My wife and I had a getaway week to Panama City Beach, and had a great time staying at the Palmetto Inn and Suites. I picked this place from trip advisor as I read carefully why this was ranked #1. To my surprise, it earned it! My wife said she would come back, so that was very important to this review. Be careful of first impressions, because when I arrived, I could not understand why they all gave 5’s. I travel a lot, and my views of 5’s is much different than others. You have to go “all out” to get one from me. And my first impressions weren’t good. Over time, I changed my mind. So I am writing to explain why.
This is a place for FAMILIES, not for Spring Break guests. The hotel is located away from the action found by the pier area where there are high rise hotels and condos, tons of action, bars, restaurants and fun places. If you are a graduate of an SEC (South Eastern Conference) college, your classmates or rivals from GA, FL, MS, Ark, AL, SC, TN and KY are all here with their logo’d clothing, families and grandchildren, accompanied by their really, really NICE southern Hospitality. I was as amazed they all drove to the hotel, as they were surprised I flew to get there. People traveled from Indiana by car to stay! We are from New England, and we were treated like family while the rivals, friends and families were grilling ribs, chicken, and all sorts of dinners. Owners Rick, Patty, their daughters and staff were just as nice and friendly. The family treated everyone so well that guests we met had returned every year for over 30 years to stay just there! There were at least 5 family reunions with over 10 in each family group while we were there.
Here are the things we both liked about the Palmetto: free daily newspaper, free coffee, pay to eat frozen foods such as soft ice creams and smoothies as well a quick eats for microwave servings, gas fired barbeque grills to cook your own dinner or lunch without hitting a restaurant, tiki bar next to the grills for beach side beverages, $3 beers, $2 ice bags equal to what we paid at walmart, 2 pools (one beachside with infant pool and large hot tub and across the street was the indoor pool). We were impressed with little things like air hose to fill those air mattresses and water tubes, beach showers to wash off from the ocean and beach, free wired internet with cable speed from Xfinity, and wifi in main area. The rooms are comfortable, with a balcony for each room facing the ocean (street views for rooms across the street), stove/fridge, Flat TV, Cable tv with lots of channels, and my favorite was a ton of power receptacles for all of my toys and tools! The have deluxe rooms, which are in the middle section, with a larger living room and separate bedroom. We had the standard king with amazing views. On two mornings, we watched dolphins swimming (or eating) just in front of our balcony. This place is cool.
We ate out almost every day, so here are the restaurants to look over before you come.
We found out that there was a basic breakfast buffet for $8 at All American Diner, and Thomas Donuts always had a line for 15-30 minutes to get the best donuts in the area. The locals liked Mike’s diner, but I found First Watch was the best breakfast and Omelette with home fries of all places we ate. Another Broken Egg, was as pricey as First Watch but not as good. The local McD’s was a 3 minute drive from the hotel and was reasonably priced and very very busy as well.
Lunches or dinner took time to find the best for us. We started our first meal at bone fish and it was very good but pricey. Across the street was Boar’s Head and their menu was very good, high quality food and the price to match it. All the locals love this place. Another place for fresh oysters and cold beer is Dusty’s. It is worth having ONE meal there to experience Dusty’s. We ended up eating at Salty Sue’s, and the Sandbar. Sue’s BBQ, Ribs, Wings were reasonably priced and good food! One thing we did was order Buffalo wings during Happy Hour and save half price! We would do take out on 20 wings, large cole slaw and other side for under $15. Sandbar is a sports bar that looks like a dive, until you order their seafood that is reasonably priced. My favorite was their pound of large shrimp for $12.
Since the hotel is cook your own, we found the Walmart and Publix were not always the cheapest. We found the wine and soda specials at the CVS across the street to be cheaper! The CVS is just across the street and was reasonably priced for everything. We did find the Winn Dixie next to the CVS to have higher prices on quality food, but real convenient. The repeat guests in the hotel said the Carousel Store was the best place for fresh food and grill spices you can’t find anywhere. We agreed. We also found the cheapest gas was 3 miles out on RT79 near the airport, by at least 10 cents a gallon. There are tons of sport vehicle rentals just across the street for those who want a fun ride every once in awhile.
If you stay there for a long period of time, you will need to buy paper towels, bottles of water and beverages and strong sunscreen. Since we were on the 5th floor, we had no bugs. Parking is limited on the beach side of the road, so we found ourselves parking by the indoor pool. One other thing was beach chairs are rentable at $25/day first day, $20/day after.. they were all taken by 11a, so we just stayed by the pool area for free, and walked to the ocean from there.
There is no spa, no fancy marble or bathrooms, so if that is what you are looking for, this would be a “3.” I gave it a rare “5” because the hotel earned it by their guests and staff and their location.
The higher the room, the less bugs, better views
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.