Today marks the beginning of a multi-week series I'm calling Deej's Florida Swing - a look at some of the most prominent golf resorts around the Sunshine State. First on the tee...The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
Nestled on a narrow sliver of land separating an inland bay from the Gulf of Mexico lies The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. It was work that took me to this corner of Florida's panhandle, but with four golf courses, an entertainment district, and miles of white sand beach, I was sure to set aside plenty of time to play.
|The Grand Sandestin|
The Sandestin Resort is a sprawling real estate development cleverly disguised as a golf and beach resort. Or perhaps it is the other way around. Either way, the combination of residences, condominiums, and hotels, gives visitors no shortage of options when it comes to accommodations.
|The Courtyard at Grand Sandestin with the bay through the trees.|
In addition to it's array of golf courses, Sandestin also features a full service spa, a marina, and of course, the beach. If recreation and relaxation is the combination you're looking for, Sandestin is sure to deliver.
Those looking for dining options and a bit of nightlife will be happy to find Sandestin's Village of Baytowne Wharf. This complex features a wide variety of restaurants and night spots, as well as family friendly activities such as a carousel and even zip lining. During my stay I had one of the best burgers of my life at Marlin Grill, and thoroughly enjoyed the pizza from Roberto's Pizzeria. Helpful tip: one slice at Roberto's is actually two. Keep this in mind before you order three slices like me, especially if you also lack willpower.
|A Mini-Bourbon Street at Baytowne Wharf|
Since this was a working vacation, it was important that my room be conveniently located near food - read: Starbucks - so I booked a one-bedroom condo in The Grand Sandestin. I chose this section because it lies adjacent to the Baytowne Wharf, so my morning and afternoon coffee runs would be a short two minute walk away.
|The Ballyhoo Bar...which was never open...|
After the five hour drive, I was anxious to get into my room, and was delighted to find it available for early check-in. I trudged to the end of the hall and opened the door to my condo, which nailed the art of the first impression.
The bright and spacious living room was nicely appointed, and also featured a full size dining room table.
|The Living Room|
The kitchen was furnished with a refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove which, of course, would be completely useless to me.
Perhaps a bit small in proportion to the rest of the unit, the bedroom was comfortable, and I slept like a rock both nights. A few of my travel companions mentioned their bed wasn't so comfortable, but I'd imagine this will vary greatly by unit.
Finally, the thing I enjoyed the most about the room was the enormous balcony. I am a sucker for hotel balconies, but sadly I didn't have much time to spend on this one. The resort was also doing a bit of maintenance on mine, so I was afraid of messing up their fresh paint.
|The Enormous Balcony|
The grounds at The Grand were beautifully maintained, with plenty of quiet areas for some solitude while clicking through one's Kindle. The Grand also has it's own pool and hot tub, although I broke my cardinal rule to always pack a bathing suit.
|The Pool and Hot Tub|
My only complaint with The Grand section has to do with technology. My computer and phone could not pick up the complex's Wi-Fi signal in the room, forcing me to use the wired access, though it was complimentary. In addition, while it was nice to have two TV's in the room, it would have been nicer if they were flatscreens. To be fair, like the beds, this may also depend on the owner of the unit, but I had long forgotten what tube televisions looked like...
|My view of the sunrise...|
Overall I had a great experience at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. There are few places out there that offer the variety of accommodations, recreation, and entertainment that can be found right on the resort's property.
Florida's panhandle often gets overshadowed by its more popular siblings, Daytona, Disney, Miami, and the Keys. To illustrate, I have called the Sunshine State home my entire life, yet I can count on one hand the number of times I've visited the panhandle. After a few great days at the Sandestin Resort, one thing is for certain...I've been missing out all along.
~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~