By Hope S. Philbrick
When I get an earworm, an uninvited addiction to a particular song, my cure is to immerse myself in the tune until it’s thoroughly memorized. Only then can I get on with my life.
Understandably, my husband doesn’t enjoy getting dragged along on those audio rides.
A solo overnight at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee, though planned weeks ahead, arrived just in time for me to retreat into my most recent musical affliction. While driving there and then settling into my lake view guestroom, I therapeutically played the tune on auto-repeat.
As a travel writer, traveling alone is my routine. Still, I’m at a loss for specific suggestions when someone asks me where to go if traveling alone. My answer is to go wherever the hell you want. Whether you’re single or not, time alone in a restful place is restorative; a chance to contemplate whatever thoughts are running through your head and heart. Or just go for the adventure; you’ll meet people when you get there. Whatever type of escape you seek—restful or active, alone or with a companion or group—The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee delivers.
Located 80 miles east of Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee is one of Georgia’s most luxurious retreats: It’s rated a 2016 AAA Five Diamond Lodging and 2015 Forbes Four-Star resort. Located on 30 acres of shoreline on Georgia’s second-largest lake, it offers quiet spaces as well as activities. Walk through the woods. Sit and gaze at light reflecting off the lake. Go fishing, kayaking, swimming, paddle boarding, boating or jet skiing. Play golf, shoot hoops, sprawl out on the sandy beach, or soak in a hot tub. Whatever suits your mood, one thing is certain: You’ll wish you could “Linger Longer,” a name given to the land by the family who originally owned it.
Since it was raining on the day of my arrival, I didn’t swim in the outdoor pool as planned. In other weather, I definitely would have jumped in: The outdoor pool has an infinity edge that creates the illusion that it merges with the lake; but it’s cleaner, heated, and attended to by staffers who will deliver towels whenever you need one. There is an indoor pool, too, but I chose instead to savor the luxurious sanctity of my guestroom—one benefit of traveling solo is the absolute freedom to do whatever suits your mood.
I snapped a few photos of the view from the covered balcony, then sank into the cushions of the loveseat and relaxed until dinnertime.
Among the three on-site restaurants is Linger Longer Steakhouse, an upscale-casual lakeside take on the traditional American steakhouse. You can sit at the bar or at a table in the dining room with lake views. Whatever you choose from the menu, from fresh catch to certified Black Angus beef, skilled chefs prepare your dish to order. Servers are attentive and friendly. Save room for the white chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé. Every dinner guest receives the parting gift of cotton candy.
Keep satisfying your sweet teeth after dinner by joining other guests around a glowing campfire to roast s’mores. The fire is lit each night and the s’mores tradition is complimentary for all registered guests.
After a deep sleep on the fluffy mattress, without the usual disruptions of my husband snoring and my cat walking across the bed, I awoke to a sunny spring day. After sipping coffee on the balcony, I strolled through the woods for an hour, kayaked for another, then headed to The Spa.
From the hot steam room to the cold plunge pool, fireside hot tub to private showers, The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee offers several indulgent ways to relax before or after your scheduled treatment. The multiple relaxation areas are segregated by gender (so you’re invited to get as comfortable as you wish/dare; robes are provided).
Treatments like an aromatherapy massage are performed by skilled therapists and estheticians in private rooms. Recline on the warm, cozy table as instructed, choose your preferred aroma (soothing or energizing), and let skilled hands work their wonders. Pressure is customized to your needs and preferences. Beyond-the-usual attention to details (like a warm pad draped across your back while the therapist works on other parts of your body and heated towels wrapped around your feet at the end of the treatment to wipe away oil) set this spa apart. You’ll leave feeling more relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated than when you arrived.
Access to 28,000-square-foot spa retreat is included with any of the more than 35 treatments currently offered; it’s also available to any guest for $30/day.
The Ritz-Carlton will soon debut Espa skincare products and services across all of its spas. “About 80 percent of the treatments on the spa service menu will be the same at all The Ritz-Carlton spas,” says one technician. “The other 20 percent will be local specialties.” Espa products will be used during treatments; after each session the esthetician will present a brochure highlighting the specific products that were used, which makes it easy if you want to buy some of the same in the gift shop on your way out. The “range of pioneering, natural body products are specially designed to cleanse, moisturize and exfoliate at optimal levels of purity for maximum performance,” claims the brochure.
The music playing in The Spa during my treatment was so peaceful that it cleared my mind for relaxation. It effectively banished the tune that had been bouncing around my brain for the previous 48 hours—a victory!
Maybe the thought running through your head driving you crazy isn’t a song, but some other idea you’d like to deal with once and for all. Head to The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee. It’s the perfect place for a personal tune up.
- The Resort Activity Package includes non-motorized lake activities, bikes, valet parking and internet access
- Internet access is complimentary for Club Level guests
- 251 guest rooms and hotel suites with views of the resort and Lake Oconee
- One 3-bedroom and five 2-bedroom lakeside cottages
- One 5,400-square-foot Lake House with 4 master bedrooms and a private heated pool
- 19,077 square feet of meeting space, including 18 meeting rooms
- 5 championship golf courses; total of 99 holes designed by the game’s best architects
- Complimentary access to Resort Fitness Center.
- Infinity-edge outdoor swimming pool plus a hot tub, indoor pool, and kiddie pool
- Lake Oconee boasts more fish per square foot than any other lake in Georgia
- Full-service spa
- Three on-site restaurants plus 24-hour in-room dining
- Coffee makers with a selection of coffee and tea are available in each guestroom
- Separate showers and bathtubs in each guestroom
- Evening turn-down service
- Complimentary morning newspaper
- Complimentary overnight shoeshine
- Odds of Encountering Children: Generally high; for the best odds, book a weekday stay when school is in session. The good news is that if you want adults-only experiences, you can find them. The Spa is exclusive to adults age 18 and older and the spa pool is reserved for adults except during the hours of 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. when it’s made available to all guests. The golf course, bars and some seasonal workshops and activities are also geared to adults.
There is a “Ritz Kids” program that offers a variety of supervised physical and creative activities designed especially children age five to 12, with full or half-day options, seven days a week. This keeps kids occupied and gives parents—and other adults—time and space of their own. Everybody wins!
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee
1 Lake Oconee Trail
Greensboro, Georgia 30642
– Photo Credits: The Spa images courtesy The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee; remainder © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.