Although most of Florida’s luxury skyscraper hotels are in the major cities on the Atlantic side of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico side has many distinctive luxury resorts of its own. Because of the romantic aura of Gulf settings and the temperate sea breezes, many of these resorts cater to couples on romantic vacations. All offer romantic getaway packages, and often these are steeply discounted at the last minute, making a spontaneous getaway especially appealing. Couples can consider a range of luxury resorts on the Gulf Coast, from its more tropical southern end northward toward the central part of the state.
Located on Islamorada in the Keys, Cheeca Lodge & Spa embodies the Keys’ concept of laid-back luxury. Guests can arrive by boat at the Lodge's private candle-lit dock and be whisked away into a world of luxury. The finest amenities, top-notch staff and excellent dining options combine with endless beaches and a slow pace of living. Roughly a third of the rooms at the Cheeca Lodge are suites, and among these are the couples-oriented Oceanview Premiere Suites. These suites feature a spacious open-air tub, oversized rain shower overlooking the ocean, the finest linens, an amply stocked wet bar and an enormous balcony for dining or enjoying the sea breeze. Romantic getaway packages include champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, breakfast in bed and a candle-lit dinner.
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
As the name implies, La Playa centers on the beach. Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Vanderbilt Bay, it is bounded by white sand beaches, ideal for couples looking to lounge away a day. Luxurious beach chairs and umbrellas dot the beach, spaced far enough apart that couples can feel they have a small world to themselves. The on-site restaurant, Baleen, is on the waterfront and makes use of the wide array of seafood available from the Gulf. LaPlaya has numerous couples programs at its extensive beachfront spa facility and offers private seating in the restaurant. Romantic packages include a number of small touches, including complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas so you can spend your days watching the surf in comfort.
The Resort at Longboat Key
Just offshore from the city of Sarasota, Longboat Key is a small barrier reef and is home to the extensive Resort at Longboat Key. Rooms are extremely clean and modern, incorporating light and open air to invite the warm Gulf breeze in. Unlike some of the smaller couples’ resorts on the Gulf, the Resort at Longboat Key has a huge array of amenities and facilities, ideal for couples who want to play hard on their vacation. With two golf courses, tennis courts, numerous pools and yoga classes, there is no shortage of active pursuits to occupy your time. You'll also have a choice of six on-site restaurants.
Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg
Built in 1925, the Vinoy Renaissance has held on to its classical grace and beauty, harkening back to an era when Florida resorts were almost like miniature castles on the Gulf. The rooms are large and the facilities expansive (including a full marina), and the cuisine is a unique blend of Gulf cooking and classic Mediterranean fare. Romance packages at the Vinoy include an upgrade to a luxury ocean-view room, valet and concierge service, champagne, in-room dining and discounts on the extensive spa menu.
- gulf coast at dusk image by palms from Fotolia.com