Beach, Blanket, Boca
Enjoying a little R&R at Waterstone Resort and Marina
written by AMELIA PAVLIK | photography courtesy of Waterstone Resort & Marina
Nervous exhilaration. That was the feeling coursing through my body as I held onto my paddle and pushed away from the safety of the landing at Waterstone Resort & Marina and into vast Lake Boca.
Okay, so maybe Lake Boca isn’t all that vast — you can see the other side from the landing at the resort. However, when you are a kayaking virgin who isn’t very nimble with a paddle, it seems as intimidating as heading into the Atlantic.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and I wanted to try something new on this visit to South Florida. So, I clumsily started to drag my paddle through the water and said a little prayer that I wouldn’t be run over by one of the million-dollar yachts making a beeline for the Boca Inlet.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
From the moment I saw the tranquil turquoise waters of Lake Boca and the Atlantic Ocean stretching beyond the sliding glass doors of my room’s balcony, I knew Waterstone was going to be a happy place for me. Located in Boca Raton, Fla., Waterstone is a piece of cake to get to for a long weekend. (Delta offers a two-hour direct flight into Fort Lauderdale International Airport, which is about a 25-minute drive from the resort.)
Because the property is situated on a corner that touches both Lake Boca and the Boca Inlet (which leads to the Atlantic), each of the 139 guest rooms and suites feature balconies with waterfront views.
In addition to the breathtaking view, I loved the modern décor and the cool whites, gray and blues that decorated my cozy room. Since the resort is a Doubletree by Hilton property, you’ll find all of the amenities and goodies you’d expect from the brand — including the signature Sweet Dreams bedding and those famous chocolate chip welcome cookies.
Another neat amenity offered is that the hotel encourages guests to use the ALICE app (think service on demand) on their electronic devices. I loved the ease of ordering room service, requesting housekeeping and making dinner reservations with my phone, regardless of my whereabouts.
BITES AND BOATS
Speaking of snacks, let’s get to one of the most important aspects of this resort (at least for me): the food. Given my goal for this getaway was rest and relaxation, I didn’t want to leave the property. I had high hopes for the hotel’s dining options, and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
If you enjoy al fresco dining by the water, then you have come to the right place. Whether you choose the casual Waterstone Bar and Grill or the finer dining option, Boca Landing, you’ll be able to enjoy ocean breezes and listen to the water lapping against the hotel’s dock as boats pass.
In the mornings, I typically enjoyed my tea and waffles by the water, courtesy of the bar and grill. Although one morning, I opted to enjoy the million-dollar view from my room and ordered room service. Lunches were spent poolside, sampling the restaurant’s daily menu, which included tastes such as the spicy jerk chicken sandwich or rock shrimp ceviche — always paired with a refreshing frozen watermelon margarita.
If you’re looking for a nice just-off-the-boat inspired dinner, treat yourself to Boca Landing. My appetite was more than satisfied with the restaurant’s signature dishes of tuna tartare and grilled swordfish.
IN AND OUT OF WATER
So when you’re not sleeping or eating, what is there to do at Waterstone? Plenty. Then again, if doing nothing is your idea of a good time, the resort’s pool faces the inlet and the ocean. It’s easy to set up camp in a lounge chair with an umbrella and not leave until sunset.
The beach is only a few minutes away, and the hotel provides shuttle service, beach chairs and umbrellas. Since I was looking to balance my R&R with a little calorie burning, I signed up for a beach yoga session.
The hotel arranged everything with an area instructor. Given my preference of an afternoon time slot, I can safelysay that if you’re a fan of hot yoga, doing a class in the South Florida sun is about as authentic as it gets. If you’d rather enjoy a little air conditioning with your workout, the hotel provides a 24-hour fitness center that overlooks the pool.
You can also rent a bicycle to cruise around Boca; sign up for one of several water activities including surfing lessons, fishing charters and reef snorkel trips; or rent jet skis, boats, standup paddle boards and those sea kayaks … which brings me back to my kayaking experience.
There I was fumbling with that paddle. I went in a few circles before I realized how to make myself move forward instead of backward. Thankfully, I accomplished this just in time to scoot out of the way of one of those mega yachts headed for the inlet.
Once I was in the middle of Lake Boca, the waters smoothed out; I could easily weave in and out of the boats that had dropped anchor and were occupied by boaters looking to enjoy a day in the sun. As I heard the familiar chorus of Bob Marley’s “Jammin’” coming from a boat in the distance, I knew I’d found the peace and pleasure I was looking for on this Boca trip.
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