Ever wonder where hotel managers go on vacation when it’s finally time for their own getaway? Well, if you’re a General Manager at Opal, the answer is usually another Opal destination! But which ones? Here, our GMs spill the tea on the Opal destinations they like enough to be a guest of.
From the quiet coastal towns of Maine to New York’s charming Adirondack mountains, all the way down to Florida’s Gulf Coast, Opal Collection’s General Mangers know a thing or two about what makes their neck of the woods special to travelers and locals alike. Whether they have one day off, a weekend off, or a whole week to themselves, they share their top recommendations for local adventure and let us in on what Opal destinations they’d take off to.
Meet Eric Waltz of Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida, Connie Russell from Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine, and Tom Guay from The Sagamore Resort in Lake George, New York. Be ready to take notes – you’re going to want to listen to these Opal experts.
One Day Off – What’s on the schedule when you need a quick reset?
Q. On a day off for you – what do you like to do that’s local to your area?
Eric: We prefer to jump on a boat and visit local hidden islands such as 3 Rooker Island or Caladesi Island which is only reachable by boat – no cars. There, the wildlife is more plentiful, and it feels as though you are in a private, tropical paradise.
Connie: Take a 2-mile walk with my chocolate Labrador, Stella, to the top of Beech Hill Preserve, which features the scenic Penobscot Bay overlook at the summit.
Tom: I like to get on Lake George or head out to do yard work or projects around the house!
Q. What’s one thing you recommend all of your guests do or see?
Tom: All Sagamore guests need to get on the lake, in the lake, or be overlooking the lake! Swim, lounge in an inner tube, rent a boat or kayak, and take a cruise on The Morgan (operating seasonally).
Eric: Drive to Honeymoon Island and then take the ferry to Caladesi Island. It’s a totally private island that has no buildings on it except for one small snack shop. You can lay on the beach all day or explore the land and see many things native to Florida that I can guarantee you haven’t seen before.
Connie: Walk along the Rockland Breakwater to the lighthouse at the end.
One Weekend Off – Staying true to your region, tell us about your ideal staycation?
Q. If you have an entire weekend off (maybe even a three-day weekend!), what nearby Opal property would you like to visit?
Q. What are some of the biggest draws to that area?
Eric: When you are not at the resort, you can take a short drive to St. Armands Circle. You could spend an entire day there shopping, eating, and drinking. There are many great restaurants like “Columbia” and many retail stores both casual and high-end.
Tom: It’s a quaint Olympic village with great history. A must-see is the Olympic Ski Jump Complex, it towers over the village and greets you as you drive into the village! There are also amazing shops and restaurants!
Connie: Acadia National Park if I stayed at Harborside Hotel.
Q. What amenities or features of that hotel/resort would you want to take advantage of?
Eric: There are several restaurants on-property, so there is something for all family members. The pool at Longboat Key Club is located directly by the beach, so it’s only a short walk, and you are on sand.
Connie: At Harborside Hotel, I would visit the Bar Harbor Club.
Tom: A round of golf at the nearby Whiteface Club – one of the oldest courses in the country!
Week-Long Vacation – Time to trade the role of Opal GM to the role of Opal Guest, if only for a little. Your bags are packed, and your dream vacation itinerary is in your hands; where are we going?
Q. Say time was a non-factor, what faraway Opal property would you visit?
Tom: I’d head to Florida – east and west coast! Specifically, Sandpearl Resort.
Connie: Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Eric: I highly recommend people visit Bar Harbor. The Harborside Hotel Spa & Marina is located right on the water and has several restaurants and a world-class spa.
Q. What interests you about that location & property?
Eric: Bar Harbor is a cute little fishing village that has whale-watching tours throughout the day. Bar Harbor has dozens of restaurants and bars, haunted tours, parks, and plenty of shops.
Tom: Florida resorts are all on the ocean, and in towns and communities packed with everything a tourist loves to do!
Connie: The 700 feet of white-sand beaches, extensive resort amenities, attentive service, their zero-entry lagoon-style poolside and hot tub, food and drinks from Tate Island Grille, and the spa services at Sandpearl Resort.
Q. What would you have planned and what attractions are on the top of your list?
Tom: We love the Sandpearl because it has all the resort amenities you would want. Great dining, spa, activities, a pool bar! On a relaxing day, I’d have a hearty breakfast, walk into town, back to the pool and beach, and then take a nap, which is a must! Then, dinner out and about. On an active day, I’d head out on a road trip to another Opal destination for a day there. Or in Tampa, I’d head to the Yankees Spring Training complex for a game.
Eric: Watching the sunrise from Cadillac mountain is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
Connie: Walk the beach, shopping on the strip, Caretta’s, AAA’s only 4 Diamond restaurant in Clearwater, nightly sundown beachfront fire pit for s’mores, and the lobby marketplace for morning coffee and fresh pastries. I would also visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, get a legendary fish sandwich at one of Frenchy’s six locations, and take a Sea Life Safari Eco-Tour.
The Opal GMs have spoken – you’ve heard their top travel destinations, read their ideal itineraries, and discovered their favorite amenities at each property. We don’t blame you if you’ve got the travel bug now, but we do know the perfect remedy for that – time to explore your options and find your next Opal vacation. Start here.