I recently revisited the Omni Amelia Island Plantation which was my family’s favorite destination for many years (back when it was Amelia Island Plantation). Even though it was close to home, we couldn’t resist the beautiful white sand beaches of Amelia Island and all of the family-friendly activities at the resort. In 2010, Omni Hotels & Resorts purchased the (IMHO) “tired” resort and invested more than $85 million to create a world-class luxury resort along North Florida’s pristine coast.
I have to say, this is definitely the grandest transformation, or “re-imagination” as Omni calls it, I’ve ever seen in a property. I actually stayed at the property during the construction but had no idea what was happening behind the scenes. The moment you walk through the new entrance, all you see is vast crystal, clear blue ocean. But to get to the ocean, you have to cross North Florida’s largest pool deck, that’s a resort unto itself.
But by far, my favorite draw of the new resort was the Rum + Tequila Experience. Being a wine tasting aficionado, I now feel that wine tastings are old school. The Omni’s Rum + Tequila Experience has opened my eyes to a whole new “spirit”ual experience.
Sitting poolside, you’ll be treated to flights of rum or tequila (or both) choosing from over 120 kinds of tequila and 100 bottles of rum. Similar to a wine tasting, the master bartender walks guests through each flight pointing out the tasting notes, distillation process, and pairing ideas. But it’s not necessarily the spirits that make the experience unique – it’s the education.
You’ll learn how the blue agave plant is harvested and the piña, often weighing 100 pounds, is roasted, and distilled using different types of casks and methods to achieve different tastes. Unlike grapes used in wine production, the agave plant is not sustainable and must be replanted each year, taking up to 10 years to mature.
Rum + Tequila flights start at just $25 or you can create your own. What you don’t finish, is gracefully mixed into handcrafted cocktails.