There was a hint of salt in the air as I walked up the brick lined path leading to the white, art-deco building before me. The sound of crashing water has successfully drowned out the normal clutter in my brain, yet its source is not the Atlantic in the distance, but the waterfall being conjured from the building's roof. A bellman offers a warm welcome as I entered to the faint smell of Nag Champa incense and the pulse of rhythmic music. I had only been at Gloria Estefan's Costa d'Este Resort for five minutes, and I was already relaxed.
|First impressions are everything...|
The decompression of my soul started before I even arrived to the hotel. As I meandered down Ocean Drive through the town of Vero Beach, I couldn't help but wonder why I hadn't been here before. On one side sat the beach and the pedestrian friendly ocean walk, while on the other lay a row of shops, cafes, and galleries. It was charming; dare I say...quaint. Yet most importantly, it was classic Florida.
|The Wave's Lounge|
I was invited to the Costa d'Este for lunch, but it wasn't long before I wished to be staying longer. As I was led through the hotel's restaurant - The Wave - the smells coming from the open kitchen offered a preview of what was to come. After a few minutes, the server approached to take our order, but I hadn't even looked at the menu. I was a bit distracted by the pool and ocean beyond the floor to ceiling windows next to our table. Thankfully, my eyes immediately went to the Palomilla Sliders, making the decision quick and easy. It also proved to be a wise one...
|Palomilla on a bun = Heaven|
Since I was in no hurry to leave, after lunch I explored the rest of this beautiful resort. I wandered into the fitness center - yes, I was lost - and decided it was the most cruel room I've ever seen. How can a room be cruel you ask? Easy...by taunting you with a motivation sapping view of the ocean. For those with enough discipline to work out in spite of the view, this was one of the most impressive fitness centers I've seen in a hotel.
|How is anyone supposed to work out with that view?|
Fearing my fitness center allergy would flare up, I decided to see what was across the hall in the hotel's spa. It is here that one can be pampered into a state of nearly permanent bliss. Or so I'm told. Sadly, I didn't get to find out, because the serenity of the spa's lobby proved that one can actually fall asleep while standing up.
|Sleek. Simple. Sophisticated.|
After my cat nap, I moved on to one of the Costa's 94 guest rooms. I don't know much about design - actually, I know nothing about design - but I know what I like in hotel rooms, and this one had it all. Comfortable furnishings, a bathroom straight out of a Kohler commercial, and a balcony overlooking the ocean. What more anyone could need, I'm not really sure.
|The definition of "Room with a View"|
I made my way back downstairs to the pool deck which had teased me during lunch. The palm tree lined deck offered plenty of lounges for sun bathing, but as I'm also allergic to the sun, I instead opted for a stool at the poolside bar. There was easy access to the beach, and those looking for a bit of adventure can kayak and snorkel at a shipwreck just off shore.
|Hold my calls...|
What struck me most as I wandered the hotel were the countless small details found throughout the property. The Gloria Estefan album cover which wraps the elevators, candles embedded in the lobby wall, the porthole mirror in the guest rooms, a zen-like garden outside the restaurant. Every great hotel should have a story, and rather than relying on a celebrity name to be theirs, it is the details which write the book on the Costa d'Este.
Over the years, I have come to learn that there are two types of hotels. Those that get it, and those that don't. The Costa d'Este definitely gets it. From the moment you arrive each of your senses is stimulated with one objective in mind...to help you forget everything that lies outside the hotel walls. With a style all its own, just like the rhythm, the Costa d'Este is gonna get you...
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~