Anyone who follows us, knows we have stayed in many hotel rooms, but recently we had the opportunity to enjoy a condo vacation – at beautiful Anna Maria Island no less. Sandy Hampton contacted us and offered to let us try her condo at the Bradenton Beach Club.

Unit 226 was handled by Seabreeze Vacations. It stands in great contrast to our hotel stays.

Sandy is a vacation home owner and renter who has high standards and wants to make sure her guests have a perfect vacation. In fact, that’s why she chose Seabreeze to manage her rentals. Adrian at Seabreeze was available and helpful during our stay.

Check In

When we arrived, there was no front desk, no waiting for another couple to get finished until the clerk could get to us. We simply drove to the inside parking area, found our designated space and put the funmobile down. It was as simple and convenient as that.

On our initial trip to our unit, we took the stairs. But an elevator is available. That’s quite handy for hauling the luggage from the car to the room. We loved that there was no key. Instead, there was a simple electronic pad with an easy-to remember code that locks and unlocks with ease.

Sandy had seen to all the arrangements. We just parked, then took our luggage inside. No muss, no fuss.

The inside parking area is spacious and well lit. The elevator at the far end makes access to the higher floors quick and easy,

Our Accommodations

We were pleasantly surprised when we opened the front door. The suite was bright, cool and airy. It had all the comforts of home.

The condo at the Bradenton Beach Club had everything one might desire. From a fully-appointed kitchen to a screened-in lanai – very little is left to chance.

Unit 226 is a three-bedroom unit with a master bedroom, a guest bedroom and a children’s nook. There’s two full bathrooms, a kitchen with all the appliances, a living room, dining area and a screened-in lanai. Ceiling fans are in each of the rooms – which makes cooling quite easy.

The children’s room is accessed through a pocket door. There’s a bunk bed for sleeping. There’s also a shadowbox coffee table, a cabinet-full of games and a flat screen TV.

In the living room there’s a great flat-screen TV. It has cable service so there’s something for everybody. But who has time for that? There are two nice pools and a hot tub at the Bradenton Beach Club that are readily available. Plus, there’s a private Gulf beach literally steps away from this unit.

There was a very nice pool and hot tub just next to our building.

Our First Night

Once we got unpacked, we decided to find a bit of a snack before heading to the beach. That was a snap. The Smoque House, one of the top local restaurants on TripAdvisor is adjacent to the Bradenton Beach Club. It was just steps away and then just a few more to the beach.

At the Smoque House, we dined high both on and off the hog. While I had their famous pulled pork sandwich (with cole slaw on top,) my wife had the vegetarian barbecue. Her side order of slaw was so generous, it became shareable.

Our sandwiches were filling and the cole slaw side my wife ordered, turned out to be a “shared” size.

The sandwiches were both tasty and filling. Moreover, they came at a very modest price point. We enjoyed it so much that we went back for dinner a second time during our stay.

After our dinner, we walked across Gulf Boulevard to see our first sunset together on Anna Maria Island.

The Beach

The Bradenton Beach Club’s private beach facility is located behind Building One. It is a wide expanse of open beach where you can swim, shell or sit and enjoy the day. There also are chairs, beach umbrellas and other equipment available for you to use to your heart’s content.

The first time, we simply stood among the shorebirds and a few residents as we watched the sun go down.

It was a beautiful sunset at Anna Maria Island.

Later, we took advantage of all the amenities at our disposal. We made our selections and headed beachside to enjoy the evening.

At the Bradenton Beach Club, it is easy to make the perfect sunset experience.

All of the necessitates for a romantic beach side picnic were available at the condo. There was a picnic basket and cooler bag along with a selection of matched beach towels.

We made our own picnic dinner with fruit, cheese, crackers and some herbal iced tea. There’s a shopping center with a Publix supermarket just a couple of miles down the road for just about any necessities.

Fruit, cheese and herbal tea (in plastic cups.

It took a just few minutes to set up for the perfect romantic sunset.

Incidentally, if you want a beach that has all the commercial amenities, both nearby Coquina Beach and Manatee Beach have everything you need from concession stands to beach chair and umbrella rentals.

Experiencing Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is perched at the end of Longboat Key. Officially, it encompasses the communities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. More practically, it stretches from Coquina Beach all the way to Bean Point.

They call it “Seven Miles of Paradise.”

This is a place from which memories are made. It is peppered with specialty restaurants, shops and experience-oriented rentals. The best part is that the Bradenton Beach Club is in the middle of it all.

The first morning we slept in, and while having coffee on the lania we discussed what we would do for the day.

Heading north in Anna Maria, there’s the Historic Green Village. Located along Pine Street, there’s a myriad of shops. From resortwear to olive oils and cheeses, each storefront has something new to offer.

Who would have thought footwear and candy go together. The Flip Flop Shop & Candy Stop does. They also have a great array of toys and such for children.

If you are looking to dine, there are innumerable options. German, French, Italian and Asian restaurants are on the island as well as American fare. You can dine beachside if you wish. Everything from upscale to fun & funky is readily available and within a few miles of our unit at the Bradenton Beach Club.

To the south, there’s Coquina Beach and Historic Bridge Street, One place you do not want to miss is the Anna Maria Oyster Bar. Whether or not you like seafood, from the menu to the view – this place is hard to beat.

The view is as good as the food at the Anna Maria Island Oyster Bar on Historic Bridge Street.

If you don’t like to drive, there’s a free trolley service that runs the full length of the island with regular stops. There also are golf carts and beach buggies you can rent to explore the island. There are boat tours and fishing charters for those who want to get out onto the water.

There’s even a show boat with entertainment that cruises regularly at Anna Maria Island.

In conclusion

We cannot thank Sandy Hampton enough for our stay at unit 226 at the Bradenton Beach Club. The accommodations were impeccable and we could not have asked for a more convenient or well appointed place.

And Anna Maria Island was fabulous. We enjoyed a breakfast at Ginny & Jane E’s, shopped Pine Street, ate lunch at the legendary Rod & Reel Pier, stocked up at the Anna Maria General Store and ate ice cream at Joe’s Eats & Sweets.

We took hundreds of photos and videos. Saw all kinds of shore birds and water traffic. Plus, we viewed three gorgeous sunsets.

And there still were things we did not have time to do. Anna Maria Island is a Florida must-stop. Once you’ve gone, it begs your return. Maybe it’s time for you to contact Sebreeze Vacations and have an Anna Maria Island experience of your own.