My wife and I have stayed in many places from the Gulf, to the west coast, to several in the Caribbean. If you want a romantic getaway for two this is probably not the place for you. If you have children on the other hand, this is definitely the place for you. While I give this resort 5 stars, it is not a 5 star establishment. I think the 3 star rating is very accurate but they do those 3 stars to the max. The rooms are nice with a flat panel tv, dvd player, coffee maker, microwave, and full size refrigerator.
The dining is far from amazing, but hey, it IS an all you can eat seafood buffet at a Holiday Inn. You are paying for convenience more than anything. The chicken wings at the pool on the other hand, are outstanding! Pizza specials for $1 a slice on a few of the days we were here made for a cheap $8 (full pizza) lunch for the family on more than one occasion. If you crave better food, you are in luck. There are about 100 different places to eat from dives to fine dining in either direction. If you can’t find a place to eat in less than a 5 minute drive, you are too picky and need to evaluate your palate. Pier Park which can satisfy your food and shopping needs is less than 10 minutes away.
I guess beyond all the fluff, we get to what I consider the meat and potatoes of our stay. The amenities for my son, and the staff. I will start with kids. This place really caters to children. The beach is straight out the front with most rooms providing a nice beach view. Try to get 3rd floor or above of you will be looking at the palm trees. The terrace level has a huge patio but no view. There is a small water park for the kids that my 2 year old has enjoyed every single day. At night, weather permitting, the staff sets up a big screen and plays a movie for children. We have seen Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, and various others. We actually watched one from the balcony. They even have macaroni and cheese by the pool at the little café. One thing I noticed was the handicap access is amazing. While I do not have a special needs child, both pools have a chair hoist to assist you in getting elderly or special needs people in the pool. They also have two “bubble wheel chairs” that allow handicap individuals to float on the water and enjoy things like everyone else. They float on water and glide across the sand which normal wheel chairs cannot do. The main pools are salt water for minimal eye irritation for young children like mine that don’t know to keep their eyes closed and refuse to wear goggles.
Now let’s get to the crappy part of our trip. On Wednesday morning at 1:30 AM I awoke to what sounded like a jumbo jet landing in our room. Apparently our air conditioner had seen its last days. I called the front desk and talked to John and to make a long story short. Maintenance was at my door in less than 5 minutes, and by 2 AM we were lights out, with a new and quiet air conditioner cooling the room. My theory is, crap happens, and usually at the most inopportune times. It’s not as important to me that something broke, as it is how it was handled. We did not have to change rooms, we were only inconvenienced for less than 30 minutes, and the matter was handled fast and professionally. THAT is what matters to me. Every staff member that I had the pleasure of running into was pleasant, professional, helpful, and attentive to our needs. There is on site security and although there presence is known by the black shirts, they are ever so minimally invasive unless needed. They are full service as one brought us a luggage cart on check in, and another brought my son ketchup when the café was out. There is no “that’s not my job” mentality at this resort.
In all, a wonderful family vacation. If you want a place that is mostly adults, I would not choose this resort. If you have children and would like a great vacation location, I don’t think you could ever go wrong here. If you don’t have children and don’t mind them, you still can’t go wrong. We will definitely be back.
If you want to see the water, make sure you are floor 3 or above.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 26, 2013
Thank you for sharing your experience with our resort on TripAdvisor. We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed your stay with us, and were able to take advantage of so many of our onsite activities and entertainment. Thank you for taking notice of our beach wheel chairs; for those who need them, these chairs really do help to make sure everyone can enjoy the sugar white sandy beaches that our resort rests upon. We’re sorry to hear that the air conditioner in your room gave you some trouble during your stay, but are glad to hear that the Maintenance Team was able to take care of it promptly so you were not inconvenienced for very long. Thank you for choosing the Holiday Inn Resort; we hope to have you as our guests again soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.