Inviting, intimate, peaceful: These words come to mind to describe the Hibiscus House Bed & Breakfast, in Fort Myers, where I spent a restful summer’s night basking in the hospitality of innkeepers David and Pam McCurrach.
The inn is reasonably priced and ideally located for visitors, minutes from downtown shops and restaurants and a half-mile down the street from the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers’ No. 1 attraction.
I stayed in the Bougainvillea Room, an oasis of French provincial style and comfort decorated in off-white and pale green, with a king-sized bed and a cozy seating area in an alcove surrounded by large windows. Fresh flowers were a nice added touch.
The room – like all five at the two-story Hibiscus House – has a private entrance. The Bougainvillea’s provides easy access to the back parking lot.
When redecorating the inn, Pam McCurrach, a former Ethan Allen interior designer, clearly paid special attention to the bathrooms, which are quite luxurious, especially considering the room rates.
The standout feature in the Bougainvillea bathroom is an oversized BubbleMassage hydrotherapy tub. Warning: The tub wall is higher than normal. Some guests may have difficulty stepping over it, and should choose another room. For those who prefer a shower, there’s an extra-large shower head and a handheld shower head. A lighted, magnified makeup mirror is an added convenience.
A local artist created a different stained-glass window for each bath; a heron casts a multicolored glow over the bathroom in the Bougainvillea. Speckled marble tops a decorative vanity with gold fixtures.
The only jarring notes I noticed in my room – and they were minor – were the television in the bathroom and the view.
Some guests will consider a second TV a luxury, but I found the 26-inch black flat-screen out of place mounted behind the toilet in a bathroom that was obviously decorated with care. A few steps away, in the bedroom, is a 42-inch flat-screen. (Two other Hibiscus rooms also have bathroom TVs.)
One of the large windows in the Bougainvillea looks out on a huge AC unit and a fountain with no water. From the other window, you see the path that guests take from the back parking lot to the front entrance. With broken concrete blocks, an uneven sidewalk and a mishmash of patio furniture, this area could definitely use some TLC to improve guests’ all-important first impression of the inn.
However, once you reach the front of the Hibiscus House, all is well. On my visit, I was greeted promptly by David McCurrach, a former banker, who was friendly and helpful, explaining in detail about the inn’s policies and showing me how the BubbleMassage tub, and everything else, worked in my room.
After relaxing a bit, I explored the shops in downtown Fort Myers and had a wonderful dinner at the historic Firestone – which has two restaurants, a dance floor and a rooftop bar.
For breakfast, guests at the Hibiscus House were served tasty raspberry French toast and baked bacon, plus assorted fruit. Afterward, I enjoyed chatting with David and Pam, who moved from Tennessee and bought the Hibiscus House in 2012. They live in an apartment in the back of the house.
The couple filled me in on a little of the house’s history. It was built nine miles north of Fort Myers, in 1923, by the owner of a lumber company. In the 1940s, after he died, his widow had the house sawed in half so it could be moved to Fort Myers on two barges. The home has functioned as an inn for many decades, but wasn’t dubbed the Hibiscus House until 2003.
Pam graciously agreed to give me a tour, even though the rooms were being cleaned in preparation for new arrivals.
The Periwinkle, on the second floor, is the largest and most expensive room, with two queen beds, 54-inch flat-screen TV and double vanity. I was particularly drawn to the Orchid, the other second floor room, with seven windows bringing in extra light, a small balcony facing the street and a king-sized four-poster bed. The Orchid also boasts double sinks in the bath.
Another four-poster bed, also king-sized, dominates the Palm, on the first floor. The room has original heart pine floors and a bath with a combination rain head/regular shower with wall-mounted body sprays. The Hibiscus’ least costly room is the charming Jasmine, on the first floor in the back, with its wrought iron queen-sized bed, fish art on the walls and bath with double sinks and walk-in shower.
Prices at the inn compare well with those of counterparts in Florida, ranging from $139 to $159 a night in the summer and fall. The Jasmine’s rate is always $10 less than the other rooms. Rates are slightly higher in the winter and spring, but remain below $200. Florida residents who stay at least two nights get a 10 percent discount on all rooms through Aug. 31.
If a small, stylish bed-and-breakfast with friendly innkeepers is your cup of tea, I guarantee you will like the Hibiscus House. I was sorry to leave after one night, and look forward to a return visit.
(Note: As always, I accepted no compensation in exchange for writing this review, and did not reveal my intentions to the innkeepers.)