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    Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida- Wow What A Fantastic Resort For A Romantic Getaway or Honeymoon!

    -Article by: Norm Goldman
    -Painting by: Lily Azerad-Goldman

    When Cezar Ritz, who was known as the "king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings," opened the first of the legendary Ritz Hotels in 1898 in Paris, France, his motto was when you stayed at the Ritz you would be assured of perfection. In fact, the Ritz in Paris was the first hotel in the world where every room had private bathroom facilities.

    Today, if Mr. Ritz would be looking down from heaven at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island he would be very proud of his legacy. Guests are still treated to a world-class facility focusing on their personal needs, privacy and comfort, without, however, the "pretentiousness," that was once a trademark of many Ritz properties.

    Amelia's Ritz, located on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, eloquently captures beauty and spirit of its southern surroundings.

    One frequent guest exaggerated to me that every time she stayed at the Ritz in Amelia Island- they have to drag her out screaming and kicking when she had to check out. After staying at the Ritz for a few days, we got her drift, and it certainly merits being one of the twenty-one hotels in the USA to have received the AAA Five- Diamond award-one as a resort and the other for its dinning facility the Grill Room. No wonder it is a favorite retreat for such celebrities as Paul McCartney, Denzyl Washington, John Travolta, Cher, and Jessica Simpson, to name only a few.

    It has also been the choice for such events as the annual Concours d'Elegance, a prestigious international car show featuring hundreds of rare cars and motorcycles from private owners nationwide. We were informed that the event is so popular that room reservations are made a year in advance.

    As we drove up to the resort's front entrance, it did not take a minute before a battery of doormen and car jockeys leaped to open our car door, gather the luggage from our trunk and with huge smiles ushered us into the lobby. What immediately impressed us was the feeling we were staying in an oversized private club or a venerable family home with a "homey and comfy" feel rather than a 444 room deluxe hotel. Appointed with hickory wood, marble, soft fabrics and lighting, plush sofas, and seaside views, you immediately feel a welcoming ambience coupled with southern hospitality.

    Approaching the reservation desk we were graciously received and politely informed that we were a trifle too early for our check-in, and that our room was not quite ready. However, as we were booked into one of the exclusive 8th floor club level rooms, we were handed a special elevator key that would lead us up to the Club Lounge reserved only for these forty special rooms.

    To be quite candid, we had no idea what the desk clerk was referring to when he mentioned the Club Lounge. We had the mistaken belief that it was just another lounge serving liquor and beer with peanuts and chips thrown in.

    Boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise when we discovered that the lounge offers five daily complimentary food and beverage presentations! Yes folks, you can begin eating breakfast in the lounge and end the day with liquors and other goodies, while at the same time sitting in one of the lounge's comfy chairs in front of the fireplace or on a lounge chair on one the balconies overlooking the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. This truly is delicious -as if we were on a cruise! La Dolce Vita!

    That brings me to the food-trust me when I say the samplings were amazing! It was a prelude to the excellent culinary talents of the resort's chef and his staff that we subsequently had the pleasure of enjoying in the resort's dining facilities. After feasting on some salads and scrumptious desserts, we were informed by one of the lounge's personnel that our room was ready and someone would be bringing up our luggage to our suite. In no time we were given the grand tour of our extremely spacious suite with its spectacular ocean view.

    I should like to mention that Amelia's Ritz offers a wide selection of accommodations broken down into three categories: rooms with coastal view, deluxe view and ocean views: Suites, and the Presidential suites.

    Although the private club lounge is not available to all of its guests, each accommodation, nevertheless, enjoys similar incredible amenities as twice-daily maid service, European toiletries, plush terry robes, marble baths, beds that you can really sink your bones into.

    As for activities, all have the benefit of the beautiful ocean setting with its sand dunes, as well as the incredible number of recreational options as golf, tennis, swimming, the massage and fitness center, tai chi, beach horseback riding, marsh kayaking, boating, sailing, fishing, biking, land nature tours, to name a few.

    What we found particularly romantic was the evening we were able to sit outside on the rear lawn in front of a portable fire- place and gaze at the shooting stars and the full moon above.

    When it comes time to move on from your activities in order to satisfy your hunger, you don't have to go very far- the AAA Five Diamond Grill Room is just a few steps away. It is here where you will be able to savor choice meats, wild game, fresh seafood and highly sought after delicacies. You might even find from time to time fresh turbot, Scottish game and Australian beef. If you prefer something more casual with the warmth and liveliness of a Mediterranean bistro, there is the Cafe 4750

    The islanders whom we met spoke of the Ritz with a tone of reverence, which is as it should be, as this resort has lifted the bar higher with a new standard of excellence that will be hard to beat.

    Additional Information
    The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
    4750 Amelia Island Parkway
    Amelia Island, Florida 32034
    Tel: 800-241-3333

    Norm and Lily Goldman are a unique husband and wife team, writer and water colorist, who write and paint about romantic destinations. You can see more of Norm and Lily's work at their website sketchandtravel.com

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