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We believe life should be filled with adventures and those adventures should be shared with our family. We enjoy sharing our family travels with everyone in hopes that our real life experiences will inspire other families to get out and create adventures of their own! If you are looking for something specific, check out our main topics: Cruises, Hotels, Family Trips, Kid Picks, Mom & Dad Getaways, or City Series. If you are looking for travel products we are constantly trying out new things! And if you just want to look around for travel inspiration, our recent family travel blog posts are below. 

Recent Family Travel Blog Posts:

Water adventures in The Cayman Islands

Snorkeling in The Cayman Islands | Caribbean vacation | THings to do in the CAymans | Mandy Carter travel writer | Florida travel blog | cayman vacation | Acupful.com family travel blogger | 7 mile beach snorkel | Red Sail Sports

The Grand Cayman is the largest and most populous of the three islands that make up the British territory known as the Cayman Islands. On a recent trip to The Cayman Islands I discovered that the turquoise water is very alluring- especially for a water bug like me. 

4 Must Do Activities in The Cayman Islands for the Water Lover

Snorkel with Stingrays

Southern stingrays flock to Stingray City, a sandbar just twenty minutes or so from land. Tons of tour boats bring guests here daily where you can jump into the chest-high water and experience stingrays glide by you like shadows beneath your feet. Whether you take a customized charter boat or book a half day excursion aboard a catamaran with Red Sail Sports like we did, you are in for a special treat. Getting up close with these gentle sea creatures is a unique and fun experience. Read my detailed post about my time snorkeling at Stingray City; it is filled with lots of photos!

Snorkeling in The Cayman Islands | Caribbean vacation | THings to do in the CAymans | Mandy Carter travel writer | Florida travel blog | cayman vacation | Acupful.com family travel blogger | 7 mile beach snorkel | Red Sail Sports | Swim with Stingrays | Stingray City

Catamaran Sail to Rum Point

I booked a half day excursion aboard the Spirit of Poseidon through Red Sail Sports. They have several catamaran tours to choose from; this particular one took us to Stingray City where we spent 45 minutes swimming with the stingrays. The crew were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful in getting each person the opportunity to get up close with the stingrays. Then we went to Rum Point where we enjoyed a few hours soaking up the sun, water and drinks at this spot on the other side of the island.  While snorkeling around here I saw a seaturtle that ended up swimming along side me for almost 10 minutes! There is a variety of things to do at Rum Point like kayak, snorkel, dine, shop or just relax. 

Sailing to Rum Point| Catamaran tour in The Cayman Islands | Caribbean vacation | Red Sail Sports Dive Shop | Cayman excursions | Things to do in the CAymans | Mandy Carter travel writer | Florida travel blog | cayman vacation | Acupful.com family travel blogger | 7 mile beach snorkel | Red Sail Sports | Swim with Stingrays | Starfish Point | Seafire Resort & Spa | Kimpton Hotels Grand Cayman

Search for Starfish

There are a lot of places to swim, snorkel and dive in the Cayman Islands. You could take a week long vacation on the Grand Cayman and swim at a few different places each day without ever repeating one. I found it fun to search for starfish. I found a few at Rum Point, Starfish Point and a cove North of 7 mile beach. But when you do find them, do not take them out of the water. If you want to get a picture, be sure to keep them under the water so they don’t suffocate to death.

Snorkeling in The Cayman Islands | Caribbean vacation | THings to do in the CAymans | Mandy Carter travel writer | Florida travel blog | cayman vacation | Acupful.com family travel blogger | 7 mile beach snorkel | Red Sail Sports | Swim with Stingrays | Starfish Point | Rum Point

Jet ski along 7 Mile Beach

The coast is beautiful from the shore. But it is even more gorgeous looking at it from the ocean. Rent jet skis from one of the Red Sail Sports Dive Shop locations scattered throughout seven mile beach. The water is perfect for both beginner and expert riders. This is a fun break from being in under the water!

Jet ski in The Cayman Islands | Caribbean vacation | THings to do in the CAymans | Mandy Carter travel writer | Florida travel blog | cayman vacation | Acupful.com family travel blogger | 7 mile beach snorkel | Red Sail Sports | Swim with Stingrays | Starfish Point | Seafire Resort & Spa | Kimpton Hotels Grand Cayman

The hotel is an important part of a trip for me. So many things go into making a hotel stay great. I am happy to say that my hotel in the Grand Cayman was fantastic. Read why I highly recommend staying at the new Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa


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Jet ski in The Cayman Islands | Caribbean vacation | THings to do in the CAymans | Mandy Carter travel writer | Florida travel blog | cayman vacation | Acupful.com family travel blogger | 7 mile beach snorkel | Red Sail Sports | Swim with Stingrays | Starfish Point | Seafire Resort & Spa | Kimpton Hotels Grand Cayman

 

Longboat Key Dining: Viento at Zota Beach Resort

Zota Beach Resort Dining: Breakfast, lunch & dinner served at Viento Kitchen & Bar

Longboat Key now has a wonderful full service restaurant with a beautiful view of the gulf. Led by Executive Chef Jason Pellet, Viento Kitchen & Bar is located on the second floor of the Zota Beach Resort. The open-air lounge sets the atmosphere for one of the refreshing cocktails while the dramatic floating wine wall hints at an impressive wine selection. The overall menu has a combined culinary influence of Florida, Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors. You can view the full menus here.

The Viento Kitchen & Bar is located in the new Zota Beach Resort. Read all about my visit to the new Zota Beach Resort

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | Acupful.com travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation | Sarasota restaurants with a view | Viento restaurant | Longboat Key Dining

Breakfast on Longboat Key

The breakfast menu at Viento Kitchen & Bar is appealing to everyone. Whether you want to start your day with something light and healthy or need some extra sweetness to get going, this menu will satisfy. I am usually not one to be impressed with breakfast nor care to elaborate on a morning meal but Zota Beach Resort has such a variety of healthy options, I want to share.

Here are all the breakfast menu items I tried during my visit at Zota Beach Resort. I can honestly say that they were all delicious. My favorite was the smoked salmon, so I enjoyed it twice!

  • Mini Viento Parfait – orange scented ricotta, golden honey quinoa granola, fresh berry compote
  • Seasonal Fruit & Berries: – vanilla yogurt, crunchy granola
  • Smoked Salmon: served with red onion, tomato, hard-boiled egg, capers, toasted bagel, cream cheese (the second time I opted to have it on a fresh croissant)
  • Greek Flatbread: fried egg, arugula, avocado, roma tomatoes, scallions, feta cheese
  • Viento Muffin: fried egg, grilled Italian sausage, roasted tomato basil sauce, mozzarella cheese, griddled English muffin
  • Viento Omelet: three eggs, Italian sausage, tomato compote, caramelized onions, mozzarella cheese
  • Sunrise Bowl two eggs, sunny side up, grilled sausage, roasted grape tomatoes, quinoa, kale, spicy chili aioli
  • Roy’s Hash two eggs, any style, crispy fingerling potatoes, Applewood smoked bacon, sausage, onions, fontina cream sauce

Lunch on Longboat Key at Cascades Pool Bar & Cabanas

The infinity edge pool at the Zota Beach Resort is not only beautiful, it is relaxing. You can spend an entire day here and not have to move because of the wonderful service from the Cascades Pool Bar. Better yet, rent one of the cabanas. There are eight cabanas total. We had the corner cabana for lunch with delicious strawberry margaritas. So not only did we dine out of the shade on comfy lounge furniture, we had a nice breezy view.

The Cascades Pool Bar menu is small but tasty and exactly the lunch you are probably looking for when sitting at the pool on a sunny Florida day. Here are the items I enjoyed from the menu:

  • Grilled Alaskan Salmon Salad blend of romaine, field greens, tomatoes, asparagus, crumbled feta, shoestring potatoes, balsamic dressing
  • Grilled Steak Salad crisp iceberg wedge, cucumbers, roasted grape tomatoes, scallions, crumbled gorgonzola, creamy horseradish dressing
  • Maine Lobster Sliders crispy pancetta, pickled fennel, mango, arugula, warm challah rolls
  • Luau Grouper blackened, caramelized onions, shredded iceberg, tomatoes, key lime remoulade, griddled pina colada bread
  • The Club roasted chicken, candied bacon, heirloom tomatoes, crisp iceberg, aged provolone, avocado aioli, whole wheat toast
  • Bison Gone Wild natural bison burger, candied Applewood smoked bacon, pickled shallots, fontina cheese, ciabatta roll

(The Club roasted chicken, candied bacon, heirloom tomatoes, crisp iceberg, aged provolone, avocado aioli, whole wheat toast)

Dinner on Longboat Key at Viento

APPETIZERS
I had the opportunity to try a number of appetizers from the Viento Kitchen & Bar menu. Some starters I reccommend are the Grass-Fed Beef Carpaccio, Maine Lobster Sliders, Calamari Fritto, Burrata Bruchetta, and Chicken Quesadilla Bites.

(Burrata Bruschetta- parma prosciutto, creamy burrata cheese, tomato basil compote, toasted ciabatta bread)

(Maine Lobster Sliders- crispy pancetta, pickled fennel, mango, arugula, warm challah rolls)


ENTREES

The dinner menu at Viento offers everything from scallops to lamb. I enjoyed a wine pairing menu with bites from 8 main dishes. The Espresso Bone-In Ribeye and Seared Sea Scallops were my two favorites.

(Seared U-10 Sea Scallops served ontop creamy ratatouille parmesan risottond perfectly paired with a White Blend, Conundrum, from California.)

(Veal Chop al Forno lightly breaded, heirloom tomatoes, melted mozzarella, and herbed riscossa spaghettini served with Caymus a Cabernet Sauvignon of Napa Valley.)

DESSERTS

I am not a huge fan of desserts with exception to two things: creme brulee, tarty pies and anything nut flavored. So I was delighted to see a mix of these flavors. But the pistachio gelato was by far my favorite. So much I ordered it from room service the last night!

 

Restaurant Information

The Viento Kitchen & Bar is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Valet and self parking is available at the hotel.

at the Zota Beach Resort
4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive,
Longboat Key, Florida 34228
For Reservations: 855.335.1102
www.ZotaBeachResort.com

 


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Disclosure: The meals at Viento Kitchen & Bar was complimentary but the opinions and deliciousness expressed are all my own. This is not a sponsored post.

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Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida

Longboat Key is a beautiful stretch of the Gulf Coast of Florida offering unspoiled beaches with turquoise water and soft white sand. The weather is beautiful year-round, making it a great travel destination if you are looking for sun and warmth. If you stay on Longboat Key you will have a variety of attractions nearby to fill your days with history, shopping, adventure, sports or nature. 

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | Acupful.com travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation

Zota Beach Resort

The Zota Beach Resort is the newest addition to Ocean Properties OPAL collection. This new Gulf Coast Boutique resort opened on June 23, 2016. I recently had the opportunity to take a first peek at this new beachfront hotel located on Longboat Key in Sarasota County. This relaxing, family friendly boutique hotel combines luxury with low key all in a beautiful location.

The Rooms

The Zota Beach Resort accommodations are comfortable, spacious and contemporary. The 187 room hotel provides three view options from the balcony: pool, resort and beachfront. Each room has plush beds, 50″ flat screen TV’s mini refrigerators, work station with extra outlets, a safe and a coffee maker. The suites give extra space with a separate bedroom and living room with a sofa sleeper. Room service is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner from Viento Kitchen & Bar.

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | Acupful.com travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation | florida travel blogger

The Pool

The infinitey-edge pool is surrounded by palm trees and cushioned lounge chairs. There is a 21 person hot tub, firepit, oversized chess board for added outdoor activity. If you plan to spend an entire day outside at the pool I highly reccomend reserving one of the eight private cabanas. These cabanas are ideal outdoor living space with lounge furniture, refrigerator and eating space.

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | Acupful.com travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation

The Beach

The beachfront location of Zota Beach Resort is a prime spot on Longboat Key with beach chairs, umbrellas, sand toys, games, and towels complimentary for guests.

Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key Florida - Review + Photos | Acupful.com travel blog by Mandy Carter | Florida Travel | Luxury Hotels | #LoveFlorida | TravelPR | Boutique Hotels in Florida | Sarasota vacation

The Food

Zota Beach Resort offers two dining options led by Executive Chef Jason Pellet. Viento Kitchen & Bar features hand-crafted cocktails, an expansive wine list and menu options that perfectly combine carribean and mediterranean flavors. The restaurant is located on the second floor with an open air bar, impressive floating wine wall and outdoor dining  that overlooks the hotel pool while also providing a spectacular view of the ocean. Cascades pool bar provides a quick bite when soaking up the sun. Food and bar service is also available throughout the pool deck and within the private cabanas. 

Read a full review + photos of my meals (breakfast, lunch and dinners) here.

Hotel Specifics

Zota Beach Resort
4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Longboat Key, FL 34228
855-335-1102
www.zotabeachresort.com
instagram: @Zotabeachresortlk
facebook: Zota Beach Resort


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I don’t want this weather to end! A refreshing cheers to the sunny day at the @opal_collection @zotabeachresortlk. Time for the infinity pool☀️ on Longboat Key in @visitsarasotacounty. Read all about this new hotel on my blog –> link in bio <– and take advantage of the grand opening promotions taking place until Dec 24th! #h2opalphotocontest . . .. … #zotafirstpeek #zotabeachresprt #sarasota #visitsarasota #visitflorida #loveFl #iamtb #SeeAllofFlorida #travellife #pooldayeveryday #cheers #pooltime #luxurytravel #drinkup #happyhour #itsfiveoclocksomewhere #refreshingdrink #vodkalove #luxuryhotel #sunshine #enjoythelittlethings #lifeisgreat #hostedby @themayfieldgroup #zotabeachresort

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Disclosure: All photos are owned by Mandy Carter. Images cannot be used without permission. Opinions of hotels, attractions, or products on this blog are always my own. A big thank you to The Mayfield Group for having me as a guest and providing a hosted stay to help execute this post! This is not a sponsored post.

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