Sometimes the greatest adventures are those you can’t quite capture on camera. I’m talking about energy, pure moments of privacy with nature, and distraction-free being. If you need a wellness escape like this, come along…
When my husband and I analyze places to vacation, we typically look for comfort and privacy. And in the midst of a global pandemic, an escape to the remote Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee (1.5 hours from Atlanta) provided us just that.
Here are my favorite parts about our experience at Lake Oconee:
Approaching the property, you soon realize that time is slowing down. Driving down a foresty winding road, you are greeted by country houses, sparing deer, and happy cows. And best of all, the noises of the city are left far behind you.
I think most can agree that the energy of the locals in your destination of choice matters. Wherever you travel, (whether eclectic or slower-paced) the people you are surrounded by and the energy they possess really influences your travel experience.
I’m delighted to say that the staff at the Ritz-Carlton hotel gave me major “Lake Oconee” vibes. And by that, I mean; relaxed and inviting energy. From a personalized, handwritten note by our favorite front desk agent, to a gifted bottle of champagne and plenty of other treats… we were truly welcomed here.
We enjoyed a lovely lake-facing guest room, which boasted views of the “backyard,” as they call it. Watching the sunrise over the autumn trees and a never-ending view of the woods and lake was just beautiful. And this leads me to say… one of my favorite parts about our room was the private balcony. There’s nothing quite as nice as being able to enjoy fresh crisp air from the comfort of your hotel room (especially during coronavirus times).
I would describe the dining experience as very “Georgian” fare: rich, relaxed, and consistent.
If you’re looking to “detox & diet,” this may not be the place to do so, as this vacation is meant to nourish your belly and your soul. Between cozy fall bowls, sweet potato soup, spiked cider, and my favorite veggie frittata (using ingredients straight out of the backyard organic garden), I was all set.
… Now, if you’re looking to kick it up a notch, there is a local Publix right down the road stocked with all the ginger/turmeric wellness shots you need… and in light of risky travel, you better believe we took full advantage of this.
When it comes to “wellness,” this property offers the perfect backdrop to your unique wellness needs. We experienced this property off-season, meaning we got to enjoy the cozier side of things. Fall leaves, sunny days, and cozy nights by the fire did not disappoint. I would definitely recommend staying here a minimum of 3-4 nights during the fall season and 4-5 nights during the summer.
And, if you’re in search of much-needed R&R.. look no further.
We tailored our experience with moderate forest hikes, deep-tissue CBD massages, heated plunges, and plenty of s’mores by the bonfire.
A Home-Away From Home
Last, but certainly not least, you’re taken care of here. This resort is very family-friendly, meaning there is nothing you can’t get, or they can’t get for you if needed.. and this includes your furry friend (mine will be joining next time).
Having my nightly herbal tea by the bar was just one of my favorite experiences that felt like home.
I was also very pleased to purchase a couple of great finds at their gift shop, which has a lovely assortment of winter items (for Florida girls like me) and plenty of gifts for family and friends.
Warning: Once you walk in, you won’t leave empty-handed.
Now, of course, let’s address the obvious:
How did this property behave during this pandemic?
I’d have to say, exceptionally.
After 9 months of quarantining and working from home, this property provided a much-needed break from our daily routine.
This hotel has well-enforced policies, from mask-wearing in the common areas to socially distanced dining and optional daily housekeeping. Everyone from the hotel guests to the hotel staff was very respectful during our stay, which was important to us.
And at last, my Lake Oconee takeaway?
Be present, celebrate life “just because” and give yourself to the moment; to feel alive.
Stay organically opulent,