We loved staying at the Hilton Sandestin. It’s the largest full-service beachfront resort on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. The main draw for us was its location on the Gulf side of Sandestin. This gets us the best of both worlds with an ocean-view room right on the beach while still having access to the activities located on the Bay side.
I was pleasantly surprised at how large the resort was when we arrived. The Hilton Sandestin maintained an impressive balance of being family friendly while still attracting a good number of couples and individuals traveling sans kids. Upon check in, everyone in our party received a waterproof bracelet with the hotel logo. This signified us as guests and acted as our “ticket” for included transportation and hotel services.
The resort offered 2 outdoor heated pools + 1 indoor heated pool + 2 hot tubs. The expansive beachfront sun deck was a great place to read a book and relax while feeling the breeze from the ocean. You can grab towels to use for the day from a hut by the doors.
Even when visiting in March (a typically busy time due to Spring Break), we didn’t feel any of the pools were overcrowded. The two large outdoor pools are located on each side of pool bar & grill. The one we used most frequently was 8-ft deep which was plenty deep enough for our littles to jump in.
For those wanting a break from the heat (or wind in our case), you can take a dip in the indoor pool near the lobby. It’s heated and covered from the elements but opens to the outdoor area, so you are close to an ocean view.
Within a few steps you can be on Miramar Beach. The resort is so close it’s nearly in the water! There’s none of those extremely long wooden paths. It’s right on the sand!
I learned that the sand is nearly pure quartz crystal created from the weathering of the Appalachian Mountains over eons. When the sediments reached the Gulf, heavier portions formed deltas and the smaller pieces collected to form the beaches. Who knew?!
We were allowed to bring towels from the pool area down to the beach. You can also rent an umbrella and chairs or just bring your own. There is even a beach bar to grab a quick cocktail. They handle everything! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sugar-like sandy beach!
Even the foot shower to rinse off sand was themed with bright surfboards.
We opted for a junior suite with bunk beds which was a huge hit! Everyone had enough space to spread out, and we still got an ocean view. My kids eat so so so many snacks when on vacation. This room had enough space for all of our luggage, beach gear, and snacks with no issues. The junior suite was 575 sq. ft. with a balcony, seating area, mini fridge, and microwave.
Even though the description was listed as a partial view. I felt like we couldn’t have asked for more.
Food & Drink
On-site dining is soooo important to me. I like to be able pop downstairs for a quick bite if I choose rather than my only option being to leave the property. Let me tell you—this Hilton has you covered! With 8 bars and restaurants, you’ll never go hungry! Every time you turn around, there’s another location for a meal, snack, drink, or dessert. From the poolside bar & grill to the fancy steakhouse to the breakfast buffet, coffee shop, and grab & go options, you never have to leave!
Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill
This is the outdoor pool restaurant. You can sit at a table overlooking the ocean and have a meal or walk up to the bar for a drink order to take back to the pool. It’s a casual place with guests dining in swimsuits, coverups, barefoot (as the name says) or in whatever they felt like venturing out in that day. They had a larger menu than I expected for serving so many guests.
Sandcastles Restaurant & Lounge (Breakfast Buffet)
BREAKFAST: Breakfast was served buffet style here. Children under 12 ate free when we visited and adults were around $25 per person. There was a wait every time we visited, so plan ahead for that possibility.
DINNER: For dinner, you can eat at the Lounge which is across from the breakfasting area. The breakfast seating area is not used at dinner time and remains empty. It was a bit confusing as Hadashi Sushi Bar is also located in the same spot, but the lounge has many menu items unrelated to sushi. Our table had both sushi and a delicious pizza. The dinner lounge has an 11-foot-wide tv screen that was playing sports while we ate.
Picnix Poolside Market
This is near the indoor pool and offers a variety of grab & go options. While we were there, I saw chicken strips, pre-made sandwiches, chips, salads, and fruit. It also served Edy’s ice cream.
The Coffee Shop
This coffee shop is past the indoor pool and serves Starbucks brand drinks, but is not a Starbucks. Seems like there must be an overly complex legal reason for this because basically…it’s a Starbucks. In addition to coffee, they also had individual-sized cereals and fruit in case you needed 1 banana. We found it’s best to visit during off peak hours as a long line can form. SECRET TIP: We were able to get plain coffee with no wait from the Sandcastles Lounge / Hadashi Sushi Bar in the morning.
Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood
This is the most upscale restaurant at the resort. We sadly didn’t get a reservation here because, you know, children. Seagar’s is listed as Destin’s only AAA Four-Diamond steakhouse and offers a 600-label wine list. Next time, my friend!
The Sandbar (on the beach)
This small tiki bar was open while we visited and was a great place to grab a drink on the beach without having to walk back to the pool area.
Click here to check out my complete review of Sandestin which includes Baytowne, Grand Sandestin Boulevard, kids’ activities, golf, and more.
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