After luxing it up Disney style, it was time for the adults to enjoy a change of pace. When originally planning the trip, we chose to use one of the vacation rental sites to find a private luxury home rental on a beach somewhere along the east coast.

Our wish list:

  1. Waterfront property (private beach if possible)
  2. 5 bedrooms
  3. A private pool
  4. A full kitchen

Once we narrowed down our options, we really only had a few houses in a few cities to choose from. We loved the house in Jacksonville the best – a large open plan home with plenty of windows with a large pool, its own dock, and a patch of sand right on the St. John’s River, feeding to the ocean.

St. John's River meets the Atlantic Ocean - Courtesy of University of North Florida
St. John’s River meets the Atlantic Ocean – Courtesy of University of North Florida

There are trade offs in making arrangements for a private home rental rather than a resort. First, it’s a toss up with what kind of owner/management company you will get. Most are local companies, and this may not be their primary business. In this case, the owner does not use a management company, and it was very difficult to get in touch with him. Simply to book the house, I ended up having to email him 5 times over the course of 3 weeks, and only when I got him on the phone (after 2 calls), did I actually get a response. Between the contract and payment, it went on like that. A week before the trip, I still hadn’t heard from the owner on check-in instructions, so I emailed several times, called and he finally responded back about 3 days before check in. So if you choose this route, remember to practice patience.

House Exterior - Courtesy of Rhett Lewis
House Exterior – Courtesy of Rhett Lewis

Once we got there, the house was amazing. The pool was perfect and well-maintained; the full gourmet kitchen had everything you could possibly need; and the living space was plush and comfortable. The boys – big and small – loved the foosball and pool tables, while the ladies spent a lot of time sipping cocktails on the lounge chairs, soaking in some much needed sun.

Kitchen Bar - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Kitchen Bar – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Courtyard - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Courtyard – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
View from the Living Room - Courtesy of Rhett Lewis
View from the Living Room – Courtesy of Rhett Lewis
Dining Area - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Dining Area – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook



Living Room - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Living Room – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Kitchen - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Kitchen – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook

The master bedroom was massive, with it’s own living area (with a plush leather sectional and a large flat screen tv), a beautiful granite and stone bathroom with a giant rain shower, a large jetted tub and double sink vanity. Three sets of sliding doors take you out to a large balcony overlooking the water with loungers and a table with chairs. From there, a spiral staircase takes you up to the hidden roof balcony with more chairs and a stellar view. This place had no lack of seating, and no lack of amazing views.

Master Bath - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bath – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bath - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bath – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bedroom - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bedroom – Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bedroom - Photo by TheLuxeLookbook
Master Bedroom – Courtesy of Rhett Lewis
Pool and house facing river - Courtesy of Szarmack Photography
Pool and house facing river – Courtesy of Szarmack Photography

We loved the amount of space and freedom we had by going this route rather than staying in a hotel. While it was all self service, the trade offs were worth it. The kids had full freedom to run, play, swim and explore while the adults had full freedom to lounge, swim and be (mostly) worry free. We also loved how active the waterway was directly in our backyard. Everyone was excited to see cruise ships, freight tankers and military vessels sail by every once in a while. This was quite the trip that we’ll never forget.

See the wedding here!

The owner is currently selling this house, so it may turn permanently into a private residence, but at least we got to experience it this once. We held the wedding at this house (post to come!), so it will always have fond memories for us.

 

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