Address: 201 Ocean Avenue
Web Address: http://www.portdiver.com
Melbourne Beach, Florida
The wind is blowing, temperatures are frigid and the snow falling. You’re daydreaming about sitting on a beach with the warm sun in your face and a cocktail in your hand. We have the perfect place, Port d’Hiver in Melbourne Beach, Florida. Melbourne Beach is a delightful, uncrowded town on the eastern coastline and this is a B&B that has raised the bar on our expectations of what a B&B can be like. It is a gorgeous historic property with beautiful rooms and exquisite service. Set in its own little compound surrounded by bamboo fencing across from the beach with meandering brick pathways, waterfalls, vibrant, colorful gardens, draping bougainvillea, intimate little nooks for reading, a spa pool and a couple of fire pits where fires are set in the morning and at the end of the day to take the chill off.
The inn is owner operated which always results in a better experience and the owners have taken great care to anticipate the needs of their guests. This is an extraordinary value with a four star experience at two star prices. It is a place to which we will return when we need a warm weather escape.
There are 11 exquisitely decorated rooms spread throughout the property. Rattan furniture, hardwood floors and ceilings, gorgeous antiques, rich fabrics and vibrant colors carry an elegant tropical theme. The décor reminds me of the fantastic Little Palm Island cottages. Luxury linens drape the beds and there are fresh flowers to add color each day. Some rooms have whirlpools, some have ocean views and most have balconies or patios.
Our Indian River Room was spacious with a king-sized tiger maple bed with down duvet and fluffy pillows, an amazing 17th century French wedding armoire and a private porch overlooking the pool. Couldn’t have been more comfortable.
As a B&B, breakfast is the only formal meal served and it is quite special. We started with a cup of fruit, fresh juice, delicious coffee and a warm, homemade banana muffin. There are two entrees offered or they will make you whatever you want. We had a broccoli and cheese strata, layered croissant, broccoli, cheese, ham and eggs, served with crisp Applewood bacon and a creamy potato with a crispy cornflake crust.
Locally, there are a number of good restaurants including Dijon’s Steak and Lobster House and Scott’s on Fifth. Dijon’s is about a 3 block walk from the Inn, has very good food, a pretty good wine list, outdoor seating and a fun piano bar. Their Happy Hour specials are great both for drinks and snacks.
Scott’s is worth the visit to Melbourne alone. Owned and managed by 30 year partners, Bill (front of the house) and Scott (the chef) this is a lively and fun storefront restaurant decorated with an eclectic art collection and other interesting bric a brac. The crab bisque lived up to its “Scott’s World Famous…” moniker and drunken clams in a white wine, garlic and tomato base were wonderful. A spicy gazpacho soup and a creamy Caesar salad were delicious second courses and a lobster ravioli and a Tuscan rib eye were superb. We were full, but Bill insisted we try the Polynesian Dream, an amazing concoction of pineapple in a rum sauce served over coconut ice cream. Good wine list, very reasonable prices and great people. Don’t miss it when you are there.
The staff is warm, friendly and engaging. They appear to really enjoy working here and it is evident in the way they treat the guests. Turn-down service is offered (unusual for a B&B), there’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and drinks throughout the day, a snack closet, beach chairs and towels, bicycles and fresh flowers on all the tables and in the rooms.
Here’s a great example of the level of service. We purchased some fresh OJ and cheese to enjoy on our porch. When we returned to the room, each had been set up in its own ice bucket to keep it fresh.
From $200 prime season, a real steal!
WHAT OTHERS SAY…
AAA Four Diamond
“Top 10 Romantic Inns” ILoveInns
Diamond Collection, BestandBreakfast.com
“Bypass the big hotels and resorts for an intimate stay at a luxurious bed and breakfast with elegant rooms, gourmet food and impeccable service. Port D’Hiver is a dream beach house….” The Travel Channel
Select Registry member
WHILE YOU ARE THERE:
The beach, the beach and nothing but the beach. Miles of soft sandy beach right across the road from the inn. You can rent surf boards, paddle boards, jet skis and boats and all can be arranged by the concierge. There’s even a beach bar where you can have drinks and lunch and you can bring drinks out onto the beach! There are in-house massage treatments (at an $90 per hour). Nearby there are kayak tours, fishing trips, airboat rides, sailing charters, The Bevard Zoo (with a Zip Line). There are horseback safaris, wildlife refuges, art galleries and museums and an eclectic collection of shops and boutiques in the historic town of Melbourne.
The Kennedy Space Center is about 50 minutes away and the Inn provides a “Launch Alert” with a list of upcoming rocket launches. We saw the launch of Atlas V a military satellite which was very cool
Orlando: 1 ½ hours
West Palm Beach: 2 hours
Alternately, you can fly directly into Melbourne through Charlotte or Atlanta. A little more expensive but it saves the driving time.