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“Relaxing stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Embarc Sandestin

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Embarc Sandestin
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Sandestin
Certificate of Excellence
Slidell, Louisiana
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Relaxing stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2012

Exchanged for Club Intrawest Sandestin for the week of Sept 30 thru Oct 7. Two bedroom unit was clean and fully furnished. Staff couldn't have been nicer. Lots of walking trails, fishing spots and Baytown shopping and eateries an easy walk at just 2/10 of mile away. Canoes, bikes and tennis nearby also great golf with several courses and prices to choose from. Beautiful beach just across highway and can be reached by car or shuttle which runs approximately q 30 minutes. We had a balcony on the second floor with two rocking chairs but it faced the parking lot with no view. That's too bad because on the back side of the building with the swimming pools was a beautiful view of the bay. Gas BBQ pits are available for use of guesst. The only things I can think of to make things nicer would be an ice machine in unit instead of down the hall and a firmer mattress. All in all, a great place for a very relaxing stay.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Stormyrose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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181 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (61)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Andover, New Jersey
Level Contributor
100 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

Walking into the lobby and being greated by a friendly, informed staff is a great way to start any vacation. The rooms were perfect and well kept. The grounds maintained and very nice to walk for a leisurely stroll. Bikes, kayaks, tennis, and other activities were available and free to Club owners. The movie theater is a nice touch for the kids as well as the video arcade (both free!) Cooking on the spotless grills was a pleasure and we always enjoy meeting fellow members while cooking and eating al fresco.
The 'downtown' area was far enough to give you the quiet we desire on vacation, but a short walk and you were in the heart of the action. Nice restaurants, bars, shops, and family activities were all present. Try the fish tacos and dirty rice at the little kiosk eatery by the checkerboard and climbing contraption.
The beach is spectacular: white powdery sand, warm clear water, and the right amount of surf. Towels and chairs for the members are available so you don't have to tote them from your room. We drove so can't comment on the tram service, but did see it running all day long with many people utilizing it.
The golf courses were nice and reasonable (by NJ standards). Different levels of challenges and quality of layouts. Research each for your level of play.
Close proximity to shopping, more restaurants, and bars then you will be able to visit in one vacation. We had a great time. Very relaxing atmosphere and friendly people at every location we visited.
Always thought the 'pan handle' of Florida was not were it was happening, but was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the beaches and all Sandestin had to offer. Will definitely be heading back in the future for another visit or golf with friends.

Room Tip: The bay view rooms are nice, but, personally, wouldn't bother me to stay on the front side again...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MayorMike12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sussex County, NJ
Level Contributor
93 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2012

We are Club Intrawest timeshare owners and this is our first time at Sandestin. WOW, this place is great! Sandestin itself is beautiful and we didn't have any idea what the area was like. We decided this is our favorite travel destination (and we travel all over) - a best kept secret and selfishly we want it to stay that way (can you tell by our review?).
Room 410 faces the road and our unit specifically faces the tall roof of the entrance/front door of the resort. The room is however spacious and quiet. Unit A is a 1 bedroom with a full kitchen & bath and a large porch for sitting. Unit B (joined by a small private hall is a 1 bedroom efficiency (has a kitchenette w/ a mini fridge, microwave, sink, no stove) that has a large bathroom (shower only) and a porch for sitting. Now if we could only figure out how to shut off the adjoining hall light at night.
The property is lovely, lush with vegetation, has an adult area w/ pool & hot tub and a family area w/ the same. A grilling area with 4 large grills (that are well used but kept spotless), tables for eating outside all with a view of the bay.
The movie theatre was fun to watch a movie in and the staff have all been friendly and accommodating.
Although it is a bit far to walk to the beach, they have a tram that runs every 30 minutes (we had our own car). The beach is great! Powdery white sand, crystal clear warm water, umbrellas, chairs, towels all for resort guests and a restaurant for lunch or dinner if you want. There are also a couple of spots for drinks if you like. Extremely family friendly. We saw many families, young adults on vacation, seniors, couples. All enjoying this gem of a place to vacation.
Baytowne Wharf is within walking distance and has a great nightlife. Shops, restaurants, entertainment...
As guests of the resort, there are many amenities that are gratis: 2 bicycles for 4 hours each day, chairs & umbrellas at the beach, 1 hour of tennis, use of a gym, kayaks and other things.
I could write so much more about this resort. I'm already marking my calendar for booking here for next year. As a Club Intrawest owner, this place is a definite "visit often" place.
We hope that the airlines will have a direct flight here one day.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank reallyobnoxious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

We had a great family vacation at here. We stayed from July 1-5 for 4 nights. (This resort is not easy to book even I am a HGVC club member. )We enjoyed the pools and the movie theater was a big plus. You could reserve the theater for every evening and they have free movies you could choose. During the daytime, as long as no one is using, the staff will be glad to play any movie you choose for you.
Sandestin beach is very beautiful with sugar like sand and it is very safe for kids at the beach. The temperature at beach is perfect everyday in July. This resort is located at a gated community. We had a one bedroom. There are 2 full bathrooms. The room is big comparing to other resorts we had stayed. It's not beach front, but they provide shuttle to the beach. If you drive to beach, you could park for free at the parking lot next to Hilton.
The HWY 98 is very busy if you travel in between Sandestion and Destin. Most of the restaurants are at Destin or in between. If you don't want to fight with traffic, there are still many good restaurants($$-$$$$) in Sandestin.
Well, we had a great family vacation at Club Intrawest-Sandestin. We plan to come back some time next year.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank rc5888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missouri
Level Contributor
50 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

I read many sparkling reviews of Club Intrawest in Sandestin. Unfortunately, this property did not live up to the hype for several reasons.

1) Service: The staff was not very friendly and certainly did not go out of their way to do anything for you. This includes small things such as never greeting you when you walk into the lobby. We also had an issue with being "exchange members from Hilton" and they refused to provide us with the ammenities that Club Intrawest owners enjoy. Even though we were told prior to our arrival, and then again by the front desk, that we would be getting 2 complimentary beach chairs each day during our stay, once we arrived at the beach they completely changed their tune and told us that it was not included since we were not owners. After a call to the front desk and explaining that we were told on multiple occasions that we would be getting beach chairs, they still refused even though there were lots of empty chairs. But, they did apologize and ask if there was anything else they could do for us. Um, no, we just told you what you could do and you did not do it.

2) "Beach" Towels: This is a small thing, but the tiny towels that they give you for the beach and pool are hilarious. They were not beach towels at all, but rather small, poorly made bath towels that were coming apart and discolored. When they handed them to us, we seriously laughed. They covered nothing. The fact that they hand them out to guests does not reflect well on the hotel.

3) Beach access: This property is not close to the beach. It is not within walking distance and the tram service is not good. When we did go to the "private" beach, it was the most crowded beach we had ever been to and it was full of seaweed! It was quite off-putting. The crowds are likely due to the time of year, but it was just a sea of bodies and you could not get away from the seaweed. It was not cleared off the beach either. We ended up driving to the public beach on 98 and it was much prettier and about half as crowded as the private Sandestin beach.

4) The Tram Service- The tram is shared by many resorts in Sandestin, so this is not just a Club Intrawest issue. We took the tram to the beach the day of our arrival and it arrived at our hotel almost completely full, so we had to cram onto it since we just wanted to go and relax at the beach. That was not a huge deal and we did not mind too much. However, the tram ride on the way back was horrible. The tram driver did not ask anyone where they were going and we had a full tram. So, we went to at least 3 different resorts where no one got off the tram and none of the people waiting could even get on because it was full. Common sense would tell you to ask people where they were going. So, this frustrated everyone smashed onto the tram and the people waiting, most of which ended up getting their cars and driving where they needed to go. This was about an hour long tram ride. Not fun. Needless to say, that was the last time we took the tram.

Some positives of the resort:

1) Pools and hot tubs: There are 2 pools and 2 hot tubs overlooking the bay and they are well-kept and very pretty. We really enjoyed them!
2) The condo was very large and easily accomodated 6 people.
3) The arcade is free and had lots of fun games. We enjoyed the arcade on several occasions!
4) The movie theatre was cool as well and the gym looked nice, but we did not use it.

Overall, we had a good trip and this resort will not ruin your trip, but it certainly did not enhance ours. If being close to the beach is a priority, this resort is not for you. But, if you like the pools, you will enjoy.

Room Tip: You will get a good room if you are a Club Intrawest member, but you do not get a choice if you are...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Kerry T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mason, OH
Level Contributor
20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012 via mobile

I am a Hilton Grand Vacation Club member and booked this hotel through member services. This property is difficult to book b/c it stays full--I tried and tried to book last summer. Luck was with me this year and I was able to book a 2 bedroom unit from June 11-16.

The Good: The location--(for those who don't know) is a gated community resort area. Once pass the font gate, there is a lake/pond, manicured grounds,condos, shopping, walking/bicycle trails, a marina, beautiful homes and hotels. You could spend your whole vacation within sandestin and never venture out--it has that much to do. But if you do, there are tons of restaurants, shopping and water activities in Destin.

Our room was very nice. We had one king room with a jacuzzi tub and a shower and another room with two double beds with a larger bathroom. there was also a sofa bed that we used--there were five of us. We had a balcony with two rocking chairs. The kitchen was a nice size with dishes, pots and pans, etc. There were stainless steal appliances, a stacked washer and dryer. There was even a plastic container with washing detergent. There is no ice maker. You will have to get ice from the maker on your floor---weird when you have a full kitchen. If you are missing anything or need more plates, etc. just call the front desk. I really liked the decor in the rooms. Our bed was comfortable but I was a little disappointed in the pillows--the amount and the comfort. Please note: they do not clean rooms daily--I was told they clean every three days. The pool was nice. The had an awesome bar-b-que area with gas grills--we unfortunately did not use it. There is a small gym and an arcade--the games are free to play. There was also a movie theatre that seats about 20 people---you can view videos and television in there. They have a book with about 400 videos for you to choose from-- you can check them out to watch them in your room or you can request a movie to view in the theatre just ask the front desk--they will advertise the film you selected outside the theatre so others can join you. That was pretty cool. There is no kids club at this hotel but there is a kids club within Sandestin. Since it wasn't at this property and it was costly, we did not look into that for our 9 yr old.

As many have mentioned, there are bikes you can use to ride around the area and at the beach, you are given one towel and chairs/umbrellas. If you want more than one towel bring it from the hotel. The beach is shared with the Hilton hotel. There will be a bescillion people at the beach with you. We went early in the mornin--9am and we were gone by 1pm--beat the crowds.

The Not So Great: Our room was on the 2nd floor and our view was of the parking lot and the street. We asked for a higher floor and/or a better view. We were told by Kara at the front desk, that Hilton Vacation club members were not given priority for room location. Very disappointing! No one wanted to sit out there and watch the cars and golf carts go by. Also, sometimes the elevators did not work. I was with my 80 year old parents-- not fun for them.

This property does not have a beach.

I mentioned the movie selection process. While we were there, the NBA playoffs had started and we were able to watch one game in the theatre--awesome. The next game was reserved by another guest and for some reason the staff present that night could not get the tv to work?? It was bizarre. There was no preparation for that evening.

People on here talk about the staff being amazing. They were standard. They did their jobs. I found no one going above and beyond.

I would return to this property because the good definitely out weighs the bad. Plus we did not get to experience all that Sandestin has to offer.

I would recommend this hotel to my friends, noting my concerns above.



Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
18 Thank SingleDiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

The staff and rooms here are amazing. I don't think I have ever had such a big hotel room before.

I wish we were staying a bit closer to the beach, but if you prefer pools this place is great.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Hockey3363
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Embarc Sandestin

Property: Embarc Sandestin
Address: 8626 Baytowne Ave, Sandestin, FL 32550-7889 (Formerly Club Intrawest - Sandestin)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Sandestin
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Sandestin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 57
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Club Intrawest - Sandestin Hotel Sandestin
Hotel Intrawest Sandestin
Resort Intrawest Sandestin

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