From the moment plush turtles greet you in your family suite to when you meet the magnificent creatures at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center down the road, a vacation at the Marriott Singer Island is all about slowing down to a turtle’s pace while connecting with the authentic richness of the Palm Beaches: its seashore.
Singer Island, FloridaThis is a far more mellow side to the Palm Beaches, away from the Worth Avenue image of the area. This is a quieter, less developed, more casual area for those seeking a true beach vacation. The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa (check your dates for rates) is an all-suites beach resort ideal for families. Singer Island is in Northern Palm Beach while still being close to all of the action in West Palm Beach. With only a few high rises, including another Marriott Vacation Club property, this island is dominated by expansive John D. MacArthur State Park. Singer Island boasts one of the best beaches in the Palm Beach area. Compared to Palm Beach Island, Singer Island beaches are far more expansive in size, like those on Miami Beach but without all of the people. Scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities await in nearby reefs. Although the beach is private at the Marriott resort (and guests are identified with wrist bands), the public beach access next to the Marriott is serene and uncrowded and offers shaded playgrounds steps from the hotel. Perhaps in summer months it could become more crowded, with smart locals who like the best area beaches.
Singer Island Marriott Family SuitesThe greatest asset of the Marriott Singer Island for families is unquestionably their expansive guest suites. They are stylishly decorated and come with complete kitchens, washers and dryers, and very large bathrooms. Two bedroom suites offer a parent master suite as well as a double bed room in addition to the sleeper sofa in the living room.
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We were incredibly comfortable, and I would recommend these family suites for an extended vacation to explore the Palm Beaches or visit nearby family. These rooms make up in convenience and comfort what the Marriott lacks when competing with the five-star resorts in Palm Beach like The Breakers or the Eau resorts. The rates for the Marriott Singer Island, however, match those that the five-star resorts charge, so don’t expect a bargain in price, just in suite size.
Pool & Beaches at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer IslandThere are two pools at this beachfront resort. The lagoon pool offers a water slide and a zero-entry area for young children. Its poolside restaurant serves standard fare in baskets, and members of the recreation staff offer poolside family activities and crafts, including daily hair braiding. There’s a large waterfall that makes for fun for children to run and jump through and my daughter voted the waterslide a thumbs up, though you have to be at least 48 inches to use it. There’s a pool restaurant as well as poolside service, and although the food was good the crowds keep the staff very busy, so things take time. The second pool that’s beachfront offers cabanas and a mellower vibe, though families are present at both. The beach area, called Ocean Reef Park, is private. Guests are required to wear wristbands to prevent the public from encroaching upon the Marriott beach and pool facilities. Beachgoers queue prior to 9 AM when chair service opens as if they actually run out of chairs. They don’t. People are assigned a number, like concert seating, and those that arrive first want the front row next to the blue water. Large bins at the start of the beach path offer loads of toys for children to grab and play with in the sand. Boogie boards and such are available as well.
Marriott Singer Island Spa and Kids’ ClubThere’s a full service spa, called SiSpa, and a fitness center on site, and yoga classes on the beach. I walked upon the morning yoga on the beach and learned a very important fashion tip: never wear cheetah print leggings to a beach yoga class. Everyone walking by will think you are naked from the waist down. The kids’ club offers a variety of craft projects, movies, and beach activities like using metal detectors in treasure hunts to find buried metal treasure boxes. The staff buries little treasure boxes in advance for the kids to find. My children painted wooden treasure chests, but I was a little disappointed that in a three hour session in the morning, they also watched a movie which I think is more appropriate in evening sessions. Many of the activities throughout the day can be done as a family and do not require an official kids’ club session to participate. Dive in movies are a great nighttime activity for families at the Lagoon pool.
Dining at 3800 Ocean
The Loggerhead Marinelife CenterUpon check in at the Marriott Singer Island, children will receive large stuffed turtles. These are for a fee, but they are a donation to an impressive local nonprofit turtle hospital that is a must on your vacation. The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a rehabilitative educational center and hospital for the magnificent Loggerhead turtle. What started as a much more humble project than its expansive new facility and is a fantastic example of the impact a community can have for natural preservation. Known as the “Turtle Lady” Eleanor Fletcher was a Juno Beach resident who noticed a number of turtles that did not make a successful crawl to sea after hatching. In her views, educating children about sea turtles was the best way to ensure their livelihood. After years of teaching kids “pop up style” in her home and then her real estate office in Juno Beach, the current educational facility opened in 2007. The entrance building of the marine life center is half excellent gift shop and half museum exhibit teaching turtle species information. Several visitors of all ages were engaged in the hands on learning tools and observing the turtles. Girl scout troops received instructions as we passed by into the turtle hospital. We entered the room not far from the large maze of circular tanks and were hit with a strong odor. The hospital doesn’t typically smell this way explained one of the turtle naturalists. A very large turtle have been given an enema a few minutes before, and my son pinched his nostrils the entire time. It’s one of my favorite memories of our trip, as family travel always involves a good poop story. Visitors can learn all of the man-made ways that we endanger turtles in addition to dangers brought on by sharks and bacterial infections caused by algae and sea environments. Who knew that turtles could experience flu-like symptoms, too?
The biggest Lily of Palm BeachThe educational facility is partially outside. The circular tanks containing a single rehabilitating hard-shelled guest are the star attractions. Every turtle has a great name. We saw Le Fou, Belle, Gaston, Scallywag, and Burt Reynolds. Lily, named after Palm Beach’s most famous Lily resident was the star of a benefit for the Marine life Center that the Lily Pulitzer company supported. Lily was found, struck by a boat on Hutchinson Island. Her response to treatment has been consistent, and she’s even better than when we were there seven weeks ago. How do I know? I can follow along the turtle patients online to see how they are faring on the website. I love that this enables children to take a deeper understanding of each turtles they encounter, learn of their experience and champion their recovery. Children can also adopt a loggerhead turtle at the gift shop and receive a token plush hatchling turtle and certificate. It’s genuinely impressive to see how Eleanor Fletcher’s passion and interest in these sea creatures has evolved into a turtle hospital and educational center for the community that contributes on a regional level. If you are visiting the Palm Beaches in the summer months, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center hosts turtle walks on the beach for those aged eight and older. Spaces fill up as fast as Four Seasons’ Teddy Bear teas. Outside of those months, there are still an impressive range of programs for visiting families, and even summer camps for those in the area for a week visiting the grandparents nearby.
Although we were guests of the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, these opinions are entirely my own. We thank Discover the Palm Beaches for hosting us at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center.