Luxury in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida
By Hope S. Philbrick
There’s no escaping the simple fact that the beach is the main attraction: It’s as wide as a 33-lane highway (shifting with the tides), composed of clean khaki sand streaked with intriguing coral hues, and splashed by crystal clear waves that are vigorous enough for surfing with a board, kite and/or your own body. From dawn to dark, for relaxing, playing and even being lulled to sleep, the beach is why to come to Daytona Beach Shores.
But the reality is that into any getaway, some rain may fall. So while Plan A may be to hit the beach, it’s good to have a Plan B.
And that brings us to where to stay.
Some hotels seem content to offer great views and a plush lobby or perhaps even an upscale restaurant but skimp on guestrooms. The logic seems to be, “With the beach [or mountain or lake or whatever] right here, no one is going to spend time in the room anyway!” But you need not be a certified AAA inspector to know that a nice guest room does make a difference and every amenity adds value. Especially if weather forces the best-laid plans indoors.
Central Florida’s only AAA Four Diamond oceanfront resort, The Shores Resort & Spa, offers satisfying luxury come rain or shine.
All 210 guestrooms are at least 500 square feet, so there’s sufficient elbow-room whether you’re traveling alone or with a roommate. There’s a sitting area, so put your feet up and read a magazine or sip a spirit pulled from the mini-bar. Play video games (you’ll find a keyboard in the desk drawer). Head to the large bathroom and freshen up in the Italian marble shower. Or climb into the four-poster pillow-top bed…though, fair warning, it’s so cozy you may find it hard to get out even when the sun reappears. A former Hilton, the building was remodeled in 2007 and it’s still clean and in good shape. Plus there are thoughtful built-in features like double entry doorways to minimize potential disturbances from hallway noise.
Whichever direction your room faces, there’s a mesmerizing view: the Atlantic Ocean is on the east, the Intracoastal Waterway on the west, and north- and south-facing rooms feature both waters plus parks, Florida State Road A1A and neighboring resorts plus you can watch both sunrises and sunsets.
Located south of Daytona Beach, the community of Daytona Beach Shores is quiet and relaxed. “We’re on the quiet side of Daytona Beach,” says Susan Keaveney, marketing manager for The Shores. “We’re more romantic.”
The beach is wide, most dramatically at low tide, with hard-packed sand that squeaks when you walk on it—just remember to look both ways before you cross the beach, since it is possible to drive on this stretch of beach, and there are two lanes of traffic. Some folks drive on the beach for the novelty of the experience, others do it for practical benefits of delivering sporting gear to their selected recreation site. Runners and bike riders also appreciate the firm sand.
The resort does allow children, but its exclusive AAA Four Diamond status tends to lure more couples than families—romance packages and other adult-oriented offerings like surfing lessons and the spa also lure grownups. To ramp up the romance, packages and add-ons are available, including treats such as chocolate-covered strawberries, Champagne, strewn rose petals and more.
The Shores Resort & Spa also makes it easy to make dreams come true with its new special Bucket List Package (with rates starting at $111 per night). Designed to help guests realize a lifetime dream, the package includes special prices on your choice of a memory-making experience: drive a NASCAR on the world-famous Daytona 500 track at the Daytona International Speedway, go skydiving with the Drop Zone at Skydive DeLand, drive on the 23 miles of shoreline in a convertible or other premium car, or drive a classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle along scenic A1A.
“Any time school is in session, it’s rare to see kids,” says Keaveney.
Like the rhythmic ocean waves, that’s music to our ears.
The Shores Resort & Spa is a certified Florida Green Lodging resort. “We try very hard to take care of the land we’re on,” says Keaveney.
Recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as a “Palm One” member of the Florida Green Lodging Program, the resort has several eco-friendly programs, including:
- Bimonthly beach cleanups—since July 2008 nearly a half ton of trash and recyclable materials has been collected
- “Clean the World” campaign—a non-profit organization collects, and recycles barely-used soap and shampoo products from hotels for distribution to people in-need throughout the world
- Sustainable meat, poultry and seafood is on the menu at Azure Restaurant
- Free valet parking for guests who drive hybrid vehicles
- Power-saving and censored lights are used throughout the property
- Generators run on natural gas
- Cleaning products use Eco-lab green chemicals
- Water-conservation faucets are installed in all guestrooms
- “The Bulb Eater” crushes fluorescent lightbulbs into 100% recyclable materials and captures more than 99.9% of the vapors released
- High-speed wireless Internet access is included as part of the $15/day resort fee
- Bring your own discs: Each guestroom has a DVD/CD player
- The rhythmic sounds of the ocean invite deep sleep and each plush pillow-top bed helps ensure comfort throughout
- Oceanfront rooms offer glassed-in Italian marble showers but no bathtubs; some oceanview rooms do have bathtubs; the Honeymoon Suite has a hot tub
- Oceanfront fire pits are popular gathering spots in evening hours; one free s’mores kit provided per room per stay (additional s’mores kits are $10 each)
- There is an outdoor salt water pool with an 8-foot deep end; there’s also a hot tub
- Rooms are equipped with a coffee maker and basic standard supplies
- Robes are provided in oceanfront rooms only
- Complimentary transportation within 4 miles of the hotel
- Complimentary transportation to/from the Daytona International Airport
- Complimentary access to The Oceans Racquet & Recreation Club with tennis, Bocce Ball, and more
- Self-parking is $10/day; valet parking is $17/day
- Pet-friendly; $250 deposit plus $50/day for up to 2 pets
- On-site dining options include Azure Restaurant, which has an American coastal menu; Azure Lounge for cocktails; the poolside Tiki Bar for drinks and bar bites; and 24-hour room service
- 7-course wine dinners are hosted on the third Thursday of each month
- Reserve a poolside cabana for private outdoor dining; the executive chef of Azure Restaurant can prepare a special 5-course meal
- Lanai rooms open onto the pool area. Some terrace rooms boast a 500-square-foot balcony
- The on-site boutique spa has 6 treatment rooms including a couple’s room and a vichy shower room. There’s also a nail treatment area. There’s no relaxation lounge or sauna, but each treatment room has a clawfoot tub. A full menu of spa treatments is available. Spa guests must be age 18 or older!
- Security bonus: A lifeguard station is located at the beach in front of The Shores, not far down the way.
- 21 Plus Salute! Children are permitted to stay at the hotel; however, you won’t find co-eds on Spring Break here. The website states, “Age Restriction: Must be a minimum of 21 years of age to reserve accommodations.”
- Rates from $109/night for Riverview rooms; $159/night for Oceanview (+ $10 with a balcony); $230/night for Oceanfront. @21plusTravel Tip: Save money and book a south-facing room. Oceanview rooms are priced lower than Oceanfront rooms, and you’ll see the ocean on your left and river on the right (vice versa if facing north)
- The Daytona Beach Shores community is generally low-key, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet it’s best to inquire about local events when booking a reservation: You’ll want to avoid high-energy events like Daytona 500, Biketoberfest, Spring Break, Jeep Week and other annual festivals
What To Do…
Marine Science Center offers abundant educational programs and exhibits—including a sting ray touch pool–but the key attractions are the hospitals: The sea turtle and seabird rehabilitation facilities have helped nearly 17,000 turtles and 9,500 birds. Visit patients, observe treatments and learn how to protect endangered species.
Museum of Arts & Sciences is Central Florida’s primary art, science and history museum as well as the largest museum in the area. Exhibits include vintage automobiles; railroad cars; quilts; Florida’s largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia; a prehistoric Giant Ground Sloth skeleton; African artifacts; American, Chinese and Cuban art; and more. There’s also a planetarium with daily shows, a children’s museum—which you may happily avoid, unless you’re feeling nostalgic—and a nature preserve.
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and one of the nation’s best preserved and most authentic historic light stations. It’s also one of the tallest masonry lighthouses in the country. You can climb 203 steps to the top of the 175 foot tower and enjoy picturesque views of the beach, Ponce Inlet and surrounding inland waterways.
The Shores Resort & Spa
2637 South Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach Shores, Florida 32118
-Top 4 photos courtesy The Shores; bottom 3 © 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.