We had a (mostly) good stay at the Holiday Inn resort. The hotel is nice, new, and attractive. It is apparent that staff has been trained to greet patrons at every opportunity. Virtually everyone we encountered was friendly. The hotel has an outdoor pool with a small lazy river, which we enjoyed using during the warm hours of the day. Beds were comfy with good quality linens, and we had a mini fridge and microwave in our room.
We stayed in one of the few "wraparound" balconies. (I believe there are only 5 rooms of this type). The wraparound balcony sits mostly on the front (street) side of the building, and wraps slightly around the east side of the building. These balconies sit on the upper floors, so you have a great view of the bay and the street, and a pretty good view of the gulf. We enjoyed having the large balcony, though there is a bit of street and parking lot noise. Overall I would recommend the wraparound balcony rooms.
There were a few snags. We tried to check-in around noon, and were told the room wouldn't be ready for 90 minutes. The friendly clerk took our phone number and promised to call when the room was ready. No call was ever received, so we finally headed back to check-in well after 3 pm. We didn't expect a convenience call, but we were promised one, so we waited for a call that never arrived. We also had a maintenance issue that we called about (broken plastic chair with sharp edges), but no one ever came to fix our problem despite promises to the contrary. Housekeeping was also a little spotty. They didn't vacuum our room, leaving crumbs and small bits of food accumulated on the carpet for days. Finally, the hot tub heater was broken for three of the four days we were at the hotel. As a result, both hot tubs were freezing cold. That might not be a big issue during the summer, but on cool October nights the tubs really should have been usable. On Friday night, we were told the tubs should be working by Saturday. Saturday and Sunday came and went with no fix. Only on Monday night did the tub finally become reasonably warm. By that time it was almost time for us to head home. Another promise broken. We enjoyed our stay, but the hotel does have room for improvement in the maintenance department.
For those expecting freebies, this might not be your hotel. There is no free breakfast. The hotel has a restaurant and breakfast starts at about $10-12 per person. Dinner options were a bit pricey, even when compared to better local restaurants. Beach chairs and umbrellas run $5 per hour or a maximum of $30 for the day. Best bet is to bring your own or pick one up at one of several nearby beach gear shops. The hotel itself has a small shop for sundries, with high prices. A small candy bar runs $2.50 and many other items are similarly expensive.
For those who have never been to Pensacola, the beaches are really great. Lots of clear, shallow water and soft white sand. Great for kids or adults. I can only think of one island I've ever visited in the Caribbean that had beaches this nice. If you can drive here within a day, this is a totally worthwhile destination for a 3-4 day trip. Pensacola is also a bit less touristy than Destin, more of an adult destination with more history and less go karts and the like. The nearby forts, national seashore, Navy Aviation Museum, and lighthouse also offer more for adult visitors. For people without kids, it is probably the better choice.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach, Florida, will make you feel happy from the moment you set your flip-flopped foot inside our door. We’re here for you, offering the amenities you need to plan the perfect vacation – or host the best business meeting. From your private balcony or the terrace of our ample 10,000 square foot event space, take in dazzling views of the sparkling waters and shimmering sands of Pensacola Beach – recently named No. 5 of all U.S. beaches by TripAdvisor. Its natural beauty is offset by our bright, modern lobby and stylish, comfortable guest rooms – including colorful Kids’ Suites designed with your family in mind. We’re all about fun here at the Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach hotel, and you’ll feel it from the front desk to the pool deck. Our pool is the best on the beach, with cascading waterfalls and a 250-foot seasonally heated Lazy River. There’s no reason to leave the resort, with Riptides Sports Grill and Beachfront Tiki Bar serving up delicious dining and crafty cocktails seven days a week. If you do decide to get out, we’re within walking distance of the beach’s best restaurants, nightlife and activities including charter fishing, paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking and biking. We’re also a quick drive to regional attractions such as the National Naval Aviation Museum, Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Historic Downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Lighthouse, Blue Wahoos Baseball Stadium, Veterans Memorial Park and the Saenger Theatre. No matter what you like to do, we can point you in the right direction. When you start your day with a smile on your face, there’s no telling where it might take you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel Pensacola Beach
- Beachside Resort Pensacola
- Beachside Hotel Pensacola