-> Above photos courtesy of Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts. The rest, courtesy of moi. <-
Traveling for business is one of the greatest joys of my job (case in point: my quick but gorgeous-sights-filled trip to Aruba) and I was grateful to be able to spend a recent weekend with some wonderful travel writers at Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts, located in North Florida.
Just a short drive toward the coast from Jacksonville International Airport – which is an incredibly easy, 2(ish) hour flight from NYC – Ponte Vedra Beach boasts gorgeous, wide beaches and some of the highest sand dunes in Florida.
Ponte Vedra Beach Resort’s AAA Four-Diamond boutique hotel The Lodge & Club was my “home” for the weekend. The beach-front boutique hotel has welcomed guests since 1989 and offers all the comfort and amenities one could possible desire, in a spectacular setting.
My spacious Ocean Suite, one of The Lodge & Club’s 66 ocean-front rooms, offered a residential feel and could have easily fit a couple PLUS their kiddos. I immediately fell for the fireplace and the ocean-front window seat. (It’s perfect for a 20-minute power nap. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.)
And having a tub in addition to a shower is a luxury many hotels have done without over the years. Another luxury was the kitchenette. I didn’t use it for preparing food but it was nice to have access to a kitchen sink and I appreciated the extra seating space the bar offered.
Beautiful touches accented the suite, giving it a lovely, residential feel – it’s apparent the property recently completed a major renovation. (What an amazing job they did!)
And this headboard… (swoon…) Isn’t it one of the prettiest hotel room headboards you’ve seen? I felt like a queen sleeping in this bed!
The balcony offered the perfect place for me to sip my coffee while catching up with work each morning. Like I mentioned, each of the 66 rooms are ocean-front, thus offering each guest a glimpse of the expansive, sparkling sea.
Of course, a Florida getaway is as much about the outdoors as the indoors. Lucky for me, The Lodge and Club and its sister property, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, encompass over 300 acres of beautiful surroundings, creating the perfect playground for relaxation AND play.
I immediately fell for this fountain. Inspired by the area’s wildlife, it’s decked with alligators, pelicans and seahorses. (I witnessed a gator stealthily gliding through the water while I was at the resort’s golf course, so I can say with certainty that they are present!)
Speaking of golf, does a game of golf get any more picturesque than this?
No, I didn’t play a round of golf, but I did partake in a fabulous group activity called Shoot for the Pin, in which guests take turns trying to drive a golf ball onto the course’s island hole – the first of its kind in the country – with the one whose ball lands closest to the whole being crowned the winner. You can read more about it in this Smart Meetings article – I can see it being as fun for a business group as it is for a getaway with friends or a family reunion!
Both The Lodge & Club and The Inn & Club front on a stretch of incredibly wide beach, perfect for bike riding, jogging, and strolling for shells and shark teeth. I jogged one morning and it truly felt like it was just me and the beach – it’s that big.
Bicycles, ocean kayaks, boogie boards and more are available to rent. My colleague and I were able to squeeze in a quick beach bike ride and loved every minute of it. We felt like kids again!
I was lucky to have blue skies during my stay but if blue skies turn stormy, guests may retreat to the two fitness centers – one at The Inn & Club and one at The Lodge & Club – for a quick workout or a fitness class. Almost all fitness classes are complimentary to guests, which is really nice.
And as expected from a luxury property, the resort’s spa is heavenly…
…as are the resort’s dining establishments.
The Lodge & Club’s Executive Chef Christopher Pickren’s cuisine was delectable. From the creative takes on classics we enjoyed during an elegant dinner in The Innlet Dining Room to the farm stand omelets and tropical fruits he prepared for our group for breakfast in one of the Presidential Suites – everything was delicious.
The cuisine at The Inn & Club impressed as well. Seahorse Grille offers a picturesque environment with floor-to-ceiling windows that boast dramatic ocean views. Working with local purveyors is a focus of all the resort’s restaurants, which I appreciate.
As the sun set on a fabulous weekend, I thought about how all-encompassing Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts is. Beautiful beaches, luxurious and cozy rooms, excellent tennis, golf and fitness offerings, delicious cuisine – it truly offers something for every type of traveler.
I traveled to Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts when I was younger and had fond memories of strolling the beach with my parents and grandparents. It was a joy to return and see firsthand how it’s been renovated over the years!
For more information about Ponte Vedra Resorts and to book, visit their website.
Have you spent time in Ponte Vedra Beach? If so, tell me about your experience!