By Shelly Robertson Birdsong
While there’s no shortage of beach front hotels in Florida to choose from when deciding where to book your beach vacation, if you’re looking for a romantic, adults-only getaway, look no further than the Henderson Park Inn in Destin, Florida. It takes a certain kind of special for me to personally rave about, without pause, a hotel. But from the very first time I visited the Henderson Park Inn, I have been entranced. For me it was an oasis at the end of a busy, hot, vacationer-ridden (mostly kids and teenagers), road. A surprise amidst the high rises and stucco condo buildings – this was to become my favorite getaway of all.
To begin with, it appears wholly different than anything on the famous miles of beaches along the 30A and 98 coast of the Panhandle. Straight out of Martha’s Vineyard or the Hamptons, it is in a word, picaresque, set against the turquoise sea. Its wide patio and veranda boast rocking chairs, yes thats right, rocking chairs, and a porch swing. I was in love! The Inn itself is best described as a modern luxury boutique hotel, but a step back in time in romantic beach ambiance.
A large veranda overlooks a long expanse of grass and the beautiful white sugar sands of the Emerald Coast. Guest rooms are elegant private sanctuaries and evoke a feeling of relaxation and serenity. It is adults only, so you are immediately met with the sound of… the waves, and nothing more. All rooms face the sea and are fully equipped with well, really everything you need for your escape. Don’t bring beach towels, they have them. No need to haul that beach set- up – yours is complimentary with your stay. As for food; well they have you covered around the clock starting with a gourmet breakfast, perfect picnic lunch, endless array of snacks and beverages all day and the happiest of hours each afternoon on the back veranda for you and fellow guests as you watch the sun go down over the beautiful Henderson Park.
Oh, I forgot to mention that to one side of the Inn, there is nothing but a preserved beach and park – so, no buildings, no beach tents, no volley ball, nothing, except maybe a sea turtle or two.
You really don’t need to leave at all, even for dining out, with the exemplary restaurant on site. There are so many small touches that make it stand out from the fray – wine and fruit in your room upon arrival, a host of books and games to borrow, bikes if you are feeling like exploring, a fresh pitcher of lemonade and cookies as you come in from the sun. It is something out of a novel I have read, about beach trips in the long ago past to elegant and quaint inns where your every need and desire was immediately met, but in a calm, peaceful and unassuming way.
I have shared the Henderson Park Inn with so many people in the last fifteen years, sending my mother and stepfather their for their getaway, taking my very best girlfriends and sister there to celebrate my fortieth birthday and of course countless visits with my husband, including the visit when he got down on one knee with Henderson Park Inn as our backdrop and asked me to marry him.
New Luxury Amenities
On our most recent visit to the Inn, we specifically went to experience their newly added amenities. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, now the idyllic boutique hotel is on par with the finest small hotels in the world. Guests at the Henderson Park Inn can have the best of both worlds: the serenity of their beach-side luxury boutique hotel along with access to all of the wonderful amenities next door, at The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort. The Inn’s sister property, is home to two luxurious swimming pools. Couples will love relaxing at the Adults Only Pool, which features a luxury cabana with poolside beverage service. Guests who want to keep up with their workout routine can take advantage of The Henderson’s excellent fitness center and ongoing fitness activities. For the ultimate relaxation, Henderson Park Inn guests can book spa services including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, mineral scrubs and more. All the things you didn’t even miss at the Inn, now are included as part of your incredible stay as well.
An Unforgettable Culinary Experience
The Henderson Park Inn’s on-site restaurant, Beach Walk Café, has built a reputation as Destin’s premier location for fine dining. With outstanding cuisine, personalized service and unparalleled views, Beach Walk Café is pure indulgence in romantic waterfront dining on one of the most breathtaking settings on the Gulf Coast. It’s no surprise that Beach Walk Café has been selected as one of the top 100 most romantic restaurants in the United States by OpenTable. For the most romantic dinner on the gulf and possibly of your life, reserve Beach Walk Café’s Toes in the Sand dining experience. Enjoy a private table at the water’s edge under the stars with a dedicated server and watch the sun set into the gulf for a truly memorable evening!
Now more than ever, the Henderson Park Inn is the perfect destination for a couple’s retreat. Voted the most romantic hotel in America by both the users of About.com and TripAdvisor.com, it is easy to see why the Henderson Park Inn has become a nationally recognized destination for honeymoons, anniversaries, and couples getaways.
Our beach memories made in this special place will never fade and we look forward to making so many more at our favorite, magical destination. Find the ultimate sanctuary for romance and serenity. Visit HendersonParkInn.com for more information.