At the beach, the air is always different and you always feel better. As a beach baby growing up in Miami some of my fondest memories are on the water and I absolutely love seeing my son enjoy a good day at the beach now. I also appreciate the ability for a quick getaway and living in North Florida, we have access to many destinations within a 4-hour driving radius.
Back in the fall I won a free 2-night stay to Omni Amelia Island Plantation as part of a social media engagement contest at work (woot woot). We decided to cash it in for a “winter” (it’s Florida after all) family weekend escape.
We had never been to Amelia Island, but had heard great things about the area and the resort. Family friendly places are huge for us since I never want to feel like we are inconveniencing other people, but I also don’t want to apologize for my toddler. OAIP Resort was perfect. There was a great mix of guests, but the majority were either older empty nesters or young families. And no surprise, Westley was a hit.
We arrived Friday evening and were welcomed by the friendly valet staff. As guests, you can choose to valet for $25 a night or you can self park at a nearby garage and can change your decision at any time – no pressure. Resort staff, taking our luggage and then meeting us in our room once we checked in, handled everything seamlessly. The resort has a beautiful lobby and smells delicious…there is juts something so welcoming and soothing about a tropical scent at resorts. For me, it sets off the stay.
Once we made it to the 6th floor, exited the elevator area and walked outside to the room, it was time to see our “home” for the next two days. All rooms face the ocean, so that was a wonderful surprise and our suite was incredibly spacious. You walk into a little hallway and the room is split into two sides – to the left was a fabulous seating area with a full sized sectional couch, armchair, desk and flat screen. To the right was the bedroom with a king size bed, a chaise and the en suite compete with a beautiful tub. My favorite part of course was the balcony with a breathtaking view of the pools, hot tubs, fire pits, bar and the ocean. I absolutely adore ocean front properties not only for the views, but also for the sheer convenience of getting to the beach with a toddler.
Nom Nom & Sip Sip
The resort has great options food options for all tastes and budgets. We chose to keep it simple and kid friendly trying Natural Slice for pizza, the Sunrise Café for breakfast and Falcon’s Nest for dinner. The breakfast buffet at Sunrise Café “The Art of Breakfast” definitely lives up to the name. The are feel like a large chef’s kitchen in a fabulous beach house with a gorgeous wooden island housing artisanal house made breads, gourmet cheese spread, local honey, etc. The breakfast also includes almost all the items on the a la carte menu from eggs benedicts and frittatas to bacon, eggs and potatoes. The best part was that children four and under are free, so Westley enjoyed a big plate of delicious breakfast on the house J Breakfast was the priciest meal of the day per person at $23 a head, but the experience, amount of food and filling quality was a good investment overall.
My favorite spot was Falcon’s Nest where we went to dinner Saturday night. It’s in the Amelia Island Village area a short shuttle ride from the resort. Shuttles are free and allow you to navigate the expansive resort without ever having to take your car! A burger and brews restaurant with airplane décor, Falcon’s Nest, was family friendly, but definitely had an edge. The second floor has a game room complete with pool table, dartboard, virtual golf and bowling and an iconic Mr. Pacman arcade. We grabbed a couple of local IPAs, Intuition I-10, and hung out in the game room during our 20-minute wait. The burgers were delicious and creative. We ordered the Plantation Burger with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, shaved ham and corn relish and the Seaplane Burger with Fernandina shrimp, pickled red onion and lemon mayo. Both were winners and were accompanied by fried and onion rings that came in really cute little baskets. Westley took down a kid’s cheeseburger that was served with fries, applesauce, yogurt and milk. Overall, this place gets an A+ and the bill including drinks was only $55.
Finally some details on the libations. Drinks were good with a kick and prices were not too prohibitive for a resort. We grabbed a few drinks at pool including the signature Plantation Punch and a Margarita and had Moscow Mules at the Piano Bar after dinner.
Because we had Westley, we didn’t venture into the fancier restaurants, but OAIP also boasts a few more premium dinner options including Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Verandah and Oceanside.
We lucked out and had wonderful weather with highs in the 70s, so naturally we spent the bulk of our day at the pool (which was heated) and running around on the beach. Westley was all about the water and really got into playing with the sand and shells. To clarify…”playing with the sand” was more like grabbing large clumps of sand and throwing them on us.
We also checked out the Nature Center and one of the playgrounds on property. There’s tons more to do on property including Mini Golf and of course venturing out into Beach, St. Augustine, etc.
Of course no evening is complete without music – Westley’s favorite. After dinner we took our drinks on the shuttle (awesome perk for resort guests) and headed back to the hotel. The piano bar was the happening spot and Gary could sing and play any song requested from today’s hottest songs to classics. We ordered some Moscow Mules and sat back to enjoy the music while W put on a dancing show. He was a huge hit among the ladies and Gary even gave him a shout out. All in all it was a fabulous evening and we were all in bed by 9:30 p.m. Crazy, wild weekend indeed J
We definitely want to come back to visit Omni Amelia Island. Hopefully next time we’ll stay a little longer. If you’re looking for a great resort on a gorgeous beach, this one is a treasure.