Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Destin, Florida Resort Review

Disclosure: I received airline tickets, resort accommodations, spa treatments and some meals in return for this post. Thoughts are my own.

Hilton Sandestin Hotel Collage

A few months ago, my 5 year-old son and I were invited to visit the beautiful Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa with a group of mom bloggers and their children. When we arrived at our local airport, we quickly discovered that our flight was delayed by a couple of hours, so we ate a long breakfast, walked around the shops and kept ourselves busy with activities until our flight time.

Our flight time came and went, with little to no update on why the delay was so severe. Five hours later, we were told that the plane was having mechanical issues and would not fly out that day. All other flights were overbooked and there was no chance of getting to Destin, FL that day. We had to cancel the trip. My little guy was crushed, and so was I.

Fortunately, the wonderful people at the Hilton Sandestin offered us the chance to come back later in the year to make it up to us. (though they were not at all responsible for the flight delay!) We were so incredibly grateful for the second chance to visit, and fortunately we didn’t have any major flight delays this time! (though we still had a few!)

Saturday

We arrived later than planned (4:00pm ) due to a few delays, but still had a friendly car service waiting for us to take us from the Fort Walton Airport to the Hilton Sandestin, which was about a 35 minute drive.

Hilton Sandestin Entrance copy

The Hilton Sandestin grounds were beautiful when we pulled up, with lush flowers and rolling green golf courses surrounding the property.

After checking in, we headed to our Jr. Deluxe Suite in the Emerald Tower, which was complete with an area for kids that included bunk beds and television!

Hilton Sandestin Bunk Beds

My little guy was naturally drawn to the bunk beds and awesome TV right away, and my eyes were drawn to the spacious main area and balcony. I wanted to see that gulf coast view!

View out Balcony

View Outside Window

The view from the balcony was stunning, with direct views of the blue and emerald green gulf, white sands and views of the Hilton Sandestin property.

View Outside Window

View Outside Window - Rooms copy

The Jr. Deluxe Suite was a large room that included the bunk bed area I mentioned earlier, as well as a king size bed in the main area, a large flat screen television, mini-fridge, coffee maker, large bathroom (with a vanity with sink outside the bathroom as well), couch and table. It was ample space for a family of four. (and then some)

Hilton Sandestin Rooms

Once my little dude was done climbing up and down from the bunk beds, we headed down to Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill for a bite to eat.

Enjoy Barefoot’s favorites, such as zesty fish tacos, scrumptious grouper sandwiches and colossal salads, or order a refreshing tropical cocktail and take in the view – barefoot, of course! Sit at the fully stocked bar and watch your favorite sporting events on flat-screen TVs.

Barefoot’s is an outdoor restaurant located near both swimming pools, with a casual menu perfect for adults and children. As mentioned above, there are also flat screen TVs around the bar area displaying sporting events, in this case college football, which did make it a bit loud with adult cheering, so that is something that was a bit challenging with my sensory sensitive guy. We made it through okay, though, with the help of noise cancellation headphones and promises of swimming in the pool after dinner. 🙂

My son had a grilled cheese sandwich with fries, which he loved, and I had a chicken sandwich that was pretty tasty. The staff was helpful and friendly. Once we finished dinner, we headed back to the room to change for swimming.

The swimming pool was clean and the water felt wonderful (it was in the low 90’s when we took a dip). We were fortunate that it wasn’t too crowded in the pool at the time, so we almost had the entire pool to ourselves! We had a great time, and after a couple of hours, we headed up to the room to collapse.

Sunday

We had a full day planned on Sunday, so we woke up early to get the day started at Sandcastles Restaurant for a breakfast buffet.

Sandcastles Restaurant at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa features an array of fresh local seafood, steaks and continental specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My son loves buffet meals because he can choose what he wants to eat, which in this case consisted of pancakes, bacon and biscuits. I was happy to see that the buffet had biscuits and gravy for me, too. (this Midwestern/Southern girl was impressed) Our breakfast was hot, delicious and enabled us to get in and out pretty quickly.

After breakfast, we met a staff member, Darrell Smith, in the lobby for a tour of the property, while my son headed off to Kids Krew to have some fun. (more on Kids Krew later!)

Darrell took me through the property, first stopping by the elegant Seagar’s Restaurant.

Seagars 4 copy

Seagar’s reopened February 5, 2013 debuting a fresh, sophisticated new décor. The renovation transformed all areas of the restaurant including an updated lounge and bar area, additional private dining space, and a new entrance. The Seagar’s menu has also been enhanced, preserving the guest favorites Seagars in known for, while adding enticing new items.

Seagars Restaurant

Next, we headed outside to view the grounds and beach.

Beach with Umbrellas Instagram

Spa Tower copy

Beach View copy

Beach View 2 copy

Hilton Buildings 2 copy

Hilton Buildings copy

The grounds are quite extensive and vast, with several rooms and large beach areas for guests.The sands were like white sugar, and the ocean a multitude of colors ranging from green to blue. It was simply beautiful.

After my tour, Darrell dropped me off to the Serenity by the Sea Spa for a scheduled massage. I couldn’t take photos inside the spa, so the below images are from the Hilton Sandestin website:

Hilton Sandestin Spa

Hilton Sandestin Spa

The spa was beautiful, relaxing and exactly what I needed after a long day of travel the day before. My massage was amazing and I felt refreshed afterwards, even spending a bit of time sitting in the lounge drinking hot tea.

After enjoying the spa facilities, I headed over to Kids Krew to check on my little guy and quickly discovered that he was having so much fun that he asked me to turn around and leave! The Kids Krew instructor said he could stay a bit longer (he was booked for a 4 hour session), so I left and decided to get a Starbucks coffee (yes, the Hilton Sandestin has Starbucks coffee inside The Coffee Shop!) and visit the beach for some more alone time.

Beach - Umbrellas 3 copy large

White Sands copy

Ocean View 2 copy

Ocean View copy

I shot a little video of the sounds of the gulf beach.

After some time alone on the beach, it was time to pick up the little guy from Kids Krew, so I headed that way. He was (fortunately) ready to be picked up, and had several crafts with him that he had created! He colored a Kids Krew t-shirt, made a Popsicle stick craft, and decorated a pail & shovel. He had a fun time!

We were both hungry (it was 1:00pm), so we visited Picnix Poolside Market for a late lunch.

Picnix Poolside Market at the Hilton Sandestin Beach is open seasonally for lunch and dinner – and for as many snacks as you crave in between! Convenient for a day at the pool with the family, Picnix Poolside Market is centrally located between the hotel’s two outdoor pools and features a stunning view of the Gulf’s emerald-green water – features an assortment of deli sandwiches and wraps, as well as Pizza Hut™ items,  Edy’s ice cream treats, soft serve yogurt and much more!

We ordered pizza and ice cream for lunch. There was a bit of time for the baking of the pizza, but it was hot and fresh when we received it. We took our lunch up to our room so that we can enjoy it in our room.

After lunch, we had free time, and since my son hadn’t been down to the beach yet, that was first on our list.

In the past, my son has not been a fan of walking on sand, due to his Sensory Processing Disorder (sensitivity to sound, touch, etc.), so I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. The folks at the Hilton Sandestin provided us with a Beach Set-up package that included a reserved space on the beach, a large beach umbrella and two lounge chairs.

As I expected, my son wouldn’t walk on the sand, so I had to carry him (50 pound sack of potatoes!) to our space, but he was quite comfortable sitting on a beach towel while digging in the sand once you got settled.

Digging on Beach

After some time digging and dumping, and digging and dumping, my son said something that I thought he’d never say – “I want to walk down to the water.” I replied, “You will have to walk on the sand to do so.” He said, “It’s okay, I’ll just walk on my heels.”

And he did, very slowly, all the way down to the water. This was an amazing step for him! (literally)

We put our feet in the gulf water, letting the waves crash into our ankles, then walked a little deeper into the water. Then even deeper. I suggested that we sit on the beach and let the waves crash into us. He agreed, and had no issues sitting on the wet sand. (I was so proud of him!)

The waves crashed into us, he laughed. He drew a heart on the sand, the waves wiped it away, he laughed. It was a magical moment that lasted much longer than I could ever imagine.

After an hour or so, he was ready to head back to the room to rest (and so was I!), so we headed back to clean up and relax until dinnertime.

For dinner that evening, we went back to the Sandcastles Restaurant, where I ordered a delicious entree of spaghetti and meatballs, and a hot dog for my little guy. Our server was very accommodating and the meal was very tasty. Needless to say, we were absolutely exhausted and ready for bed after dinner, but I did take one last shot from the balcony before turning in.

Pool at Night Hilton Sandestin

Monday

Our Monday was completely free and up for grabs, and our flight wasn’t until early evening, so we took our time getting up for breakfast. We decided to eat at Sandcastles again since the buffet was so yummy the morning before. After breakfast, we went back to the room so that I could start packing up our things and clean up the room. (yes, I’m one of those people who cleans her hotel room before checking out!) I requested a late checkout, so again, we took our time.

Looking over balcony Hilton Sandestin

Once I packed up and cleaned, we decided to take one last dip in the pool.

After swimming, we changed and had one last meal at Barefoot’s, stopping by the activities desk on the way. We scheduled a ride to take us to Baytowne Wharf to spend some time before our flight. (which was a ton of fun!)

baytowne wharf

We had a fabulous experience at the Hilton Sandestin, and since the crowds were low with it being was off-season (September), it never once felt over-crowded or uncomfortable. The resort offers plenty of options to keep families busy, well-fed and happy. I hope to bring my entire family back for even more fun next time!

A big THANK YOU to the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa for having us!

Disclosure: I received airline tickets, resort accommodations, spa treatments and some meals in return for this post. Thoughts are my own.