Inlet Beach’s newest neighborhood condo along the famous Florida scenic drive
By Meghan Holmes
Photographs by Marianne Todd
For decades, the unique planned communities along Florida’s highway 30A have enjoyed a reputation for stunning and avant-garde architectures. Alys Beach boasts its imposing white stucco, Rosemary Beach recalls the wrought iron railways and courtyards of New Orleans and Inlet Beach unites quaint cottages with elements of modern architecture amidst 13 acres of protected dunes and the largest public beach access points along the scenic drive. This February, Inlet Beach welcomed a new condominium development: The Pointe at 30A. With its contemporary décor and internationally inspired architecture, visitors to The Pointe experience the area’s amenities and beautiful beaches in a new way.
“Highway 30A is an 18-mile stretch of tightly controlled shoreline where little towns have been built called traditional neighborhood developments,” says Mark Humphreys, CEO of Dallas-based Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P., which designed The Pointe at 30A. “These communities are designed to reflect the heritage of various places like the West Indies, Nantucket or Bermuda, with residences surrounding a town center. I bought my first home in Rosemary Beach about 15 years ago, and I’ve purchased several properties since, my most recent purchase being the land where The Pointe now sits.”
Tucked away at the western edge of 30A where the road intersects U.S. Highway 98, Humphreys saw The Pointe’s location as invaluable. “It was the only place on 30A where we could build a resort of this size, with 130 beds. The next largest in the area has 40 or 50, ” he says. Humphreys envisioned two- and three-bedroom units, different from the majority of the area’s large homes available for rent, with four or five bedrooms. “I encountered a lot of families who were vacationing with another family and splitting a large home. I wanted to offer them something smaller that still felt like Rosemary or Inlet Beach,” he said.
Humphreys assembled a team and traveled to resorts around the world, incorporating elements of the architecture as well as flora and fauna of the Caribbean into The Pointe’s design. They elected to keep the natural vegetation surrounding the property, allowing live oaks, pine trees, palomino bushes and wild rosemary to keep the resort partially concealed from nearby roads. “The last time I was on the rooftop I could hear birds chirping in the woods. It feels hidden and natural,” Humphreys says.
From Highway 98, The Pointe is a large, stark white structure with the majority of its many amenities hidden from view. Giant bowls of fire, with gray stones surrounding their bases, cast shadows onto the buildings at its entrance in the evenings. Just inside the lobby, Humphreys installed a Peter Lik photograph of a Caribbean beachfront, one of the many reminders of the hotel’s design inspiration.
“You can’t see the pool from the outside of the resort, but it’s only three feet from the lobby inside the courtyard. We had wan doors installed that open all the way across the lobby, which creates an open experience that’s unique to this property. I can feel the guests excitement when they arrive to check in and look out at the pool and surrounding green space,” he says.
The Pointe’s resort style pool is one of the largest on 30A, featuring cabanas with day beds as well as terrace seating for 150. A sunbathing area eight inches below the water runs the length of one end of the pool, and directly adjacent, a large hot tub sits in front of a heated fireplace with nearby seating. “The pool is really the focal point of the resort,” Humphreys says. Impressive palm trees surround the water and jasmine and bougainvillea grows up from the base of wooden trellises covering the surrounding walkways. In coming years the plants will provide ample shade as well as fragrant blossoms.
Nearby amenities include a fitness center and yoga studio, Weber gas grills and stainless steel cooking prep areas, as well as La Cava: a covered, open air lounge with eight televisions. “It’s just another place for family and friends to gather. I like to call it the SEC conference room because people will watch four or five different games at once.
It’s a way to be part of the activity of the pool, but not out in the sun,” Humphreys says.
The pool area also features outdoor seating for one of The Pointe’s two on-site restaurants, Big Bad Breakfast, which serves breakfast and lunch poolside as well as in a large nearby dining area. The resort will soon break ground on the site’s second restaurant, the Latin-inspired Little Donkey, set to open later this year.
People have frequently called, inquiring about the opening of Big Bad, says Chris Abbott, broker with Sotheby’s International who handles sales at The Pointe. “We have also had an enthusiastic response to our rooftop viewing area. There were hundreds of people up there during our grand opening party, so it’s a great space for an event like a wedding reception.”
The Pointe’s rooftop lounge features seating for large groups as well as panoramic views of the surrounding gulf and natural vegetation. It’s ideal as a wedding reception area following a ceremony in the resort’s greenspace, which accommodates a 40-60 person wedding tent. When events aren’t taking place, guests throw Frisbees or play catch.
The Pointe’s lower level rooms feature access to the pool and surrounding amenities via individual balconies, and a small, select number of three bedroom units feature private plunge pools. “We’ve included some things that we consider hidden surprises. We want guests to feel like they’re having a special experience.”
Another unique detail is the use of recycled glass in the countertops. “We take things like damaged bottles from whiskey distilleries and broken glass from car windshields and integrate them into the design,” says Humphreys. “When you take tiny pieces of that green glass and add some mother of pearl, you get a contemporary surf and shell feeling. We wanted a fresh design that tells a story, not the feeling of an old school beach residence where you see the starfish and the lighthouse and the life preserver,” Humphreys says.
Rooms feature private balconies with stainless steel rails, chic contemporary accents courtesy of Restoration Hardware, and all gas cooking appliances. The understated décor uses color and material to conjure the feeling of a beach getaway. It’s subtle and refined.
ResortQuest manages rentals on the property and also offers bike rentals for quick access to nearby beaches and restaurants. In under five minutes guests can enjoy 30A’s beautiful blue green waters or shop in downtown Rosemary Beach without ever taking their car out of The Pointe’s parking lot. There are dozens of nearby restaurants and locally owned shops. “The restaurant scene here is phenomenal,” says Humphreys. “We’re so excited for people to explore what’s available nearby.”
After nearly two decades spent on 30A’s beaches, Humphreys wants to recruit visitors from around the region to experience what has kept him coming back. “People ask why I did this, and I tell them it’s because this place is my solace. I love Rosemary Beach and 30A, and I think a lot of people feel the same way. I want everyone to be able to relax and enjoy life here.”
Want to go?
For more information about The Pointe at 30A, visit thepointeon30a.com