Nestled along Florida’s Atlantic coast is the quaint and unpretentious beach community of Vero Beach. Here, you’ll find spectacular ocean views, which guests can take in from the sidewalk during a stroll downtown and from the many bars and restaurants that call Vero home. With friendly locals and reasonably priced things to do, it’s an ideal Florida vacation that won’t break the bank.
Vero is split into two parts: one on the mainland, and one on a barrier island on the other side of Indian River Lagoon. Downtown Vero Beach is located right next to the ocean on the “island side,” which makes it popular among visitors.
When visiting Vero recently, I wanted to stay somewhere with an ocean view and close to downtown (naturally). I landed on the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, located right beside the action and views I was seeking. The hotel is oceanfront with expansive views and a host of amenities like a pool, a hot tub, a fitness center, a spa, and two restaurants. From the hotel you can stroll along Ocean Drive to the heart of downtown (less than a one-minute walk!) for great shopping, more restaurants and a bar scene. My stay opened my eyes to what a great spot the Kimpton is for romance, weddings and even girlfriend getaways (with reasonable prices compared to the rates at other Atlantic beach locales).
Here’s a rundown:
The property has 113 spacious rooms (including oceanfront rooms with a balcony, which I’d recommend), nights in which start at $145/night. Each features dark mahogany wood, stone floors and granite countertops.
The pool & beach
The oceanfront pool has a nice view and plenty of lounge chairs that look out on the water. I loved these. A few times during my stay, I didn’t feel like walking the couple steps out to the beach but still wanted to see it. I don’t understand why more oceanfront resorts don’t have loungers like these at the pool.
The resort also sets up chairs and umbrellas for guests on its private beach, which is situated in front of the hotel/pool deck. If you’re there at the right time of the year (March through October), you may see local sea turtles hatching on the sand!
Food & beverage
The options around Vero Beach are plenty (see below), but the hotel’s main restaurant, Cobalt, is worth a visit. The new chef has reinvented the menu with creations themed “fresh seafood with a twist.” Among the highlights: the fried green tomato and crab, roasted quail and vanilla-scented halibut.
You’ll also want to check out the oceanfront fire pits, which make for a cozy cocktail hour or late-night drink spot. In the evenings, the bar attached to the restaurant is a fun place to hang out with a live DJ and people of every age dancing the night away.
There’s also a complimentary wine hour every night of the week. For a free hotel wine hour, the wine options were great!
Weddings & romance
After my stay, I can see why couples choose to get married here. It’s a luxury beach hotel similar to what you might find in Miami but away from all that hustle and bustle, and for more affordable prices.
During my stay, I happened to see two brides getting married at the hotel. I first saw them taking photos, seen above, and later saw their ceremony as I was having drinks at the restaurant. I fell in love with the hotel as a wedding venue watching their special day unfold from the sidelines (while getting some writing done while soaking up the warmth).
The wedding ceremony took place at the pretty oceanfront overlook above, on the side of the hotel near the main restaurant. The spot was tucked away from the crowds and right behind a private room of the restaurant, where cocktail hour and dancing followed. I found out later that the menu was custom-created by the chef of Cobalt and the ceremony was put together by the hotel’s on-site wedding planner, Nikki. In my conversations with her, Nikki was very personable and detailed-oriented. As a recent bride, I would have loved to have someone like her at my venue handling everything.
The Kimpton offers a number of additional venues to include in your wedding, among them: the shoreline oceanfront banquet and patio space (which holds up to 90 people; this was the location of the wedding I saw), the seascape for a reception (which holds up to 40 guests), the private beach, and the oceanfront gazebo and pool deck. The restaurant and lounge can also be closed off for seating of up to 150 guests.
To be sure, the Kimpton Vero Beach is a great choice for a couple getting married—and also an intimate spot for any romantic weekend for two (ask about the “Feet in the Sand” dining for a special meal).
What to do around Vero Beach
- BigShots Golf Vero Beach: BigShots Golf is a state-of-the-art recreation and entertainment facility that just opened last year. Sip a cold beverage and sharpen your golf swing from the top deck.
- Riverside Café: Sports bar with happy hour specials and local hangout along the Indian River Lagoon (that means great sunsets). The place serves up fresh fish and comfort food.
- Grind + Grape: A cute coffee shop during the day and wine bar with great live music at night in an unpretentious indoor/outdoor patio setting.
- Frosting: The sister store to Grind + Grape, this cupcakery has plenty of yummy treats you shouldn’t miss when in Vero. Check out the cupcake cups that let you try three different types of cupcakes in one dessert.
- Waldo’s: A fun, divey bar with a relaxed atmosphere and a great view of the ocean. Check out the live music on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm The locals love this place!
- Ocean Grill: Vero’s oldest restaurant with a spectacular oceanfront view and amazing specialties that’s known for its roasted duck.
- Paddles by the Sea: Check out a paddleboard or kayak with this group, which offers rentals and guided tours by paddleboard, kayak or boat!
- Riverside Theatre: The only professional producing theatre on Florida’s Treasure Coast. Traveling shows showcasing Broadway-worthy talent visit Riverside often. The theater caters to all types of audiences. We saw the “Smokey Joe’s Café“—a jukebox show playing all kinds of classic songs that had everyone clapping.
How to get there
You can fly into the Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB), which is about 30 minutes away from the hotel, or Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB), which is only about 5-10 minutes away. You’ll probably find better prices at Orlando Melbourne since the airport is slightly larger and serviced by more flights. And don’t confuse this airport with Orlando International (MCO), a good hour and 45 minutes away and probably not worth the drive unless you’re getting an amazing flight deal.
For more on the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, visit verobeachhotelandspa.com. Photos courtesy of Caitlin Martin.