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River Lily Inn: A Deliciously Different Destination in Daytona Beach
While planning my hubby’s 75th birthday celebration I stumbled upon the River Lily Inn. This milestone event had to be special, so an ordinary hotel hiatus was out of the question. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been to a multitude of fantastic upscale resort hotels but I wanted this occasion to be unlike any getaway we’ve ever done. I was searching for something new, fresh and unfamiliar; something deliciously different. My preference was something small and quaint, without the hustle and hurriedness of a large hotel or busy resort. Perhaps because we’re getting older, I don’t know, but I didn’t want to be required to move rapidly to catch an elevator or rush through long lobby lines to catch a valet. My thoughts turned toward a small boutique hotel or better yet, a B&B, something we hadn’t done in decades.
For days I foraged the internet for the finest B&B’s in the entire State of Florida, and was flat out amazed to find one of the highest rated ones right in my own back yard. The River Lily Inn was only a short 90 minute drive, and in the most unexpected place… Daytona Beach! Daytona Beach? Yep, right there in the middle of the Spring Break/Party Capital of the World, was a tranquil retreat that felt like we were a million miles away from the high-energy vibe and sardine-packed beaches that Daytona is famous for.
***TIP for Booking Any Bed and Breakfast Inn
We spent four fantastic nights at River Lily. I booked my reservation over the phone, speaking directly with the Innkeeper. As with all Bed and Breakfast reservations, it’s beneficial to discuss the booking with someone even if you have the option to book it online. The reason? Based on the occupancy levels, the Innkeepers may offer special unadvertised incentives for additional nights. For example… when I spoke with Polly (the Innkeeper) on the phone, I asked if there were any current promotions. At first she said no, but then changed her mind and offered me a “buy 3, get the 4th night free” deal. Wow! For me, that was a major blessing since I was about to reserve the ‘best’ (and priciest) room in the house. [She didn’t know it, but I had intended to book 3 nights anyhow.] Had I booked online, I would have missed out on that deal. Making a phone call saved me $215 + tax!
River Lily Inn — Home Sweet Home
The Innkeepers at River Lily Inn, Art and Polly Cappuccio, offer outstanding personal service. Once you walk through the front door of the Inn, you are no longer a stranger, as they immediately adopt you as part of their family. Polly is usually waiting at the door to give you one of her ‘signature’ hugs and a personal tour of each room of the Inn before escorting you to your reserved room. Art and Polly are masters at making you feel as if their home is your home, not simply a hotel to lay your head at night. In a word, the welcome mat on the front porch said it all: “Home!”
Breakfast at River Lily Inn — A Gastronomical Delight!
To me, one of the best things of a Bed and Breakfast Inn is, of course, the breakfast! When choosing a B&B, I automatically eliminate those which include a light ‘continental’ breakfast. Come on, if I wanted that I would have booked a Fairfield Inn for the night. Part of the ambiance of a B&B is the full, hot, more-than-you-can-eat, over-the-top, gourmet breakfast. Oftentimes, as in this case, sharing a table with other guests staying at the Inn. Sharing a meal is a great way to get to know people and an added benefit is the exchanging of vacation stories along with travel tips, recommendations and advice. (Traveling the world, after all, can be full of pitfalls! One wrong step and your vacation could be ruined.) During breakfast, we made new friends and even exchanged emails in an attempt to keep in touch long after our stint at River Lily had ended.
Even before breakfast, which was served daily at 9:00am, we awoke to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that was placed conveniently in the hallway right outside our room at 7:00am for early risers — or, for those like me, who are not coherent until after a generous jolt of java.
Each morning of our stay, Art prepared a true gastronomical delight. Breakfast was served with a smile by Polly (and sometimes Jennifer, the Assistant Innkeeper). The selections varied every day and attention to detail was evident. The hot entree was always accompanied by coffee/tea, juice, fresh fruit, and sometimes an additional pastry item. It was always more-than-enough (but I don’t remember leaving anything on my plate). Breakfast was so plentiful it carried us through until dinner each day.
Art the Artist!
Art not only excels in the kitchen, but as breakfast is being served, he serenades the guests with subtle background music as he plays piano and guitar and sings from an adjacent room. You see, ‘back in the day,’ Art was a session musician who played with Billy Joel and other well-known rock stars of the 60’s and 70’s. As if that were not enough, Art is also an artist. (Why is it that some people have more than their fair share of talent?) Virtually every room in the Inn includes original artwork painted by Art.
Polly’s Tea Room
During our stay Polly hosted one of her very popular ‘Afternoon Tea’s.’ The Tea’s which occur several times a month consistently receive rave reviews from guests of the Inn as well as locals from Daytona Beach and surrounding areas. Polly spent two days in the kitchen preparing pastries and mouth-watering little morsels for the event. Oh my goodness, words cannot describe the sweet aroma that penetrated our upstairs room and every nook and cranny of the Inn. We were not able to attend due to a previously scheduled day-trip, but hopefully we’ll have the opportunity during our next visit.
River Lily Inn — A Holly Hill Historic Landmark
The River Lily Inn is located on the Intracoastal Halifax River in a section of Daytona known as Holly Hill. The Inn dates back to 1888 and is a Historic Landmark. It is almost 3800 square feet with an adjacent 2-story carriage house. The one and a half acre property is adorned with ancient oak trees (hundreds of years old) and Florida’s signature palm trees. It has a unique oversized heart-shaped pool that was built in the 1950s and modeled after Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield’s pool.
Art and Polly purchased the old plantation style home in September of 2007 and after major renovation (that they did themselves) opened the doors in Spring of 2008 as a Bed and Breakfast Inn. There are six guest rooms each with a private bath that vary in size and price. During our first night the other rooms were not occupied thus allowing us to peek inside. After touring each room, I’m confident I would be happy and comfortable in any one of them.
The River Lily Room — Elegance Redefined
Our accommodations were in the premiere room, named after the Inn itself — The River Lily Room. Simply stunning! Every aspect of the spacious room projected an aire of elegance, from the twin chandeliers right down to the luxury linens and bedding (cozy, comfortable, upscale bedding is a mandate when we travel). The soaring vaulted ceilings made our special space truly ethereal and the dual skylights provided an extra measure of brightness. We enjoyed our morning coffee in the sitting area perfectly positioned in front of the extra-large palladium windows, characteristic of neoclassic styles. Watching the sunrise over the Halifax River was a breathtaking display of radiant colors. I’m not typically a morning person, but it was worth waking up early to witness the sun’s brilliant rays glistening off the golden accents in our room!
River Lily Inn — The Ritz Carlton of B & B’s!
As an amateur photographer, I was in my glory! Inspiration is one of the most important aspects of my photography, and at the River Lily Inn it was easy to be inspired. Since architectural photography is one of my favorites, I found this Historic Inn to be extremely photogenic. Even on a rainy day, she smiled! Needless to say, our stay at the River Lily Inn both met and exceeded our expectations. In fact, I’ve nicknamed it “the Ritz Carlton of B & B’s!” This Florida find was a real gem and we’re already planning a return trip. River Lily had everything we were looking for; beautiful property, excellent location, and something you will not find in any other Bed and Breakfast Inn… Art and Polly, the Grand Poohbah of Host’s!
River Lily Inn — Daytona Beach — Photo Tour
Art and Polly Cappuccio, Innkeepers / Owners
558 Riverside Drive, Daytona Beach, FL 32117
Telephone: (386) 253-5002
Calling All B & B Enthusiasts…
Please share your thoughts or questions regarding the River Lily Inn in the “comment” box below. Or, perhaps you have a favorite Florida Bed and Breakfast Inn (name and location) that you can share with our readers!