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10 Florida hotels where families can use points to escape winter

Dec. 31, 2021
15 min read
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
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As a Floridian prone to bust out fuzzy boots at the first sign of a winter cold front, I’m well aware of how silly such antics look to the rest of a country properly drowning in wintry precipitation.

Down here in Florida, we live for these cold fronts that come through during the winter months and leave the skies blazingly blue and the air with just enough chill to warrant wearing those UGGs and cute sweaters. The truth is, though, that for most of the wintertime in Florida, it’s downright warm and toasty (even if you won’t find me swimming in the water without a wetsuit again until April or so).

If you’re looking to warm your family’s winter-weary bones with a Sunshine State escape on points this winter, read on for 10 fabulous Florida points hotels that promise diverse experiences across the state.

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Visit Florida’s West Coast

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club

Fronting the hotel’s yacht marina in downtown St. Petersburg, this Florida grande dame resort is perfect for families who want to mix outdoors time with urban fun. There’s a big rivalry between St. Pete and Tampa (where I live), just across the bridge. And I’ll admit St. Pete has a more edgy and creative vibe to its downtown, where street art and great independent restaurants and bars abound. Add the impeccably imagined St. Pete Pier, which debuted as an extension of downtown in 2020, and the place is hard to beat.

When you stay at the venerable Vinoy, you’re walking distance to independent shops and restaurants, The Dali Museum, the awesome St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market (grab a coco frio or crepe for the kids), the pier and lots of other cool spots along the waterfront.

Vinoy Renaissance
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Many of the hotel’s rooms have balconies overlooking the water and its lovely pool. Paul’s Landing restaurant, overlooking the Vinoy Marina, is family-friendly, with tables on a wide patio overlooking the water and downtown St. Pete. (Marriott Category 6, award rates start at 40,000 Marriott points per night.)

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort

Florida feels exotic and wild (yet entirely tamed, too) at this sprawling Gulf-front resort perched at the edge of the tangled mangroves of the Everglades, just south of Naples on Marco Island. The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort fronts a powdery stretch of sand and has three on-site pools, including a fun mini splash area for kids that has a twisting waterslide.

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JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
The rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The on-site Spa by JW is one of the most indulgent in all of Florida, and parents who can steal away should make time for a treatment. The resort offers all kinds of fun, family-friendly excursions that get you out into the real Florida, including sailing and shelling trips by catamaran and guided WaveRunner tours into the spectacular backwaters of the nearby Ten Thousand Islands, which are part of the Everglades. This hotel even has a bowling alley. (Marriott Category 7, award rates start at 50,000 Marriott points per night.)

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
Bowling alley at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach

Living in Tampa with my family, we get over to Clearwater Beach quite regularly (it’s about a 30-minute drive from the super convenient Tampa International Airport). The town’s commercial area, just back from the beach, is compact, with restaurants and shops just a short walk from wherever we park. And the nightly sunset celebrations at Pier 60, right on the beach, complete with arts and crafts vendors selling Floridiana and street entertainers performing for the crowds, has a Key West-like vibe.

boy swimming in Florida Gulf Coast
Frolicking off Clearwater Beach. (Photo by vernonwiley/Getty Images)

A stay at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, right across a quiet two-lane street from the powdery sand, puts you walking distance to almost everything you’d want to see in Clearwater Beach during a family vacation. This is one of those properties that has a real condo-like feel. Of the 287 rooms here, 256 of them are actual suites that have kitchenettes or full kitchens and laundry access — making this a hotel that makes it easy for families to settle in and stay awhile. You’ll love the eighth-floor pool deck, too, when it’s time to take a break from the beach. (Category 6, from 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night).

JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

Tampa got its first true five-star downtown luxury hotel in Dec. 2021 when the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street opened within walking distance of where the championship NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, play and the city's buzzing Tampa Riverwalk, which stretches for 2.6 miles along the Hillsborough River.

In addition to its prime location, the property also offers what's by far Tampa's most luxurious wellness offering in the Spa by JW, complete with stream rooms, saunas, an outdoor shower and warm mineral pool and a co-ed rooftop lounge with city views.

Other amenities include a rooftop pool and restaurant and, coming soon, an even higher rooftop raw bar and tapas restaurant set to open on the hotel's 27th floor with the most vertiginous rooftop views in all of downtown.

The hotel is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 property with awards from 40,000 to 60,000 points per night.

East Coast Points Resorts in Florida

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to stay pre- or post-cruise or planning a long beach weekend with the family in Fort Lauderdale, there’s so much to appreciate about this popular points hotel overlooking Fort Lauderdale Beach. Families love that all of the rooms at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort are proper suites, and you can choose from configurations with one bedroom and bathroom up to three bedrooms and bathrooms.

Hilton Fort Lauderdale
(Photo by Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort)

The larger suites feel like apartments, with large living spaces and lots of room for everyone to spread out, and the corner suites have wrap-around balconies where you can take in Intracoastal Waterway, city and ocean views. Kitchenettes or full kitchens are standard throughout the hotel’s suites, so you can choose to cook meals in or take a short stroll to the many nearby restaurants lining the oceanfront boulevard, A1A.

Other amenities at this excellent Hilton include a pool overlooking the ocean and beach access just across the two-lane road in front of the hotel. (Generally available for 65,000 to 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night.) Here’s how to rack up more Hilton points for your family.

Hotel Melby

Along Florida's Space Coast in Melbourne, this new-in-2021 boutique hotel is part of Hilton's Tapestry Collection. It has a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean beyond — which has become the spot to hang out for off-duty engineers and rocket scientists drawn to the area by the growing commercial space tourism industry (it's also become a quick favorite among Space Coast locals).

(Photo courtesy of The Hotel Melby)

Hotel Melby's industrial-chic vibe is grounded in local art, with graffiti-inspired murals by renowned local Space Coast artist Christopher Maslow decorating many of the hotel's public areas, elevators and the rooftop space, too. There's a great local Central Florida coffee shop, Foxtail Coffee, on the hotel's ground floor. Tapas-style entrees are offered on the rooftop, as well as excellent craft cocktails that go down like a charm with the syrupy sunset views. The hotel lacks a swimming pool, but Melbourne Beach is a 5-minute drive across the Intracoastal Waterway and all the bars and restaurants of quaint downtown Melbourne are just out the hotel's door. (Generally available for 40,000 Hilton Honors points per night.)

Marriott Stanton South Beach

There are so many places to stay in Miami Beach, it can be overwhelming — and not all of them have a vibe suitable for vacationing families. This redesigned Marriott, right on Ocean Drive and fronting the beach, is a good bet for families who want to be close enough to walk to all the urban action of South Beach yet ensconced in a quieter beachfront oasis.

Stanton South Beach
A double city view room at the Stanton South Beach. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

The hotel has two pools, direct beach access and an Art Deco vibe that jibes with the South Beach sense of place. The Stanton also happens to be right next to the verdant setting of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Ocean Beach Park, where a nice little playground just back from the beach is shaded from the sun. (Category 7, award rates start at 50,000 Marriott points per night.) At 50k Marriott points per night, you could also use an annual award (worth up to 50,000 points) from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to cover a night of your stay.

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa

My family loves visiting the West Palm Beach area because there's so much to do. For starters, the beaches are beautiful (you can even access the sand right off tony Worth Avenue in Palm Beach at the oceanfront municipal park). Downtown West Palm Beach is so fun for strolling the cafe scene on and around Clematis Street, heading out for a sunset cruise on the Hakuna Matata catamaran or just taking the free trolley around town with the kids. Don't miss snorkeling in the Intracoastal Waterway at the Blue Heron Bridge, too, where you might spot eagle rays and octopus on the slack tide, when the water briefly turns crystal clear. This Marriott property, just north of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach on Singer Island, makes a great base for doing it all. It has condo-style accommodations with one and two bedrooms, full kitchens and Intracoastal Waterway or beach views.

 Marriott Singer Island
(Photo courtesy of Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Resort)

You’ll feel like you’re staying at a vacation rental with all the perks here, including an excellent on-site spa and restaurant. The oceanfront hotel’s beach can get crowded when the hotel is at capacity, but good luck tearing your kids away from the waterslides and waterfalls at the sprawling zero-entry family pool, where they’ll likely want to spend all their time anyway. (Category 8, award rates start at 50,000 Marriott points per night.)

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples

Everyone knows Florida is at its golfing best during the mild winter months, when the temperatures generally couldn't be nicer and the skies couldn't be bluer for trying to make a birdie. The problem is deciding where to hit the greens, with so many options through nearly every sunny stretch of the Sunshine State.

(Photo by Juan Ruiz/The Points Guy)

With golf on your mind — as long as you don't mind an off-the-beach location — there's a good case to be made for The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, which recently unveiled new poolside amenities that include a restaurant, luxury cabanas and a 600-foot lazy river families love, making it all the easier to spend most of your time enjoying Florida's great (wintertime) outdoors.

The resort has a country club feel and sits between two Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship courses, so you've got options when it's time to play. When the beach is calling, it's a four-mile drive west to Naples' public beaches as well as the property's sister resort, the oceanfront Ritz-Carlton Naples. (Marriott Category 7, with awards rates from 50,000 points per night.)

Resort Near Disney World for Just 12,000 Points

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

A day off from the surrounding theme parks (Walt Disney World Resort is just a mile away) still feels like a total family adventure when you vacation at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. The lakefront property, within a 1,500-acre reserve, is absolutely sprawling, with three large pools (including waterslides the kids will love), walking trails, a rope bridge for kids, rock climbing, golf and even a children’s club (Camp Hyatt) to keep everyone busy.

(Photo courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress/Facebook)

If you’re looking for a resort that feels like a world of its own in Orlando and isn’t affiliated with the theme parks, this Hyatt is a longstanding family favorite. (Category 3, from 12,000 World of Hyatt points). You could even use the Category 1-4 award that comes with the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

The Florida Keys

Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa

Key West has a reputation as a party spot, with Duval Street the epicenter of the island’s oft-raucous nightlife. But families find so much to do here at the end of the road in the Florida Keys, too, including catamaran snorkeling excursions, visits to the Key West Aquarium and the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center and trolley rides around town (included haunted tours). This beautiful Hyatt on Front Street — a short stroll to the sunset celebrations at nearby Mallory Square, the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and many other island hot spots — is an ideal family pick.

The Florida Keys
Exploring in the Florida Keys. (Photo by romrodinka/Getty Images)

The property has an outdoor pool overlooking the water and even a small beach area — a rarity on this coral island — with a pier where kids will enjoy dipping in for a swim or a snorkel session. (Category 6, from 25,000 World of Hyatt points.)

Bottom line

Florida’s a big state and there are a ton of points hotels to choose from to escape winter or think ahead to summer or fall family getaway. Whether you opt for the East Coast cities of Melbourne, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale, the glorious golden sand on the Gulf Coast or head inland to visit Walt Disney World and other attractions in Orlando, your family can find a great home base that’s bookable on points.

Want to head to Florida soon? Here are some other resources:

Featured image by Jeff Herron Photography
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023