In an effort to make this weekend’s trip to Athens somewhat business-related, I decided to set up a site inspection at the Ritz Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation. The property has nearly been in my backyard for the past four years I was in Athens, it’s a shame that I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out before now. A short 45 minute drive down the small-town roads of Highway 15 and Reynolds Plantation appeared out of nowhere…like Narnia. One minute I was in downtown Greensboro, notable early birds on Christmas decorations, and the next I had been transported to the picture-perfect Reynolds area. Just beyond the rows of little shops, down a street with blazing orange and yellow trees, sits the Ritz Carlton Lodge, a dream home away from home with its stunning view of Lake Oconee. Who knew such a lavish getaway could be right under my nose this whole time?
My gracious hosts, Valerie and Hannah, treated me to a phenomenal breakfast of Georgia Peach French Toast while mulling over topics that business acquaintances usually discuss: men, traveling, and the Georgia Bulldawgs. We became fast friends.
After breakfast we took a tour around the property, which was in the process of changing over to the winter decor: fireplaces were ablaze, the ice skating rink was marked out, and garland laced the main staircase. I’m sad to say that I just barely missed the Christmas tree, which is a perfect excuse to go back.
With its picture-perfect setting on Lake Oconee, the lodge is a feast for lake-lovers during the summer: kayaks, jet skis, fishing. During the winter, the lodge transforms into a storybook setting, complete with holiday pastry demonstrations, unlimited ice skating, and much more.
I would highly recommend the Ritz Reynolds for any number of guests: small and large families, men and women’s groups, and couples. For families, the Ritz Kids program is phenomenal – in the summer, children can participate in almost all of the same lake activities as the adults, and in the winter, the Ritz provides Storytime with Mrs. Claus and a Pajama Breakfast with Santa. For larger family getaways, this is the only Ritz Carlton to offer cottages, both 2 and 3 bedrooms, and each cottage comes with access to a personal BBQ Butler, who is on call to prepare private dinners for cottage guests.
There’s world-renowned golf for the men’s groups and a similarly esteemed spa (#4 in the country!) for the ladies. For couples, I can speak on behalf of the anniversary couple who just visited the property: they loved the homey atmosphere and the little surprises that the staff prepared for them (even making a UGA cupcake for the die-hard Georgia fans!).
All in all, it is a phenomenal property that is perfect for an easy trip from anywhere in the state – I just can’t believe I waited this long to see it!