Surrender Paradise: A Stay at Costa d’Este in Vero Beach, Florida

The rumbling stampede of rolling luggage behind me pauses as I approach my hotel room. Passing the keycard in front of the magnetic lock, the lock winks in a green light, and I enter into my refuge for relaxation and restoration for the next two days. Among the mahogany walls and marble floors, not a stain or stench is to be found. Smiling, I run to the sliding glass doors and push back the curtains. Before me, I see the majesty of the Atlantic, hundreds of thousands of waves riding into the horizon. Wisps of white clouds scatter about the sky, absorbing the sun’s glow to wrap up the shore in golden white like a star. Picking up a complimentary glass of champagne on the table, I slide the doors open and step onto the balcony. Sipping the sweet, bubbling drink, my mother walks in and speaks my very thoughts as she says, “This is heaven.”

Photographed by Angela Gilmar

Nestled in sunshine state Florida, Vero Beach’s four-star hotel Costa d’Este Resort and Spa was founded eleven years ago by internationally renowned singer Gloria Estefan and her Grammy Award-winning husband. Like the cheerful, bouncing melodies she sings, the hotel echoes with her sunny disposition and cosmic brightness that rivals the sun above. From the moment your car rolls upon the cobblestone pavement, a team of friendly staff members warms you and your family with their beaming smiles and over-generous hospitality. Like the champagne they give you upon your arrival, the staff bubble with a buoyancy to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Their dedication to customer service is unrivaled, focusing on details as minute as towel folding to bring an experience abundant with gratification and pleasure.

Nevertheless, though a high-class affair with high-class prices, they do not participate in the high-class swindling of five-star money-makers the make you pay for WiFi, breakfast, and a multitude of other services that will total the mortgage you pay for your house. Costa d’Este provides many of the services you will find in two- to three-star lodgings like free WiFi and complimentary breakfasts. However, rather than a crusty plate with cold pancakes and an Internet speed that is measured in hours rather than seconds, Costa d’Este provides free high-speed WiFi as well as complimentary breakfast from their award-winning restaurant The Wave Kitchen and Bar. The hotel also looks to pamper not just its two-legged guests but its four-legged ones as well, allowing guests to enjoy their luxury experiences with their favorite animal companions. With such impeccable service, it is no wonder that Costa d’Este ranks as the top ten celebrity-owned hotels in the world.

Photographed by Costa d’Este Beach Resort and Spa

This beachfront haven indulges its guests with more than just warm, honeyed sunlight and white, exfoliating sands. Costa d’Este is a retreat within a retreat, providing a simply sublime spa service to locals and visitors of Vero Beach. Costa d’Este’s Vero Beach Spa provides a myriad of services including signature massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. Even your mind receives an auditory message upon hearing the tranquil voices of the spa’s staff direct you to the complimentary steam room, where cinnamon and apple-infused water, champagne, nuts, and fruit are waiting to be indulged in. It is no wonder that the Vero Beach Spa’s generous yet high-quality services were what caused it to be named the best spa in the Americas by the prestigious World Luxury Spa Awards in 2015.  

When you are not treading the waves at Vero Beach, you are most certainly tasting them at Costa d’Este’s famous restaurant The Wave. Inspired by the Cuban-American background of the Estefans, The Wave offers an endless selection of Cuban delicacies, with many dishes featuring locally sourced seafood and produce. Some of its classic entrees include center-cut filet mignon serviced with sauce béarnaise and pork tenderloin served with natural au jus infused with port wine. However, beyond the plate, you will find a restaurant designed in an elegantly chic style with a friendly, dependable staff, creating an unforgettable fine dining experience. With many recipes from the owners’ personal cookbooks, you will taste the colors of the sea like you have never tasted it before.

Photographed by Paige Gilmar

As I venture from my hotel room to the sun-kissed shores of Vero Beach, I breathe in the delicious sunscape and finish my glass of champagne. The blissful song from Gloria Estefan’s “Surrender Paradise” seep into my mind fittingly. I hum the simple melody, mouthing the words, “I surrender to you, paradise.”


Paige Gilmar


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