We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, Feb. 15, to brilliant sunshine! The day couldn't have been brighter! ! Having only driven from Key Largo, it was early afternoon, and we decided to have a look around the city and the beaches before heading for Weston, 20 or so miles to the west.
Our timeshare week at Vacation Village at Bonaventure wasn't to start until Sunday, so we began looking for a motel room for the night. We found that many were booked because of an automobile show going on in nearby Miami. What we did find available was way over what we wanted to spend.
We decided to go to Bonaventure Resort with the thought that someone there could, perhaps, refer us to lodge accommodations somewhere for the night. At Bonaventure's check-in desk, the staff was very hospitable, but when the lodge they suggested was ALSO TOO SPENDY, we asked if there was any possibility our week could start NOW, rather than the following day.
The answer was a resounding "yes" - the unit was available, we'd be there from Saturday-Saturday, which suited us just fine. I'm telling this to show how accommodating the resort staff was!
Our studio unit was in the Flamingo II building, on the top floor - we had great views from our bedroom windows. . .the only windows in the unit! Small though it was, we managed just fine. The kitchen was very "mini", but well supplied. . .the dining area was small, just in between the kitchen and the living room. The bedroom was very nice, a separate room, containing a double bed, shelf space, a bit of space for hanging garments, a television set on the dresser, a radio, a chair. The bathroom was just off the bedroom, and there were two doors to it.
It was 480 square feet arranged very nicely, but without a patio or Jacuzzi. No washer/dryer in the unit, either, of course - but a really pleasant laundry room, with washer and dryer, down at the end of the hallway -- not only on our floor, but on every floor. . .in all the Bonaventure timeshare buildings!
Saturday evening, the first thing we needed to find was a place to eat, and we chose a small pizza place, which we had a discount coupon for - given to us at check-in.
Also at check-in, we were "whisked" to a desk to sign up for a "meeting/tour" with a Weston representative to be on Wednesday during the week. This event went well. The rep took us to the Wyndham where we had a delicious breakfast, after which she showed us a fabulous Weston model. She also drove us to the Weston Town Center for a brief tour of that, showing us what was there, etc. We were liking everything about this place!
The first thing Sunday morning, we walked to the Heron building for the outdoor breakfast/information meeting by the pool. That was really nice! There was coffee available at the Heron pool every morning, we found. My husband was really impressed with that - he being such a coffee drinker!
It's a nice walk between Flamingo II and Heron.
We enjoyed the Bonaventure pool Sunday afternoon, it was pretty well occupied with people mostly sitting around it. However, I found the water to be warm and very relaxing.
The Bonaventure Country Club is close by and we stopped in for their Happy Hour a couple of times during the week in the new bar/lounge and restaurant. Happy Hour is 4pm - 7pm, Monday - Friday, and it's billed, "two for one all drinks"! There was live music with Mike Lapoint from 6pm - 10pm, Thursday - Saturday. Dance music from 10pm - close, all three nights. On Thursday, three for one drinks from 9pm - 11pm. Thursday is Ladies Night!
At the breakfast on Sunday morning, we heard about several great cruises and tours available! There is a "Miami Nice" Sightseeing Tour & Cruise, a Bahama Mama Sunset Cruise (their "most popular" excursion), a Moon Over Miami tour. . .taking you to Miami's South Beach, and a tour to the Florida Keys. You can also learn to scuba dive, as there's an Introduction To Scuba class - held right at the resort in the pool.
There are snorkeling trips to "America's only living coral reef", available throughout the week on a daily basis. You need to make advance reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
We enjoyed the Sawgrass Mills Mall a couple of times during the week. It is some distance from the resort, but well worth seeing! It is the world's largest designer outlet mall, with 300 stores. There's another area adjacent to it with more great stores, a Hard Rock Cafe, and - what else? The movies, of course!
Bonaventure also provides some excursions that they drive you to. One we went on, and enjoyed very much, was canoeing on the lake in Markham Park. Lunch follows at a picnic table in the park!
Another excursion we went on was to the "Flamingo Botanical Gardens & Wildlife Sanctuary"! That we were at for several hours on Thursday -- and it was just so wonderful! SO MUCH TO SEE! ! A narrated tram tour is included. It's a 60-acre botanical paradise - there are rare, exotic and native plants, wildlife encounter shows, specialty gardens, Florida's largest collection of "Champion" trees, the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary & Bird of Prey Center, and the historic "Wray" Home Museum. It was a Mr. and Mrs. Wray who created this park out of the Everglades in 1926-1927. They are certainly to be congratulated!
The park is at 19 feet above sea level. You can also see beautiful flamingos, "less beautiful" alligators, river otters and bobcats. Oh, yes, there were some gorgeous peacocks too!
We also learned from the guide on the tram ride that, "that tree over there is the world's oldest tree - it's been there since the dinosaurs"!
There is also the "Fresh Fruit Patio", "Gator Grill", Garden & Gift Shops, and Gift Fruit Shipping.
On Wednesday evening, Bonaventure Resort held a Chinese Dinner and Art Show auction right there on the premises. That was a fun thing to attend! The host has a "comedic" side! There are many artworks to view and bid on! The Chinese food is brought in - picnic style, packaged!
We had pizza one evening at the Italian restaurant, Tarentella, in the Weston Town Center, that was pointed out to us by the Weston rep when she showed us the Center previously. It was good pizza, and we were glad we went. It's a unique place!
I must mention the Weston pool - it is just immense - long, so pretty with a waterfalls in the middle of it! We did get in that our last day there. Also, there was Bingo played at the Weston pool on Tuesday afternoon.
The Registration building where you check in is very nice, there are free brochures for your taking on many places of interest! This building also has computers for your use, free of charge, in a separate room.
Our week at Weston will long be fondly remembered. Checking out on Saturday morning was made easy - it was just a matter of dropping off the keys. . . .and saying farewell.
We will be returning for a week there again next February!