OMNI AMELIA ISLAND PLANTATION
Peace and Serenity is Here
By Warren Woodberry Jr.
The mention of a spring break often conjures up thoughts of the beach where drunken college kids run wild, overworked professionals vacationing are unpleasant even though they’re off the clock, and unattended kids splash in the water where it seems they’re in a contest to see who can yell the loudest.
If you’ve taken this trip one too many times, yet have a love for the sunshine state, then stay at Omni Amelia Island Plantation for a unique getaway experience unlike the typical Florida vacation where peace and quiet are all part of its seclusion.
Tucked between expansive, salt marshes and three and a half miles of pristine Atlantic Coastline, this upscale oceanfront resort sits on 1,350 acres, beautifully situation on Amelia Island, a barrier island off the Northeast Florida coast. Upon entry a grand entrance welcomes you directly off the hotel lobby with the largest pool deck in Northeast Florida. The infinity pool with it’s stunning ocean view and tiered lounge seating for the sun seekers.
The island romance carries over to airy and stylish beach-themed rooms with balconies or patios. Not that you would be spending much time in your hotel room, but there are coffeemakers and mini fridges, plus iPod docks, Wi-Fi and flat-screen HDTVs to make you comfortable. All guest rooms have sea views. Suites have added kitchenettes, dining tables and sitting areas with pull-out sofas.
Relaxation is highly encouraged here, as the atmosphere is calm and soothing. Tension is not in the air, and the vibe to rush doesn’t exist here. Despite its name, the Plantation is very much a modern, up to date property. Still basking in its $85 million re-imagination the resort has 404 oceanfront rooms in its new Oceanside wing, and the rejuvenated Sunrise wing of the resort offers a total of 600 beds and 27 suites, including the new high end suites with wrap-around porches and endless views of sunrise and sunset. In addition there is 80,000 square feet of meeting space.
An amazing wait staff is always at the ready for its guests with welcoming smiles. Amelia Island may remind you of Savannah, but with a constant crisp cooling breeze. The Plantation is part of a close knit community on an island 13 miles long and approximately 4 miles wide at its widest point. Average temperature lows are 75 degrees with highs about 90 degrees. The resort is a highly recommended location for relaxation any time of the year. Laid back luxury.
On Amelia Island, guests can do a few things out of the ordinary. You can take a Segway guided tour through the peaceful neighborhoods, the maritime forest or scoot along the marsh or ocean. Segway can take a bit of getting used to at first, but once one learns to manage their balance and speed, the Jetson like devices can be quite fun. Bicycles, baby strollers and island hoppers are available for rent for the less daring.
In the mood for exploring? Enjoy breathtaking views of your surroundings while paddling through salt marsh on a kayaking tour, or trot across uncrowded white sandy beaches on horseback as you hear the sparkling Atlantic waters crash ashore. Sit the Plantation’s uncrowded beach and take in a view of the ocean. The sand may not be as debris-free as one would hope, with plenty of crushed sea shells and branches washed ashore, but it’s a different beach setting from the sun tanning sands you may be used to.
The property even features 54 holes of championship golf with three courses. Not far off is Fernandina Beach and parks within easy reach of the resort and its villas.
There are indoor and outdoor pools and activities for the whole family.
Guests can stroll through the resort’s shopping village, The Shops at Amelia Island featuring local boutiques with familiar designers, gourmet food and fabulous art galleries. Discover hand crafted items from souvenirs to handmade ice cream. EverySaturday the shops play host to the Amelia Island Famers Market, featuring locally grown produce craft cheese, wine and more.
Shuttle service is available to take you throughout the property grounds.
The Spa at Amelia Island Plantation offers a full-service luxury spa, housing 16 treatment rooms, soothing music floats though the air and guests sip herbal tea in the tranquil lounge. Enjoy the view out the floor to ceiling windows where the spa lounge overlooks private gardens and a glassy lake. The spa offers an array of pampering treatments from Swedish Massages and Aromatherapy Massages to pampered soles pedicures, soft palms manicures and a full-service hair salon.
With the body now at ease, there are 10 restaurants and lounges to satisfy every appetite with great food. It’s a diner’s selection from inventive southern-style fare to farm-to-table dining.
Chef Daven Wardynski, Omni Hotels and Resorts Executive Area Chef leads the culinary team overseeing the Plantation’s restaurants and lounges, as well as catering for the conference space, beverage operations and in-room dining. With over 19 years of experience in the culinary world he brings a love for cooking and passion for food, creating experiences unlike anything guests may have ever experienced.
Consider eating at Oceanside restaurant which boasts views of the Atlantic Ocean and overlooking the multi-tiered pools cape. The restaurants known for Floribbean cuisine, including fish tacos, local catch, grill specialties and frozen tropical drinks It is a flip-flop friendly venue by day and upscale oceanside dining. The night menu focus on fresh simplicity with a mix of Florida and Caribbean flavors
The Sprouting Project, which was once an idea in the head of Chef has blossomed into the resort’s newest offering. It consists of state of the art aquaponic greenhouse, an expansive organic garden, a large collection of beehives and a smokehouse. The Sprouting Project brings the freshest products possible to guests and is becoming a guest favorite providing ingredients to the resort’s 10 restaurants. Chef heralds it as his legacy.
For a more intimate culinary experience, the Plantation will make its private chef’s kitchen available for a party of 12. At this secluded enclave, positioned for privacy in the dining room Chef prepares and present a tasting menu paired with his selection of exceptional wines.
Wanting more privacy or to make Amelia part of your lifestyle? The Plantation property also features more than 300 spacious one- two- and thee-bedroom villas. Most feature fully equipped kitchens, dining areas, spacious living rooms, multiple baths and private bedrooms. A tour through this community will have you wanting to pack up the family and move in. Weeping willows, lazily sag over winding roads that cut through a neighborhood of quaint villas and townhouses on a peaceful warm sunny afternoon. Some of the residents here stay year round, most visit for a seasons while others come for short vacation stays.
The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is a 45-minute drive from Jacksonville Airport and is 15 miles from I-95.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, 39 Beach Lagoon Rd, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.