Luxury meets quintessential Southern hospitality, right outside of Atlanta.

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation is a genuine getaway resort in Greensboro, Georgia, almost completely surrounded by water and incredibly secluded. It’s actually the only Ritz-Carlton that fully came to fruition as a Lodge (the original intent was a series of 10 lodges), making it a rather boutique property in the Ritz-Carlton hotel & resort line.

It’s only an hour and a quarter out of the trafficked, crowded streets of Atlanta, and well worth the quick road trip. The further east we drove on I-20 the cleaner the air seemed, the better the radio sounded, and the calmer the car felt. The instant we pulled into the sprawling estate I felt the pulse of my Blackberry stall and serenity start to kick in.

A hidden gem of true luxury, spectacular hospitality and genuine tranquility

You feel like you could be anywhere in the world in this little nest of happiness, and that’s The Lodge and Lake Oconee’s true charm. It’s not a hokey Cancun style resort, but still has a little bit of something for everyone—state-of-the-art spa, tennis, boating, hiking, lake, infinity pool, etc. The style and swagger of the resort is reminiscent of the Adirondacks, but updated to accommodate modern luxury…the ultimate weekend spot for the power couple escaping from the city, week long retreat for the family spending quality time together, or the four day stay ladies getaway.

The people here really caught our eye…every single staff member seems to go above and beyond the call of duty, whether it’s making sure you have a cool cocktail at the pool or ensuring you order the perfect dessert. (If you don’t order the bread pudding at Linger Longer, they’ll send you one anyway—they’re that confident that you’ll love it!).

Dinner at the newly rebuilt Linger Longer Steakhouse is a must, with a casual approach to formal Southern cooking. It’s an upscale restaurant without stuffy sommeliers and waiters who aren’t afraid to tell you exactly what they think. The French Onion Soup was a rich, dark highlight of Vidalia’s and Gruyere….The Chef made sure to tell us that it takes two days to create the layered flavors. In NYC, you scoff at a soup that’s been sitting for two days. Here, the 48 hours spent incorporating each spice was perfection. Dinner ends with a fresh stick of peach flavored cotton candy to devour. Even after the Tuna Tartare, delectable Kansas Strip,  Soufflé and Gelato, the Cotton Candy is what really did me in.

The Ritz-Carlton’s acclaimed spa was everything we expected it to be, with a major focus on tranquility. The one thing missing is a co-ed lounging, whirlpool/steam area where you can relax with your better half…very accommodating though, and it’s worth having a massage just to head back to the sauna the next day.

The Lake is the true pull here, with pristine shorelines you can barely drag yourself away from. Enveloping The Lodge on three sides, it’s a playground for fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, and wake-boarding. Take a jet-ski around for a half day and you’ll have a fantastic tan, windblown hair, and appreciation for the lake when experienced with speed (as opposed to the rather slow going kayaking method of sight-seeing).

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Renyolds Plantation is a veritable dream come true for the recreationally minded and luxe enthusiasts. When the city itch sets in or you can’t stand the Hartsfield-Jackson ATL Airport for another second, head to Greensboro, GA. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.