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“Too bad...gone from family favorite to conference resort”

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Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sandestin
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 1, 2008

This was our second trip to Sandestin in the last 2 years and it seems things have fallen off significantly. We were there for 5 days attending a conference. There are lots of details but I will try to keep the review simple. Note that Sandestin is a large spread out resort with lots of different accommodations. This review is on the resort itself, the Market Street Inn, and surrounding areas.

Check in was easy although we were given a room in the Pilot House that was right off the broken lock door to the public parking deck. We requested a different room and were given one within the Market Street Inn, part of the Baytowne Warf portion of the resort. There are no luggage carts to use and no lobby at the location. This is important because if you want anything or need normal concierge assistance, you need to walk to the Grand Sandestin Hotel next door. Needless to say, it is a hike if you need a new room key or luggage cart.

The room was okay but like others have mentioned, it was a bit dirty. The hallway looked like it had not been vacuumed in a while either. We liked that the unit has a condo feel with lots of space and nice amenities. The problems were with dirty (mildewed) shower, kitchen faucet that had a mind of its own, and a broken washing machine (more on the last item later).

The pool is great and the grounds on very nice. However, there is absolutely no sign of staff around. It seems like they have a serious lack of personnel at this resort/hotel location. This creates problems since the village shops, part of the Baytowne Warf that the Market Street Inn is a part of, is open to the public. It seems local kids know this and use the public parking to get access to the pool. Lots of loud rambling, drinking, smoking, and just unwelcome guests on the weekend while we were there, mainly in the noon time hours.

The shops and associated themed restaurants are ok but VERY touristy, overpriced, and of at best average quality. The food left something to be desired. Rum Runners has a dueling pianos which can be fun if you are into that kind of thing.

Let me cut to the chase:

Pros:
- fairly nice condos
- great location for conference
- 5.5 hours drive from Atlanta
- beautiful landscaping

Cons:
- Overall service was pretty bad and seriously lacking
- Seems to be real management problems on the operations side
- Room not clean and various upkeep items lacking (i.e. no lock on door from public parking deck to condo rooms/elevator)
- Lack of security guards
- Internet Access is wired only from kitchen counter and $10 a day, not 24 hour clock but from 11am to 11am. So if you need 24 hours and it is 8am, you only get 3 hours with their system before you have to purchase another 24 hours.
- Maintenance issues not addressed. Our washing machine was broken through the whole trip. 3 service techs came by but no one to fix it since it had to be the appliance guy who was off. Ownership of problem was on me and I had to suggest using an empty room's washing machine as a workaround. We had other issues but after this, I didn't bother trying to get them fixed.
- Bed was not very comfortable when compared to other big chains (marriott, westin, hilton)
- most everything seemed overpriced including food, umbrella rentals at beach, and what you get for the room.
- Each time I called or interacted with the staff, they seemed annoyed that I needed help. After traveling for a long time to many destinations, this really boggles my mind as to why they are in the service industry in the first place.
- Golf course was not worth $100+ per round. Design and course upkeep was the issue. Better public courses for $50 can compete with this one.
- The village shops and restaurants are overpriced and of low quality food.

We really enjoyed our first trip here around the same time in 2005. It seems there has been some kind of change that has made this destination less desirable. I recommend looking at other options in Miramar or Destin proper since this resort (?) does not cater to non-conference people. If you are not attending a conference here, I suggest finding a private condo to rent. Better value and most likely beachfront.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled on business
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3  Thank atlbrent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,783 - 1,789 of 1,839 reviews

Reviewed March 31, 2008

Cleanliness was definitely lacking at Sandestin. First room we were in the carpet very shabby and torn- there was no closet space and no place for your luggage. Tub and bathroom unclean with fecal matter on toilet (bowl outside). Complained to "front desk and housekeeping" seemed to be non exsistent. Finally was switched to a 1 br in lasata. It was more clean but still some issues. This "RESORT" did not live up to the standards we had hoped. The amenities are great but generally speaking the response to guest service was terrible and housekeeping definitely lacking. I would recommend the Hilton or another hotel with some standards.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled on business
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2  Thank kermiefam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2008

I stayed at the Grand Sandestin in a 2 bedroom condo with a business associate in early March. The condo was spacious, very well equipped and attractively furnished. The convention rate made it quite a bargain. As mentioned in previously the resort itself is quite large with a dining and shopping village a short walk from the hotel.

I think one's expectations have a lot to do with the wide variations in previous reviews. The physical appearance of the place is like a five star resort. The service and other amenities are more like condo rentals with minimal services. Most days the maid service did not arrive until 5 or 6 PM. One day it did not arrive a all. Some days we got new toiletries and coffee for the coffee maker, other days we didn't. The Grand Sandestin itself had a bar and nothing else except a small gift shop and moderately sized fitness center. It wasn't a big problem as the village was a short walk away but the weather was bad several days during our stay. We went to a nearby grocery and stocked our kitchen but were glad to have had a car for the trip. Colleagues complained about the slow tram service.

The Grand Sandestin is attached to a conference center. Since this particular part of the resort caters to conventions, the condos should have wireless internet connections. They don't. Our condo had one inconveniently located Ethernet port.

The restaurants in the village were of higher quality than I expected. There was a nice variety of dining choices with an emphasis on seafood and Cajun cooking. We especially enjoyed being able to stroll to a variety of restaurants without having to get into a car. The Bistro Bijoux was outstanding although pricey.

If you come to this resort expecting world class service you will be disappointed. If you come wanting comfortable, spacious condos in a very attractive setting, you will enjoy it.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled on business
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1  Thank TravelFan58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2008

RUDE, FILTHY AND NOT A RESORT!
we've travelled around the world and were SHOCKED by the lack of basic hygeine and cleanliness here. in addition, we've been to third world countries where the staff were more friendly, communicative and competent.

it was TRULY shocking. it's almost as though they think because there are some buildings on a beach, it's a resort. but the amenities are impossible to access and guarded by impertinent staff. there is NO housekeeping. we asked to be changed twice to find accomodations that weren't mold-ridden. it's also impossible to go out to eat because none of the restaurants take reservations and you have to wait at least an hour for a table which is impossible to do with kids. also, there are NO lifeguards at any of the beaches or pools. which i thought was very odd.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with family
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4  Thank eventqueenatlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2007

My wife and I just spent 2 weeks at the Sandestin golf and beach resort. If you love Golf the 1st 2 weeks in Nov.were spectacular. we stayed at the Lasata condo's which were behind the Grand Sandestin. Our 2bath 1 bedroom condo was modern and clean. The staff was wonderful. We did not rent a car,the tram service was excellent for going anywhere on the property. The restaurant's were a little pricey. We found The Marlin,The Bistro,and Fleming's to be the best. All the restaurants gave large portions.Make sure you go on a golf pkg. as the courses can be expensive. We played 16 rds. in 14days. All of the courses were in great shape. We will be returning in the future. we had a great experience. Richard Sherry, Boston

2  Thank richardBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2007

The Sandestin has pristine beaches, great shopping and a great nightlife area in the Baytowne Wharf. We are three women in our late 20's early 30's and we wanted a girls weekend getaway. We chose the resort because of the many amenities and that we didn't have to drive anywhere in the resort. We stayed in Luau Tower 1 in a studio. The rooms was very clean with maid service everyday. The tower was a mere 200 yard walk from the beach.

Yes, the prices at the restaurants are a bit higher, drinks are a bit more expensive. But we didn't mind because of the convenience of it all. We ate at several of the restaurants at the Wharf; Graffiti, Another Broken Egg Cafe, Osaka and Poppy's. All meals were fantastic with great service.

Some reviews have stated that the tram service was awful. We had the exact opposite experience. The tram was always there within five minutes of us calling, dropped us off at the front door when asked and we even got a driver to be our DJ when we requested a song!

For entertainment, Rum Runners was great fun. The piano and guitar players are awesome.

We also had a great time at the Silver Sands Outlets. Definitely try the gelato there. There's a really cute shop, can't quite remember the name.

Some tips:
-Go to the Winn Dixie down the street and load up on breakfast, lunch and snack food. We saved a ton of money.
-Bring your own beach chair and umbrella. The resort rents them for about $40 a day. You can buy them at Alvin's down the street. It's a fairly large, souvenier/surf shop.

I would highly recommend this resort and will definitely be back!
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  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with friends
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4  Thank smcnab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2007

We stayed at the Luau in a 1 bedroom condo for a family vacation with our 3 and 5 year old boys in early July,2007. I booked the room via the Sandestin website with a special rate. The Luau is relatively newly built.

Our room was very nice and spacious with a full kitchen and bathroom but it was on the 2nd floor looking out over a parking lot. (I am sure we got the view we paid for with our "bargian" rate.) The view was awful and detracted from the enjoyment of the room. Request a room overlooking the pool. If you must face away from the pool, at least ask for a high floor to decrease the view of the parking lot.

The Luau was only a short walk to the beach and had a much nicer resort style pool than some of the other older properties on the Sandestin complex.

Sandestin complex itself (HUGE) was nice and we enjoyed shopping and eating at the Wharf, riding bikes (although hot), playing mini-golf, and using the shuttle to get around the property.

Drinks (alcoholic) by the beach were about $10 which was pricy, but it is a resort and all resorts are pricy. Also, there is an additional 2.5% "fee" besides tax and tip on everything you purchase at Sandestin.

Tip: Bring your own umbrellas/shade tent and chairs to the beach. Sandestin charges $39 per day for two chairs and an umbrella.

We will probably book somewhere else next time we are in the Destin area but we did enjoy our stay.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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8  Thank PJBHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Address: 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Sandestin, FL 32550-7226
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Sandestin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sandestin
Price Range: $134 - $317 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 1281
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Also Known As:
Sandestin Golf And Beach Hotel Sandestin
Sandestin Hotel And Beach
Sandestin Resort And Beach
Sandestin Golf Beach Resort
Sandestin Resort Florida

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