Florida - ‘The Sunshine State’ and ‘The land of oranges’ is a dream holiday destination in the United States. Due to its transverse geography, a four-hour drive will get you from Walt Disney World in Orlando to the shores of Miami Beach. More than 97 million tourists visit every year to enjoy the land of sun, sand and sea. Florida is a favorite destination not only for a family vacation but also caters the need of any travel style whether you’re a backpacker, globetrotter, solo traveler or looking for a perfect secluded couple getaway! Before you pack your bags for your dream sunshine vacation, you need a hotel. To simplify your search, I’ve travel experts and their favorite recommendation for luxurious hotel/resort guide list in Florida.
La Siesta Resort & Marina, Islamorada
By Asia Adams from Navigable World
Having lived in Florida all my life, I’ve stayed in my fair share of hotels all across the state. The one that’s impressed me most so far is one that I actually discovered just last month, called La Siesta Resort & Marina in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The rooms are modern and beautiful, each with their own patio balcony area. When you book a room, kayaks, bikes, paddleboards, and fishing rods are all for rent and totally complimentary too, which is a nice touch. However, it’s the outdoor section of the resort that really stands out in my mind. Take just a few steps outside your room door, and you’re in the pristine white sand, surrounded by hammocks and palm trees overlooking the ocean. It truly looks like something out of a “Wish you were here” postcard! The resort is incredibly charming, a little slice of paradise, really, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone making a trip down to the Keys!
Loews Don CeSar Hotel, St. Pete Beach
By Penny Sadler from Adventures of a Carry-on
Glamour, celebrities, history, and great architecture are all part of the story of the Loews Don CeSar Hotel. Built in the 1920s during the Jazz Age, the Don CeSar was host to Franklin D. Roosevelt, mobster Al Capone, literary genius, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many other luminaries of the time. Being a huge fan of Fitzgerald and a bit of a architecture buff, the Don Cesar, located on eighty acres of sugar sand along the Gulf of Mexico is exactly the kind of place that interests me. It’s part of the cultural heritage of the Tampa - Clearwater, Florida area, and listed on the Register of Historic Places and Historic Hotels of America.
Today, almost 80 years later, the luxury hotel built by Thomas Rowe is thriving. Purchased in 2003 by the Loew’s Hotels group all of the amenities of a high-end hotel are evident; from the luxurious linens, toiletries and first class attention from every hotel employee. There’s also a luxury spa which I missed when I was there. But what I loved most about the Don Cesar was the location. Beach amenities are a big deal for me because as much as I like sun and sand, the sun does not like my skin. There were plenty of umbrellas, lounge chairs, and miles and miles of beautiful white sand beaches kissing the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s quite a vision to walk out to the water and look back at the beautiful Mediterranean inspired hotel dominating the landscape like some kind of mythical pink castle.
Streamsong Resort, Bowling Green
By Skye Rodgers, Freelance Travel Writer
One of the most unique and luxurious resorts in Florida is the ultra-modern, yet surprisingly old-school, Streamsong Resort located about 50 miles east of Tampa. The luxury level at this resort is over the top and encompasses the entire experience from accommodation, to dining, to recreation activities and of course, the European-style grotto spa.
Streamsong is primarily a golf resort and features two superb links-style courses. Links-style courses are rare enough, especially in Florida, but these courses feature another rarity in golf today – professional caddies. In fact, walking play is actively encouraged and carts aren’t allowed at all between January and April.
The stunning clubhouse is also worth mentioning. Featuring clean, low lines, the contemporary design seems to nestle the building into the beauty of the surrounding landscape. From the inside, which hosts guest rooms, a premier steak and seafood restaurant, and the golf shop, guests can enjoy panoramic lake and golf course views through floor to ceiling windows or from the large outdoor terrace.
Four Seasons Resort, Palm Beach
By Sima Sthanakiya from the Curious Pixie
Set in one of the best locations on Palm Beach backing directly onto the white sands. The Four Seasons Palm Beach is small and intimate compared to other Four Seasons and more traditional in style. So it fits right into the old world glamour Palm Beach exudes. The rooms rock a beach style vibe in cool contemporary colours. The premier ocean view room has the edge with the relaxing sounds and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. Breakfasts can be enjoyed on the terrace of the Graze restaurant. The buffet is amazing: fresh fruits, an omelette station, freshly made pancakes and waffles are all standard fare.
There is only one modestly sized pool, but the beach more than makes up for that. The service is outstanding, staff are always on hand to help with loungers, umbrellas, and towels. Complimentary sun lotion, after sun cream and flavoured waters, are a plus too. The children’s club for 4 – 12-year-olds called ‘Kids For All Seasons’ is available for all hotel guests. Great for when the kids want to escape the heat. One place not to miss is the spa. A glorious space for tranquil relaxation, I can highly recommend the Coco Beach Buff – a fine sugar, pineapple, coconut shea butter scrub followed by a relaxing massage using Florida Key Lime Oil. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds. Great location. Luxurious hotel. You can’t go wrong!
Acqualina Resort & Spa, Sunny Isles
By Carmen Edelson from Carmen’s Luxury Travel
Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach combines old-world charm and exquisite service for an experience that lingers long after the waves and sand are behind you. The grounds are impeccable with breath-taking views of the beautiful beach. Our two bedroom oceanfront suite felt like a luxurious personal condominium with a kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and living room. The kitchen was large with a separate dining area (also with views of the ocean). The grounds were beautiful and the tranquility pool had lovely cabanas. One of my most lasting memories at Acqualina was being outside by the fountains and being approached by a distinguished looking gentleman who offered to take my picture when he saw that I was attempting a selfie. I thought that he was another guest but it turned out that this “guest” happened to be the owner and developer of Acqualina, Jules Trump. It was at that moment that I realized just why the staff at Acqualina is so exceptional. If the owner can take the time to take a picture for his guests then he certainly can expect the same attention to detail and high standards from the rest of his staff.
The Birchwood Inn Hotel, St. Petersburg
By Ruthie Turner from Ruthie’s Routes
My favorite luxurious hotel in Florida is The Birchwood Inn - a boutique hotel located on Beach Drive in downtown St. Peterburg, Florida. The hotel faces North Straub Park and has the beautiful view of Tampa Bay, Beach Drive and downtown St. Pete from the Canopy Rooftop Lounge. This sophisticated 18 room hotel provides a charming yet modern stay. The decor of the Suite I had the pleasure to stay in was accented with vibrant colors light and dark browns, greens and tan colors with two magenta chairs at the base of the bed. The bed was comfortable and the pillows were fluffy and plush. French doors open to a fully functional luxurious bathroom with bathtub and a walk-in shower. Housekeeping at The Birchwood Inn is definitely a priority as the room was spotlessly clean. The hotel has all the modern amenities including complimentary breakfast, The Canopy Rooftop Lounge offering beautiful views of downtown. My one night stay at the Birchwood Inn was cozy, fun and intimate.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Amelia Island
By Amy West from Amy West Travel
I love the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort because of its chic coastal cool vibe. It’s luxurious without being opulent and stuffy. A great choice for couples or families with a taste for luxury and great service, but who seek a more down to earth atmosphere. The Omni’s recent multi-million dollar reimagination updated the large southern property with a multi-level pool deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and several high-end dining options. Most recently Bob’s Steak and Chop House opened on property bringing with its Texas-sized portions of top quality Angus beef and made from scratch fixins. Segway tours, kayaking, surfing, and tennis keep visitors active, while the spa offers a welcome retreat for stress relief.
Crane’s Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas, Delray Beach
By Robin Draper from Authentic Florida
Crane’s Beach House is a luxurious resort with 28 distinctive suites and four luxury villas. The stunning, sleek, contemporary island-style guest villas are just the beginning of an adventure in paradise surrounded by a tropical garden oasis. Full kitchens, flat screen TVs, ultra-modern amenities make this getaway a true gem. Recipient of many distinguished travel awards (Trip Advisor, Expedia, Superior Small Lodging White Glove Award), the Key West inspired inn provides a perfect vacation spot whether for a romantic getaway, a family vacation or an escape from the mundane. Combining the old and new – with a new $1.2 million facelift, guests will feel like they have traveled far away, but are actually just minutes away from the seaside village of Delray Beach. Grab a bike and head to the wide Atlantic beach and let the surf melt away your worries. Return with sand between your toes, and then enjoy a cocktail under the poolside Tiki hut while listening to the sound of the waterfall. Luxury is the key word here, in furnishings and amenities as well as service with staff attending to every need.
A few blocks away enjoy the vibrant Atlantic Avenue area, welcoming visitors with fabulous restaurants, boutiques, and the artsy Pineapple Grove Arts District. When you return to Crane’s at the end of the day you’ll sleep well in comfy beds, after enjoying the quiet atmosphere with a glass of wine under the stars or on your private patio.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando
By Jamie Reeves from Blonde Mom Blog
My tip for anyone traveling to the Disney theme parks for the first time is to stay on property. It’s easier to go from park to park and it fully immerses you in the Disney experience, which is great if you are a first time visitor to the parks.
Disney offers levels of accommodations to suit every budget and my favorite deluxe resort at Disney is Animal Kingdom Lodge which is visually stunning, from the breathtaking lobby to the grounds. I’ve traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, and visited a giraffe sanctuary and the Animal Kingdom Lodge reminds me of my travels to Africa.
Probably the very best reason to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is the animals, which you can see roaming around the property. It’s like staying on a wildlife preserve! The rooms are large in comparison to more moderately priced resorts at Disney. The Uzima outdoor pool area is also lush and inviting and a welcome respite from the busy pace at the parks. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers great food on site, whether you start your day with breakfast at Boma (I highly recommend the dark Kenyan coffee and the Jungle Juice) or a more elegant dinner.
If you are looking for beautiful resort-like accommodations near Disney and want to experience a unique safari theme that makes you feel like you’re in the heart of Africa, I highly recommend Animal Kingdom Lodge.