My family in Tampa; Our friends in Atlanta - Amelia Island is a great place to meet in the middle. We chose to book a three bedroom villa at the Beachwalker condos at the Omni Plantation. Our story is a would-be disaster. The only reason we chose to rate it as good is because of the way the staff made it up to us to try and salvage our trip. On the 4th of July, right before getting kids down to bed and ready to watch the fireworks on our deck, we noticed a leak in the ceiling of our friends' guest bedroom. After getting it inspected by the resort they determined it was no small issue and no one should stay in that room. So.. our friends (and their 2 young kids) had to stay in the same hotel room together next door. The next day, we had to negotiate with the hotel to move our whole group to the Sandcastle area of the resort and they ended up getting us two separate rooms, that were two bedrooms each. The Sandcastle resort, in my opinion, is much nicer / newer. The only downside is that we could not share a condo with our friends anymore, which was the original point of going together to the beach - but I digress. The hotel did comp the night that was ruined due to the leak and comped our dinner that evening. There are some things that happen that are beyond people's control - so we decided to have a good attitude about it because the hotel did try and accommodate us equally, though it did take a little coaxing. Here is a review of the two areas we stayed at..
Amelia Island is relatively small, but the Omni Plantation is on the Southern tip of the island. By comparison, downtown Ferdinand Beach (highly recommended) is on the north end. However, it is very easy to get around. Both Beachwalker and Sandcastle villas are situated on the beach.
The original three-bedroom Beachwalker villa is an interesting layout - almost like a split level, with three separate stories. The furnishings were a bit dated and the kitchen very tight, but in all is what we were looking for / expected for a trip with kids. Wifi was free and had large screen tvs. We paid extra for an ocean view, which I think is necessary.
The Omni Plantation is overall very large. They have several different areas to stay, such as - Beachwalker, Sandcastles, The Omni Hotel, etc. The property parallels the beach and there are constantly golf carts wizzing to and fro from place to place. We did order food from the hotel and it was very good, though we found the menu limiting. The pool at the main hotel is very large and has lots of activities throughout the day for all ages. They also have shops at the entrance to the Plantation. The wives went to the spa one day, but found it average at best - merely a waiting room (mixed gender) and massage tables in rooms.
We got to deal with the front desk quite a bit and unfortunately got to know them better than we would like. They were all very nice and wanting to be accommodating. I dont believe the resort is best known for its service (seems to be very seasonal - lots of young employees in the summer) but it was good.
In all, I don't know that we'll visit Amelia Island again. Florida has so many good beaches, and frankly we were not crazy about the beach - very shelly. However, this is not a review about the beach, but rather about the resort. The reason we chose it still rings true - you can rent a multiple bedroom "condo" by the night, which is rare at any beach. Hotels - you can do this. Condos - mostly make you rent by the week, so this is very convenient. I believe if you go, you should set the expectation to be more like renting a private condo as opposed to a 4-star resort - but hey.. you are at the beach!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation sprawl across 1,350 beautiful and isolated acres, along Florida's north eastern coastline, just across the St. Marys River in Georgia and adjacent to the historic city of Fernandina. The Villas overlook the azure blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west. Though private, secluded and protected by a gated entry, the location is a convenient 45 minute drive away from downtown Jacksonville and 29 miles from Jacksonville International Airport. Private and corporate aircraft charters can fly directly to Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport, which is only four miles north of the plantation. Each villa is unique and different. Units come in varying sizes and locations, including ocean view, resort view and tennis view single guest rooms, as well as one, two and three bedroom units, ideal for larger parties, and feature fully equipped kitchens, dining areas, spacious living rooms, multiple baths and private bedrooms. Most complexes have at least one pool. Be sure to confirm the villa type, location and amenities available when booking. The villa accommodations are independently owned, but are located within proximity to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villas Of Amelia Island Plantation Hotel Amelia Island