Ritz-Carlton Lodge Reynolds Plantation Lake Oconee Georgia Getaway

Ritz-Carlton Lodge Lake Oconee

How did the bellman know it was our anniversary when we checked in?  The answer is quite simple- he worked at a Ritz-Carlton.  The staff understands how to excel at customer service and they know how to do things with extra care.  You feel their southern hospitality at every corner of the lush 35 acre resort.  Anyone can put up a nice hotel in a great location.  Very few can make it shine.

And this lake shines like no ordinary lake.  The scenery is spectacular and the homes equally as impressive with celebs and sports stars like Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers owning around Lake Oconee.  Just 90 miles from Atlanta, the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Lake Oconee is indeed a lodge and not just a regular hotel.  You feel like you are checking into a throwback lodge as it has a summer camp meets lakeside retreat vibe.  Think vaulted wood cathedral ceilings and stacked stone fireplaces.  I thought Teddy Roosevelt was going to sit down next to us at dinner as this natural setting would have been right up his ally.  On a more current celeb spotting note you might see stars like Carrie Underwood who got married here in the summer of 2010.

Chimineas line the lake and provide a romantic yet woodsy ambience.   Don’t worry if you have no clue what a chiminea is as even Microsoft Word thinks it is a typo.  They are little outdoor fireboxes that look like they are from the 1800s.  You can take your dinner right at the water’s edge with your own private chiminea mobile firepit.  Your server swoops in via golf cart to deliver and clear each course so you have that going for you too.  Keeping with the fire theme, we roasted marsh mellows to make s’mores at the community firepit.  The bonfire happens nightly and provides a way to meet other guests in a relaxing setting.

For total relaxation walk over to the spa which is top notch and has been ranked by Conde Nast as one of the best in the country.  My wife enjoyed her hot stone massage and I went for the motion which fused together Thai and Shiatsu techniques.  I know you have sat in the massage chairs at Sharper Image or Brookstone at least once in your lifetime.  Those are pretty good but imagine having the real thing.

Georgia’s Bistro has a new chef that believes in sustainable local sourcing.  With plenty of farms nearby he should not have a problem.  We were fans of his venison and blue crab stuffed salmon.  We also enjoyed Gaby’s which is the casual lakeside dining option.  Yes people are allowed to wear shorts at a Ritz, but don’t let that fool you as the scallops were to die for and so was the calamari.

If you play golf, this place is a must visit.  They have 5 championship courses designed by golf rock stars including Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio.  Other activities include swimming, kayaks and jet-skis.  Many infinity pools are for show with their cool visual effects.  This infinity pool is also for swimming as it is very large with sweeping views of the lake plus it is an outdoor heated pool so it’s always in season.  The jet-skis offer front row views of the beautiful lakeside homes that neighbor the Ritz.  If you have any daredevils in your posse, then you will also want to explore Georgia’s first floating cable park which is like wakeboarding without the boat!

Summertime is a great season for Lake Oconee as they offer:

  • Summer Concert Series Every Sunday – 7:30 p.m by the lake (June 5 through August 28)
  • Fireworks Every Sunday – 9 p.m. (June 5 through August 28)
  • Linger Longer Express Train – Complimentary 10-minute tours of the resort’s grounds depart daily

The Lodge makes for a great weekend getaway with or without the kids.  The unspoiled lake allows you to relax and waste away the day.  But with so many activities you will be motivated to take a break even from your down time.

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