by STEVE WINSTON
Waking up in the morning, opening your curtains…and looking out at Paradise.
There aren’t many places which afford us that privilege. But the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is one of them. Tucked alongside a thousand feet of private beach, in the picturesque town of Jupiter, FL, the resort’s only 80 miles north of Miami. But it may as well be a million.
One of the most beautiful beaches in South Florida lies behind the resort, splendidly unoccupied during the day, and occupied mostly by giant nesting sea turtles (which can weigh over a hundred pounds) at night. In fact, sea turtles return to this beach every year to hatch their eggs. During nesting season (April through October), the hotel actually leads tours at night to the nesting grounds. From a short distance away (shhhh!), you can watch this natural miracle taking place. There are no lights allowed on the beach at night; even the guides don’t carry them. And, during nesting season, the hotel recommends that guests avoid lighting up their rooms unnecessarily. Too many bright lights can drive the turtles away…and destroy their chances of giving birth.
The signature restaurant at the Jupiter Beach Resort is Sinclair’s Ocean Grill. Here, you can feast on fish and seafood so fresh it was in the ocean just a few hours ago. It’s an upscale, but relaxed, atmosphere (after all, this is Florida!). If your dining preference runs more to the casual, on the other hand, the poolside Sandbar Restaurant is a nice place for old favorites and light snacks – which taste even better if you’re having them while looking out at the ocean. And later on, you can sip a tropical tall one at Sinclair’s Lounge, which draws a well-dressed local crowd.
The Spa at the Jupiter Beach Resort has a Waterfall Room and a Tea Bar, where you can relax with specialty teas from all over the world, either before or after treatments such as the Tropical Sugar Rub, SweThai Massage, or De-Stress Massage. There are modern touches that integrate perfectly with the tranquil atmosphere, such as state-of-the-art music systems (soooothing). And there’s always an aroma of a natural floral or forest or sea scent in the air. It’s a small, intimate spa. And – take it from one who knows – after getting a massage there, you’ll really believe you’re in Paradise.
The Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa has been around since the 70’s, under various names. It was converted from a Hilton in 2006, after suffering damage from Hurricane Wilma the previous October, and then renovated top-to-bottom. In addition to the beachfront, there’s a heated pool, fitness center, and lighted tennis courts. The ambiance is Florida/Caribbean…soft colors and pastels, local artists on the walls, and comfortable, light-wood tables and chairs. The 159 rooms include 34 suites, as well as ocean-side penthouses from which you can see forever.
Jupiter has long been symbolized by its famous lighthouse. Although Native Americans were here as long as 10,000 years ago, the area’s first “Anglo” settlers were the U.S. Army, and later the Navy, in the mid-1800’s. They built the lighthouse at the start of the Civil War. Then came settlers, who helped maintain the structure in an effort to stem the number of shipwrecks off this coast…and, when they weren’t successful, to help guide shipwrecked sailors trying to swim for shore. (This area isn’t called “The Treasure Coast” for nothing!) This was also a Coast Guard base in recent times, and there’s a good little museum on the grounds that documents the colorful history of the place. And if you can negotiate the 105 steep steps up the narrow winding staircase of the lighthouse, you’ll get the same view as the early lighthouse-keepers got.
There’s actually a surprising amount to do in the Jupiter area. There are boat cruises up the Intracoastal Waterway (past one of Tiger Woods’ homes). Golf at the nearby headquarters of the Professional Golfers Association. Major League spring training – both the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals train at nearby Roger Dean Stadium. Minor League baseball all summer long (both the Marlins and the Cardinals have Minor League teams here). And shopping and dining at the high-end Gardens of the Palm Beaches.
After enjoying it all, you can return to the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, and that white-sand beach kissed by a warming surf in the daytime, and filled with nesting turtles at night.
And, of course, that view of Paradise when you open the shades the next morning.
The Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa
Steve Winston (www.stevewinston.com) has written/contributed to 17 books, and his articles have appeared in major media all over the world. In pursuit of “The Story,” he’s been shot at in Northern Ireland, been a cowboy in Arizona, jumped into an alligator pit in the Everglades, trained with a rebel militia in the jungle, climbed 15,000-foot mountains, trekked glaciers in Alaska, and explored ice caves at 11,000 feet in Switzerland.