With a history that dates back to 1928, the historic, five-diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, and its sister property The Lodge & Club, are situated along 300 acres of sprawling beachfront.
During a recent visit, we stayed in a spacious room at the Atlantic House, which is conveniently located near the resort’s spa, tennis and golf amenities, and just steps away from miles of pristine beach.
“Both Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and The Lodge & Club are beachfront properties, with the majority of our guestrooms and suites leading directly out to the sand,” says Craig Schoninger, director of marketing. “This, of course, is a big draw for guests looking to enjoy the sun and the ocean, without the hustle and bustle of the more populous beaches along the coast.”
Our visit began with a tour of the renowned Racquet Club, which features 15 state-of-the-art tennis courts and facilities, followed by an exhilarating lesson from director of tennis Tomas Gonzalez. We were also given an opportunity to tour the resort’s two distinct 18-hole championship golf courses.
The 6,811-yard par-72 Ocean Course was designed in 1928 by British golfer Herbert Bertram Strong, featuring a signature 9th hole set on a small island. The 6,022-yard par-70 Lagoon Course, meanwhile, is set among a mosaic of lakes and lagoons and offers a challenge to even the most experienced players.
“Because of Ponte Vedra Inn & Club’s long history within the community,” says Schoninger, “we see families uphold a tradition of vacationing here for decades.”
Recommend lunch at the Spa Cafe, which offers healthy small plates and entrees within the 30,000-sq.-ft. spa complex. In addition to a comprehensive menu of treatments, the spa offers an outdoor swimming pool and therapy grotto, steam room, sauna, indoor whirlpool and a retail boutique.
“Outside of appealing to families, the resort draws in a wide range of travelers, from golf and tennis players, to couples looking to enjoy a romantic getaway,” says Schoninger. “While the Inn offers a more family-friendly atmosphere, the Lodge offers a boutique, intimate guest experience, which is perfect for couples and solo travelers.”
One of the highlights of our visit was a beach cookout and oyster roast on the sands, featuring a dining table carved out of the sand itself. It’s an idyllic setting strewn with opulent cushions and illuminated by lantern-light and fire pits ideal for multigenerational families or other small-sized groups. Our group enjoyed fresh whole snapper and grouper that had been caught that morning, as well as giant shrimp, brisket and a range of sides.
For an off-property excursion, suggest your clients embark on a guided kayak eco-tour at the North Guana Outpost. They can explore the Estuarine Reserves of “Florida’s First Coast”, which spreads over 73,352 acres and is home to 358 bird, 303 fish and 580 plant species.
Recommend clients dine at the Coral Room Terrace of the resort’s Seahorse Grill, where they can enjoy an impressive 6-course tasting menu and wine pairing experience that includes such dishes as steak tartare and chicharron, scallop and finger lime, miso seabass and chive sauce, as well as NY strip with mushrooms and tarragon. Wine selections included Stags’ Leap Viognier, Waugh Cellars Riesling and Penfolds Max’s Shiraz.
Another cool experience is a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchens, which includes a Chef’s Table that seats four and provides a front row seat to the culinary action as chef de cuisine Erik Osol prepares a customized 10-course tasting menu.
What’s In it For Travel Advisors
Both Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and The Lodge & Club offer 10 percent commission rates for group bookings.
Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts: pontevedra.com