The Traveling Steve's

Valentine’s Staycation in Daytona Beach Shores

Steve (DOS) and I stayed overnight at the Residence Inn Daytona Shores for a mid-week Valentine’s dinner. While it was a quick overnight stay, we met our Orlando friends Ben and Tom there for dinner, and went to a great restaurant; Hyde Park Prime steakhouse.

Valentine’s Day was actually on Sunday, which was the same day as the Daytona 500 at Daytona Beach, and even with the COVID pandemic still in force, some 25,000 people were attending the race, so we went on Tuesday when it was much quieter. (Also one of the advantages of being retired – you can go anywhere during the week!)

I went to the Daytona 500 the first year I was in Orlando (pre-DOS) some 22 year ago and really enjoyed it, but I always said I would stay at a hotel in Daytona if I did it again as the traffic was crazy; backed up all the way to Orlando! Somewhere I have a couple pre-digital photos packed away from 1998 of that fun day. Maybe one day when I’m cleaning out the closet I’ll find them. Fortunately for this trip in 2021, by the time we checked in on Tuesday, the Daytona Beach area was noticeably quieter from the ‘Big 500 event” already having taken place.

DOS and I met our good friends Ben and Tom in Daytona, (also staying at the Residence Inn), and who had checked in a day prior. The Residence Inn is oceanfront in the Daytona Beach Shores area, which is a a quieter area, about 10 minutes down the road from Daytona Beach proper.

We’ve stayed at this Residence Inn a couple times, and on this visit we got a nice Marriott Platinum upgrade from Oceanview to Oceanfront. The one bedroom suite was quite spacious, and compared to the Oceanview suite we had last time, this had 2 separate balconies as well as a side window, all overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the full kitchen, living/dining room, and bedroom, there was a large stand-alone Jacuzzi tub adjacent to the bathroom! This was a nice surprise, and the room was super nice with a lovely view from the balconies, and an extra side window as well.

After getting our early checkin at 12:30pm, we met our friends Ben and Tom for lunch, and went to Crabby Joe’s, just down the street from our hotel and right on the ocean. To reach the restaurant, you walk down a long pier, and the restaurant is at the end – literally over the beach and water!

We wanted to eat outside on the oceanfront deck, but as it was a long wait the four of us sat indoors just off the outdoor patio area. As the windows were open, we had a nice ocean breeze letting in fresh sea air. We had a nice casual lunch with Ben and Tom, while all of us were being mindful to not over-eat as we had a big meal at Hyde Park Steakhouse that night at 6:30pm.

After lunch we went back to the hotel and relaxed a bit around the pool area, and took a walk along the beach. It was a bit breezy, but quite comfortable outside. Compare that to the wintery snow happening up north! Living in Florida you sometimes forget it’s winter!

For dinner, we had reservations at 6:30pm at Hyde Park Steakhouse in Daytona Beach. As DOS wasn’t drinking, he drove Ben, Tom, and myself to the restaurant, which is part of the Hilton Daytona Beach complex. It’s oceanfront location is perfect, and it is adjacent to the Hilton’s large convention center. We had a quick sunset drink outside on the patio at Hyde Park, before going inside.

I had made reservations for the outdoor beachfront seating for dinner, but as the sun was setting it was getting a bit cool and breezy, so we ate inside, requesting a table away from the others. Hyde Park is a premium Steakhouse, and they were already social distancing for their tables anyway (they had a whole page on their website listing the COVID protocols they were taking), but they appreciated our concern, and set us in a nice circular booth towards the back of the restaurant. I took a quick selfie of the four of us before heading inside.

The four of us then had a wonderful and leisurely meal at Hyde Park, with outstanding food and service, which you would expect of a restaurant of this caliber. DOS and I had eaten here a while back and loved it it, and Ben and Tom thoroughly enjoyed it as well on this their first visit there. For a Tuesday night, it was fairly busy, but with the tables separated apart for social distancing, we felt comfortable eating inside the restaurant. The restaurant decor has a jovial, masculine feel to it (like a old style supper club) with various characters and scenes painted on the wall mural directly behind our large and semi-circular booth (second photo). The first photo shows part of the restaurant, with the other table a comfortable 10 feet away from us.

Here are some photos of our evening dinner, staring with our shared appetizer of jumbo crab cake. As in fine steakhouses such as this, the portions are quite large, and DOS and I enjoy trying and sharing multiple appetizers, and then in turn sharing a main course of over-sized steak. We also like the appetizers and courses paced (some would say slowly; rather we think leisurely) so as to enjoy the evening of fine dining. Normally we would have a couple appetizers, but here the AHI Tuna was prepared as a “tower” in a dish that looked puréed, not the traditional way we like it sliced up with wasabi on the side, so we passed on the second appetizer. They did not have the AHI as an entree here, or we would have ordered that and split it with the table as another appetizer. No problem though, we had plenty to eat, and were soon off to our next course. (Sorry if the indoor photos are a bit blurry, I’m still getting used to the iPhone 12 and it’s many photo settings such as these pics in low light).

We next had a salad, and shared a bottle of Rodney Strong Symmetry, which is a premium Meritage version of their name brand Cabernet Savignuon. We had been to the Rodney Strong Winery a few years ago in Haeraldsubry, CA (Russian River Valley area), and first tried Symmetry there, so we were familiar with the quality wine and were glad to have it again with our dinner.

The main course photo of our steak was too blurry to print, but our HUGE shared cowboy ribeye was delicious! I only took one other photo at dinner as we really enjoyed our night out of dining, and it was as we were leaving, with us all masked-up per COVID restrictions.

After dinner we walked around outside the restaurant and Hilton, along the boardwalk for a bit before heading back to the Residence Inn. Here is a photo of the Hilton Daytona Beach from the rear, directly overlooking the ocean.

We then headed back to the hotel, but made one last stop at the Streamline Hotel, which was on the way back to our Daytona Beach Shores hotel. We usually stop there for a quick nightcap and view from the Rooftop Bar, but due to COVID, it’s only open Thursday to Sunday, so we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

The next day we drove the short hour’s drive back to home in Orlando. ‘Twas a fun post-Valentine’s dinner and stay-cation!

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