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Reviewed 17 August 2014

I have stayed at the Hilton Sandestin many times over the years - almost exclusively for business conferences. On this stay, they were celebrating their 30th birthday - complete with nicely refinished common areas. Unfortunately, this is where the improvements seemed to end. The published check-in time was 4pm, this already seemed a little late to me, so I was miffed when my corner suite was not ready when I arrived at 4pm (after waiting nearly 30 minutes in the check in line). I was told, "housekeeping is in there now, it shouldn't be long." An hour and a half later I was told, "the reason it isn't ready is that something is broken and maintenance has been in there, we will call you on your cellphone when it is ready." A half hour later they called and told that the room was ready. I told the service associate, "look, by the time I get my bags in the room and settled it is going to be 730pm. I've already had to postpone my dinner reservations. Do you guys offer tonight free or reduced or a spa credit or something?" The fellow matter-of-factly told me, "I can offer you a $50 credit for tonight." This is a fine solution, if a little puny, but I had to ask for it, it was not offered, and at no point was the staff particularly apologetic. Further, they insisted that when I go to get the room keys that I again wait in line. FWIW, the corner room was very nice with wonderful views.
After a rushed dinner I returned to the room and decided to use the (heavily advertised) jacuzzi to relax. Guess what? I found the broken item in the room. The next morning I called to have the jacuzzi serviced. I happened to pass the technician on his way to my room. He said, "I'll take a look, but I don't think I can fix it." Huh? Ok, fine, but maybe you should call someone with a little more confidence/competence. And again, no apology. Returning to the room after a workout I discovered he was correct. He couldn't fix it. (I called again the next day and they did get it fixed finally).
So, I went to the pool to relax. They were out of towels. Again, really wimpy apologies, and zero attempt to creatively solve the problem (get some extras from housekeeping?) I went back up to the room to bring some bath towels down. A colleague of mine ordered chicken fingers at poolside - 2 hours later, after three requests of the wait staff she finally got them. Again, there was a meek "sorry for the wait" but no attempt at making it right. In my opinion, there is no question that after a two hour wait for a simple short order - it should be free.
That night I was having dinner off-property. I called to have my car brought around from valet. I was told, "Yes Sir, of course, will you please hand your ticket to the valet at the bell desk?" Sure. When I get to the bell desk, this apparently meant, "No sir, we will not get your car until you show your face at the bell desk." After waiting 10 minutes I got the car. I thought this was odd and unnecessary, so, the next time I needed the car, I called again asking for them to bring it around. Again they said, "Yes sir etc..." I responded, "I tell you what why don't you just go ahead and get it so I don't have to wait when I get down there?" The staff member started in with, " Well if you just give us the ticket.....nevermind I'll just get it."
Anyway, it was a fine room. The hotel is in an awesome location. The spa and gym are very good. It just seems that this place is REALLY misfiring when it comes to service. They seem to have certain policies for which the customer is not always right. It also seemed that for such a large resort they seemed completely incapable of handling being fully booked.

Room Tip: The rooms at the end of the halls are the suites I think and have great views....but they are a pretty good hike from the elevator.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Geoffrey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2014

We decided to finally take a road trip down to the Florida gulf coast from Dallas - and as Destin rookies, decided to stay at the Hilton instead of renting a house and doing all the work associated with that. Complaints first: as a gold member I requested to be away from the elevator and they put us right across from one. They also weren't able to upgrade us from a partial beach suite to a full view suite even though the guy at the check in desk claimed the hotel was only 60% full. Not sure what happened there. Speaking of check-in, I waited 20 minutes - which is unacceptable for a hotel of this caliber, and then another 15 for a bellman to get the stuff from our car. But once we got in our room - the kids were overjoyed to find a set of bunk beds, the rooms were a good size, had a refrigerator and microwave so that we could buy water and snacks and store them. There were two pools that were shallow enough for the kids to play in, and the beach - wow - best beach ever. The sand was like powdered sugar. There's a shuttle that can take you to Baytown Wharf - a fun place to have dinner (and do a ropes course or zip line), and Seagrove beach/watercolor/seaside is just a short 10 minutes away. Factory outlet stores were down the street. Don't buy any beach toys poolside because they're ridiculously priced, but rather get them at the nearby Walmart or the Alvin's island outlet. There was something awesome about waking up every morning here and going downstairs for the large-selection-breakfast buffet - Nate the omelet/waffle chef was terrific. We were surprised that the pool-side bar's kitchen closes at 8PM on a Saturday night, but fortunately the in-room dining manager, who went way above and beyond, brought us out menus and our food to the pool as nobody wanted to leave to go eat elsewhere. He even brought us extra cookies for the kids. We would definitely stay here again - but I hope they make the check in process a bit more efficient and convenient to earn my five star review.

Room Tip: Most rooms have good views - try to be away from the elevator and ask for a room that has metal-rod railings for a balcony instead of concrete - you can see more :-)
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank canadianarthur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HSBGeneralManager, General Manager at Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2014

Dear Canadianarthur,

We appreciate your candid and detailed comments regarding your stay with us at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

I do apologize for the experience you encountered at the front desk. I want to insure you that if an upgrade was available it would have been offered to you as a Hilton Honors Gold Member. During the summer season we typically will have 80 to 100 Gold and Diamond members staying with us daily. That being said, it is not always possible to accommodate all of the requested upgrades.

I am pleasured to hear that you and your family enjoyed our world renowned beaches located in South Walton County, Florida. We hope to see you visit us again very soon.

GARY BRIELMAYER I General Manager

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Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

Great beachside dining. Easy w kids. They can swim, come eat, go back to pool. Easier than trekking to wharf or town.
They do close at 8.
Only casual beachside dining at Sandestin as far as I could tell. Elephant Walk is nicer and outdoor dining was closed b/c of possible thunderstorms.

Stayed: August 2014
1  Thank travelerfromaledo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HSBGeneralManager, General Manager at Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2014

Dear Travelerfromaledo,

It’s great to hear that Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill accommodated you and your family’s needs during your time with us at the Hilton Sandestin. I am sorry to hear the weather impacted your dining plans one evening.

I appreciate your comments and hope you visit us again soon


GARY BRIELMAYER I General Manager

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Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

This resort just underwent an upgrade. The facilities are comfortable. The staff amazing. The rooms nice and clean. Not too posh, or fancy. Just right. You can not beat the location! Fantastic restaurant options on the property and many more across the street at Baytown Warf and Grand Boulevard. We opted for a beachfront room because we wanted to be sure to have an unobstructed view. After checking in we realized there are probably very few rooms with unobstructed views! Every room also seems to have a balcony. We could have saved a lot of money booking "beach view" and been just as happy to enjoy an afternoon glass of wine on the balcony. Don't get me wrong. Beach front room was incredible and the room was HUGE. Where you absolutely want to spend your money is as the spa, Serenity By the Sea. It was a fantastic experience and the best massage I have ever had. If you book at the spa, be sure to ask for Tiffany! My husband and I have enjoyed our long weekend here and will leave relaxed.

Stayed: August 2014
2  Thank PCWLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HSBGeneralManager, General Manager at Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2014

Dear PCWLA,

Thank you for the compliments regarding the upgrades you experienced during your recent stay with us at the Hilton Sandestin Beach. This past winter we completed a complete renovation of all our public space and Spa Tower guest rooms.

I also appreciate the comments regarding our large variety of amenities, services and other venue options in the area. All the things mentioned offer an endless list of activities for a quick weekend or a week-long vacation for both couples or families.

We hope to see you again in the near future. Thank you.

GARY BRIELMAYER I General Manager

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Reviewed 15 August 2014

For the 2nd year in a row we have stayed at the Hilton the night before we check into our condo for a week and everything about it was top notch service! You can never go wrong with the beach front Jr Suites.

  • Stayed: August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Funtravler85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HSBGeneralManager, General Manager at Hilton Sandestin Beach, Golf Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 4 September 2014

Dear Funtravler85,

We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us here at the Hilton Sandestin. Please consider staying with us the full length of your time during your next vacation. We are the only full service resort destination in the Walton County and Destin area.

We hope you consider us in the near future. We will make sure you won’t regret it.

GARY BRIELMAYER I General Manager

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