Spend a little 'me' time at Daytona Beach's luxurious The Shores Resort & Spa.

My most recent trip to the Daytona area was packed with a lot of, well, pampering. I even left the laptop at home for this quick weekend jaunt to the other coast. It's amazing what a few short hours (and a luxury beach resort) can do to deflate your stress-level.

A Real Retreat

I pull into The Shores Resort & Spa on a Friday evening, happily handing off my keys and car to the valet. I won't be needing either once I settle into this oceanfront playground on Daytona Beach Shores. My "guest ambassador" greets me at the entrance and escorts me to my Caribbean-themed bungalow room, complete with a four-post canopy bed, flat-screen TV, lanai and gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. This is what I call a retreat!

The Shores indulges all the senses, putting you into a mode where you want to do nothing but relax and soak it up. Artfully presented gourmet fare is pleasing to the eye and makes the taste buds dance. Fine wines exude rich aromas as you imbibe. Atlantic waves wash ashore, providing the perfect soundtrack for your cabana-bound day. Therapeutic massages from the resort's famous The Indulge Spa cut to the core of what The Shores is all about: relaxation, from the outside in.

Do what feels relaxing, and you will be relaxed. I quickly buy into this idea.

Delectable Dining

After settling in, I make a reservation for me and a friend at the resort's Azure restaurant, known for its chef-driven, ocean-inspired cuisine. I freshen up and head to the Tiki Bar on the pool deck, where my friend and I both pick refreshing mint chocolate martinis to start the night.

The host calls us to our table, and we walk inside to the elegant but fun dining room, that looks bright, blue and sunwashed by day and romantic and reflective by moonlight.

Azure boasts executive chef Lonny Huot, whose 15-year career includes many fine dining restaurants along the country's eastern coast. And he doesn't disappoint us.

For appetizers, we debate between the Caramelized Diver Scallops with blood orange sauce and the Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cake with a smoked carrot and citrus butter sauce. We spring for the scallops and aren’t disappointed.

For my entrée, I stay the seafood course with Pan Seared Mahi Mahi served with sweet potato and plantain hash, garlic wilted spinach and banana-habanero butter. My friend goes with the Grilled Pork Chop, served with braised collard greens, sweet potato puree and caramelized pears. The sensation of flavors doesn't so much as bombard us as it does slowly overcome our palates, each bite growing ever more delicious and complex. By the end, we feel like personally congratulating the chef.

Afterwards, we have one more nightcap while sitting and chatting in front of the fire pit on the pool deck. Before too long, my pillow-top, king-sized bed with ump-teen thread count sheets beckons my name.

Spa-Style Refreshment

Minutes later, I slither into bed and fall into a deep sleep, only to be awakened in the morning by the massage therapist from Spa Terre. What better way to get the blood flowing than with an intense in-room Aromatherapy Blend Massage?

This Saturday morning is glowing, and so am I. Reinvigorated and ready for the day, I sip a mimosa and munch on scrambled eggs and fresh fruit. Then, it's off to The Indulge Spa for a manicure and pedicure before finally settling down for the day's main activity – lounging on the beach to catch some rays.

The Last Luxury

Lying on the peaceful, beautiful beach a few hours later, I acknowledge that it probably can get better than this – but at the moment I can't think of how.

On the way home, I figure it out. I stop to check out the shops and boutiques along Daytona's quaint Main Street, and after a few finds, decide to take a little excursion to the Volusia Mall. What weekend getaway would be complete without a little shopping?

When you go...
The Shores Resort & Spa
866-934-SHORES or 386-767-7350

Places to Remember