Travel: Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
A delightful look at old Florida. The more things change, the more Ponte Vedra Inn & Club stays the same.
As you fight the snarling traffic along the Interstate 95 corridor from Jacksonville, it’s impossible to imagine that just a few miles on the east coast sits a slice of heaven known as Ponte Vedra.
With every mile you drive, you feel you are cruising back in time to a more graceful, genteel Florida. A place for the refined traveler. It’s a place where the ladies are donned in Lilly Pulitzer and the gentlemen are sporting plaid madras shorts and golf shirts. With each mile, your daily problems seem to slip away.
You know you’ve arrived once you’ve made it to Ponte Vedra Boulevard, a stately road lined with palm trees. The grand fountain marks the entrance to Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, a historic resort that first opened in 1928.
Despite being around for 95 years, the guest rooms at Ponte Vedra are impeccably updated, all sharing a classic resort feel. There are a few different styles of rooms, including oceanfront, suites and historic rooms in the main building, which dates back to 1937.
Our oceanfront suite was thoroughly up to date with all the amenities, crown molding, large entryways and tasteful, classic décor. But the star of the show was the stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean, which was on full display from every room in the suite. With a view like that, who wants to leave the balcony?
The resort has been called a little slice of old Florida, and the description is well-deserved. The first thing one notices is the quality of the beach at Ponte Vedra. There are many beaches along the Atlantic where one has to dodge cars driving on the beach, or where pollution has sadly left a seemingly permanent mark. Not Ponte Vedra, where the sand is white, the beach is long and consistently maintained, the water clear as aquamarine.
If you decide to leave your room, there are many options from tennis courts, golf greens, spas, fine dining, pools, and that’s just what they offer at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Conveniently located between downtown Jacksonville and historic St. Augustine, guests are surrounded by rich history and a vibrant nightlife.
If golf is your cup of “tee,” Ponte Vedra’s golf and tennis courts are noted as some of the best in the nation. Many guests spend much of their time playing either or both of their favorite sports and appreciate the long days and tropical climate.
And if you grow tired of swimming in the Atlantic, the resort has four pools, including a children’s pool with slides and heated pools for when the temperatures take that slight dip in the winter.
Spectacular Fine Dining
Our first dining experience was at the Seahorse Grille and talk about starting out on a high note. As you enter the restaurant, there’s a 24-foot vertical chandelier of glass bubbles, seahorses and blowfish that greets you as you ascend a spiral staircase to the host station. Floor-to-ceiling ocean views set the scene for a casual menu that places heavy emphasis on locally caught seafood.
We recommend starting with the lobster bisque, which was out of this world. Brought to the table and partially prepared table-side, there was a healthy portion of lobster with a hint of tarragon that was delicate and rich all at once. Our entrée was the 12-ounce Chateau, flawlessly prepared with herb butter, haricot verts, local mushrooms and baby potatoes. We splurged on the key lime pie for dessert. As someone who takes pride in being a key lime pie aficionado, I was more than pleased with the authentic texture and the fine balance of savory and sweet.
There are several other dining options at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, including The Gourmet Shop which is open throughout the day offering your Starbucks coffee fix, fresh-baked pastries, deli sandwiches or homemade ice cream. Poolside guests can order hot dogs and salad from the High Tides Bar.
Other dining options:
- The Inn Dining Room, where breakfast is served daily in an elegant room decked out in white linens with fresh flowers and crystal.
- The Golf Club Restaurant and the Surf Club Patio, where you can order sandwiches and salads midday, weather permitting.
- On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Seafoam Room caters to a more refined crowd. Dinner jackets are required for gentlemen, and reservations are recommended.
- On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Golf Club Restaurant welcomes guests for dinner. The prime rib buffet on Friday evenings is not to be missed.
The Spa: A Haven for Relaxation and Reflection
Instead of sleeping in, we spent our first morning at The Spa at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. It was more than worth the loss of an hour’s sleep. As the massage therapist worked her magic, all stress melted away.
As you step into the spa lobby, you’re met by the soothing sounds of waterfalls and water sculptures. The cozy lounge is one-part fashionable Florida sunroom, one-part Mediterranean magic.
The 30,000-square-foot facility offers a wide menu of services, including seaweed body wraps, deep-tissue massages and luxurious facials. Like Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, the spa combines modern amenities with classic sophistication, allowing you to indulge in age-old therapies while experiencing the latest advances in health and beauty research.
This stunning, serene atmosphere welcomes anyone seeking a spa escape during their stay at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The Spa’s extensive menu of over 100 beauty and body treatments offers a comprehensive mix of the familiar and the exotic, including therapeutic massages, rejuvenating facials, invigorating scrubs, purifying wraps, hot paraffin manicures, pedicures, hair styling and much more.
We’re not the only one singing their praises. The spa has received many reviews from guests and national recognition from InStyle, Vogue, Oprah, and many noted spa authorities.
One never enjoys leaving luxury, comfort and the 24 hours a day sounds of the Atlantic Ocean. But we’re counting down the days and looking forward to returning to the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club for more lobster bisque, a massage and a much-needed escape to the sounds of the water.
Endless Amenities: The beach is just the beginning
- Full-service luxury spa offering over 100 services
- 36 incredible holes of golf
- 15 Har-Tru clay tennis courts
- 10 outstanding dining establishments
- A Chef’s Table is available at the Seahorse Grille. Reservations are required • State-of-the-art oceanfront fitness center
- Four heated swimming pools
- Children’s playground and nursery
- Miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches to explore • Beach rentals with kayaks, paddle-boards, beach bicycle cruisers
- An array of boutiques and shops
Other Top Outdoor & Adventure Spots
Bird Island Park
Dolphin and Wildlife Adventure of St. Augustine
Airboat Adventure in St. Augustine
(Guided Tours) 904.495.4200
Florida Backroads E-Bike Tour
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve