Beachfront Hotel with Private Pool Deck
Since its original construction in 1888, Plaza Resort & Spa has transformed from a stagecoach stop to an early aviation exhibition site to a barracks for the Women's Army Corps during WWII. Fires and inclement weather have destroyed the hotel over the years, yet it always seems to emerge stronger than before, and a multimillion-dollar restoration has brought about its most luxurious incarnation yet. Located steps away from the Atlantic Ocean, the Plaza Resort now features a 15,000-square-foot European-style spa and a sprawling oceanfront pool deck.
Though much of the Daytona shoreline is open to auto traffic, the beach alongside the hotel is car-free and comparatively quieter. From the private balcony connected to your ocean-view room, you can watch the sunrise over the Atlantic or wait until a more reasonable hour and re-create the sunrise with a flashlight. Head downstairs to the hotel's Ocean Waters Spa for any number of restorative services, including the popular green-coffee slimming body wrap, a 55-minute treatment designed to smooth cellulite and increase metabolism. The beach is just a few feet from the hotel, but for a more private experience, kick back in one of the lounge chairs by the pool.
Daytona Beach: Auto-Race Mecca and Historical Boardwalk City
Seven miles from the Plaza Resort & Spa, the intoxicating scent of engine fuel and burnt rubber beckons from Daytona International Speedway. During 30-minute guided tram tours, you can stroll the infield and traverse the pit road while Mustang and Monte Carlo experts narrate the history of motorsports. For a more intimate experience, you can accompany a professional driver for three laps in a standard stock car or attempt a 16-second pit-stop challenge in a professional racecar.
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, one of the tallest masonry lighthouses in the country, stands guard about 10 miles south of the hotel on Ponce Inlet. Built in the 1880s, the 175-foot granite structure and its surrounding Victorian brick buildings feature exhibits lined with old lighthouse lenses and various historical artifacts. You can climb the 203 steps to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the beach and an inexplicable performance of "Eye of the Tiger."