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“The Pilot House...”

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Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sandestin
Certificate of Excellence
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Level Contributor
366 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“The Pilot House...”
Reviewed 2 July 2014

Nice 1 bedroom unit. Very continent to the conference hall and the village. Has a private pool for this hotel....some of the others on site share a larger pool. The kids (11&5) loved the depth of the large pool, as well ad the 'cool, spa. There's also a hot spa and children's pool. Very nice grounds.

Once checked in, I recommend checking the stairway exits. The main exit/entrance is at the end of an enormously long hallway. There are several stairway exits that will save you time.

If you're looking for a unique beach experience....this is a nice choice.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fretboard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
Fretboard,

We are so pleased to see you had a great stay with us here at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. We have so much to do and see and we are happy your kids had a great time. We are glad you enjoyed your accommodations and that it met your needs and exceeded your expectations. The amenity deck at Pilot House is beautiful and the pool and spa are certainly one of the best on the property. We appreciate your business and we look forward to you visiting us again soon!

Regards,
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English first
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

Our wedding held at Sandestin in mid June. We are reviewing the property, the events manager and reservations...

We should mention that the weather was beautiful and the scenery equally as gorgeous. I have heard that there is a "Sandestin Dome Effect" where the weather rarely turns bad. The entire week/weekend was wonderful. Needless to say the property was beautiful as well.

There was one issue we had: the Sandestin Day Spa and Salon was just awful. My wife spoke with the Spa director many times prior to the wedding day and she was upset each time she got off the phone. We should have changed the reservations or just had the bridesmaids do there own hair, but given the location of the spa, we decided to go with it. They would not listen to any requests, ignored my wife's layout/schedule, and solicited a very expensive "trial hair-do". Even with communication and foresight offered by my wife (the customer) of the timing and picture schedules, the spa refused to listen and postponed our pictures by over half an hour. Needless to say, this added undue stress to my wife. Furthermore, we have yet to hear of any apology or a single rep. take responsibility.

The events manager (Dayley Gunells) is one of a kind. Not only has she followed up for the Spa, and apologized numerous times on their behalf, her assistance and knowledge of the property and resort policies along with her prompt correspondence made for easy planning. We did not have a coordinator, yet the entire day went smoothly due to Dayleys caring and understanding. It is worth noting that the events manager that we signed the contract with left the resort about 6 months prior to our wedding date. We were a little perturbed, but Dayley offered her assistance for many months leading up to our wedding and, in hindsight, we were honestly better off with her. Be sure to contact Dayley is you have inquiries, she is extremely helpful...

The reservations representative, Donna Bailey, virtually turned into our own personal reservations specialist. We would instruct all of our guests to contact her for rooms and questions, all while she would respond to my emails like they were text messages, no matter the hour. Numerous guests of ours mentioned how helpful and pleasant she was. She was so pleasant and helpful, that we welcomed her to share our wedding day with us.

Overall, the event was wonderful and the resort property was breathtaking. Our entire party had a tremendous time, and we will definitely be going back. Also, we recommend this resort for a wedding or any other type of event.

Room Tip: The Grand Sandestin is beautiful. we stayed there for the night of the wedding.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jonathan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
Jonathan K,

Thank you for your review of Sandestin and for allowing us to be a part of your special day. Weddings at Sandestin are so special and we have the perfect venue for this once in a lifetime occasion. Thank you for your comments regarding Dayley and Donna. Dayley does an awesome job at taking care of our bridal parties and seeing that every request is met and carried out. Donna is certainly a star and we are fortunate to have them both on Team Sandestin. We apologize for experience at the Sandestin Spa and for the inconvenience this caused. We appreciate you choosing us and we look forward to you celebrating your anniversary with us too!

Regards,
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Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

I read a few of the reviews, both good and bad, of Sandestin, before writing mine. My family has gone to Sandestin three times. Each time, we had lovely condo/townhome accommodations and had a great experience. This year, just my sister and I went for a three-night stay. We stayed at LeCiel hotel since it was just us. Very clean room, comfy beds and actually, we loved staying on the bay side. LeCiel had a great pool and it was quiet there. You can always drive and park or ride bikes to the beach. Nice place to relax. As to maintenance, GUESTS had left broken beer bottles in a hall, we called and someone was there immediately to clean it up. Sometimes it is the guests,that make big messes, we have found in our travels. I personally believe that while you can cut corners in many areas, you can't cut corners on having plenty of maintenance and cleaning staff. They are the heart of it all.
It is crowded, of course, during the summer months. I don't think there is a "cure" for that anywhere on the beach during the peak season. What I love about Sandestin is that you can leave it, but you do not have to. We enjoyed shopping at the Village at Baytowne Wharf; and they have activities for kids and young adults. We ate our breakfast every morning at one of two Another Broken Egg restaurants on property. We ate at another restaurant there and went off property. We went to the beach. We enjoyed the very clean pool at LeCiel. You can get into the thick of things, or you can find peaceful places.
Read the website well, choose the property that best fits your family's needs and budget. Are you eating out a lot? Are you cooking? Sandestin has a great shortcut to the Publix right down the road. Do you plan to go off property a lot, or does Sandestin have what you want for recreation? Do you need a beach view, or does the bay suit you? Know yourself and you will have a great time. And read up. Be informed about any resort property as to where you will check in and out and find out where it is. Bikes and golf carts are a great way to get around and both can be rented. Walking is fun also.
Here is a pertinent hint. GET A MAP. Many times the front gate staff had to stop and answer questions that are easily accessible on the website before you go. That clogged up the line to get in the property. Usually they just can see your dashboard ticket and wave you through. But if you stop them to ask questions, they are kind to answer them but you are not thinking of the line behind you. An informed traveler is a HAPPY one.

Room Tip: The bayside will be quieter in general, but our room was quiet regardless.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Lori P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
Lori P,

We are pleased to see you enjoyed your stay with us here at Sandestin. Thank you for your review and for choosing us on your most recent rip to the Emerald Coast. We are glad your accommodations met your needs and was just what you were looking for. LeCiel is a great location on the bayside of the property and amazing sunrises and sunsets can be taken in from the balconies of the bay view units. It also has a great pool right next door with bay views as well. The Village has a little bit of everything for everyone and we are glad you had a chance to enjoy all it has to offer. We are a large property and if you are unfamiliar, a map can certainly be handy and get you where you need to go across our 2400 acres. We appreciate your business and your review and we look forward to your staying with us again soon.

Regards,
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Mandeville, Louisiana
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

My husband and I have vacationed at the Sandestin Resort for many years. There is now a new policy in place that offers a "Resort Club” Membership for property owners at the resort, with exclusive privileges such as parking closer to the beach access, using the pool and restrooms at the beach area, and a lower rate for rentals at the beach. The membership has a $2000 initiation fee, and monthly dues of $89--about $3000 for the first year.
Because we were not members, we paid $250/week ($280 with tax) for 2 chairs and an umbrella, while the Resort Club Member fee was $190/week plus tax. Also, we could not use the empty beach chairs closest to the parking area, even though they had not been rented and were not being used.
It is hard to believe that the resort isn't aware of the ill will the policy is creating. People staying at the resort, renting a house or condo, cannot even use the bathroom? A guest that is not a property owner AND a member of the Resort Club must drive back to the rental house to use the restroom.
We will not be returning to the Sandestin Resort. There are many other places that still cater to vacation travelers without creating 2 classes of guests.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank mp_Louisiana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 9 July 2014
mp_Louisiana,

Thank you for choosing to stay with us here at Sandestin this summer. We appreciate your business. We apologize for the inconvenience you encountered at the beach. We did recently gate the southern park of the Elephant Walk parking area and it is available for our club members and our Sandestin registered guests. The pool deck is available to all of our club members and registered guests as well. We want all of our guests to enjoy the beach and have the option of beach chair rentals. Our beach chair rentals are available to our registered guests, club members and non-registered guests as well. We do give a discount to our club members and Sandestin registered guests. The prices for non-registered guests and non-club members are different. We certainly apologize for any confusion regarding this issue. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We hope you will choose to stay with us here at Sandestin again soon.

Regards,
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2014

We have stayed here every summer for 10 years at least. Lately its gotten a little worse each year. This year it hit rock bottom. Our room SMELLED like ransid bacon grease. We begged for two days for some releif and NO MANAGER would even respond. The place is so overcroweded that they clearly dont have time to care. We spent most of our trip holding and waiting or return calls that never came. No effort was made to correct the problem. This place is officially a cattle call, overcrowed, nasty and unconcermed.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Cheri G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
Cheri G,

Thank you for your most recent stay with us here at Sandestin. We are sorry to see we failed you during your stay. Please know what you experienced is not the standard here at Sandestin and is certainly unacceptable. I would like to speak with you personally regarding your time with us. At your convenience, please forward your contact information to me at executiveoffice@sandestin.com. We apologize for the inconveniences you encountered during your stay. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,
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Louisiana
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2014

After reading so many mixed reviews, I feel compelled to offer again (I wrote a review last year) some helpful hints for those considering a Sandestin vacation in the future. I own in Sandestin and I LOVE being here, but I can also see how if not well informed, a vacationer could have a terrible experience.

First, almost ALL of the accommodations in Sandestin are owned by individuals, not by Sandestin Resort. Sandestin Resort contracts with condo/homeowners to rent their units, which is why oftentimes when booking, Sandestin Resorts cannot/will not tell you exactly where you will be staying....they don't know, they cannot assign your room until the last minute, just in case the owner chooses to use it on the same dates. They will give you a general area (Grand Complex, Village, Bayside, Beachside) but that's it. If you want to see the actual unit you are renting, then you might want to consider booking through other rental companies who do business in Sandestin or VRBO. Although they try, Sandestin Resorts can't always provide unilateral quality for their rentals because they don't own the units. Some rentals are better appointed, have upgraded beds/bedding, newer appliances, nicer furniture etc...because the owner chose to do these things. For the renter, it's the luck of the draw. I suggest you ask as many questions as possible when booking through Sandestin Resorts (resort fees, location, age of building). The good news is when you booked through the Resort, you do get many amenities that other rental companies do not or cannot offer, such as concierge, 24 hour maintenance, housekeeping etc.

Next, If you're wanting a mainly BEACH vacation, book on the BEACHSIDE of the resort. Westwinds, Beachside, Tivoli, Beachwalk Villas, Pine Ridge, Luau. No waiting for trams, lugging your beach items, and easy come and go access. Great beachside bars, a restaurant, and pool area are all right there. The Hilton has a Starbucks which opens at 6:30am.

If you are looking for less beach and more amenities/activities such as golf, tennis, biking, fishing, water sports, marina, the Village of Baytowne, then book in the BAYSIDE/VILLAGE/GRAND COMPLEX.

The Grand complex (Grand Sandestin, Bahia, Lasata, Elation) are the newest buildings in Sandestin. The Village (Pilot house, Market Street Inn, Le Jardin, Observation Point) surround the Village of Baytowne and are also fairly new but are in the thick of things. If you're wanting quiet, consider The Grand Complex, but if you're wanting easy access to all of the Village of Baytowne's nightlife/food/shopping than choose The Village. The Grand Complex is within walking distance of the Village of Baytowne but just far enough away from the noise.

Sandestin has many properties, dating from 1980s to 2006 which is another reason for all the mixed reviews. LeCeil is an old building on the bayside. They did a nice remodel on the common areas and some of the units a few years ago but not all units have been updated....some owners chose to update, some did not. Ask when booking what community/building you will be in, then look it up on the internet so you'll know what you're getting and familiarize yourself with where the location is within the resort too.

In the crazy summer months, the Tram can be SLOW. Sandestin has contracted with Sunshine Shuttle as an additional tram service but sometimes it's still not enough. If you are on the bayside and want to go to the beach, take your car. Also, the Marina is a wonderful alternative to the beach. It has a small beach with chairs, palm trees, hammocks, YOLO boards/Kayaks/Wave runners/pontoon boats for rent, a restaurant and bar, a tackle/bait shop, a talking parrot named Mary Ann, and beautiful boats and Yachts.

The Village scoop...

The Broken Egg in the Village is great but always crowded. There is another one on the bayside next to LeCeil and The Links Conference center, it's never crowded.
Best cheap family meal.... Hartell's
Best wine Happy Hour....Lumpy's
Best $$$ Restaurants...Bistro Bijou & Marlin Grill
Best sunset view...Graffitti's upstairs deck
Best sunset bar....The Marina (great food and drinks...where the locals go. They also serve breakfast Saturday and Sunday)
Best after dinner fun....Rum Runner's ....go see Wes, he's awesome!


Sandestin can be a WONDERFUL vacation if you just know before you go. I hope this information helps. For the reviewers who said customer service was lacking, we can only hope someone from Sandestin Resorts is reading these reviews, realizes they have an issue, and corrects it.

Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
44 Thank SMUMOM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
SMUMOM,

Thank you for the wonderful review of Sandestin. We are happy to see you enjoy your time with us and all we have to offer here at the resort. We do have something for everyone of every age and many types of accommodations....something to fit every budget and every need. From the beach to bay there are acres to explore. We appreciate you choosing and reviewing your most recent stay. We look forward to you visiting us again soon and enjoying to your hearts content.

Regards,
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Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2014

I stayed at this hotel a couple of months ago for a conference. After getting out of the taxi, the taxi left. Then when I went into the hotel, I noticed that at the reception desk there was a sign that said that to check-in I had to go to the Grand Hotel. How inconvenient!
Fortunately, I called the Grand and they sent a driver to pick me up and take me to the Grand to check in. I had not eaten either, waiting to get to the hotel and the driver even took me to the nearest Publix grocery store to buy food before taking me back to Le Ciel where there is also no restaurant or even a lounge. There is a Broken Egg restaurant close open until 2 p.m.

The hotel room was adequate but not luxurious with a water view and balcony. The conference center was good as well as the catering and service. I would go back as long as I knew beforehand that I was or wasn't going to have to check in somewhere else and that there was no restaurant.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JWehrle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beth S, Manager at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, responded to this review, 3 July 2014
JWehrle,

Thank you for your review of Sandestin and LeCiel. We are happy you chose to stay with us here at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. LeCiel has amazing views of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Some of the best sunrises and sunsets are seen from the balconies of LeCiel. We are pleased you enjoyed your time with us and had a chance to explore the resort and all we have to offer. We have many accommodations here at Sandestin and we look forward to you visiting us again soon.

Regards,
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Additional Information about Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Property: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Address: 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Sandestin, FL 32550-7226
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Sandestin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Sandestin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3 star — Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 1281
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Also Known As:
Sandestin Golf And Beach Hotel Sandestin
Sandestin Hotel And Beach
Sandestin Resort And Beach
Sandestin Golf Beach Resort
Sandestin Resort Florida
Sandestin Golf And Beach Resort Florida

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