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Hotel Check: Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts

Published: 19/05/2017 - Filed under: Home » News »

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Hotel Check: Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts

HOW MANY ROOMS? 316 rooms and suites across two separate properties

PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Guests and members have two resorts to enjoy for the price of one, and the beachfront and lagoon views are simply stunning.

PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room on the random dates we checked start at $269 at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and $349 at The Lodge & Club

CONTACT The Lodge & Club, 607 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082, tel +1-904-273-9500; Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, 200 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082, tel +1-904-285-1111, http://www.pontevedra.com

VERDICT This is a hidden gem. In fact, the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is blossoming into its 90th anniversary next year with room updates, a burgeoning culinary scene, award-winning sports facilities, and an ever-popular spa.

BACKGROUND These historic inn and private club hotels have expanded over time with a beautiful 18-hole golf course and exceptional dining and spa experiences. While it is a members-only resort, anyone can book a room to enjoy the full run of the facilities.

Ponte Vedra Resort

WHERE IS IT? Ponte Vedra, home to the PGA Tour and The Players Championship, is about 40 minutes from Jacksonville Airport.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? There are two sibling properties just over a mile apart. Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is the larger of the two, and its Spanish architecture of red-tiled roofs and white stucco are postcard-perfect (it is often called the “grand dame” of North Florida resorts). It has a staff to guest room ratio of more than two to one. The main reception building is fronted by a massive fountain, and the grounds are tended to by more than 100 staffers.

Ponte Vedra Inn & Club

That explains how the grounds are immaculate and flowers always so perfect. Take a peek inside the lounge and living room area; that Oriental-style carpet you see is 10 feet shorter than the one in the White House! The Lodge & Club is a smaller 66-room property that offers a more intimate experience, but doesn’t skimp on amenities or dining options. Upkeep is impeccable, and it’s not uncommon to find the general manager inspecting rooms on a daily basis to ensure absolute perfection. You will rarely see delivery trucks around as they use purpose-built driveways and tunnels, much like what you find at Disney parks.

ROOM FACILITIES Each of the buildings at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club have a different color theme. Some have multiple shades of blue while others bear overtones of orange or red. Each year, the resort invests money into renovation and upkeep (Atlantic House is under the knife at the moment), and housekeeping does a great job. Entry foyers with tiling lead to fluffy, soft carpeting where high-backed, cushioned headboards front the oversized king beds and duvets. Sofas sit in the corner while desk space sits beneath flat-screen cable TVs framed like a golden painting. Conveniently placed power outlets are everywhere from on either side of the night stands to the desk. Lighting is excellence, and all rooms in the beachfront sections have furnished balconies or terraces facing the water. Storage space hides kitchenettes with refrigerators, separate minibars, microwaves, and coffeemakers. These rooms are massive and feature nice perks like free wireless Internet, iPod docking stations, robes, slippers, and turndown service.

Ponte Vedra Resort room

Bathrooms are equally large with deep soaking tubs, separate water closets, dual vanities stocked with fragrant Zents toiletry products and a glycerin soap bar with the property’s seahorse logo, and glass shower stalls. Other accommodation options include two-level suites facing the gardens and popular lagoon and golf course-facing rooms. Over at The Lodge & Club, standards are equally high, and there is no room that does not face the ocean. Oceanfront rooms are especially large with window seating nooks where guests can comfortably read a book while gazing at the waves. Suites are plentiful and feature separate living areas and kitchenettes. Like its neighbor, flat-screen TVs are framed in gold, the bathrooms stock the same goodies, and the color schemes show design straight out of a Laura Ashley catalog. The look is resort chic. Some rooms add fireplaces while others look out toward small patios with fountains or fire pits.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS One of the best compliments that both hotels receive comes from the culinary options. Most resorts have a choice of restaurants with varied cuisine, but these properties must truly stay on their toes because the membership clientele dines here regularly. That means menus evolve often, produce and ingredients are sourced from local purveyors as much as possible, and the presentation is as exquisite as the finest restaurants in town. The Seahorse Grille is a lovely steakhouse venue near the pool and gym complex, and next door is The Seafoam Dining Room where a large aquarium illuminates the space once the sun sets. Both face the ocean and offer some of the freshest seafood possible. The latter has a more formal ambiance and a dress code of jackets for gentlemen during dinner. During the day, sea and sand frolickers dine by the pool or on the beach from a casual menu of burgers and salads. Duffers can chat about their game at The Golf Club Restaurant facing the greens (the chopped salad is one of the best this author has ever had). In the main building, the Inn Dining Room serves an elegant breakfast atop tables with starched white linens and service befitting a palace. The menu goes on and on with everything from sinful to angelic health food. A la carte is the norm, but lavish buffets unfurl when occupancy is high. The Tavern serves some really unique cocktails boasting fun ingredients like frozen pomegranate juice and a hickory smoked wood aroma (blow torches are involved). A spa menu and cocktail bar add to the numerous options. Over at The Lodge & Club, Sea View Grille is housed in a round tower with endless ocean views serving three meals a day. The chef is known for his southern Georgia fare that is rib-sticking delicious. By the pool, The Oasis has a playful menu of fresh tacos (mahi mahi and black bean veggie are creative options), burgers, salads, and sandwiches. It opens seasonally, and the umbrellas are a welcome comfort (as is the well-stocked bar and chilled water stations nearby).

LEISURE FACILITIES Ponte Vedra Inn & Club has an exceptional fitness center with oceanfront views, an Olympic-sized pool, and plenty of lounge chairs for sun tanning. A separate pool is ideal for families with a zero-entry edge and water slide. The Lodge & Club has two pools, one oceanfront and another across the street with a water park for families.

Ponte Vedra Resort ocean front pool

Its 8,000 square foot gym is well-equipped and comes with personal trainers, spin and fitness classes, and a café for snacks. Since both properties have a loyal membership, they are able to offer substantially more than many resorts because it is not just guests, but members too, that are benefiting from the facilities. A highly regarded golf course is a huge draw, and the tennis program is a visitor favorite with annual tournaments. The spa is an impressive facility with a swanky indoor lounge with fountain and spa café and enormous relaxation areas for men and women with saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpool tubs. A separate spa pool has hydrotherapy areas, a soothing waterfall, and its own bar.

Ponte Vedra Resort Spa

The cushioned lounge chairs are the ideal place to relax before or after a treatment, and the pool is heated in the cooler months. If you want to lounge on the beach, call reception and a beach attendant will set up chairs and umbrellas in a jiffy.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Ponte Vedra Inn & Club has a conference center with a variety of setups for groups including boardroom and theater-style. This resort is ideal for corporate retreats, weddings, or small meeting functions. Many spaces open to a patio for receptions, which can also be held on the putting green.

Ponte Vedra Inn Ocean South meeting room  Ponte Vedra Resort Trellis patio

Rocking chairs add to the atmosphere. At The Lodge & Club, the smaller room count means the meeting space is reduced, too. Waterfront spaces range from conference rooms to small patios where social functions are popular. Both have free wireless Internet access and a staff ready to please. A unique amenity at both properties is the ability to download newspapers and magazines from a menu of 2,000 options via the wireless Internet signal. There are numerous boutiques around the properties, and a pastry shop sells everything from Starbucks coffee to logoed apparel.

Photos courtesty of Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and The Lodge & Club

By Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey is a regular contributor to Business Traveler across all print, digital, web and social channels.  He travels more than 400,000 miles a year criss-crossing the globe to report on hotels, airlines, loyalty programs, and all things travel.

You can find more from Ramsey at http://www.ramseyq.com/, on Twitter - @dailytraveltips and Instagram - @dailytraveltips

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