Updated 9/29/2020 While we highly recommend renting a condo or house on VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner), there several awesome beachfront hotels. For stays less than a week it can be tough to find a condo rental, especially during the busy season. Booking a beachfront Sanibel Island hotel can be a great choice if you are staying less than a week.
Here are our top picks for Sanibel Island beachfront hotels:
1. Island Inn Beach Resort
Without question, this is the top Sanibel Island beachfront hotel. It’s really more of a resort than a hotel, but it can be booked through Hotels.com. It gets a 9.2 out of 10 on Hotels.com, you can check for yourself here: Island Inn Early Booking Sale-Hotels.com
Checking the Tripadvisor ratings, Island Inn comes in at 4.5/5.0 with over 1400 reviews, earning Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. The Island Inn sits on 550 feet of pristine Sanibel Island beach and has amenities that really set it apart from the other hotels/resorts on the island. There is free wifi throughout the resort, free continental breakfast, and a wonderful on-site restaurant, Traditions on the Beach. Check out their menus here http://traditionsonthebeach.com/menu
Island Inn also offers bicycle rentals, kayak rentals, and beach equipment rentals, all on-site. There are also shell and fish cleaning stations, and if you decide to fillet your catch from the beach, the on-site restaurant will even cook it for you. The fishing is excellent right off the beach so this can be one of the most memorable experiences you can have with your family while on vacation.
2. Casa Ybel Resort
This resort is also outstanding, and if we weren’t able to find a room at Island Inn, Casa Ybel would definitely be our next choice. It is a little more expensive than some of the other hotels on Sanibel, but it also is considerably newer and nicer. Casa Ybel actually offers 2 onsite restaurants. “Thistle Lodge” is one of the top beachfront restaurants on Sanibel, check out the Tripadvisor reviews: Tripadvisor-Thistle Lodge Sanibel Island The other restaurant is a cool beach and poolside bar called Coconuts. They have fantastic drinks and appetizers. Coconuts is such a cool spot on the island I stop here every time I’m on the island, no matter if I’m staying at Casa Ybel or not. It’s that good.
The rooms here are excellent, the pool is huge, the restaurants are fantastic, there’s a lot to like about Casa Ybel. Because this resort is pretty big and its a little more expensive, it’s a little bit easier to find a room last minute here. Casa Ybel has just about everything you could ask for in a Sanibel Island hotel. Check for available rooms and reviews on Hotels.com here: Casa Ybel Sanibel Early Booking Sale-Hotels.com
3. Sundial Resort Sanibel Island
Sundial is the largest Sanibel Island Hotel. While it isn’t as nice as Casa Ybel, it is also often half the price. Being a large resort it offers some amenities that many other hotels on the island do not. The list of activities for kids and adults alike that Sundial offers is staggering. You can do anything from play pickleball near the beach to rent a stand up paddleboard to try off the beach. Sundial is one of the only hotels in Sanibel Island to offer a 3 bedroom room, normally they are only available in a condo.
There are also 3 separate restaurants on-site, including a Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. There is even a grab and go market run by the wonderful Bailey’s grocery store, carrying the essentials without even leaving the property. If you are looking for a resort that has enough to do that you never even have to leave, Sundial is perfect. You can check room availability here: Sundial Resort Sanibel Early Booking Sale-Hotels.com
4. Song of the Sea Resort
Song of the Sea is a great small beachfront resort on Sanibel. There are only 30 rooms at this hotel so it can be tough to get a room here, or nearly impossible during busy months. This is a place where you need to act fast if you find a good deal on a room. Hotels.com has an average rating of 8.8/10, and Tripadvisor reviews come in at 4.5/5, also earning their Certificate of Excellence. Many of the rooms here include small kitchens, which is a nice way to save a little money by eating in a few meals. There isn’t a restaurant on site here, but with 16 restaurants within a mile of the hotel, it isn’t too hard to find food. You can check the availability for this resort on Hotels.com here: Song of the Sea Sanibel Early Booking Sale-Hotels.com
5. Waterside Inn on the Beach
Another smaller Sanibel Island hotel, Waterside Inn has 27 hotel rooms and a few cottages available for booking. This is a resort that can be a fantastic value for someone who is going to be spending most of their time on the beach. The rooms here are always clean, but not quite as luxurious as what you would find at the Island Inn. The upside is the deals you can find here can be fantastic at times. Waterside Inn is located on West Gulf Drive, which is a quieter section of the beach than most of the island. Check current prices and reviews here Waterside Inn Early Booking Sale-Hotels.com
Often these hotels are booked far in advance just like every other form of lodging on Sanibel. We like to use Hotels.com because they often have availability when everywhere else is sold out. They always have the best price, without any gimmicks. If you find an available room at a price that makes sense for your budget, book it. If you want to check out our list of the top condo’s on Sanibel Island, head here: Frequent Islander’s Top 5 Sanibel Island Condos