service was amazing. They literally delivered fresh drinks straight to your hand as you lounged in the pool or hot tub, which in my opinion underlines a luxury experience. Cris and I kept those piña coladas coming and it was pink lemonades for the kids. They also offer gorgeous cabanas if you bring a group or plan to stay poolside for an extended timeframe.

Beach: The beach is beautiful of course and the Gulf Coast never disappoints. From the beautiful blues & greens to the awe inspiring sunsets and the bath warm waters … you just can’t go wrong. The resort compliments this amazing nature with your choice of anything from a simple towel and umbrella all the way to a full size bed & canopy + side tables, to lounge away your day. Note that these amenities are a paid feature though, so bring your own umbrella if you’re seeking budget savings.

Things to do near by: When I go to the beach, I mainly like to relax and disconnect. On this particular trip, we literally never left the resort and didn’t feel like we needed to. The unwind was much needed and enjoyed. However for those who do want to get out or are staying for an extended timeframe, you can find everything nearby that Florida destinations generally offer. Golf, fishing charters and a wide variety of water sports are available with a quick call down to the resort concierge. The Mote Marine Aquarium, Tree Umph and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are some other places to visit while you’re there.

In Conclusion: I would highly recommend Zota Beach Resort. We found it to be the perfect resort to get away with the family, or for a romantic and relaxing couples getaway. I’m going to have to go back for sure and find that swing I mentioned above … because that was the main reason I went to Longboat Key in the first place. But since the resort was so great and we unwound so well, we honestly forgot all about it until we were driving home.😋 Make sure to check out my Insta Story with some of my Zota Beach Resort highlights.

Hotel special: To celebrate the official start of Summer and the Summer solstice, the Opal Collection summer flash sale starts today, June 21. Book during this 72-hour sale to save on your next Longboat Key getaway. *Blackout dates apply. Must book by 11:59 p.m. EST on June 23.

Until Next Time! XOXO -E 💋