Last updated November 4, 2023
Spa sandals, snuggly robe and hot pink face mask. This is what my spa garb looked like on a recent visit to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. But, even with the mask on, I was thrilled to be getting a much-needed massage.
After months of self-isolation in Atlanta, I was in need of a luxury beach trip that was within driving distance. I wasn’t quite ready to get on a plane.
And given this Florida property clocks in at about a 5.5-hour drive from Atlanta, it was a perfect fit. If you’d rather fly, Jacksonville International Airport is a 30-minute drive from The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
But, in spite of the minor adjustments, I found that the resort delivered the same stellar service and experience that I expect from The Ritz-Carlton.
The next time you’re looking to indulge in an upscale wellness getaway, read on to learn why I think this spot should be on your to-visit list.
Twenty-seven. That’s the number of treatment rooms that you’ll find in this full-service spa with treatments ranging from a signature Heaven in a Hammock “zero-gravity” touch therapy to more traditional facial and nail options. But, the impressive number of rooms are just the beginning. After checking into the reception area, I was escorted to the changing room where I donned my spa uniform and was offered a bottle of Pellegrino.
Then, I was given a tour of all of the spa amenities. These included multiple relaxation rooms, steam room, sauna, whirlpool and an adult-only pool where there is an attendant ready to bring you lunch and cocktails. Although social distancing and mask requirements are in place, all of the amenities are available.
My current comfort level is I’m OK with getting a treatment like the 50-minute Stress Relief Massage (which was heavenly). But, given it was a busy afternoon at the spa and I was trying to minimize contact with others in close quarters, I made the difficult decision to not linger and use all of the amenities like I normally would. (It just gives me a reason to return in the future!)
Finally, I highly recommend setting aside some time to check out the spa boutique. I had the best time perusing the Lululemon and Emi Jay workout gear as well as all of the beauty products, tote bags and other unique pieces the team has curated.
Work it Out — While Getting Some Vitamin Sea
I love a good beach for walks, and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island doesn’t disappoint. It’s located along 13 miles of beach that’s perfect for long walks. I took at least two to three each day during my visit.
My mornings typically kicked off with a run along the roadside path that wound through the marshy woods surrounding the hotel. After breakfast, I’d head to the beach attendant hut. One of the friendly staff members would set up a lounge chair and umbrella in a spot I selected on the sand. Aside from my walks, beach time was reserved for R&R. But, those who are inclined can rent a variety of water toys including paddle boards and kayaks.
Again, so much of what I did (and didn’t do) on this trip was dictated by my COVID-19 comfort level. So, while I normally would have used the well-appointed fitness center that looked out over the main pool at least once, I opted to complete all workouts on this trip in the open air. With that said, the property offers plenty of options including tennis and golf programs along with bike rentals.
What a view. That’s what I thought as I walked out onto my ocean-front room patio that looked directly onto the Atlantic. As you would expect from The Ritz-Carlton, the Club Level room was appointed with a cloud-like king size bed, fully stocked mini bar and thoughtful touches like a flashlight for moonlit beach walks and toiletries that included makeup wipes and a dental kit.
However, the real draw to splurging on a Club Level room is access to the lounge which includes things like complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks, evening hors d’oeuvres and desserts—plus, beer, wine, and cocktails throughout the day. In addition to all of the food and drink benefits, I also liked the idea of having a more private place to go if I didn’t want to eat every meal in a populated restaurant.
With that said, there have been some pandemic-related adjustments in the lounge. The amount of food that is typically set out for people to serve themselves is limited. What is out is either individually packaged or in single servings. However, the lounge staff is there to get you whatever you need with a smile.
For example, my morning ritual is to start the day with a cup of hot lemon water. And every morning the staff had me covered. Or, every morning, I could request a made-to-order veggie omelet or other hot dish (with a mimosa on the side). Oh, and did I mention that they will also pack up a small cooler with drinks and food for you to take to the beach? This upgrade was worth every penny.
Indulge Your Tastebuds
Variety is the name of the game when it comes to the dining options. During my visit, I had the chance to enjoy several of them. First there is Coquina, which offers casual outdoor dining featuring seafood and coastal dishes inspired by the island’s Eight Flags heritage. I stopped in for lunch one day, enjoying a piña colada and a refreshing tuna poke bowl.
Dinner one evening was enjoyed on the patio at Coast, where I indulged in crab cakes and the fresh catch of the day. Then, another night I headed to the upscale dining option, Salt, where I sampled creative creations such as tuna tartare and the seafood pappardelle pasta. (And be sure to save room for the dessert soufflé — you’ll thank me.)
Oh, and room service came in handy, too. On my first night, the restaurants were closing when I checked in. So, I ordered a room service burger and was the perfect choice for a late dinner.
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