Hotel Intel: Marriott Hutchinson Island, a charming getaway in Florida

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The resort is a 45-minute drive north of Palm Beach International Airport.

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So many activities, so little time. Or maybe you just prefer to bask in the Florida sun and sand.

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The Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf and Marina in Stuart, Florida is a busy vacation getaway with a great location, a 45-minute drive north of the Palm Beach International Airport. It’s a large area that touches the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, so there is activity on land and on the water.

It offers a breathtaking choice of sports, but what drew me to Martin County was the promise of lots of fresh air, beach life, and fun without the glitter. Marriott Hutchinson Island delivered. Plus, prices are slightly lower for food and lodging than in some of Southeast Florida’s more glamorous areas, and the resort includes parking, as well as plenty to do.

Marriott Hutchinson Island includes dozens of low-rise villas and condos, as well as two hotels, all connected by walking or biking trails and a few roads winding along sparkling ponds and grassy fairways. It’s a stress free life, with everything you would want in a semi-private property.

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The two separate sections of the hotel both have a swimming pool and tiki bar. The Marina Complex (the main building) has 200 traditional hotel rooms, and it’s the center of the action, close to the dining area, golf course, and marina. Sandpiper Tower has 75 studios and one-bedroom suites, all with kitchenettes. It is more isolated, by the ocean and close to the tennis center and the playground. Sandpiper is built around a courtyard and has exterior lanes.

The marina complex at Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf and Marina.
The marina complex at Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf and Marina. Photo for Marriott Hutchinson Island

To eat: Eating outdoors is the way to go. The Latitudes and Sandpiper tiki bars are both delicious restaurants on the terrace from day to night, surrounded by palm trees and umbrellas. At Sandpiper, you hear the swoosh of the ocean a few steps away. At Latitudes, you are rocked by classics of soft pop.

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Chefs prepare burgers (veggie or beef), salads, tacos, club sandwiches, and after 5 p.m. main dishes like steak, mahi mahi, and risotto. Perky tropical cocktails, served by the glass or pitcher, include Endless Summer Berry-ade, with Tito’s Craft Vodka, and Ketel One Cucumber-Mint Vodka Cooler.

The indoor Baha Grille has a similar menu, but also offers buffets on Friday and Saturday nights and daily breakfast.

The Marriott Hutchinson Island has several dining options, including the beachfront Sandpiper Tiki Bar.
The Marriott Hutchinson Island has several dining options, including the beachfront Sandpiper Tiki Bar. Photo for Marriott Hutchinson Island

What to do: Marriott Hutchinson Island offers many benefits. Kids have a playground, scheduled events and of course the Atlantic Ocean beach. Guests can borrow cruise bikes and swim in three heated pools (one is a lap pool) and two hot tubs. There are 13 tennis courts, with clinics and rackets (772-225-6813), as well as a jogging track and 24-hour fitness center. Plus, there’s no charge for the Aqua Driving Range, where practice golf balls land in a small lake.

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Other on-site experiences are chargeable, including golf on the Executive Par-61 of the Ocean Club, the 18-hole course (772-225-6819) and deep sea fishing that starts at the marina (772 -236-4919).

Feet Wet Adventures provides rental of pontoons and motorboats, jet skis, kayaks, and paddleboards (footwetadventures.com). It is an extremely friendly area for paddling as the marina is in a protected bay.

Also launched from the marina, Island Princess Cruises operates sightseeing cruises and dinner cruises (772-225-2100, islandprincesscruises.com). By taking the thrill ride quotient, Next Level Watersports can offer you kitesurfing, wakeboarding and tubing (508-680-3343, nlwatersports.com).

A newly renovated studio at the Sandpiper Tower at Marriott Hutchinson Island.
A newly renovated studio at the Sandpiper Tower at Marriott Hutchinson Island. Photo for Marriott Hutchinson Island

Martin County: The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center and its new Ocean EcoCenter are among Martin County’s top attractions, packed with wonderful exhibits at the Game Fish Lagoon, Sea Turtle Pavilion, and Children’s Activity Pavilion.

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Jonathan Dickinson State Park is also a must-see for nature lovers, who may spot bald eagles, alligators and rare sandhill cranes.

Also new is the unusual Sailfish Sands Golf Course, which is a reversible 18-hole championship course – play nine holes, then play them backwards. This little-known style of links saves space and maintenance, and has its roots in the legendary St Andrews Links in Scotland.

Stuart’s historic Lyrical Theater features a breathtaking calendar of plays, music, comedy and dance. The lineup includes Lewis Black (December 16), The Nutcracker of the St. Lucie Ballet and Treasure Coast Ballet (December 19), Jay and the Americans (January 25) and various tribute shows featuring Motown, the rock ‘n of the years. 50 ‘roll, country and disco.

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If you are going to

Marriott Hutchinson Island Beach Resort, Golf and Marina: 772-225-3700, 800-775-5936, marriott.com; 555 NE Ocean Blvd., Stuart, Florida. Accessible facilities. Marriott Bonvoy program applies.

Prices: All rooms have balconies or patios. Marina Complex from approximately US $ 209 per night, for two people; Sandpiper Studios from around US $ 309 for up to four (one bedroom suites available). Plus service charge, US $ 29 per day. Vacation prices are higher. Extras: beach amenities, business center.

Martin County Tourism: 877-585-0085, 772-288-5451, Discovermartin.com. Florida Tourism: 888-735-2872, visitflorida.com.

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