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Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

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Fort walton Beach...
Level Contributor
131 posts
99 reviews
Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

Hi everyone.

I'd really like to run the Zooma Race (half marathon) in January of 2013. The race is headquartered (expo and finish) at the Ritz. Best rate I can do there is $239 plus tax, plus parking. I'm strongly considering staying at the Hampton Inn (on South Second). I'm bringing my husband and daughter and we live near the beach so the beach is unimportant to us. What we do like is shopping/restaurants/history. We love (for example) St. Augustine.

I can get the Hampton for about half as much and I'm really tempted. Any reason why we wouldn't? I know we'll have to pay to park at the Ritz (probably twice - expo and post race) but other than that, it just seems better to stay at the Hampton (and the savings is pretty significant).


Fernandina Beach FL
Destination Expert
for Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach
Level Contributor
1,456 posts
163 reviews
1. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere


The Hampton on S. 2nd is down in the historic district overlooking the river on the west side of the island. Nice thing about the downtown location is that your family will be located in the main dining/shopping/sightseeing area and is ideal for walking. You will be about 1.5 miles from the ocean (straight east on Atlantic Avenue). Of course, here on the island nothing is much more than a 10 minute drive. Down about half-way between the historic area and the Ritz off Sadler Road there is a Marriott Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, Day's Inn & Suites and Amelia Hotel at the Beach.

Of course, the Ritz is well known for its ultimate service and amenities although as you noted, it comes with a price. To avoid the valet parking fee at the Ritz and save every dollar possible, you could park free at Peter's Point oceanfront park and walk the 1/4 mile to the Ritz either along the beach or up along the sidewalk along the roadway.

Amelia Island...
Level Contributor
22 posts
2. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation are another great option right down the street from the Ritz! The Omni hotel will be closed for renovation but you can enjoy all of Omni's resort amenities when staying at the Villas. Visit the website for more info. www.villasofameliaisland.com.

Level Contributor
2 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

From what I've seen the race is a first time event, so a lot of the festivities (if you will) are going to be at the Ritz-Carlton - whatever welcome, kickoff, sponsor events & goodie bags, start/finish, reception, and all of that. As mentioned, the Ritz-Carlton is about 10 minutes from downtown, so shopping and walking the downtown are definitely an option. You mentioned your family would travel with you and I think that's where the Ritz really shines. They have a kids club with actual classes, a game room, a movie theater, indoor pool and room service (which was my favorite as a kid!) Since January can be cooler in the mornings and afternoon, the indoor pool would probably be the deciding factor for my family. (Although I'm sure my wife & I would split our vote between the golf course and spa!)

Avon, OH
Level Contributor
85 posts
4. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

Dear Mom,

You might also be interested in the condominiums immediately beside the Ritz, Ocean Place. I am an owner there, although I use a rental company located on the island to handle the renting responsibilities (www.summerbeach.com). I mention this because as dlwinger already said, nothing is more than a 10 minute drive on the island, it would keep you in the action of the race headquarters at the Ritz, it's nice to have a "home" type situation when traveling with children (aka seperate bedroom and full kitchen), and I'm sure the January rental rates for Ocean Place are quite reasonable.

Just a thought :-)

Atlanta, Georgia...
1 post
5. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

You should consider looking at VRBO.com rentals, they are often nicer than hotels and much roomier, as the above poster said. I've found the units on VRBO are often better maintained than those handled by a resort/management company.

Avon, OH
Level Contributor
85 posts
6. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

This is a case by case basis. I'm in charge of organizing a 24 person family vacation/reunion every year. I have rented from VRBO on several occasions and have had success and less than success. . .I won't say failure as being with the family is always the most important and enjoyable thing. I will say the cleanliness and repair or disrepair of electronics can be a crap shoot. The bottomline is with a rental company you have someone on premises if you should have any issues . .with VBRO this usually isn't the case. But if you know and are okay with that going in . . . then it can be a great way of finding a nice vacation property. As I said, I have had successes. . .it's really sad that a few owner's and bad experiences can really ruin if for others.

7. Re: Race headquarters at the Ritz, thinking of staying elsewhere

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