Less than 60 minutes from my front door is a beachside oasis on Florida’s Atlantic coast. Nestled alongside pristine sand dunes and the standard pizza shops and ice cream stands these coastal towns are known for is a true gem for those who find it. The Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort is a brand-new resort, and concept, for Hilton. From the moment we arrived, I could tell this all-valet, all-suite resort had a cool, modern aesthetic.
Check-in was seamless, and took less than 2 minutes. We were given branded rubber bracelets for access to the pool and beach services (#love), grabbed a coffee at the full-service Starbucks on-site, and quickly went to unpack so we could explore the place! We stayed in the Presidential Suite overlooking the dunes, the resort lawn and pool, and the Atlantic Ocean. It was beyond breathtaking.
What was supposed to be a quick 5-minute change turned into a 45-minute discussion on how beautiful the room was. Our suite was appointed more like a home than a hotel, with plush amenities, very large modern TVs, a dining room than comfortably seated six, a shower for two, and two balconies, each with its own set of furniture. And then there are the floor to ceiling windows, offering an unparalleled view.
A quick hop on the elevator and we were back in the lobby and heading toward the pool. We ate poolside at Castaway Cantina, a Latin-inspired bar with table seating options. We sat at a table facing the ocean, ordered their local draft, a pina colada (I’m a bit of a stereotype at the beach), and perused the menu. I’m a sucker for street tacos, and their trio comes with corn or flour tortillas. We went with corn, and tried to decide ahead of time which one would be the best: carne asada, chicken al pastor, or tajine spiced mahi mahi. They were delicious, and reasonably priced. The service was very attentive for a poolside bar (a huge plus), and although there were quite a few people there, it’s large enough where we didn’t feel crowded.
We watched as the resort hosted a myriad of poolside activities for the kids and yoga on the lawn for adults. The resort is well staffed, so they can really focus on individual guest interactions. The beach attendants were just as good. They’re happy to carry beach chairs and umbrellas out for you, and will pick the perfect spot for you to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. When you’re done, it’s a quick 2 – 3-minute walk and you’re back at the pool.
After enjoying the view for a bit longer, we headed upstairs to change for dinner. We even made it back down to the resort’s nightly complimentary evening reception. They offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and light appetizers for adults and kids alike.
We then headed a few steps away for dinner. The resort’s main restaurant is Harvest & Reel, a farm fresh and shore to table restaurant. It boasts a lovely open kitchen concept with some pretty amazing dishes. You can view their full menu here, but it changes frequently, and the daily specials are always worth trying.
We started with a white wine and local draft beer, and their meat & cheese board. The fig jam was beyond delicious, as was the ham and the crusty, pull-apart bread. Being so close to the ocean always makes me craze seafood, so the She Crab Bisque was up next. With a rich sherry and paprika crema, and very large pieces of crab, this soup satisfied that hunger that only comes with a day at the beach.
For the main course, I was torn between the Diver Scallops and the Brasstown Beef New York Strip, so we ordered both. The 45-day aged strip came with a savory bone marrow and goat cheese creamed spinach. The Diver Scallops were perfectly portioned atop a corn maux choux with bacon lardons and celery leaves. Whoever paired bacon with scallops originally; thank you.
We stayed for far too long after dinner lamenting over how much we ate, and then headed over to the Rhum Bar for a nightcap (is that what the kids call it), and quick walk outside. At night, the resort turns up the dozen or more fire pits surrounded by comfy rocking chairs on the main lawn. It’s a peaceful way to end the evening while taking in the stunning view.
Breakfast the next day did not disappoint, and it’s FREE. They have options for everyone, but I couldn’t resist the custom omelets. The resort even offers guests an idea of when the busiest (and least busy) times are for breakfast. Genius. Before we left, I stopped in the 24/7 provisions shop, Provisions of Ponce, for some road trip snacks and some local chocolates.
The resort has a zen-like feel to it that’s hard to describe. I left feeling refreshed and renewed, if not a bit sad because our suite was so nice and the food was so good.
Wherever I was in the resort, I didn’t want to leave. The Room. The Pool. The Beach. The Lawn. I think the staff-to-guest ratio, the well-planned layout of the resort, and the overall quality of service were to blame. Until next time, St. Augustine.