Laid-back Luxury in Ponte Vedra
Resorts Offer Top-Notch Golf, Spas, Dining, Activities and Amenities
There’s nowhere quite like Ponte Vedra. It’s a stylish land of softly undulating fairways, sparkling shoreline and world-class resorts. Even if you find the grass more verdant off the greens, your idea of "tee time" involves scones and Darjeeling, or your tastes run toward a fine, aged port... if being pampered is your game, Ponte Vedra will please your discriminating palate.
A pristine wilderness of sand dunes and palmettos in the early 1900s, and a mining town during World War I, Ponte Vedra blossomed into a playground for the privileged in the 1920s. It was then that forward-thinking local planners developed the area to maximize its natural beauty, transforming it into a nationally recognized and fashionable seaside community. The grand resort life began in 1928 with the opening of the lavish Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. For more than three quarters of a century, fortunate guests have departed with fond memories of fabulous meals, unsurpassed ambiance and first-class service. Celebrities, heads of state and business leaders lead the long, glamorous list of clientele, who return for the inn’s sun, sand and laidback luxury.
There’s something special for everyone: tennis, golf, swimming in the ocean or in one of four heated swimming pools, bicycling, boating, fishing and horseback riding on the beach. And a sun-filled day takes on an even warmer glow when it begins or ends in the sophisticated oasis of the full-service spa. Dining at the resort is an event, whether it’s Florida Coastal Cuisine at the Surf Deck Grille, or award-winning continental cuisine at the Seahorse Grill, an elegant, formal venue with expansive ocean views. There are a number of restaurants and lounges to choose from, and, along with the resort’s chic boutiques and other amenities and activities, they are all accessible to guests of The Lodge & Club, just a mile and a half down the road and the other property that combined creates Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts.
Unlike the larger, family-oriented inn, the The Lodge & Club is an intimate, romantic getaway with a European flair. Throughout the two-story exterior, wrought iron lampposts, Spanish tile roof and turrets and archways give it a Mediterranean look and feel. Some of the rooms and suites have fireplaces, and all overlook the beach and Atlantic Ocean. The Lodge offers two oceanfront restaurants: The Oasis, with al fresco dining March through October, or the Sea View Grille, with indoor dining year ’round. Both offer fresh, innovative fare with mesmerizing vistas. Each afternoon, guests can enjoy finger sandwiches, cookies and scones at Tea by the Sea.
Just minutes away but a world apart is the famous Sawgrass Golf Resort and Spa, a Marriott Resort. The sprawling top-rated golf resort is lined with restaurants, shops and activities galore. It is not only the official hotel of the Association of Tennis Professionals, but also of the world-renowned Tournament Players Club, where golf greats continue to make history. Here, lakes and lagoons meander through impeccably manicured grounds, and bright flowers and verdant palms surround two swimming pools and rolling greens. There’s a shuttle to the hotel’s beach club and a plethora of restaurants that range from Café on the Green, which offers a daily breakfast buffet, to the highly acclaimed Vernon’s. Add a selection of intriguing shops, live evening entertainment, and a state-of-the-art spa, and this is yet another paradise found in Ponte Vedra. It’s where couples choose to marry, kids love to play, families reunite and friends rejuvenate.
While you may be tempted to remain firmly on resort grounds, it’s worth venturing out to explore the ambiance of the area: upscale and uptown, yet friendly and unpretentious. Nearby Sawgrass Village is a charming shopping enclave of haute couture, fine cuisine, eclectic art and exclusive boutiques. Among the many tempting restaurants in Ponte Vedra is Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Extremely popular among locals for casual, convivial gatherings, tender steaks and succulent seafood, reservations here are absolutely required; jackets are not.
Whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it in Ponte Vedra.