by Karon Warren
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee holds center stage at the 10,000-acre golf and lakefront community constructed along the shores of Lake Oconee, 75 miles east of Atlanta. Mercer Reynolds Sr., the inventor of the process for solidifying cottonseed oil, purchased the property in the early 1900’s and named it “Linger Longer.” He also built the Rock House as a hunting and fishing retreat. Nearly a century later, the original landowner’s grandson, decided to share the natural beauty of the area with others by building a community for families. In 2002, The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation opened and after a multi-million dollar renovation in 2015 it changed its name to The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in order to incorporate its lakefront location.
Today, the resort is comprised of the 251-room Lodge, six lakeside cottages and the Presidential House. The accommodations are surrounded by five top-notch golf courses, a state-of-the-art spa, 24-hour access fitness center, an infinity pool overlooking the lake, two full-service marinas, tennis courts, bike paths and hiking trails. In addition, guests can take part in a number of activities, such as swimming, fishing, boating and horseback riding. Also, rifle enthusiasts can shoot skeet, trap and clay targets.
To learn more about Ritz-Carlton, please visit Ritz-Carlton.
Our Editor Loves
- Children's check-in -- kids sign the guest book and receive a scavenger hunt sheet and a prize
- Infinity-edge, heated swimming pool overlooking Lake Oconee
- S'mores feast held every night at The Lodge Campfire
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee features 251 guestrooms within The Lodge, six two- and three-bedroom golf cottages and the 5,400-square foot Presidential House. All guestrooms come with flat-screen televisions, CD player and Internet access for a daily fee. Private balconies face the lake or resort grounds. For families with children under age 6, a specially-trained bellman will install a "Protect Our Little Ones" kit in the guestroom upon arrival. Components of the kit may include a nightlight, tub spout cover, electric outlet plugs, first aid kit and emergency safety card.
Traditional guestrooms with either a resort or lake view are outfitted with one or two beds. Executive suites are double the size, consisting of a master bedroom, a living room with half-bath, and a large master bath with separate shower and bathtub.
The Club Level contains 33 rooms, four executive suites and the Ritz-Carlton Suite on the fifth floor of The Lodge. The Ritz-Carlton Suite contains a living room, dining room and full kitchen. In addition to the master bathroom, there are two full bathrooms. Access to the Club Level is restricted, and additional amenities include coffee and tea with wakeup service. Breakfast, light snacks, hors d'oeuvres, beverages and snacks are also offered in the Club Lounge.
For more room, guests can book a two- or three-bedroom golf cottage, which has living areas, dining rooms, fireplaces, and porches. The kitchens are outfitted with a refrigerator, toaster oven, microwave, coffeemaker, dishwasher and sink. In the spacious two-bedroom cottage, a second bedroom presents two beds. There are also a total of two-and-a-half baths in this unit. The three-bedroom cottage contains a master suite, a second bedroom, and a third bedroom with two beds. Three-and-a-half baths are also in this type of suite.
The Presidential House epitomizes luxurious lakeside living. Encompassing three floors, this aptly named facility features four master suites, two bedrooms with two double beds, two bedrooms with king beds and two guest baths.
Furthermore, there is a living room with a fireplace, a wet bar off the foyer, a formal dining room and a full kitchen. In the lower level Great Room, guests will find a pool table, game table, wet bar and flat-screen television. To enjoy the great outdoors, the home includes a screened-in back porch and a private, heated outdoor pool. Finally, there is a golf cart waiting in its own garage off the mudroom.
We were pleasantly surprised at the high level of competence and expertise for our family photo session! Not to mention the several backdrops and settings for the photos. The photo staff was very accommodating and understanding knowing we had 3 very small children along. Thank you again!
When you charge over $5,500 for two nights, not including meals, there is a level of service that your clientele expects. It’s obvious after our stay this weekend that the property is struggling with hiring and keeping staff. Most of the time when we splurge on a special weekend away, I feel the expense was worth it, but right now I just feel ripped-off.
First the positive. The staff at Gabby’s by the Lake were delightful, as were the valets and the room service people. Our 2-bedroom cottage was lovely and well-appointed and was perfect for a weekend with family. It could use some better lighting, as it was hard to see to pack.
I started to worry when we went to Georgia's Restaurant for dinner and were greeted by a rather unpleasant hostess. She asked if we wanted to sit outside and as it was quite chilly, I asked if there were patio heaters. She said no, and I asked if there were blankets and she gave me an actual eye-roll and said no blankets. We did end up sitting outside and there was no light on the table so I had to ask for a candle.
Our server was quite nice but it was her first night so she was not knowledgeable about the menu. It seemed to be a theme with many of the staff we encountered. Three different people said it was their first day or first weekend at the property.
The next day we called housekeeping and asked them if they could make up our room while we were at lunch. They said they would send someone over right away. At 4:30 our room still hadn’t been cleaned. They finally arrived and did a rather perfunctory job while we were there.
Someone is supposed to stock the honor bar that comes with the cottages, and that did not happen. When we left for dinner, we called and asked them to restock it for us, that we were out of water. When we got back from dinner, there was an entire case of Ritz Carton bottled water, still wrapped in plastic, unceremoniously dumped on a side table in the room. Nothing was replaced in the fridge. Ouch.
Something I did not expect is the number of televisions in all of the restaurants except Georgia's. Even during our special dinner at Linger Longer, it was impossible to get away from college football and semi-drunk golf dudes yelling at the TV. The Linger Longer restaurant was insultingly over-priced. My $70 bone-in filet came with nothing on it at all. It was $5 extra to get peppercorns on it, not peppercorn sauce, just peppercorns. Dinner for 4 was over $1,000 with wine and tips. It was fine, but certainly not great.
Our daughter-in-law has a broken ankle so we needed transportation to our cottage after dinner. The driver was the surliest person we encountered. He said he would not take us to our cottage, but to the front desk, where we would have to get another transport to our room. Our room is about a minute’s drive from the front desk and not out of the way at all. Climbing in and out of the bus was very difficult with a broken ankle so I was shocked at his lack of kindness and consideration for his guests.
Playground and Games
At The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds guests of all ages can enjoy a wealth of activities throughout the property's expansive backyard. In the grassy area, there is a playground with swings, slides, monkey bars and playhouses. In addition, a wide array of equipment for lawn games can be checked out from the Resort Concierge Desk. Games include checkers, horseshoes, Frisbee golf, bocce ball, croquet, basketball, football, softball and soccer.
For a listing of all daily activities, pick up a copy of Traditions, the resort's flyer that includes restaurant hours, special events and a sampling of the day's activities (such as train rides, movie showings and golf clinics).
The pool deck and heated, infinity pool, which was renovated in 2015, overlooks Lake Oconee and is the perfect place to watch the sunrise. The pool deck now has 25 percent more seating and an updated sun deck after the 2015 renovations. For the littlest swimmers, the separate children's pool was also renovated with water features and additional restrooms. Plus, from 3 to 8 p.m. each day, families can enjoy "Family Swim Time" at the indoor swimming pool located at the 27,600-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa.
At the lake, families can swim, fish, canoe, kayak and paddle boat. Bike paths and hiking trails are also available throughout the property. Another great way to explore the property is with a Segway tour. These guided tours last for 90 minutes for a fee, per guest above age 18, or weighing more than 100 pounds. The property also boasts five signature, par-72 golf courses, access to eight tennis courts and horseback riding. At the gun club, guests can try their hand at skeet, trap and clay shooting.
Ritz Kids Camp
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds offers two main programs for children ages 5 through 12. All programs are supervised by counselors who have been certified and trained in all areas of child safety, including CPR, first aid and water safety.
Ritz Kids Camp offers full- or half-day programs seven days a week. Sample activities include scavenger hunts, nature hikes, arts and crafts, fishing, swimming, canoeing, and biking. Full-day programs run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a per child fee. Half-day programs are offered from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or from 1 to 4 p.m. for a per child fee. Reservations are requested 24 hours in advance.
Kids Night Out
On Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 9 p.m., children can participate in Kids Night Out. This program is built around a special theme such as Camp Hoot (studying nocturnal animals) or Camp Milky Way (learning about space). Children will enjoy fun games, arts and crafts. Dinner and refreshments are also included in the program. There is a cost per child, and advance reservations are required by 2 p.m. on the prior day. Cancellation fees apply for reservations terminated within 24 hours of the program.
Upon advance notice, kids' group programming with special pricing is available for groups of 10 or more. Sample programs include Super Hero Training Camp, Culinary Masterpieces, Surf-N-Turf and Pirate Party.
Although there are no organized teen activities, the hotel staff will arrange a customized teen itinerary with activities like golf, tennis, movies, makeovers and shopping.
S'mores By The Lake
Gather around the campfire for the complimentary S'mores treat each night. No reservation is required.
Linger Longer Express
All aboard the complimentary 10-minute train ride around scenic Lake Oconee. The train departs at 3 p.m. on Friday and at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Spa treatments at The Ritz-Carlton Spa are available to teens 16 and older. In particular, they will enjoy the "Just for Teens" package, which includes a Glam Facial, Pamper Me Massage and Trendy Pedicure. Open to guests of all ages, the salon offers a Little Mani and Little Pedi for guests ages 1 to 12. Guests 12 years and older can enjoy all regular nail services.
At Ritz-Carlton, all restaurants feature the same kids' menu for children 2 to 12, and under 2 eat free. Breakfast items include waffles, pancakes, fruit, eggs, cereal and bacon. Lunch and dinner offer the same menu, with soup, fruit, sandwiches and the usual entrees of chicken fingers, pasta, grilled chicken and a kids' steak.
An all-inclusive kids' meal plan also is available for a per day, per child fee under age 12. It includes all taxes and gratuities on included meals. The plan must be purchased for the entire length of stay and requires reservations prior to arrival or during check-in. It includes breakfast at Georgia's Bistro, lunch at Gaby's by the Lake, dinner and dessert at either of the previous restaurants and non-alcoholic drinks for all meals. All meal selections are chosen from the kids' menu. The plan does not apply to room service or the Lobby Lounge.
Gaby's by the Lake
As a casual lakeside restaurant, this is the ideal dining spot for families. While there is a sports bar-like area in the front corner of the restaurant, the majority of the space is dedicated to dining space that opens to the great outdoors during warmer weather. The lunch menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pizza. The dinner menu expands a bit, with additions such as seafood, pasta and specialties like Gaby's BBQ and filet mignon.
For breakfast, Georgia's Bistro welcomes guests to partake of an extensive buffet that includes meats, eggs, breads, fruit and an omelet station. Children ages 5 to 12 receive half-price buffet rates, and children 4 years and younger eat for free. Diners also have the option of ordering from a breakfast menu with a variety of entrees like Steak and Eggs and Eggs Benedict. A la carte selections, such as toasted bagels, oatmeal and seasonal berries are also available.
For dinner, the restaurant turns into a quietly-refined dining room, featuring a menu of soups, salads, appetizers and entrees. Some favorites include Shrimp and Grits, Grilled Venison, and a 16-ounce Cowboy Steak.
Lobby Lounge and Coffee Shop
As the name implies, the Lobby Lounge sits off to the side of the lobby. Guests can enjoy a relaxing view of Lake Oconee as they munch on a selection of appetizers. The Coffee Shop is great for some java or a snack. It's located in the lobby and serves Starbucks signature drinks.
Linger Longer Steakhouse
Located in the Oconee Golf Course Clubhouse, the Linger Longer Steakhouse will serve lunch and dinner with a contemporary American menu featuring dishes like Lobster Bisque, Black Angus Steak and Oysters on the Half Shell.
Of course, room service is available 24 hours a day.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Internet access is included in the $14.95 per day. But for $22.90 per day, you can enhance the wireless access for multiple devices. Wi-Fi is free in the lobby and restaurants.
Pets are welcome at the resort for a fee, but a portion of the fee goes to a local Humane Society.
The Art of Smart Timing
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds welcomes guests year-round, though some facilities do operate with seasonal hours. Due to the mild weather, the spring and fall provide the best opportunity to go and enjoy the property's outdoor amenities and activities. April through October make up the resort's busiest time of year, while weekends and holidays also see high occupancy rates. Bargain rates usually are available November through March, exclusive of holidays, weekends and special events.
Located 75 miles from downtown Atlanta in Greensboro, The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee is a brief drive off Interstate 20. The property is served by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Greene County Regional Airport in Greensboro and Athens-Ben Epps Airport in Athens. Transportation to and from all three airports can be arranged upon request.
The parking fee is per day, per car. Limousine and private car transportation can be arranged by the concierge.
For Mom and Dad
A truly unique experience, mom and dad can sneak down to the lakeshore for a fireside dinner. Under a canopy of stars, they can relax in Adirondack chairs beside the warmth of a Chiminea bonfire. All dishes are designed for two to share, and include a first course, second course and dessert. Selections range from antipasto and cheese plates to seafood, pork, chicken or steak. One bottle of house red or white wine and a Champagne toast are also part of the package.