Some of the best, most exclusive resorts in the world can be found in Florida. From the sunny Florida Panhandle to the tropical allure of the Florida Keys, the Sunshine State has something for everyone. Although the vast majority of resorts are located on the ocean, a significant number are found inland thanks to Disney World, which is located in Orlando.
Options range from adults-only resorts in Florida with high-end spa services and poolside drinks to all-inclusive, family-friendly resorts with kiddie wading pools, babysitting services, exciting activities and much more.
Finding the perfect resort in Florida is easy. First, vacationers should decide whether they want to be right on the beach or if they’re more interested in enjoying the world-class theme parks of Orlando. In either case, they can avail themselves of plenty of options.
Down in Miami Beach, historic resort hotels draw in some of the richest and most famous people in the world. Up in Fort Lauderdale, families flock to nearby resorts to take advantage of the great beaches, incredible fishing and ample opportunities for water sports and other fun. At virtually every point in between, there are resorts in Florida tucked away on barrier islands, situated on white-sand beaches and located within easy walking distance of some of the best theme parks on the planet.
1. Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Those who really want to get away from it all are sure to love the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Located on a tiny barrier island, the resort includes more than 400 rooms and suites, a championship golf course, four restaurants, a lobby lounge and tennis facilities. All rooms have private balconies, and fun activities for kids — including a daily treasure hunt — ensure there’s plenty of fun for everyone.
2. Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando
Located in Orlando, Rosen Shingle Creek is a Spanish-style resort offering a wide range of first-rate amenities. Four lavish, heated pools with lush, tropical surroundings beckon guests, and two hot tubs ensure that everyone stays as pampered and comfortable as possible. The David Harmon designed championship golf course is a big draw, and guests can take their pick from a number of restaurants, including Banrai Sushi, Creek Ice Creamery and Cala Bella.
3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando
This popular Disney resort lets guests enjoy an African safari setting in the heart of Florida. Tribal-style rooms and suites include plush bedding, free Wi-Fi and private balconies and patios. Those who splurge on club rooms and suites at the Animal Kingdom Lodge enjoy exclusive access to early-morning safaris. Two pools with water slides provide fun for the whole family, and guests can choose from a wide assortment of dining options.
4. Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate
Guests at the Omni Orlando Resort can choose from more than 700 rooms and suites, including two- and three-bedroom villas. 15 acres of pools and recreational amenities keep everyone busy, and there are seven restaurants on the premises. Many come here for the 36 holes of championship golf, but plenty of others are drawn in by the pools, which include a family pool and a formal pool with cabanas.
5. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Orlando
One of Disney’s most opulent resorts, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa keeps things exciting with live orchestra music in the lobby. The Victorian-style resort boasts a pool on the beach and one in the courtyard. Guests can rent boats to take around a lagoon, where they can also fish and engage in other water sports. Families especially love this resort because of the fun activities, including Movies Under the Stars and evening campfires.
6. The Breakers, Palm Beach
Established in 1896, this Palm Beach resort is among the most exclusive in the Sunshine State. Rooms and common areas at the Breakers boast stately tropical decor that juxtaposes nicely with the Italian Renaissance architecture. Four oceanside pools and five whirlpools ensure that guests can rest, relax and rejuvenate to their hearts’ content, and 10 restaurants and bars provide numerous options when hunger strikes.
7. Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale
Perhaps the only true resort in Fort Lauderdale, the Pelican Grand Beach Resort is a popular choice for families thanks to its elaborate outdoor water activities. In particular, the zero-entry pool and lazy river are big hits with kids. Guests can dine at the OCEAN2000 restaurant or sip drinks in the O2K Lounge, which overlooks the pool. Lavish guest rooms and suites offer views of the city and the beach, so there’s really not a bad room in the place.
8. Hilton Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort
This family and business-friendly beach hotel features 374 rooms, studios and suites with jetted bathtubs, kitchenettes and balconies facing the ocean. Guests at the Hilton Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort can enjoy access to a huge, tropical courtyard, infinity swimming pool, spa, Mediterranean restaurant and gourmet bakery. Guests can also enjoy a number of recreational activities such as golf, windsurfing, boating and fishing in addition to nearby attractions like shopping and nightlife venues.
9. Fontainebleu Miami Beach
Founded in 1954, the Fontainbleu is a true Miami Beach institution. Located in the heart of Millionaire’s Row and facing the glimmering Atlantic Ocean, the resort boasts more than 1,500 rooms and suites, including many with ocean views. Designed by renowned architect Morris Lapidus, the Fontainbleu includes 12 restaurants and bars, many of which are among the finest in Miami Beach. Liv nightclub is also on the premises, and guests can take advantage of premium spa services onsite too.
10. The Savoy Hotel, Miami Beach
Another Miami Beach institution, the Savoy Hotel is an exclusive boutique hotel designed with discerning travelers in mind. Each room is individually decorated, creating a unique and personalized experience. Suites include kitchenettes, and many rooms and suites have private terraces and balconies. The resort boasts a private beach, a restaurant/bar with indoor and outdoor seating, two pools, cabanas, a fitness center and many other first-rate amenities.
11. Santa Maria Suites, Key West
Just a short walk from Duval Street, Key West’s main drag, Santa Maria Suites is an all-suite resort hotel offering lavish accommodations. The more upscale suites include high-end kitchens, and many are situated on two levels. The grounds include two shimmering pools tucked amid lush, tropical gardens, and fresh fruit and smoothies are served poolside. The premises also include a Japanese restaurant, a gym and beach access.
12. Ocean Key Resort, Key West
The Ocean Key Resort presents guests with an exotic island atmosphere. Guests can choose among 100 rooms that feature island-style decor and furnishings. Amenities include a water sports center, an upscale restaurant with views of the Gulf, an ocean-side bar and grill and a rooftop pool deck. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of activities and excursions here that range from snorkeling to skydiving, deep-sea fishing, parasailing and golfing.
13. Pier House Resort, Key West
Situated just a short walk away from Mallory Square, where people in Key West go to view the amazing sunset, Pier House Resort stands out by being built atop wooden piles right out in the ocean. Guests enjoy a beachside bar and grill, a cafe dishing up Caribbean fare, a cocktail bar and a heated outdoor pool and hot tub. Lavish suites offer amazing views of the ocean, and baths boast rainfall showers.
14. Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort, Marathon
This Marathon, Florida, resort is a standout in many ways. Most notably, it’s entirely made up of two- and three-bedroom beach houses that all include private porches offering views of the Gulf of Mexico. The grounds include three pools, a grilling area, a beachside bar and a putting green. Beach houses at the Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort boast gourmet kitchens and many other fine accouterments, ensuring that guests have the time of their lives.
15. Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
Located on lovely Marco Island, this resort is completely made up of suites, allowing guests to stretch out and get comfortable. On-site luxury spa services and a heated outdoor pool are among the many first-rate amenities that are found at the Hilton Marco Island, which also includes a seafood restaurant, buffet breakfasts and a lounge serving up fresh, tasty Caribbean fare.
16. Pink Shell Beach Resort, Fort Myers
The Pink Shell Resort presents an idyllic beach destination in Fort Myers for both couples and families. Situated along the tip of Estero Island, this beautiful seaside resort offers 235 spacious rooms, studios and villas that include kitchenettes and balconies or patios. Guests here will love the lagoon-style pool and waterfall as well as the fitness center, spa, on-site marina and tropical restaurants. Local beach activities include swimming, fishing, kayaking, parasailing and dolphin watching.
17. Renaissance Vinoy Resort, St. Petersburg
As the only resort in St. Petersburg, the Renaissance Vinoy has long been a popular option for travelers and locals alike. Indeed, the 90-year-old resort, which is a Marriott property now, offers a private marine, an 18-hole championship golf course, a 12-court tennis complex and five restaurants and bars. With its Mediterranean Revival architecture, this resort is a beautiful place to get some much-needed rest and relaxation.