The livin’ is easy—especially with an oceanfront suite and a spa appointment at The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa in Destin, Fla.
Even the waiting room of on-site Salamander Spa evokes serenity.
As I pass off my keys to the valet, I’m almost too distracted by The Henderson’s paradisal exterior to provide the required credentials to the young gentleman. It may be the row of towering, vibrant palm trees (a tell for Georgians since childhood that they’re officially on vacation) that line the entrance’s stone driveway or the general immensity of the four-story, 170-room resort itself. I’m not sure—but somehow I’m able to find my bearings and make my way to the lobby, dubbed the Living Room. It’s an apropos moniker considering the space feels more like walking into your own beachfront home, with its relaxed yet sophisticated lounge spots that welcome—practically call—guests to order a cocktail from the nearby bar, Horizons, and sit a spell. (I suggest doing so on the Sunset Terrace for unobstructed views of the Gulf of Mexico’s waters, as well as of the neighboring 200-acre Henderson Beach State Park nature preserve.)
Call the concierge to set up a paddleboarding experience with YOLO Board.
The Henderson’s most covetable asset, though—aside from being a quick one-hour flight from Atlanta to its Destin, Fla., address—is its flawless execution of offering dozens upon dozens of activities without losing an ounce of the staff’s signature VIP-level service, and, ultimately, meeting the needs of every type of guest. For the foodies: Try the sushi-rolling class with chef Hieu Nyugen and a post-pool dinner at in-house restaurant Primrose for a firsthand taste of executive chef Gary Palm’s culinary talents. For fitness fiends: Poolside yoga and rooftop Spin and Surf Set sessions are a must—plus, the last of which will prep you for paddleboarding with Florida-based YOLO Board’s expert instructors. Water bugs will certainly want to reserve a private yacht tour around the Gulf (complete with coastal cuisine, of course), while R&R-seekers should spend a full day being pampered at the on-property Salamander Spa, where offerings abound for hitting reset—think a lavender steam room and Himalayan salt suite that are yours for the taking, and appointment-only options like cryotherapy, salt float therapy, full-body massages (hello, Detox and De-Stress massage) and much more.
Because the way you end a vacation is just as important as the way you start it, ask the concierge to set up a private fireside s’mores station, featuring a seemingly endless array of flavored marshmallows to pair with your graham crackers and nostalgia. Top it off with a s’mores martini from the bar and you’ve got the perfect flavorful farewell. Suites from $428 per night, 200 Henderson Resort Way, 855.741.2777
Photography by: salamander spa photo courtesy of the henderson beach resort & spa | paddleboarding photo by NicoElNino/istockphoto.com