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Striking new Quail Valley lodge opens on the Pointe


It looks unlike anything else in Vero.

In fact, the 47,365-square-foot waterfront complex on the site of the old Lobster Shanty – with its New York fieldstone and river rock exterior, combined with a dark-wood interior – has the appearance of a North Carolina or Colorado mountain lodge.

Welcome to Quail Valley at the Pointe, the latest addition to Vero Beach’s wildly successful private club, which continues to offer its members an ambiance not usually found in this part of Florida.

When members see the new restaurant, lounge and hotel at Royal Palm Pointe, they say “Wow!”

“Many of our members belong to other clubs in town,” Quail Valley co-owner and general manager Kevin Given said, “and we don’t want to duplicate what they’re getting somewhere else.”

Back in January 2002, Given and his business partner, Steve Mulvey, opened the Quail Valley Golf Club, which features a links-style course that surrounds a stately, Shinnecock Hills-like clubhouse on 400 acres northwest of Vero.

Two years later, after purchasing the old Riomar Bay Yacht Club property, they opened the Quail Valley River Club, complete with clubhouse dining, tiki bar, tennis courts, fitness center, spa and marina – all in the motif of what Given called a “Rhode Island beach club.”

Now comes the complex at the Pointe, which Given said makes Quail Valley unique: It’s the first such club to operate three separate campuses in the same town.

“We had two distinct clubs already, and we wanted to do something different here, too,” Given said of the private club that opened in September, adding that the early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

“We have a lot of members who grew up here or are longtime residents,” he said. “They’ve seen a lot of changes in Vero Beach over the years. So it’s nice to hear them say ‘Wow!’ when they see the place.”

Members and potential members had a similar reaction when they first saw the Golf Club, where players find dramatic elevations not common on Florida courses, and the design and decor of the 26,000-square-foot clubhouse lend a Hamptons-like feel.

And while the immensely popular River Club, nestled on 10 acres along the west side of State Road A1A, was designed and built to blend in with the surrounding Riomar neighborhood, the campus’ distinctive look still draws compliments.

So when Mulvey and Given purchased the 1.02-acre, Royal Palm Pointe property for $3.5 million two years ago and announced their plan to build a mainland restaurant and hotel – accessible by automobile, boat or club-operated water shuttle from the River Club – members were eager to see the finished product.

They haven’t been disappointed.

As was the case with the Golf Club and River Club, the new place fits in well with its neighbors, despite its different look. There’s a noticeable contrast between the exteriors of the Quail Valley building and the adjacent townhomes, but the lodge-like design against the backdrop of the Indian River Lagoon adds character to the east end of the Pointe.

The combination of brown stone and dark wood provides a cozy, relaxing feel inside the restaurant and lounge, both of which offer spectacular, panoramic views of the lagoon.

“We made some adjustments as we went along,” Given said, “because we’d be out there and say, ‘Whoa, this is sensational,’ and look for ways we could enhance the views.”

The restaurant serves lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Wednesday through Sunday and brunch on Sunday. The two dining areas, with a total seating capacity of 214, are named after the owners’ dogs – Given’s chocolate lab (Ruby) and Mulvey’s recently departed St. Bernard (Humphrey).

The restaurant and lounge overlook an octagon-shaped deck that reaches into the lagoon, offering tables for outdoor dining and cushioned seating for social mingling.

“We were looking for a level of sophistication,” Given said, “but with a comfortable feel.”

The new campus at the Pointe was needed, Given said, because the River Club was forced to turn away too many revenue-generating banquets – especially anniversary celebrations, birthday parties and wedding receptions; particularly on Friday and Saturday nights – and its eight existing, one-bedroom hotel rooms were booked throughout the busy winter season.

“We were feeling pinched in those areas,” he said.

Given said the expansion to the Pointe allowed the club to increase its membership to 1,015 – 315 golf, 700 social – and that the dining facilities and golf course was the main draw for 600 of those members. (More than 60 percent of Quail Valley’s members belong to other local clubs, with 22 percent having memberships at John’s Island.)

Also, the new restaurant allows Quail Valley to book group functions at the River Club and still offer dinner to members at the Pointe.

The new hotel offers two three-bedroom suites on the third floor, three two-bedroom suites on the second floor and six one-bedroom suites on the first floor. The accommodations range from 800 to 2,800 square feet and some include full kitchens and living areas.

All of them include lagoon views and private porches. They are similarly designed and the interior decor is essentially the same – tasteful, airy and comfortable with neutral colors and more of a lighter, Florida feel.

Combined, Quail Valley’s River Club and Pointe hotels have 19 total suites with 25 bedrooms.

Given said the club’s hotels already are 100 percent booked for Christmas and 80 percent booked for Thanksgiving.

He said only 40 percent of the membership lives year-round in Vero Beach, so most members haven’t yet seen the new campus.

“Initially, more people are opting for the rooms at the River Club,” Given said. “They’re familiar with it. They like the convenience of being right there with all the other amenities. Some just want to stay on the island.

“We think that’ll change when more people see the new property,” he added. “With clubs like ours, especially with so many members belonging to other clubs, it can take a while for the membership to absorb things.

“We’re very excited about what we’ve done at the Pointe, and we want our members to see it and consider it an option.”