TROPICAL PARADISE LUXURY

by Emily Moody
My memories of this seaside paradise date back to childhood, when this address was known as the Sea Turtle Inn. It was a quirky beach hotel that needed some TLC. The last time I stepped foot in the building, now known as One Ocean, was over seven years ago when scouting locations for a party site. Needless to say, the event was not held at this location. I was eager to check out the massive overhaul that the place has since received.
Accompanying a seamless check in was a bellman who personally escorted us to a room. I am one that does not usually like to be bothered when travelling, but I let him do his job and spout off the amenities the hotel boasted. I learned that each floor has a docent (personal concierge) that is dedicated to making sure you have everything you need. Despite the pretentious term, these docents were all quite helpful with ice, coffee and even troubleshooting the in-room iPod player. The uber personalized service is wonderful, but be prepared to tip for all of it. There is a mini-fridge stocked with waters, sodas and a drawer full of snacks, all completely complimentary, which is a nice touch.
The hues of blue that surround you will instantly put you at ease. The updated décor is tasteful and modern, though teetering on the edge of generic, without being too sterile. There are hints of the beach all around without coming across as the beachy hotel it used to be. Art is everywhere you look at One Ocean, but my favorite touch is the ceramic cylinders mimicking a mystical underwater garden scattered on the walls. Make sure not to miss the on-site gallery.
After I kicked off my shoes and poured a cocktail, I made a beeline for the balcony where I was lucky enough to witness a perfectly picturesque sunset. The swaying of the ocean briefly took me to another place and then I realized I was running late for dinner. I headed to the shower and was pleasantly surprised to find H2O products stocked in the bathroom, with even enough shampoo to use if you have long hair! A steamy shower, combined with cushy towels, made me take just a little longer than usual to get ready for dinner, basking in every second of it. It is so important to take a step back from the hectic day-to-day and enjoy life.
Although some may think this hotel is trying to be “too Miami,” I think it is a wonderful addition to the beach community. For Jacksonville townies, winter snowbirds just passing through and all those in between, One Ocean is a perfect place to escape for a quick recharge. It is a stylish property that is interesting, yet classy and offers a level of service that is on par with Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. This spot is high on my list of places to escape for a night.
Travel Tips
– Make sure to visit the gallery located within the hotel. The current show is a collection of beach shots by local photographer, Sheppard Boggs. The UNF grad says that he hopes “it will give insight into how beautiful the world really is if you stop and take a look at it.”
– If you are going to bother staying here, pay a little bit extra and upgrade to a balcony room with a perfect view of the ocean. Who really wants a side view of the ocean overlooking the oh-so-scenic dumpster? If you are staying here because you love the beach, pay the upgrade fee. You will not be disappointed.
– The room I stayed in did lack a mini bar, so BYOB or be ready to pay for room service charges!
– Inquire about hotel packages. They often offer packages that include your overnight stay, a resort credit to spend at the restaurant, as well as valet parking all bundled into a flat rate.
Don’t forget to do your part and Go LO!
Stay at this great hotel, but pump some dollars into the local shops and restaurants to make your experience complete. The quaint, locally owned spots that surround the hotel are not to be missed!

Tama’s Sushi: This family owned establishment serves up arguably the freshest sushi in town and is a great spot for memory making.
Pete’s Bar: (petesbar.net) Stop in this historic watering hole for a round. This spot just so happens to be the first establishment in Duval County to receive a liquor license at the end of Prohibition in 1933.
Jaffi’s: ( jaffisneptunebeach.com) Visit this boutique for the best selection of to-die-for brands, including, J Brand Jeans, Custo Barcelona, Kooba bags and so much more!
The Lemon Bar: (NOTE: open seasonally, closed during winter) This ocean front bar is perfect date spot. Grab a fruity summer drink and watch the waves come in.

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