If you’ve been searching for the perfect hotels and resorts for the best possible physically distanced vacation spots, chances are you’re looking in or close to your own backyard. Now more than ever, there’s no more enticing idea than a quick retreat, be It for pleasure or a change of home officer scenery. The good news is that as hotels have reopened in recent months, there’s no shortage of accommodations that have been thoroughly reimagined with health and safety in mind.
The better news is that there are brand new and renovated hotels that are ready to make up for lost time and delayed debuts by blowing guests’ minds with incredible amenities, insanely delicious cuisine and invigorating spa experiences. For example, these Florida properties are new, improved and ready to pamper, so it’s only a matter of when.
The New and Spectacular
The Place: Hotel Effie
If you’re unfamiliar with the charming, laidback resort community of Sandestin, this is the kind of property that’s really going to open minds to a new Sunshine State experience. This northwest Florida destination already has everything we love and expect from a beach getaway—sand, sun, golf, action, adventure, pools, family fun, etc.—but if it was short on modern style and an attitude of elegance, that is quickly solved with the brand new Hotel Effie.
Located near beautiful Miramar Beach, this spot is as exciting as it is sophisticated, featuring Instagram-worthy amenities like the Emerald Coast’s only rooftop pool and the Ovide restaurant, which is run by James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef Hugh Acheson. And if ever there was a perfect time to open, it is right before Valentine’s Day, for which the expansive Presidential Suite awaits.
The Place: JW Marriott Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa
A new hotel in Orlando? You don’t say. However, if they all had this property’s style and sense of wellness, the City Beautiful would be a much more crowded place. Not only does the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa boast 516 rooms and convenient access to the Walt Disney World theme parks, but it also gives locals an escape for a much-needed spa treatment.
This hotel was designed to promote wellness and well-being, as evidenced by the lavish Spa by JW, which offers 10 treatment rooms and pods, as well as services from facials to massages. There are even fitness classes available for anyone looking to work off some pandemic pounds in style. Cap it all off with a cocktail on the rooftop terrace while enjoying some of the best views of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks shows you’ll find in town.
The Place: JW Marriott Tampa Water Street
Speaking of wellness, a common theme for 2021, Tampa’s Water Street was developed with productivity and a health-focused concept in mind. With walkability, sustainability and connectivity, among other attributes, this area sets itself apart from the rest of Tampa by highlighting natural beauty in an urban setting. And adding to the effort is the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, which had a soft opening in December and will be fully operational for Super Bowl LV.
Here, guests will take advantage of the relaxing therapies offered at the Spa by JW following a variety of activities in the fitness center. The resort-style pool’s sun terrace is the ultimate setting for basking in the beauty and thriving energy of Water Street, all before heading back out to enjoy it all once more.
The Place: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach
Originally opened in March 2020, the Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach didn’t get to have its big moment in the sun until the summer, after it closed for several months. But it didn’t take long for the buzz to propel this property to the front of the pack. With a design inspired by a private luxury yacht, this 96-room hotel is an explosion of the things that make this region so beloved by travelers. Vibrant art, world-class cuisine and views for days—it’s unmistakably South Beach at its best.
Speaking of views, the private patios overlook Biscayne Bay and the skyline only gets better as guests ascend to the rooftop pool and deck. This Kimpton property is the kind that offers enough to keep people satisfied without ever leaving the grounds; after all, who needs other restaurants when Osteria Morini serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in an outdoor setting? Don’t worry, though—complimentary beach transfers are available.
The Renovated and Reimagined
The Place: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Always a popular choice for staycation, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando has the advantage of offering one of the best lazy rivers in town, making it a favorite among young travelers. But parents have plenty to love, too, especially now that the resort is close to finishing a $30 million renovation on rooms, the luxury pool and cabanas, and the Club Lounge. It’s always fun when something so great becomes even better.
Grande Lakes is also launching a new series of curated events that will run throughout 2021. The first experiences debut on February 26th (running through the 28th) and include the Wheels, Watches, Whiskey and Wine reception, an exotic cars display, a wine pairing dinner with entertainer Joey Fatone, rooftop yoga, and more.
The Place: Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel
Inspired by the south of France, the redesign at Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel is almost complete. Upon arrival at this South Beach boutique hotel, guests will appreciate the playful-yet-simple décor before enjoying everything they’ve come to love about this stylish spot that is as great for work as it is play.
Perhaps the most delightful change, though, is the redesign to the iconic Vines Cabanas, which are a must-visit for anyone with an Instagram account. New furniture and fixtures breathe new life into these private poolside retreats, making them even better for setting up a laptop and answering emails. And while we’ve already enjoyed the Work from Hotel package, the Renovation Relaxation experience offers a little bit of everything new, but the real deal is 14 Nights in Paradise, which is exactly what the name implies.
The Place: Kimpton Epic Hotel
How epic is the Kimpton Epic Hotel? With its recent redesign, this property’s picture might as well be included with the word’s definition in every dictionary. Anyone looking for a classic downtown Miami weekend will want to check out the new looks here, as they were inspired by the elements that make this South Florida destination a favorite for travelers from around the world.
For starters, the lobby’s new design focuses on the city’s association with luxury, and the rooms now feature artwork and accents that invoke both the natural beauty of the region and its thriving creativity. But the most incredible experiences of all await guests in the Hospitality and Presidential Suites, which are both located on the 30th floor and have wraparound balconies that deliver jaw-dropping views.
The Place: Tampa Marriott Water Street
Another hotel in the city’s most exciting region, Tampa Marriott Water Street underwent a multiphase transformation that delivered new looks for the guest rooms, meeting spaces and Great Room, as well as two new restaurants. One of the most understated yet enjoyable aspects of the redesign is a focus on making the Tampa Riverwalk more accessible. Now, guests have direct access to all of the entertainment that awaits outside.
However, that’s not to say there isn’t plenty keeping everyone inside. While all rooms have been upgraded in both comfort and technology, the new Stay Well floor will be a hit with health-focused guests. Every room boasts an air purification system, aromatherapy and vitamin-infused showers, among other perks, all of which promise a better, more relaxing and refreshing experience.