Local Escape

Charlotte Harbor’s New Ultraluxe Staycation is for SWFL Sunset Lovers

Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor is the premiere spot for sunset views, lounging by the pool, golfing on green fairways, indulging in gelato and taking in unobstructed views of the water.

BY May 1, 2024
Sunseeker Resort Punta Gorda
(Courtesy Sunseeker Resort)

Florida’s nickname, the Sunshine State, may pay tribute to our abundant bluebird days, but I prefer the moments just before dark, when the light bends and melts over the coast in a fiery gradient of oranges, reds and pinks. Even after seeing some of the most jaw-dropping places in the world over the past year as a travel writer, Southwest Florida is still unrivaled in her beauty at sunset. Now, I’ve finally found the best seat to catch the fiery show: Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor. Tethered to the Peace River in Punta Gorda, Sunseeker opened its doors in December, after nearly six years of anticipation.

Budget airline Allegiant spent more than $650 million on this plush, 22-acre resort that’s equally attractive for local staycationers and global travelers. A stay in one of the 785 rooms—many of which are suites with bedrooms, full kitchens and private balconies, with water views—unlocks a host of exclusive amenities. Topping the list are the rolling fairways at the nearby Aileron Golf Club—an 18-hole course designed by Kipp Schulties Golf Design, the architects behind more than 50 courses in the state, including The Legends in Fort Myers and Naples’ Vanderbilt Country Club. 

The 20 onsite dining and drinking establishments (also open to the public) likely mean those suite kitchens will go largely unused (though they’ll be good for storing snacks and drinks for nightcaps). Split colossal tiger prawns and a monstrous tomahawk at Maury’s steakhouse, sip more than 100 tequilas at coastal Mexican Blue Lime, or book a table for  farm-to-table Italian at Stretto. I particularly love the Harbor Yards Food Hall, which has vendors devoted to perfecting a single specialty, from gelato at Charlotte Parlor to charcuterie boards at Chartisan. (Don’t worry, you can work off all the overindulging later at the Technogym-stocked fitness center, where walls of glass grant a 180-degree view of Charlotte Harbor.)

Still, the main focus of your visit is on the views across the waterfront, seen from the resort’s bounty of westward-facing amenities. On the first day of my staycation, lounging in the ground-level pool with a cocktail in hand, I watch as a brilliant sunset casts pastel streaks across the sky. Eight stories above, other guests gather around the adults-only rooftop pool, where the view is even more glorious, sweeping across the glassy Charlotte Harbor toward the endless horizon beyond.

Around here, there’s really no bad seat in the house when the sun takes its final bow; wherever you are on the property, it’s sure to be a stellar performance.   

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