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“Always an amazing experience”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Ranked #4 of 12 Hotels in Fernandina Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Macon, Georgia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Always an amazing experience”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

After going to the Ritz for conferences for several years, I decided to take my son there for a vacation. We stayed on the Club Level and he was spoiled within the first few hours of our arrival. We were greeted at valet, received a warm welcome from the front desk, and the hospitality never ended. Paul took us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the property, which I would recommend to everyone. Whether you choose to stay by the pool or hang out by the beach, you cannot go wrong. And definitely take time to enjoy the spa.

Room Tip: Splurge for club level if you really want to be pampered
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank DeDe N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
58 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 253 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

I noticed some people commenting this is not a place for honeymooners or couples and would agree but that's exactly the reason we chose this Ritz so if you are on here you are doing your homework and know that! We are FL residents and have always heard this Ritz is very family friendly so decided to take a long weekend trip up with our 4 & 2 year olds. We stayed in the 1 bedroom Ocean view suite which was great as we always enjoy having at least 2 rooms in case the kids are napping or go to bed early and we want to hang out. Very spacious with very spacious balcony with great view of the ocean. We did a package rate which included breakfast and had the option of using that for breakfast which I believe was a $50 credit that worked out very well for all of us to have breakfast daily with minimal cost (you could also go to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet which looked pretty crowded each day).Beach was very nice. Yes, you have to pay for umbrellas but found this typical of many beach resorts and good service. Food and drink are offered on the beach beginning at noon but you have to walk a bit up to the tiki hut to get it. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and at 3pm the pool was very crowded. There was a conference there. Sat was crowded too but much less than Fri and on Sun they have over 300 check outs so hardly anyone there. We stayed until Mon and Sun was a great day bc so many people checked out and people weren't checking in until later. Pool service was great and kids got spoiled by it. We spent LOTS of time in the pool! The restaurant was nice and we did the seafood buffet Fri night which was very good. We sat outside and had a problem with the flies as well. Seems like just an issue with the location of the restaurant. We did not go to Salt however.We went into town one night for dinner. It was a typical beach/small town area so preferred to stay at the resort. Lots of places to walk in the grass and for the kids to play in the evening near the convention side of the resort. Also there is a small playground near the pool which was great. Btw we were in that area of the resort and it was a further walk but anything to tire the kids more! The highlight was to have Princess Amelia and Prince Louis along with macaw Amelia visit our room and read the kids a bedtime story. They LOVED it! They brought them warm cookies, milk and a pirate bag for each of them with a bunch of pirate related toys. They read the book and were very nice with the kids. It was great. Nice service that I would recommend to anyone with toddlers. It is a Ritz so things are pricey but honestly it wasn't egregious compared to some places we stayed at. If we had an opportunity to return we definitely would. I could imagine if the weather didn't cooperate there isn't much else to do but that's the issue with most beach resorts (actually they do have an indoor pool but we just didn't use it). We had a wonderful trip and the kids loved it. For us, it was worth it.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank ngl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
107 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2013

This was a girlfriends trip and I cannot say enough about this property. We splurged and stayed on the Club Level and were treated like special guests and yet family. We had everything we needed on site so our stay was relaxing and low stress. The beach at Amelia is wonderful and we particularly enjoyed the live music in the lobby. Easy access from JAX airport.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank DMay51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2013

Firstly, the customer service at the hotel is truly outstanding. The employees that worked at the restaurants, spa facility, car valet, house-keeping, and even the college kids working at the beach were warm and outgoing. The staff at the front check-in desk weren't as remarkable, but I guess they deal with tons of requests and non-stop customer traffic.

The resort is very family oriented, which is a plus if you have a kid. Kids seemed to range in age from early infancy through adolescence, and they all seemed to be having a blast. A note to travelers who want a romantic getaway: come here when kids are back in school or you will be swarmed! I noticed that the travelers without children retreated to the spa adult-pool to avoid the kiddos splashing in the pool. The main outdoor pool was fine but small for a resort of this size. The outdoor hot tub was deliciously warm. They know how to heat a hot tub properly here.

We stayed in a basic room for one night and then transitioned to a ocean front suite for the remainder or our stay. Importantly, not all of the rooms have great views!!! The people that have written that all of the rooms have great views on this site clearly haven't seen all of the rooms! We were initially put in a basic room on a low floor by the back of the hotel (away from the beach) and our view was of building/roof. It was really depressing. I was annoyed that the check-in guy put us in that room in the first place when other rooms with better views on higher floors were also available at at that time. It started our trip on the wrong foot.

We transitioned to an ocean front suite the next day. It was a massive improvement. If you can pinch a view extra pennies together, the difference between the suites and rooms is significant. The direct view of the beach was nice and the room was spacious. The suites aren't particularly luxurious, but they're comfortable and pleasant. The amenities could definitely be improved upon. At other Ritz resorts, they have Bulgari products. They had Asprey products at this resort, and they seemed a little cheap. A little note about upgrades... I imagine that they upgrade a lot of guests here because the resort is so huge. Unfortunately, we learned that if you book an ocean front suite, you can't really be upgraded to something grander because the next leap up is too great. So word to the wise: risk booking a cheaper suite or room and then ask to be upgraded on arrival :)

The beach was nice and wonderful for kids. The waves are fun and the beach area is wide and spacious. The color of the water (brown) was a little disappointing, but this isn't the Caribbean. The restaurants and food didn't disappoint. Dinner at Salt was tasty and the daily breakfasts at the cafe were great. Food and drink prices seemed super reasonable to me.

My main issue, aside from initial room disappointment: the 25 charge for the daiily use of an umbrella at the beach. To some, this may seem like a trivial issue to write about, but I personally found it outrageous. I found this fee offensive for a number of reasons. There is no sun coverage at the beach, so without an umbrella you bake and burn in the hot sun. Further, this resort serves the elderly and guests with babies/kids. It seems like a public health failure for a resort to require that their guests pay for sun protection when natural shade isn't available. Lastly, I can understand random charges when you're staying at an affordable motel, but not when you're paying a higher rate at a fine hotel. I saw one father come with his own umbrella from Walmart or Target (smart man). To their credit at check-out, our umbrella charges were taken off of our bill when we commented on the absurdity of the charge.

We had a nice stay at this hotel. I'm not so sure that we'll return, but I will remember how friendly the staff was and how fun the kids seemed to be having at the beach.

Room Tip: Not all of the rooms have great views. Ask for a high floor close to the beach.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank nyjetsetter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 8, 2013 via mobile

We enjoy Ritz Carlton properties, but this was our first visit to Amelia Island....now we can't wait to go back!

Spent 5 nights with our 2 children, 12 and 8, for a much needed, relaxing family vacation. The property is beautiful...when you first step into the lobby, you're greeted with an expansive view through windows overlooking the courtyard, dunes and the ocean....what a fantastic way to start!

Pros & Cons: the staff is friendly and accommodating...absolutely what you expect at a Ritz property. With the exception of 1 or 2 who just seemed less experienced, our needs were always met and exceeded...never needed to seek someone out for assistance. Any negatives in this area were so minor, they aren't even worth mentioning.

Rooms are a good size and very clean. Newer furnishings. Large balconies. Large closet, full length mirror and large bathroom were a plus. Housekeeping was great. Would be such a great idea if drying racks or something similar was provided, being a beach destination. I was constantly maneuvering around wet bathing suits and cover ups from the 4 of us...plus looking over balconies with people hanging their towels and clothes over the railings, takes something away from the experience a bit.

Restaurants are great. Never had a bad meal. Breakfast buffet was delicious, and worth trying. Only negatives here were the need for an additional omelet cook. Even on quieter days there would be a line. It got a little old. Plus, he/she would man the waffle iron on top of the omelets. The buffet was the same every day. Delicious, but no variety. If you have kids, order chocolate milk :-), the presentation makes the kids feel special. Karen H. was hands-down one of the best servers we have ever had....sweet, personable, and visibly someone who loves her job. She is the epitome of Ritz Carlton service. We walked around the downtown area one night and bumped into her, and she recognized us! Plus, gave us a handwritten note on the morning that we were leaving...exceptional in every way. You MUST try Salt. Unbelievable food and service. Costly, however, you will not be disappointed. The ambiance even impressed the kids! The pool restaurant and bar were great also, but close way too early.

The beach is one of the most beautiful, family friendly beaches that we've seen. It's wide with soft sand. Lots of wildlife...we had a blast looking for turtles, fish, sand crabs...tons of pelicans, and we saw dolphins every day! The weekend got crowded...get there early for a front row seat. Umbrellas are $25. Little ridiculous considering how much you spend to stay here. Plus, you NEED one.... Water stations set up, convenient and appreciated! Rentals of recreation items are available...worth their cost and in great condition. Tried stand up paddleboard one day and boogie boards another! One of the activities offered by the hotel is shark tooth hunting...even if you don't find one, they provide you with a shark tooth necklace at the end :-)....both kids loved it....

There are a ton of places to sit and enjoy the view...adirondack chairs are situated all over the courtyard overlooking the dunes and water. Fantastic setting.

Our major gripes have more to do with some of the guests than anything else. The pool is small. That's fine. However, many, many, many people and their CHILDREN treat it more like their own pool than as an amenity provided by a Ritz Carlton. Our first day, we watched a man devour a huge plate of nachos on the edge of the pool while he was swimming. A cocktail in the pool is great on vacation, but a plate of nachos? Kids were rough housing and yelling and jumping in shallow areas without any supervision. People let their children have crying fits and temper tantrums left and right. If you wish to let them cry it out, please do so away from the 50+ people near you trying to enjoy their vacation. I am a mom, I get it, but REMOVE them from the situation. People were changing diapers on lounge chairs...I don't think there was a changing station in the pool bathroom, but again, find someplace else...preferably not the chair I may be sitting on tomorrow. It seemed that every where we went, there were YOUNG unsupervised children behaving badly.

Overall, we adored our vacation and miss it terribly. I highly recommend the location and the hotel! We cannot wait to go back...

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank heatherm72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I spent a long weekend at this Ritz Carlton a week ago and found it the perfect getaway! We went for the beach and were not disappointed! It is beautiful and the water warm with perfect not too rough waves. The Friday night seafood buffet was amazing! The Saturday shrimp feast at the tiki bar on the beach was super casual and relaxing. Loved the breakfast buffet in the am too.

We had a great ocean view room with elegant decor without being too formal. Loved the Asprey bath products!

The only negative for us was that there was no adult pool. It didn't impact us too greatly since we were always at the beach. However, at 6:00 one night, even after a brief rainstorm, there were too many children in the pool for adults to enjoy it. The last day after the beach we paid $25 per person to use the spa pool which was wonderful except I had to ask them to please turn off the terrible (not Spa like ) music which they did graciously.

One other note, we were at this facility in the winter a few years ago for a golf vacation. We played several courses on the island including the course at the Ritz which we really enjoyed.

Overall it was a perfect trip and we will definitely return!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank IslandGolfing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
32 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2013

Stayed at the Ritz August 1st to 5th. The hotel is fabulous with a great spa, excellent pools,very spacious rooms and excellent service. With the positioning of the hotel, every room has an excellent view of the beach.

The hotel provides chairs, tents, boards (just about anything you need to have a great time at the beach.This resort is very family oriented with different educational and fun activities for the children throughout the day. The beach is very nice and easily accesible from the hotel.

The only dissapointment was the Cafe 4750 in the hotel. The food is over priced and subpar. (Unless you like everything drowned in Taragon) We ate their twice and both times the meals were mediocre.

There are some rooms that fully face the beach, but all of the rooms have lovely views with balconies.

Obviously traveling to Florida in August was not the ideal time due to the heat and humidity,
but I would definitely return to this lovely resort.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KimSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Property: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
Address: 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL 32034-5501
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Amelia Island > Fernandina Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Fernandina Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island 5*
Number of rooms: 446
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Immerse yourself in southern charm at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. With miles of pristine beaches to explore, you’ll find yourself basking in the glow of the sun as you swim, relax or walk along the sandy shore. As one of the most popular beach destinations on the East Coast, this luxury hotel in Florida provides a welcome barrier between you and the world beyond. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Ritz-Carlton - Amelia Island Hotel Amelia Island
Ritz Carlton Amelia Island
Ritz Amelia Island
Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Fernandina Beach, FL

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