We visited Aqua in 2013 for spring break and were very impressed. We chose to come back again in 2014, and overall, we were frankly disappointed.
First, the good. There were two of us on this trip, so we were in a one bedroom (708), with an extra room with bunk beds. As was true last time, our room was beautiful, overlooking the ocean and close enough to fall asleep at night listening to the waves breaking on the shore. The room had KitchenAid appliances (frig and dishwasher) and a GE washer/dryer. All pots, pans, utensils, and everything one could reasonably need was provided.
The spring break atmosphere was largely absent at the Aqua, as it appears much more designed for families. Location is good, with quick walking access to Pier Park.
Access everywhere in the building and grounds is controlled by codes, so you have to remember your room code, the code for the gates, the code for the exercise room, etc. It's not convenient, but it does seem effective.
The not so good included instructions in our welcome packet for how to use the Whirlpool washer/dryer. We didn't have a Whirlpool washer/dryer, and the instructions were completely wrong for the washer/dryer we did have.
For almost 48 hours, we had really strong winds from the north. Our main door apparently did not seal properly, so the wind sound through the door was horrendous. It was really loud, very disturbing, and always present. It made no difference if the patio doors to the beach were open or not. It was so bad that one night the howling of the wind through and around the door was impossible to ignore.
The weather was crumby while we were here. Certainly nothing the staff could do about that, but it would have been nice to get some sort of recognition from them about how the crumby weather could influence our enjoyment of our trip. As an example, check out is a rigid 10 am. We weren't flying out until later in the day, and would be on property until 3pm. We asked for a later check-out so that we might enjoy our last day, which was to have better weather. We asked for an early afternoon checkout and were told we needed to be out by 10. No expression of concern, or having staff put themselves in our shoes. Pat wasn't rude, she just was completely unhelpful - even after we told her that we were returning visitors.
In fact, this lack of empathy for guests seems to be cultural and consistent. As long as you don't ask for anything, everything seems fine. But, ask for something out of the ordinary, and the answer is sorry, we can't do that. We ran into this same staff orientation the last time we stayed here. What staff needs is some training in being customer oriented - try and put yourself in the shoes of the customer and find a way to appear concerned about them and concerned about their experience. Being so rules bound may work for owners, but it sure turns off visitors.
We dutifully checked out of our room at 10, and because it was still cold out, we asked for a place to sit inside. They don't have a restaurant or a coffee bar, so we were told we could sit in the lobby. There might be other options (for interest, they have a small conference room), but there was absolutely no interest in figuring out what those other options might be.
Again, it's not so much that staff is rude, as they just don't have a clue on how to do customer service. The customer experience could be so much better with a better trained staff.
Overall, it wasn't a bad experience, but it sure wasn't what a place as nice as this could be. As you consider your options, you won't find many nicer facilities on the beach, but you will find many nicer options from a customer service perspective.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- From a stunning sense of arrival to an array of luxurious amenities to our perfect location within walking distance of fabulous shopping and dining at Pier Park, Aqua sets new standards for the perfect beach vacation. Stunning 1, 2 & 3 bedroom condominiums all with sweeping Gulf views, water gardens, pools and whirlpool spa. Aqua; The color of luxury. The color of Fun. The most colorful vacations begin at Aqua. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, TripOnline SA, Hotels.com and Booking.com so you can book your Aqua reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Aqua Panama City Beach, Florida
- Aqua Hotel Panama City Beach