Escape For A Date: Hotel Effie
By Linda Holloway Photography, www.larryholloway.com
I remember the day I fell in love with my husband, and after years with my vow keeper, I would choose him again. All couples have memories of the springtime of their relationship, but healthy marriages need check-ups and reminders that your family started with the two of you. While the annual summer vacation is one of the most important “memory-makers” for your family, there are dates that should be celebrated with just the two of you: Valentine’s Day and your anniversary.
The famed author, Mitch Albom, said it best, “Life is a series of pulls back and forth…a tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. Most of us live somewhere in the middle. A wrestling match…which side wins? Love wins. Love always wins.” I agree with Mitch. Make your spouse a priority and plan a new season of romance with a getaway. Shout it to the rooftops. Love wins!
Hotel Effie – Miramar Beach, Florida
In a few hours, you will arrive at the most luxurious destination along the Emerald Coast, Hotel Effie. Located between the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay, the 250-room Hotel Effie exemplifies comfortable luxury. The hotel is in the famed Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. No wonder the hotel was named by TripAdvisor as a 2022 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best award for the top 1% of hotels. The grand entrance left me wondering if we were in a hotel or an art gallery. Here, guests can relax and view one-of-a-kind trendy artwork by Brenden Parker and Deb Paradise.
At check-in, I thought the staff member was talking to a celebrity behind us, but no, every guest was showered with southern hospitality. We were offered a cool-temperature oshibori towel for us to beat the heat and a selection of beverages, including the best sweet tea. After all, the hotel was named after the owner’s great-grandmother who was the ultimate southern hostess. Reserve a room or suite where morning coffee comes with an awesome view. The well-appointed rooms and suites display unique décor with coastal maritime theming. Explore the grand indoor spaces, or tip-toe in the sand. This romantic haven is rolling out an over-the-top Valentine’s Day Package.
Valentine’s Day or Warm Weather Anniversary
The mild temperatures make a winter beach trip ideal where you feel as if you own the beach. Reserve a ride on a private Mercedes Coach shuttle and be delivered steps from the beach to experience the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Hold hands in luxury beach chairs and reserve a sunset beach picnic along the Gulf. Hotel guests have access to seven miles of beach on Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. If you choose Hotel Effie for the summer, the hotel has additional perks for fun in the sun.
Ara Rooftop Pool and Lounge is the only venue of its kind in the region. The heated pool is open year-round and highlights include luxury cabanas where you can unleash the ties; the canvas will surround you for privacy. You will find chaise loungers on the pool perimeter. The interactive game space provides competitive fun. Come early for unforgettable sunsets. The area is chic with a modern vibe.
You will find three restaurants curated by celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner, Hugh Acheson. Ask for a corner table in Ovide, the hotel’s signature restaurant. Acheson’s creativity for distinctive ingredients and cooking techniques is fused with seasonal coastal cuisine. The sophisticated French influence is celebrated here in delectable delights. Effie’s Biscuits, an original family recipe, complement all the meals. Return the next morning for the buttermilk pancakes, or arrange in-room dining. For something quick, head to Sweetbay Coffee for pastries.
Spa Lilliana allows the mind to slow down while the body is refreshed. The Side-By-Side Massage in one of the two-person massage suites is pure romance, and the signature Head to Toe Wellness Treatment is amazing. Try the 60-minute Biologique Recherche Reset Facial that renewed my skin with a new-found glow. The hotel’s open spaces have their signature scent of sage, lavender, cedar, and rosemary infused throughout. We followed the scent to the spa where we purchased Osea’s scented oil to enjoy at home.
Hotel Effie is an affordable romantic getaway, but for those who want an over-the top experience, ask about the Ultimate Luxury Valentine’s Day Weekend Package. A sample of amenities include the Presidential Suite, private butler, spa experience, shopping, and romantic dinners. A helicopter ride and a private yacht with dinner for two are part of the exclusive package as well. A girl can dream!
For entertainment, nightlife and restaurants, The Village at Baytowne Wharf is a short walk from Hotel Effie. Guests have access to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort amenities including resort pools, golf courses, tennis courts, two complimentary 4-hour bicycle rentals each day, and other activities such as kayaking, boogie boarding and more.
Day Trip: Enjoy a ride along 30-A, and visit the unique shops of WaterColor and Alys Beach. Be sure and stop in Fusion Art Glass in Seaside. Rosemary Beach is one of the most romantic towns in America. Hold hands while walking down the cobblestone streets as you decide whether to share a home-made pizza from Cowgirl Kitchen or small plates and chocolate fondue under the café lights at La Crema Tapas and Chocolate. Lastly, take a leisurely bike ride from Rosemary Beach through the adjoining beach neighborhood, all with their own unique culture and cuisine.
For Hotel Effie reservations, call 1-833-873-3343 or visit www.hoteleffie.com
For Tourist Information, www.visitsouthwalton.com