September – 2014 – Frugal Novice
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September 2014

Hilton Sandestin is a Dream Destination for Families

Note: We received our stay and a meal at the Hilton Sandestin to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily. All opinions are honest and are entirely those of myself and my family.

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Our next leg of our family road trip was in Destin, Florida at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. We were all pretty excited about this stop – our family loves spending time at the beach, and the boys couldn’t wait to start playing. I was thrilled because the Hilton Sandestin is right on the beach, which meant we could walk out of our hotel and straight onto the sand without having to pack up the car or walk with the kids for a long distance.

The Hilton Sandestin is breathtaking from the moment you walk inside. The lobby was updated this year; it’s modern, light, bright, and gives you an immediate view of the coast. Our room was on the 13th floor facing the beach, and the instant we walked in we were awestruck by our even better view of the beach. It was raining around us (which only lasted about 30 minutes, thankfully!) but even with the sun hidden away it’s a gorgeous vista.

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From our balcony (which the kids loved), we also had a great view of the property:

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There are two large pools, a hot tub, and a shallow toddler-friendly pool, too. See that dark green roof? That’s the Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill, an open-air restaurant that you can eat at – you guessed it – barefoot. We really enjoyed eating here and I’ll tell you more about it later in this post. The green awning to the right of Barefoot’s houses an ice cream shop that we also enjoyed, and to the right of that is the indoor pool. There’s even more not captured in this photo, from ballrooms to other dining options, but this was the area which we frequented the most – it’s such a great setup for families!

Our room was equally impressive. It consisted of a kids’ area with BUNK BEDS (oh my word did the boys think that was cool!) and their own TV, a bathroom and separate vanity area, and then a large space with our bed, a living area and desk. And, of course, floor-to-ceiling windows with a sliding door out on to the balcony.

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The rooms in our part of the hotel were renovated in 2013, and it’s very apparent in how they’re decorated – clean and crisp, beachy and airy, they’ve achieved the perfect balance for a vacation destination. We loved the colorful pillows on the kids’ beds, and the beadboard-inspired bedframes (complete with an awesome porthole on the bottom bunk that I managed to just crop out of the photo above (whoops!). And did I mention they had their own TV? They loved watching cartoons in the morning while Brian and I got ready, and they each claimed one of the shelves below to house their books and toys.

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As you can see below, they really nailed the design for the rooms. The peaceful blue on the walls with some light green accents was serene and so relaxing. We loved the little beverage center – and as parents of a toddler, we used this as a place to charge our electronics out of her reach, so that ended up being pretty great too.

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The living area was really nice, too – we enjoyed sitting on the couch and looking out the windows, and it really made the space feel like a home away from home, and the chest under the TV was great for storing our things.

If you’re looking to travel with your family like we did, you’ll appreciate this – there was a standard bathroom, but there’s also a separate vanity area with a sink, which allows for multiple people to get ready at the same time and was a really smart setup.

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Oh, and did I mention the amazing views? :)

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We spent most of our time in Destin outside, though. We checked in around 4:30 in the afternoon, and by 5:30 we were out on the beach.

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The next day we reserved an umbrella and chairs ($40 for the day, and totally worth it – I’d highly recommend it!) by calling the beach shack, and we set up camp with all our beach gear so we could get started playing early in the day.

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The beach for the Hilton Sandestin is great, too, because it’s not overrun like public beaches can be. It’s also serviced by staff that can bring food and drinks straight out to your umbrella – and boy did we enjoy some cold lemonade mid-afternoon! We did venture off the beach just a few yards to eat lunch at Barefoot’s. It was so easy because we could leave most of our things down at our umbrella and go as we were to eat. You can see in the photo below the green roof; that’s how close it was. Love that!

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It’s a bright, airy space with views straight out to the water, and the food is delicious, too. I couldn’t get over the variety of things they offered.

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The top left photo above is a salad with sesame-coated tuna; the bottom photo is the best patty melt I’ve ever had, and the photo on the right is delicious chicken quesadillas. The kids really enjoyed their food, too, which is crucial when they need plenty of energy to play on the beach some more!

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After a lot more playing and dinner back at Barefoot’s, we went out to the beach at sunset to read and relax a little before playing in the pool. This is one of my favorite memories of our time here.

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We spent time at the outdoor & indoor pools, too – the kids loved them!

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I can’t even convey how much we adored our time at the Hilton Sandestin. It was everything you’d want a beach vacation to be. Everything was gorgeous, the staff was friendly, it was convenient and completely relaxing. We didn’t want to leave, and the kids already asked if we can go back next summer. If you’re looking for a place to travel with your family, this is it.

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