The Equestrian Resort: The Final Luxurious Resort in Florida’s Horse Nation


When you love horses, likely you’ve already heard of the World Equestrian Heart. It’s the biggest equestrian middle on this hemisphere, spanning some 380 acres in Ocala, Florida, just a bit over an hour north of Orlando. The property has its personal fuel station, normal retailer, chapel, laundromat, outlets, and 23 arenas the place you’ll discover every little thing from volleyball tournaments to automotive reveals to live shows. And horse reveals. Heaps and plenty of horse reveals.

However whereas Ocala and Marion County are well-known because the Horse Capital of the World, the WEC isn’t only for equine lovers. Due to The Equestrian Resort, which opened in 2021, it’s a vacation spot for riders and their households in addition to on a regular basis people trying to take pleasure in its signature model of luxurious.

Curious? Verify into The Equestrian to see what it’s all about. Right here’s a sneak peek inside.

Luxurious Aptitude and Effervescent Enjoyable

World Equestrian Heart Foyer at Evening. Photograph Credit score: Ethan Tweedie

While you enter the lodge’s luxurious foyer, you’re in for a deal with. There’s an unmistakable sense of stylish: hovering ceiling, glittering chandeliers, the gleam of mahogany and porcelain. A grand piano performs softly within the nook whereas the scent of fresh-cut flowers wafts ever so delicately by means of the air.

One factor that can undoubtedly catch your eye, and positively delight any children in your celebration, is the paintings lining the partitions. They’re dozens of portraits of canines. The well-bred pups add a refined attraction to the grand room. Certainly, it’s this juxtaposition — studied class with a touch of caprice — that’s discovered all through the resort, making it not like anyplace else I’ve ever stayed. 

Working example, as I turned down the hallway, passing Lugano Diamonds, the place bespoke jewellery sparkled within the home windows, I got here to an outsized pink teddy bear sitting beneath a portray of an eagle carrying a go well with. This space of the lodge was designed particularly with youngsters in thoughts, however extra on this beneath.

Creature Comforts

World Equestrian Heart VP Suite. Photograph Credit score: Ethan Tweedie

The rooms present simply as a lot consideration to element, from the interlocking bridle sample within the hallway all the way down to the bit handles on the nightstands. The toilet, particularly, with its marble flooring, frameless bathe with two bathe heads, and luxurious cleaning soap and hair care merchandise from the on-site Calluna Spa. On the finish of a busy day, falling into the European linens on the plush mattress was bliss. And I may solely think about what the view from our room overlooking the 145,000-square-foot Grand Enviornment can be like with horses and riders leaping hurdles beneath.

There’s equestrian and animal artwork on the partitions within the rooms and all through the lodge. On the seating space simply off the elevator, for instance, there’s artwork that rotates out. After I bought off on the second flooring and observed the type of artwork was totally different than on our flooring, I visited each subsequent flooring to see it. It’s cool. And the health middle, which we used, was very nice.

Talking of consolation, the spa, additionally on the second flooring, is the right place for pampering. They do every kind of massages in addition to hair styling, skincare, manicures and pedicures with classes as temporary as 50 minutes or so long as 5.5 hours if you happen to so select.

Eating on the World Equestrian Heart

Emma’s Patisserie. Photograph Credit score: Ethan Tweedie

There are eight eating places on the property with extra on the best way. The present lineup consists of:

  • Stirrups Restaurant, the tremendous eating choice on the bottom flooring of the lodge
  • Yellow Pony Pub & Backyard, that includes a horseshoe-shaped bar the place beer, bourbons, whiskeys, and cocktails stream freely and stay music performs on patio
  • Emma’s Patisserie, each French and acquainted sweets (like doughnuts) plus breakfast sandwiches
  • Horse to Water Pool & Bar, for poolside drinks and snacks like a virgin daiquiri and a tuna quinoa energy bowl
  • Filo’s Mexican Cantina, serving Mexican favorites, together with breakfast, in an off-the-cuff indoor and outside venue
  • Viola & Dot’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, by the slice or by the pie
  • Ralph’s Burger & Sandwich Store, the place you’ll be able to’t go improper with a burger, shake, and fries
  • Miss Tilly’s Lollipops, for ice cream cones and selfmade fudge with old-timey candy store vibes

I attempted the primary three on this checklist, starting with Stirrups — and what a starting it was! This Southern steakhouse makes a speciality of prime steaks and chops in addition to recent Florida seafood, and the grasp sommelier can assist you discover the right pairing in your meal from 6,000 bottles of wine.

Stirrups Restaurant. Photograph Credit score:  MAVEN Photograph+Movie

Dinner right here is an expertise, not not like the competitions within the Grand Enviornment, which the restaurant’s terrace overlooks. Like an occasion unfolding in acts, every course makes you excited for the subsequent. We started with an amuse bouche from the chef, a heat chunk of freshly made agnolotti. Then biscuits and rolls got here with honey butter and blueberry jam. Bread is one in all my love languages, and people rolls had been beautiful.

I attempted the soup of the day, a corn bisque that was simply essentially the most surprisingly memorable dish I had the entire weekend, vivid and summery with layers of taste I couldn’t establish however didn’t must as I savored my bowl. The scallops I ordered had been pleasantly giant and completely scrumptious as was my husband’s burger. The dessert, advisable by our server, was a masterful mix of taste and artistry: a mousse injected with gelée and dipped in white chocolate, styled to appear to be an entire lemon. 

The Yellow Pony, the subsequent night time, was way more informal. It is a place for convivial dialog and drinks late into the night time (they’re open until at the very least midnight each day). I can think about jockeys swapping ideas or John Travolta, who’s been identified to cease in, grabbing a saddle seat at a excessive high.

Yellow Pony Pub & Backyard. Photograph Credit score: Ethan Tweedie

They are saying their starters are shareable, and that’s no exaggeration. The delicate pretzel appetizer was the dimensions of my head, and the perimeters are beneficiant too — my lobster mac and cheese was creamy and decadent, and I used to be glad to separate it. The menu stars burgers, however it’s rounded out with international fare like fish and chips, flatbread, a bao bun, poke and extra. I wanted one thing veggie-centric after my indulgence the earlier night time, so the Cobb salad with avocado, peas and corn was good. You’ll want to ask what their pie of the week is. Or you’ll be able to’t go improper with the citrus and berry crumble.

After which there’s Emma’s Patisserie. When you don’t go to Stirrups and order the epic Florida Citrus talked about above, attempt one of many fruit mousse confections at this counter-service store. Like each different dessert on the lodge, every merchandise was conceived by their on-site French pastry chef. They use the perfect components, like butter imported from France, to create a glistening pastry case to rival the wares at Lugano Diamonds throughout the hallway (properly, relying in your proclivities — it did for me).

Raspberry Tart

Raspberry Tart. Photograph Credit score: Cheryl Rodewig

Throughout breakfast, they’ve sandwiches on biscuits, bagels, or croissants. Go for the croissants and assume you’ll need at the very least a pair pastries, perhaps an entremet or macaron. Order a couple of in your celebration and encourage sharing. It’s finest with a latte. Seize-and-go choices like salads and sandwiches spherical out the menu. 

Particularly for Households

Toy Store. Photograph Credit score: Ethan Tweedie

This all may sound very fancy, and it’s. However the resort’s creators had been pondering of their grandchildren all through its inception, and that shines by means of in particular touches of playfulness all ages will take pleasure in.

Listed below are a couple of we liked:

  • Mr. Pickles & Sailor Bear Toy Shoppe, the emporium of your childhood goals with an particularly huge collection of collectable Breyer Horses
  • The 15-foot Geoffrey the Giraffe from the FAO Schwarz flagship retailer in NYC, situated contained in the toy store 
  • A big singing bear and roaring lion, additionally within the store (Sure, they’re on the market.)
  • Rainbow candies and colourful murals at Miss Tilly’s Lollipops
  • An animal-themed splash pad subsequent to the zero-entry pool
  • Topiaries formed like a dragon, bear, elephants, and extra
  • Children’ actions at particular occasions, just like the inflatables and yard video games on the WEC Spring Competition the weekend we visited

World Equestrian Heart Splash Pad. Photograph Credit score: Ethan Tweedie

There are additionally extra lodging choices on the property, together with an RV park and absolutely furnished House Away From House leases good for giant households. Subsequent yr, a brand new lodge is opening on the WEC that can supply much more rooms for households at totally different value factors, broadening your choices.

Occasions and Actions

Oktoberfest. Photograph Credit score: MAVEN picture+movie

Earlier than you go, examine the calendar to see what’s on. It is perhaps Arabian horses one weekend and ladies in extravagant hats one other for Derby Day. There’s a lot of canine reveals in addition to horse reveals — equestrian occasions are essentially the most frequent in season throughout summer time, fall, and winter. Most of the occasions are free to attend, though in order for you the perfect seat in the home for the Grand Enviornment, reserve a desk on the terrace at Stirrups. That is additionally the go-to spot for the Mom’s Day and Father’s Day brunch.

If it’s St. Patrick’s Day or another vacation, you’ll be able to nearly assure they’ll have one thing happening. There are artwork reveals, spa reveals, bull driving, highschool marching band performances, and extra, relying on the day. Throughout Christmas, they placed on a gala Winter Wonderland.

When you really feel like purchasing, you’ll be able to browse greater than 25 boutiques on the WEC. There’s additionally a golf course subsequent door at Golden Ocala. Otherwise you may cease by the statue of Sgt. Reckless to study in regards to the Marine Corps mare’s navy service.

Even if you happen to simply tour the grounds and gardens, maybe choosing up a rainbow lollipop the dimensions of your head at Miss Tilly’s, it’s a nice solution to spend the day.

In regards to the Writer

Cheryl Rodewig is storyteller, marketer, and award-winning function author specializing in journey. Her Venn diagram consists of minimalism, waterfalls, French, and the em sprint. Discover her at cherylrodewig.com or on Twitter at @cherylrodewig.

Function Photograph Credit score: MAVEN Photograph+Movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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