SANDESTIN – Ovide at Hotel Effie Sandestin is hosting a special Easter brunch buffet on Sunday, April 9. Locals and travelers alike can enjoy delectable dishes, live music and more. Brunch is priced at $95 per person, excluding gratuity and tax, $25 for children under 12 years old, and free of charge for children under 5.
The buffet features various stations where guests can savor the taste of traditional favorites and new, innovative dishes. The breakfast station includes scrambled eggs, eggs Benedict, bacon, sausage and cocktail shrimp, made with lemons, cocktail and tartar sauce. In the action station, guests can enjoy a fresh omelet with assorted toppings and a french toast bar complete with fruits, whipped cream, peanut butter, Nutella and chocolate chips.
Guests can pair assorted breads and rolls with fresh salads like the spinach and kale salad with seasonal berries, goat cheese, pistachio, red onion and black pepper honey vinaigrette, or a wedge salad with bacon lardons, blue cheese, heirloom tomatoes and buttermilk dressing.
At the carving station, guests can indulge in prime rib with horseradish cream, leg of lamb with mustard mint jus, salmon with beurre blanc and glazed ham with maple jus. Glazed carrots, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cream corn and crispy Brussels sprout are featured in the sides station to pair with any dish. Make sure to save room for dessert, including banana pudding, carrot cake, strawberry cheesecake, lemon bars and assorted cookies.
Brunch will be hosted at Hotel Effie at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, where guests can enjoy an upscale ambiance and indulge in a combination of local Gulf Coast flavors and classic French techniques. Reservations are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and can be made on Resy.
SANDESTIN – Mardi Gras is one of the biggest parties of the year where locals and travelers alike indulge in lively parades, celebrations and traditions. In the heart of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, The Village of Baytowne Wharf hosts over-the-top Mardi Gras parties.
The festivities begin on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the annual Baytowne Mardi Gras Parade which will fill the Village streets with unique and colorful floats, golf carts, costumed dogs and their humans. From 2 to 5 p.m., Mardi Gras music will fill the air as four-legged friends and parade participants shower the streets with a barrage of beads, Moon Pies and other trinkets.
On Feb. 21, break out your Mardi Gras beads on what many call the most festive day of the year, Fat Tuesday, at the Mardi Gras Street Pardi. Starting at 6 p.m. guests will gather at The Village of Baytowne Wharf for a Village Street Party complete with music by New Orleans soul-funk band Boukou Groove, street performers, entertainers and more. The post-pardi celebration will continue into the night with parties at several Baytowne establishments, including Fat Tuesdays, the ultimate Mardi Gras stop. Grab an iconic New Orleans original daiquiris or any frozen concoction and “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll)!
Accommodations are available at nearby Hotel Effie, a pet-friendly hotel with on-site restaurants and spa, or Osprey Pointe, a spacious condo complex complete with separate bedrooms.
SANDESTIN – It’s nearly time to wave goodbye to 2022 and welcome 2023 with open arms. Many are looking for an epic celebration and what better way to experience the ringing in of 2023 than with an over-the-top New Year’s Eve experience in Hotel Effie’s extravagant Presidential Suite!
Check-in at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31 to the spacious Presidential Suite, decked out to be the perfect private party venue. The super luxe 1,280-square-foot suite features a king-size bed, spacious kitchen, living room, garden tub, and large balcony, providing the best spot to enjoy the private fireworks show! A welcome amenity and party favors will be waiting to get you in the mood upon arrival.
To get the party started, Hotel Effie will have a fully stocked private bar in your suite and the ultimate champagne bar, featuring Ace of Spades, Veuve, and Dom Perignon. To top it all off, a personal bartender in-suite will make sure your glass is never empty so that you can toast with your loved ones on the private balcony to the shimmering views of fireworks at the Village at Baytowne Wharf.
A fine-dining feast at Ovide
This package also includes dinner for two at the award-winning Ovide, Hotel Effie’s signature restaurant led by the renowned chef Hugh Acheson, for an indulgent New Year’s Eve dinner featuring an all-you-can-eat seafood raw bar, gourmet entrées, a spread of decadent sweets at the dessert bar, and the quintessential champagne toast. Guests can up their New Year’s Eve makeup game with the glitter artist that will be at the restaurant and then head to the photo booth to take some fun pictures with their loved ones.
A rooftop party just steps from your door
Don’t miss out on the exclusive New Year’s Eve party at Ara Rooftop Pool and Lounge. DJ DFunk will be performing live while guests enjoy the heated pool, party favors, and panoramic views of the Emerald Coast that will keep the fun going long past the midnight countdown. All of the fun with none of the hassle, and you can even take the elevator home!
A divine start to your New Year’s Day
To help you fight off any post-party hangovers, head downstairs to a delightful New Year’s Day brunch for two. Follow up the meal with a choice of two services at Hotel Effie’s luxurious Spa Lilliana to leave feeling revived, refreshed and ready to take on a new year.
Other package amenities include: complimentary valet parking, late checkout and a souvenir menu for all.
For more information on the various New Year’s Eve packages available, visit hoteleffie.com
Dishes curated by James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson
Nov. 17, 2022 Special to 30A Food & Wine
MIRAMAR BEACH – Ovide, the signature restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson, has launched a new dinner menu highlighting fresh fall flavors and ingredients. Located at Hotel Effie, inside the gates of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Ovide embraces the flavors of the Gulf Coast, showcasing Acheson’s creativity and passion for distinctive ingredients and cooking techniques by fusing coastal cuisine with a sophisticated French influence.
The new menu features fresh and wholesome salads, including the Fall Salad ($17), with pomegranate seeds, apples, sweet potato, pecorino, spiced pumpkin seeds and bourbon maple vinaigrette, and Beet Salad ($18), combining burnt rosemary panna cotta, watercress, orange vinaigrette and pistachio. Appetizers include Charred Octopus ($28), served with citrus, frisée, cured olives and mint vinaigrette, and Roasted Gulf Oysters ($18) with chimichurri sauce.
The dinner menu also offers a selection of new entrées, including the Sweet Potato Gnocchi ($29), served with kale-cream sauce, spiced pumpkin seeds and ricotta cheese; Poached Sable ($44), paired with charred Brussels sprouts and hazelnut on a bed of carrot salad dressed with carrot-ginger sauce; Grilled Snapper ($42), served with maitake mushrooms, leeks and sweet garlic-lemon broth; Braised Short Rib ($48), made with parsnip butter, kilt greens, broccolini and crispy shallots; Poulet Rouge ($42), served atop a sweet potato purée, warm mushroom salad, apples and fine herbs; and Bone-In Pork Chop ($48), topped with whipped potatoes with dashi-braised turnips, shishitos, persimmons and mirin glaze.
“We are excited to launch this new menu showcasing the fresh, forward flavors and local seafood of the Gulf Coast combined with ingredients and flavors for the fall season,” said Chef Acheson. “We work closely with local farmers and vendors to ensure we’re bringing the most sustainable and freshest ingredients straight to your plate.”
Breakfast and lunch menus
Aside from the new dinner menu, Ovide also updated its breakfast and lunch menus which have been available since Oct. 27. For a breakfast of champions don’t miss out on their house specialty, Biscuits and Gravy ($14), with sausage gravy and sunny-side eggs. For lunch go for the Hot Chicken Sandwich ($24), with Brussels slaw, tomato, pickle and chipotle aioli – to feel extra seasonal, pair it with sweet potato fries. Kids are also in for a treat as their lunch and dinner menus have also been revamped, offering all time favorites including pastas, cheeseburger, chicken tenders and grilled cheese.
The new brunch menu launched Nov. 3 and includes their Brioche French Toast ($18), with banana foster and whipped cream; or the hearty Fried Green Tomato Benedict ($25), with jumbo lump crab, poached eggs, spinach, goat cheese and hollandaise.
Ovide is open daily for breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is available Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Brunch will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations can be made at www.hoteleffie.com/dining/ovide.
Will work alongside James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson
Sept. 26, 2022 Special to 30A Food and Wine
MIRAMAR BEACH – Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort announced the appointment of Matthew Krueger to executive chef of Hotel Effie. Krueger is helming the kitchen at the hotel’s signature restaurant Ovide, the only Florida restaurant by James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson. Acheson, who was awarded Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef and known for television appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef, is responsible for curating the hotel’s culinary concepts based on Southern cuisine and coastal flavors. Acheson conceptualized the menus for all of the hotel’s food and beverage outlets, including Ara Rooftop & Pool Lounge, The Lobby Bar (TLB) and Sweetbay Coffee.
As executive chef, Krueger will collaborate with Acheson to oversee all aspects of food and beverage operations across the hotel’s four restaurant outlets and in-room dining. In his new role, he’ll supervise the culinary team, manage budgets and maintain the overall guest experience. Krueger will work closely with Steven Grubbs, the hotel’s sommelier and wine director, to create pairings for Ovide’s menu and Kellie Thorn, the hotel’s lead mixologist. He’ll also work closely with local farmers and vendors to ensure the hotel restaurants continue to serve farm fresh and sustainable ingredients whenever possible.
“We are delighted to welcome Chef Krueger to our Hotel Effie family,” said Brad Busby, general manager of Hotel Effie. “At our core, we are defined by Effie’s role as the ultimate Southern hostess and serving wonderful food is a large part of that experience. We have no doubt that Chef Krueger will work well with Chef Acheson to continue to please our guests with outstanding service and cuisine at Ovide and our other culinary outlets.”
Krueger is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry. He graduated from the Art Institute of Salt Lake City, where he received a degree in culinary arts. He proceeded to work in kitchens at prestigious luxury resorts across the U.S., including J&G Grill at the St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, The Lodge at Sea Island Resort in Georgia and Homestead Resort in Utah. During his time at The Lodge, the restaurant received its 5-star rating from Forbes, among other accolades.
“It’s a dream come true to work alongside Chef Acheson and the team of chefs at Hotel Effie,” said Krueger. “I look forward to expanding our menus, showcasing some of the beautiful, fresh seafood found here along the Emerald Coast and welcoming our guests into our restaurants.”
Hotel Effie and its restaurants are located at 1 Grand Sandestin Blvd., in Miramar Beach.
Hotel Effie dinner to benefit Emerald Coast Autism Center
SANDESTIN – Hotel Effie has partnered with the Emerald Coast Autism Center for a special one-night event hosted by celebrity chef Hugh Acheson Friday, July 15 from 6 to 10 p.m. The pre-fixe dinner will take place at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Ovide, nestled in the heart of the world-famous Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
The spectacular culinary showcase will allow attendees to meet and interact with Acheson during the dinner, which will include a multi-course menu, showcasing Acheson’s creativity and passion for distinctive ingredients and cooking techniques by fusing coastal cuisine with a sophisticated French influence.
The evening will also include wine pairings by Presqu’ile Winemaker and Dieter Cronje, a silent auction, special guest speakers, and a magical cocktail reception. The reception will be hosted by renowned mixologist Kellie Thorn, who has received considerable recognition for her craft cocktails.
A portion of the night’s proceeds will be donated to the Emerald Coast Autism Center, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating and improving the lives of individuals with autism in Okaloosa and Walton counties and surrounding areas. Every dollar raised for this evening’s event will be matched dollar for dollar by a matching grant that has been generously put in place by the Dugas family, a supporter of ECAC.
SANDESTIN – When Hotel Effie opened in February of 2021, it brought with it three new food and beverage opportunities: The Lobby Bar, Ara Rooftop Pool & Lounge, and Ovide, the hotel’s year-round fine dining restaurant.
The menu at Ovide comes from the mind of five-time James Beard nominee Hugh Acheson, 2012 winner of Best Chef Southeast and an alum of Bravo’s “Top Chef” series.
The food coming from the Ovide kitchen combines Gulf coast cuisine with Acheson’s Southern sensibility, then takes it to the next level by adding a French twist. Jesus Pacheco, director of food and beverage of Hotel Effie, said their food is really making waves.
“It’s unique in style; a trendsetter in this area,” Pacheco said. “Whether you’re proposing to your fiancé, or having a night out with the girls, it fits.”
Eats and drinks
Owner and developer Tom Becnel named Hotel Effie after his grandmother, and the Ovide name was borrowed from his grandfather.
“Effie was the ultimate host, her place was the place to be,” said Nova Winfield, assistant hotel marketing director. “We have really embodied that here.”
No place is that link to the past more evident than in Effie’s Biscuit, a menu staple made with salted butter and sorghum, using the actual family recipe.
From the starters menu, Pacheco pointed to the chargrilled octopus as a favorite, with its avocado, jicama and small chili salad.
“To me, it’s something you would never expect and the taste sticks around with you till your next bite,” he said.
One of the biggest brunch-time sellers is the farm egg with crispy rice, served with kimchi, spring onions and oyster mushrooms.
“This dish is thinking outside of the box and describes the culinary aspect of Hugh. It gives you the appreciation of our local cuisine,” Pacheco said.
From the dinner entree menu, he assured diners that Ovide’s pan-roasted snapper with bok choy and Thai chili is unlike anything you’ve had along the Emerald Coast.
“It makes your mouth water, to be honest! It’s our twist on a dish you’ll find everywhere around town, but it gives you that Ovide experience,” Pacheco said.
Beyond the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and kids menus served seven days a week (brunch on weekends), Ovide takes things further yet, welcoming guests to the immensely popular Saturday jazz brunches, special holiday meals, and the occasional celebrity chef dinner when Acheson is in town. Future plans include wine dinners and beer tastings as well.
Speaking of libations, the bar program at Hotel Effie was created by award-winning mixologist Kellie Thorn, always using fresh produce and house-made juices.
“We’ve made it our focus to be able to do those craft cocktails, and have bartenders that can really craft something specific for you,” Pacheco said, adding that the menu changes at least four times a year.
Stepping into an “aww”
The family ties continue in the décor, as Sara Becnel, GM of Sandestin Resort, hand-picked every detail in the restaurant. This marriage of fine dining and fine décor has been called “romantic” and even “sexy” – especially after the sun goes down. Here you’ll find rich, dark woods, warm lighting, and a dramatic floral ceiling mural that might stop you in your tracks.
“Sara took her time to create Instagrammable moments throughout the hotel to encourage people to notice the details – like our ceiling,” Winfield explained. “During brunch it’s a homey, family vibe. At night, it’s hopping, the music is good, the lights are down, the smells coming from the kitchen are amazing. It’s the place to be seen.”
Ovide is found on the ground floor of Hotel Effie, located at 1 Grand Sandestin Blvd., Miramar Beach, within the Sandestin resort. They take reservations and are open year-round for all meals, including weekend brunch. Visit them online at www.hoteleffie.com/dining/ovide or call 850-351-3030.
SANDESTIN – This Mother’s Day, moms can forget about the to-do list and focus on relaxing their mind and body as soon as they step foot into Hotel Effie, the new luxury property at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. The hotel is offering a day of pampering, both for hotel guests and locals.
Upon check-in, moms will be greeted with a cool towel to unwind, a handcrafted cocktail to decompress and a warm homemade cookie (with a secret family recipe) to cozy up in a beautifully designed Hotel Effie room with commissioned art by Brenden Parker, a local mixed-media artist.
A Mother’s Day Brunch is planned at Ovide, an award-winning restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson, that embraces the fresh, forward flavors and local seafood of the Gulf Coast. Guests can enjoy a carving station, seafood display, a create-your-own Bloody Mary station or unlimited “Mom”osas and more! Reservations can be made between 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. here.
Moms can then indulge in a day at Spa Lilliana on the second floor, welcomed with a mimosa, a rose and a complimentary gift. At Spa Lilliana, moms will receive a tranquil pampering experience with a vast menu of spa treatments to choose from.
After rejuvenating at the spa, moms can further their pampered experience with a nice stroll on Hotel Effie’s exclusive beach at sunset, before heading to Ara Rooftop Pool and Lounge for light refreshments and stargazing.
SANDESTIN – One of the newest dining options on the 30A scene is Ovide, the signature restaurant at the new Hotel Effie at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
Ovide opened in February with a menu created in collaboration with celebrity chef and James Beard Award-winner Hugh Acheson. Ovide focuses on clean, fresh and simple food featuring flavors from around the world, alongside more familiar Southern cuisine.
“We are trying hard to keep it really clean with simple food, nothing super elaborate,” said Hotel Effie’s executive chef Lulu Dangerfield, who oversees the day-to-day operations at Ovide and the hotel’s other restaurants. “Nothing is deep-fried, none of our dishes are really heavy. It is not the kind of food that is going to make you want to go take a nap after you eat it. It’s very clean food, but also very full of flavor.”
This approach is on full display in their red snapper dish. The fish is pan-fried to a perfect crisp then served with Southern pigeon peas and rice, charred baby bok choy and a Thai chili sauce.
Dangerfield likes to keep the menu as fresh as the food. She updates the menu regularly, responding to what people are loving and what they might be looking for more of.
“Every time you come, I want you to have something different and it be delicious.”
– Lulu Dangerfield, executive chef
“For me, it’s important that if someone likes the restaurant and the atmosphere and appreciates the service that we provide, I want to make sure they can come once a week and not get bored,” she said. “Every time you come, I want you to have something different and it be delicious.”
New ingredients, new experiences
Dangerfield also likes to use ingredients that people may not be as familiar with and show them how fresh and simple preparation can create delicious food.
Take, for example, Ovide’s fairy tale eggplant, which is roasted on the grill and then served with a smear of light and fresh pesto made from spinach, basil, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. It’s garnished with lemon aioli and microgreens and served over a bed of farro.
“A lot of people don’t like eggplant,” Dangerfield said. “The weird thing is a lot of people actually love eggplant if it’s cooked properly. We want to surprise people, so they can say ‘Wow, I actually love this.’”
Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Acheson became famous for his restaurants in Athens, Ga. He went on to win a James Beard Award in 2012 and be a competitor and then judge on the television show Top Chef.
Dangerfield said Acheson has mastered using Southern ingredients in new ways, as he does in his farm egg with crispy rice dish, one of the signatures at his restaurants in Georgia. For this dish, which is now also served at Ovide, a poached egg is served over very crisp rice. When the egg is broken open it becomes the sauce for the dish. It’s served with a Korean-style kimchi made with collard green stems.
Another popular offering at Ovide is their grilled filet mignon served alongside mashed potatoes with a highly flavorful shiitake mushroom and red wine beef jus.
Flavors of the world
Dangerfield said one of the favorite parts of her job is working with all the chefs who are involved in the project. They all have different backgrounds: she was born and raised in Mexico, Acheson is from Canada and then Georgia, and the other chefs came from Louisiana, New Mexico and Philadelphia.
“We all have this different approach to food and we bring different ingredients,” she said. “I enjoy a lot when we make specials and we all bring different backgrounds and different stories to the table and then it all comes together in one plate. It’s something you couldn’t have gotten to by yourself.”
Ovide is located at Hotel Effie at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort near Baytowne Wharf. The address is 1 Grand Sandestin Boulevard in Miramar Beach. The restaurant’s staff can be reached at 850-351-3030 during business hours. They are open seven days a week for breakfast and brunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by phone. Find more information at hoteleffie.com/dining/ovide.
SANDESTIN – After eight years of planning and three years of construction, the ribbon was cut and the doors opened to Sandestin’s newest luxury accommodations, Hotel Effie. Tom Becnel, chairman of Sandestin Investments and Sara Becnel, vice president of development for Sandestin, led the ceremonial opening in front of the 250-room hotel, then invited guests to the 10th floor Ara Rooftop Pool & Lounge for a sunset soirée.
“I want to thank the hundreds of construction workers who toiled every day in the cold and the heat, in rain, and put in long, long hours,” Tom Becnel said. He thanked the team of professionals behind the scenes who made the project come together, and specifically thanked his daughter.
“Sara is probably the person most responsible for the success of this hotel,” Tom Becnel added. “She was involved from the beginning … and is the one person responsible for the interior finishes and the design, which make it special.”
“It was truly a family effort and it made it super special to be able to learn and work with my father,” Sara Becnel said before cutting the ribbon. “The building wouldn’t even be out of the ground if it weren’t from him.”
As the elevator doors opened into the evening’s festivities, guests were greeted with champagne, wine and cocktails from Ara. Passed hors d’oeuvres included oysters on the half shell, pickled mussels, poke salad and compressed watermelon with house ricotta.
Hotel Effie’s culinary offerings were led by celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, the Georgia restaurateur, author and “Top Chef” judge and contestant.
Ara, which has both indoor and outdoor space as well as private cabanas, serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., including a black-eyed pea hummus, a super food plate, grilled tiger prawns, and to cool off, Steel City popsicles and milkshakes. The Sunset menu is offered from 5 to 10 p.m., to include shrimp cocktail, chicken wings and smoked mackerel toast.
At the lobby level is Ovide, an elegant restaurant marrying Gulf Coast flavors with classic French technique. Serving breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m., diners can choose from light offerings like green tomato shakshuka, specialties such as the pecan-buttermilk pancakes, or the French omelet with Boursin cheese. Enjoy freshly squeezed juices, house kombucha, coconut water or a Mexican Coke, in additional to more tradition beverages.
Lunch at Ovide offers a tuna Niçoise salad, Kobe beef burger, raw oysters and kimchi creamed collards, to name a few. For dinner, sample the seafood tower, prime beef tartare or roasted red snapper. A kids’ menu includes the classics, ensuring younger diners are covered as well.
Also located on the ground floor is TLB: The Lobby Bar, serving craft cocktails and small plates from 3 to 11 p.m. daily. Sweetbay Coffee presents coffee drinks and tea from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
Hotel Effie is Becnel’s second property within the resort, and he hinted at further development in the future. Other amenities include Spa Lilliana, a 13,000-square-foot ballroom, two smaller ballrooms, and 10 meeting rooms.
Hotel Effie, Ovide, Ara Rooftop Pool & Lounge, and TLB are located at 1 Grand Sandestin Blvd., in Miramar Beach, and can be found online at www.hoteleffie.com.