Photos Courtesy of Sandpearl Resort
Hyundai Elantra photo courtesy of Rita Cook
There is so much to do in the little Florida paradise of Clearwater, Florida, but one standout rising above it all is the Sandpearl Resort. After all, Clearwater has had a good reputation for years as a beach destination since the beaches are both secluded or family-friendly -- take your pick.
Beach real estate encompasses a three-mile stretch on the Pinellas Peninsula on the Gulf side and the Sandpearl occupies a part of that beach offering an incredible old world beach vibe. Located where the Clearwater Beach Hotel used to sit back dating back from the 1930s, the resort boasts 700-feet of pristine gulf coast white sand and an environmentally friendly attitude.
It's the kind of place where you can leave to explore the town or just hang around the beach and the property and have a good time too.
Either way, if you decide to explore do it in the just introduced all new 2017 Hyundai Elantra. For Hyundai fans looking for a compact and sensible vehicle in the sedan world this one is a good choice. After all, the Elantra was Hyundai's impressive bestseller in 2015. The Hyundai folks are counting on more than that for 2017 though having rolled out a complete new look with new features that include technology tweaks that are pretty impressive, particularly on the two higher level trims.
The 2017 Hyundai Elantra comes with four doors in three trims, the SE, Eco and Limited and under the hood the 2017 Hyundai Elantra has two different engine choices depending on the trim. The SE and Limited trim levels have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque and the Eco trim offers a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 128 horsepower and 156 pound feet of torque.
All the Elantra trims are front wheel drive and the SE trim will give you a six-speed manual with the automatic transmission option. On the Limited trim level the automatic transmission is standard. The 2017 Elantra Eco trim has a seven-speed automated manual transmission.
As for how much room in the back seat and trunk, there is the 60/40 split offering more space if needed, overall this version is a bit smaller in the cubic feet with 14.4. The good news, the 2017 version is a little wider and longer with more head, shoulder and legroom and that means more comfort particularly for the backseat passengers.
The perfect vacation car, right?
Fuel efficiency is impressive and overall the 2017 Hyundai Elantra is easy to love since it's quietly composed and simple to appreciate. That's right think 26 miles per gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on the highway with the manual and on the Limited it is 28 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway.
Setting your eyes back to Sandpearl Resort, even with the perfect little car to get around town, you do want to spend at least some time at the resort. After all, there is the award winning spa with 12,000 square-feet of reasons why you must visit. With over 50 services to choose from at the spa there is one treatment that lasts for six hours and includes the Essence of Sandpearl Ritual, treatments with algae oil, green tree extract and minerals and there is also a spa happy hour for groups. Indeed, spa time is happy time at Sandpearl Resort.
The Sandpearl Resort is also the first LEED certified resort in Florida. Translation; eco-friendly and eco-luxury combined. My favorite part of visiting Sandpearl Resort was the old world charm brought on by the perfect s'mores moment on the beach sitting around the fire pit with friends. There is also the traditional sunset bell, which calls the guests to watch the sunset and roast those aforementioned s'mores with something they call "bottled heat" a part of the equation as well. Bottled heat is a tradition at the resort in which they give out bourbon to all the guests to warm the soul against cold night time temperatures.
The fun that can be had in a day at this charming resort is legendary, but it's time to talk about what's for dinner. There is a AAA four-diamond restaurant that you are not going to want to miss. It's called Caretta on the Gulf and one major standout here is the organic vertical garden that grows a variety of herbs used in the dishes served at the restaurant. There is also a special organic menu and you can do some organic cooking demonstrations if the foodie in your soul needs to be calmed.
From check-in to check-out the experience is exceptional and the resort even has a few offsite offerings up their sleeve for guests too. My favorite was the Craft Beer Trail Service that I did with friends as we were chauffeured around to the different breweries in the area. There are a number of breweries in South and North Pinellas County and some would say you can think of it as Florida's answer to California Wine Country. On our fun night out we stopped in at Dunedin Brewery, 7venteth Sun Brewery and then had a tasty dinner at Sea Dog Brewing.
There are many activities in the Clearwater area to take part in and the folks at Sandpearl Resort are gracious and always willing to help you make a plan. Just make sure part of that plan is hanging around the resort in the sun, at the restaurant experiencing a few meals and at least one treatment at the award-winning spa since old world Florida is hard to find and worth every minute at Sandpearl Resort.
For more information visit www.sandpearl.com.
For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.