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Florida Destination Guide

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Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Florida , created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Enjoying a semi-tropical climate and fondly known as the ‘Sunshine State’, Florida is considered to be one of the world’s favourite playgrounds, home to over a thousand miles of beautiful, sandy beaches and world-famous theme parks – including four at Walt Disney World plus Universal Studios® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure® – whilst the one and a half million-acre Everglades National Park and the coral-reef-rich Biscayne National Park make it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts - it’s easy to see why Florida is so popular with families and thrill-seekers alike.

Orlando
If it’s non-stop fun and full-on adventure you’re after, then our featured resorts in Orlando are for you. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando™ and Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando™ close to Universal Orlando® Resort and the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa , Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort , close to Walt Disney World® Resort are perfectly placed to take full advantage of the theme parks, whilst those who prefer nature and lots of fresh air will love The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes , where highlights include guided family kayaking tours, eco-tours and bird watching.

Palm Beach
Established as a resort over one-hundred years ago by the oil tycoon, Henry Flager, Palm Beach offers natural beauty and miles of sands, as well as its long standing association with opulence and exclusivity, making it it one of South Florida’s most beautiful and sophisticated beach destinations – one of our featured properties The Breakers sparkles with glamour and offers guests five-hundred acres of tropical beachfront setting to play amongst.

Sarasota

Located off the shores of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico, the city and its islands are a renowned beach destination, offering a wonderful blend of laid-back elegance and a varied cultural scene. Guests of our featured resort The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota will enjoy a host of amenities that span the charming city, including both a bayside and beachside swimming pool.

Naples
On Florida’s southwest ‘Paradise Coast’, where more than eight per cent of the land is protected in nature reserves and beautiful beach communities abound, Naples provides the perfect blend of elegant beach living and The Ritz-Carlton Naples , conveniently situated on 5 kilometres of pristine beach, features rooms and suites decorated in a fresh colour palette reminiscent of luxurious beach homes whilst the beachside retreat, Waldorf Astoria Naples offers easy access to Downtown Naples.

General Information
CapitalTallahassee
LanguageEnglish
Time Difference-8 hours
CurrencyUS Dollar
Voltage120v

Health

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.



Visa

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Travelling to the USA - Travel Authorisation (ESTA)

US Customs and Border Control has introduced an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). The system is web-based only and requires all passengers (including infants) travelling via or to the USA to apply for authority to travel a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel. You may be denied boarding or refused entry to the USA if you have not registered and obtained authorisation. To apply, please visit the official website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov A charge of 14 USD per person (subject to change) will apply.

Climate+

Boasting sunny days – up to six hours of sunshine a day – November to May (winter) is a pleasant time to visit Florida. Winter is almost tropical in climate – very mild, but sometimes with relatively short periods of cold weather, however frost and snow is not very common.

From June to October (summer), you can expect higher temperatures and increased humidity. Sunshine hours can peak to as many as ten, but afternoon cloud build-up can lead to heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Florida has the most thunderstorms of any of the states, and sometimes these are severe tropical storms, or even hurricanes. June to November is hurricane season with the months of August and September being particularly susceptible.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Florida.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January2461
February2456
March2553
April2768
May29150
June30201
July31119
August31144
September31178
October29144
November2778
December2443

Highlights+

Beaches
Palm Beach offers plenty of opportunities for sun-worshipping, water sports and boat trips - those guests staying at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach can look forward to the Friday Night Clam Bake, held directly on the beach.

At Sarasota’s Lido Key you can enjoy dolphin-spotting from the beach which is a far-reaching stretch of sand, ideal for sunbathing.

Theme Parks

Walt Disney World® Resort
Magic Kingdom® Park with Cinderella Castle at its heart is a place of fantasy where you can meet Disney characters and monsters, and watch amazing parades with spectacular fireworks. For glitz and glamour Disney’s Hollywood Studios® offers exciting live shows, thrilling attractions and backstage tours. Epcot, meanwhile, celebrates land and space and you can even explore the cultures of different countries. If you like wildlife, do visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park – the largest animal-themed park in the world.

Universal Orlando® Resort
Amongst the attractions of the resort’s Universal Studios Florida® are rides with Shrek or The Simpsons™, Universal’s Superstar Parade and Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular, showcasing one-hundred years of memories of the movies. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, where you’re favourite films are brought to life, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ offers a range of exciting Hogwarts-themed rides or you can take a thrilling jungle riverboat-ride at Jurassic Park River Adventure®, attempting to avoid the dinosaurs that have escaped from their enclosure.

LEGOLAND ® Florida
150 acres of rides and attractions, including a water park – suitable for children aged 2 to 12 years.

SeaWorld Orlando
This premier marine park showcases wildlife experiences, incredible rides and shows. See sharks, turtles, dolphins, watch Killer Whales perform amazing routines, feed the sea lions or take the ‘flying’ roller-coaster ride that mimics the actions of a Manta Ray.

Outdoors 
Discovery Cove
Orlando’s wonderfully tropical, watery paradise and a great place to spend the day. Snorkel amongst the fish and rays, relax on one of the sandy beaches or at In-Water Relaxation Station, swim with a dolphin and feed stunning tropical birds.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Palm Beach's centre for Japanese arts and culture features six gardens, each reflecting a different Japanese style. Alongside the museum, showcasing Japanese art and a restaurant serving Pan-Asian cuisine, cultural events are held throughout the year.

Sarasota’s Jungle Gardens
Explore ten acres of tropical trails leading to a variety of Florida’s native and exotic wildlife, including parrots, birds of prey, crocodiles, butterflies and iguanas. There are special bird and reptile shows and it is one of the only places you can feed pink flamingos.

Water sports
Naples is an excellent place to enjoy some water-based activities including kayaking, stand-up fishing and sailing. For family fun the North Collier Regional Park offers a state-of-the-art interactive playground and the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon water park with water slides, pools and a lazy river.

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Developed around historic tropical gardens, the zoo provides visitors with the opportunity to see a range of trees, plants and animals - including honey badgers and cat-like fossa, that are rarely seen in zoos, as well as specially presented shows. 

The Everglades
From Naples, take a tour of the Florida Everglades on a shallow-draft airboat to explore the wetlands and get up close to the indigenous birdlife and wildlife, including alligators, as you learn more about their natural habitat from your Captain. It's an excellent activity for families.

Walking Trails
Downtown Sarasota’s bayfront offers lovely walks, while Myakka River State park offers walking trails (including a wooden walkway above the treetop canopy), opportunities to go hiking, kayaking, cycling, bird-watching and fishing plus scenic airboat tours across upper Myakka Lake.
 
Naples Botanical Gardens
Head to the 'secret garden' within the Smith Children’s Garden and little ones will be delighted to discover shoes, lamps and other items transformed by floral displays, while butterflies fly around, and there is a treehouse, a maze, a waterfall and a cave to discover.

Pure Naples, Jet Boat, Odin
Take a narrated sightseeing cruise with Pure Naples, Jet Boat, Odin along the Gordon River, through Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico as you search for wildlife including dolphins, are shown luxurious homes and learn about local history.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Centre
To learn more about nature in Florida, visit this venue in Naples where those with children in particular will love discovering the Loggerhead Sea Turtles at the Dalton Discovery Centre.

Culture
The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
Henry Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil and the Florida East Coast Railway network, was instrumental in the development of East Florida and Palm Beach. He lived out his days in Whitehall, a stunning mansion house that has became a National Historic Landmark and public museum. Take a guided tour and discover more about this fascinating character who was so important to Palm Beach.

Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach
This museum features collections of photography and American, Chinese, European and contemporary art, and hosts exhibitions throughout the year.

The John and Mable Ringling Estate, Sarasota
The Ringling family, who developed a renowned circus entertainment empire, invested in Sarasota in the early twentieth century and were responsible for many of Sarasota’s cultural attractions. At the heart of their beautiful oceanfront estate is the Ringling’s mansion house, Ca’d’Zan, which was completed in 1925 and has a distinctly Italian influence.  The estate also includes The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which boasts art from America, Asia and Europe including a collection of Rubens; the Circus Museum with exhibits of parade wagons, costumes and props, and the Bayfront Gardens, where you will find Mable’s Secret Garden and Mable Ringling’s Rose Garden.

Theatre Arts District, Sarasota
The Sarasota Opera House is an intimate venue offering a variety of world-class performances, while The Florida Studio Theatre has three performance areas and offers a programme of plays and music. The Florida West Coast Symphony hosts orchestral concerts here.

Ballet, Sarasota
The Sarasota Ballet is the Gulf Coast of Florida’s only professional ballet company and its repertoire includes beautifully choreographed classics and contemporary works.

Shopping
If you can tear yourself away from Orlando’s theme parks for a day, you’ll find everything from top department stores such as Bloomingdale’s to unique boutiques Downtown. Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue is renowned for its shopping; lined with legendary designer boutiques including Chanel, Hermes, Cartier and Jimmy Choo as well as a host of speciality stores. Meanwhile, the Waterside shops in Naples feature over sixty stores and restaurants along with personal shoppers and valet parking. The mall is particularly stylish, with a stunning design where water features and lighting are used to great effect.

Golf
In Orlando you can enjoy a round of golf at a range of great courses, including the 18-hole, par 72 Greg Norman Signature Golf Course at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes; The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota’s Tom Fazio designed course also offers 18 holes whilst the Naples Grande Golf Club is accessible from the Waldorf Astoria Naples.

Getting There+

Flight Information
Emirates direct from Dubai to Orlando.
Qatar Airways direct from Doha to Miami.

Flight Time
From Doha to Miami: 15 hours, 45 minutes.

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
To experience the best of Orlando, Elegant Resorts can assist with all your travel arrangments including pre-booking your tickets for the theme parks.  If you wish to extend your holiday, the Florida Keys works well with Orlando - as always our Travel Consultants would be happy to advise and recommend. 

Family Fun, Palm Beach
Your family might like to spend a day at Palm Beach Zoo or perhaps, if your little ones are budding scientists, a visit to the Science Museum would appeal - it features many hands-on exhibits, as well as freshwater and salt water aquariums, a star-gazing observatory and outdoor science trails. Alternatively, you could take an African-themed adventure at Lion Country Safari, a drive-through safari park, featuring animals including giraffes and zebras, and a walk-through amusement park with a selection of animals, amusements, restaurants and shops.

Tours, Palm Beach
Take an air boat tour of the Florida Everglades' wetlands and get up close to the indigenous bird life and wildlife (including alligators), as you learn more about their natural habitat from your Captain. Jungle Gardens, Sarasota Families may like to visit the ten-acre Sarasota Jungle gardens, where tropical trails lead to a variety of Florida's native and exotic wildlife, including parrots, birds of prey, crocodiles, butterflies and iguanas. There are special bird and reptile shows and it is one of the only places you can feed pink flamingos.

Palm Cottage, Naples
If you are interested in history and heritage, do visit the charming Palm Cottage, a treasured, wonderfully preserved home that is now a museum dedicated to Naples' past. Built in 1895, it is the oldest house in Naples and has five historic gardens - The Garden of the Senses, The Palm Collector's Garden, The Edible Garden, The Pioneer Garden and The Shade Garden. From here, Naples Historical Society leads tours o the Naples Historic District.

Talk to our Americas Experts


Our Travel Consultants visit our luxury hotels, villas and resorts personally.

Our dedicated Americas Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Florida. Furthermore, we have 11 Travel Consultants who have personally visited Florida and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

Why Choose Elegant Resorts


As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by almost thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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