Dear Explorers, March 19, 2021
Updated: Mar 19
Another Letter to My Current & Future Clients!
Something is happening out there. Spring has sprung and distribution of the vaccine continues. People are becoming confident about the future. After a year-long lockdown that has redefined “cabin fever,” many of you are ready to explore. With that in mind, I grabbed my husband and flew the coop for warmer weather and salt air!
By: Anne Heintz
Whether you're ready to travel or just ready to plan, we're here to guide you.
In our last update we featured Key West, Florida as seen through the eyes of two talented young writers. It inspired us (and hopefully you) to strike out and head south for warmer weather and salt air!
Florida is synonymous with sunshine and Spring. It is also a logical destination for those of you looking to dip your toes back into the ocean of travel. A number of you are planning BIG trips in the late Summer and Fall, but also want to get out now. For that purpose, Florida is usually in the discussion.
We are featuring Florida destinations throughout the Spring. This week our focus is on the Jacksonville beaches. This area is often overlooked when considering a trip to the Sunshine State, which is just fine for regulars. They like having this wonderful destination to themselves!
But I digress.
We took to the highway opting for a car as opposed to a flight because this tour would last about a month. Besides my “better half” LOVES road trips and new adventures. He has always wanted to work remotely from someplace else besides home. Preferably away from the cold during the winter months.
I have always been resistant. The first quarter of the year is oftentimes my busiest. I felt the need to not be away from the office! Well… 2020 proved that I CAN work remotely.
Florida here we come!
We started with a two-night hotel stay on Amelia Island. I can never be too removed from checking out new properties or re-visiting old favorites.
Sorry but it’s the “Eloise” in me!
If you aren’t familiar, Eloise is a character in a series of children’s books. She is a precocious child who lives in the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel. The books written about her not so real and rambunctious life still make me laugh.
Our host for our short stay on Amelia Island was The Ritz Carlton. They couldn’t have been nicer.
The Ritz Carlton is in my opinion (and others) the best luxury resort on Amelia Island. There are 446 rooms and suites, so its size is manageable. It offers fine dining, a full-service spa, a 18-hole championship golf course and both an indoor and wonderful outdoor pool. All wrapped up in breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The resort is in the final stages of a renovation that is expected to be completed by the end of March. I am a huge fan of what they’ve done with the original Ritz “footprint.” The rooms are contemporary with a traditional touch. While I miss the bath in the standard King rooms, I applaud their attention to detail. The Queen double for example is perfect for a young family. There are even storage compartments under the beds for all that luggage!
The common areas offer a casual luxury that is synonymous with north Florida. There appears to be plenty of space to distance. The staff is great and the views are breathtaking.
This is a wonderful destination, especially for (but not limited to) young families.
Parents they can feel pampered in the spa or active on the golf course and at the tennis facility. The younger ones can hang out at the kids club. The teens get their own space with a game room and a night club.
As for family time, the white-sand beach is beautiful and is easily accessible from the hotel.
The hotel also has four heated pools...two outdoor and two indoor. One of the outdoor pools is shallow with fountains for children, while one of the indoor pools is for spa guests only.
All of this comes with the kind of price-tag you'd expect from a luxury brand like Ritz Carlton, especially when you add the resort fee and parking. That said, you get what you pay for and at this property you get a lot!
For what it's worth (and it's a lot) when you book this and other selected properties through TravelAnne, we can provide daily breakfast for two, $100 hotel credit and a complimentary upgrade if available at the time of check-in.
This quick stop also offered a vivid reminder that while you are my clients and fellow explorers… you also feel like family!
One of my long time-clients lives in the Amelia Island area. We have never met… or if we did it was over 20+ years ago. I contacted them last minute. As luck would have it we were able to meet up at their oceanfront condo for a lovely evening! It was as though we socialized with them all the time. Our common thread? The gift of travel, OF COURSE! We could have talked hours about all of our varied experiences.
I discovered the piece de la resistance in their study. A map of the world with pins marking all of the destinations I have sent them to over the years. It was like their very own TravelAnne Map! I felt like a rock star! I am happy to report that they are far from done, vaccinated and ready to venture forth once again with a river cruise and an ocean cruise circling Japan.
On our way out of town, we stopped and toured the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club south of Jacksonville. This destination offers all the bells and whistles on 300 acres of beachfront land. Golf, tennis and in some cases just a few steps to the beach are the headlines. This is a “private club” experience that does a high repeat business with multi-generational families. It’s not right for everyone, but certainly something I would offer up for consideration.
From the Jacksonville beaches we headed 100 miles south to Ormond Beach. This location allows us the opportunity to visit family and also conduct site inspections of resorts in Orlando for future editions of TravelAnne.com.
Welcome to our “work-cation!”
Now we have settled in our oceanfront condominium for a two-week stay. “Baby steps” to see how we (or more specifically me) , handle the work with quasi-vacation way of life. I do know some of you learned early on to relocate from home for protracted periods of time to help alleviate “stir-craziness.” Others embraced beautiful locales since school was virtual. Why not?
What has changed in the last two weeks? More of you are seizing the moment and taking this opportunity to book future travel. For the most part air prices are pretty low to long haul destinations in particular. Most hotels and tour operators are being lenient with allowing last minute cancellations.
Take the “plunge!”
I hear and read excitement from many of you as together we delve into the details of your next adventure. You can do it whether by road, air, river or sea.
As Always… Happy Trails & Keep Dreaming!
**Anne Heintz is an independent travel advisor based in Washington, D.C. who creates lifetime memories for her clients located all over the world. She loves the fact that the journey creates memories and connections for her clients. She is affiliated with World-Wide Travel Associates in DC and Tzell Travel in NYC. She is co-founder and namesake of TravelAnne.com. Anne can be reached at Anne@TravelAnne.com. Follow her on Instagram @TravelAnneBlog
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