There’s so much more to Jacksonville, Florida, than beaches, rivers and football! We’ve partnered with travel blogger and JAX local Angie Orth from Angie Away to find out the best places to get pampered on the First Coast.
When you think of Jacksonville, Florida, what comes to mind? Perhaps thick swaths of sand that stretch for hundreds of miles, a curiously rabid football fan base, historic forts or the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party?
Do you think of swanky spas with unique treatments and luxurious pampering facilities? Perhaps not yet. But you should!
When I get stressed, I head for the ocean to clear my head. And when I’m extra stressed, I add in a treatment or two at One Ocean Resort & Spa in Neptune Beach.
The hotel, formerly known as the Sea Turtle Inn, is tastefully bedecked in sea-inspired decor around every corner. Pearlescent hues and blown glass sculptures make you feel like a mermaid, and that’s before you even enter the bright, airy spa. Hot tubs with massage jets can be found in the lounges, along with a steam shower and all the amenities.
Photo courtesy One Ocean Resort & Spa
More than 40 unique treatments continue the ocean theme with marine-inspired rituals, body wraps, facials and more. For silky skin, try the Ocean Polish & Marine Detox Wrap, an organic scrub of gigartina seaweed, lavender and salt that polish, purify and moisturize. Following the scrub is a hydrating seaweed wrap, Vichy shower and custom massage. I also recommend the Seashell Massage, the beachy counterpart to the traditional hot stone massage, using smooth, heated shells to work out tense muscles and sore joints.
Before and after treatments, check out the relaxation room, a 2nd floor quiet space with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. This is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat from the spa menu in between treatments, too, or just nap, read or meditate.
One Ocean Boulevard
Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233
Though not technically in Jacksonville proper, locals count the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island as one of the First Coast’s MVPs – most valuable properties. Not only is the 446-room resort known as a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle, the spa is one of the largest and most luxurious in the state. Surrounded by tidal marshes, the Atlantic Ocean and oak trees draped in Spanish moss, the pace at the property is decidedly gentle, and that translates to the spa as well.
The most famous treatment is the Heaven in Hammock massage. Designed in-house to reflect the cozy, unhurried Southern ambiance of Amelia Island, this one-of-a-kind, zero gravity treatment can only be experienced at this property. Another treatment unique to the resort is the Honey Butter Wrap, where honey from local bees is mixed with salt from around the world to exfoliate the skin, followed by a soothing honey mask to moisturize. One of my favorite treatments is the Shirodhara and Reflexology Bliss treatment. The foot reflexology is great, but it’s the stream of warm oil that flows over your forehead that seems to pull stress right out of you. It’s a must if you’re overwhelmed and need to refocus.
After my treatments, I like to order lunch at the spa pool, private and open only to spa guests.
4750 Amelia Island Parkway
Amelia Island, FL 32034
On the southern edge of town between Jacksonville and St. Augustine is the historic Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Opened in 1928 for snowbirds to take advantage of North Florida’s year-round temperate weather, the sprawling property features more than 300 oceanside rooms, golf, tennis and dining.
Photo courtesy Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
The real jewel in the resort’s crown is the 30,000-square-foot spa, the region’s largest, offering 100 different treatments from familiar to exotic. Recently I had the fresh and fun Watermelon-tini Pedicure, and the Sea C Spa Facial, an antioxidant treatment that combines Vitamin C with seaweed to brighten the complexion and moisturize dry skin.
Photo courtesy Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
The elegant, sea-inspired lobby with soothing waterfalls and soaring ceilings provides a beautiful welcome, but it’s the amenities, including steam room, dry sauna, whirlpool and gorgeous outdoor pool with therapy grottos and a waterfall that make it more than just a day at the spa. With a full bar, snacks and a sunny day, even popping in for a few hours is like a mini vacation.
302 Ponte Vedra Boulevard
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082
When you find yourself in Jacksonville for work, a wedding or a football game, don’t forget to pad some extra time into your schedule for pampering!
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