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The sugary white sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so why wouldn’t you want to stay at a hotel located right on the beach? The
Even better, it offers luxurious rooms, elevated service and a laid-back family-friendly vibe. There’s a reason it’s on our list of the best Destin resorts and our list of splurge-worthy Florida resorts for families.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Join the Hilton Honors program before you book for access to member perks and to earn points for your stay.
What’s So Great About the
- Location: The resort sits right on the beach in Miramar Beach, FL, along Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast.
- Dining: Seagar’s, the region’s only AAA Four-Diamond steakhouse, is a must-eat destination for foodies, but the resort also offers more casual dining options.
- Large guestrooms: Rooms in the tower have bunk beds, a king bed and a sofa bed to sleep up to 6 people.
- Pools: 2 outdoor and 1 indoor pool (slated for a refresh in 2023/2024) plus a small toddler pool. Two hot tubs (1 indoor and 1 outdoor)
- Gorgeous beach: The resort has a wide, white sand beach with beach chairs and umbrellas available to rent by the day, or bring your own.
- Full-service spa: Book a treatment, order lunch or just buy a day pass to use the sauna, steam room and hot tub.
What’s Not So Great About the
- Large resort: While officials said the hotel was 60 percent full when I visited during shoulder season, it felt empty to me. But people who have visited during the high season (summer) say it can feel crowded.
- Amenities book up early: If you want to ensure you’ll have access to a cabana by the pool, beach chairs and an umbrella on the beach or dinner at Seagar’s, make those reservations when you book your room. Chances are they won’t be available last minute.
- Daily resort fee: One of those dreaded hidden fees resorts charge, the fee at the
HiltonSandestin is $40/day.
Guestrooms at the
The hotel has 590 spacious guest rooms and suites divided among two towers. All of the rooms have a patio or balcony with at least a partial beach view.
My large Deluxe Junior Suite in the Emerald Tower was big enough to sleep six thanks to my No. 1 favorite family-friendly hotel feature: bunk beds in a separate sleeping area for the little ones. They even get their own TV.
In the room was a comfy king bed and a sofa that could pull out into a bed, sleeping two more. Plus, the private balcony with two chairs and a table offers a nice evening escape for parents to watch the sunset over the Gulf while the kiddos sleep inside.
My hotel room also had a minifridge, coffee maker and microwave and plenty of drawer space, including one that cleverly hid the in-room safe.
The remodeled bathroom included a second sink outside the bathroom, which would make it far easier if you needed to get six people ready to go.
Hilton Sandestin Restaurants
There are six onsite restaurants, plus room service:
The only AAA Four-Diamond steakhouse in all of Northwest Florida, eating here is a dining experience, from the tableside prepped Ceasar salad and bananas foster to the melt-in-your-mouth filet. Chef Fleetwood Covington has his sights set on earning a Michelin Star and/or winning a James Beard Award. It’s a meal you’ll be talking about for months.
Note that men are asked to wear a collared shirt, no shorts or flip-flops (although the man who arrived just before us was wearing shorts and was seated without incident). In a quaint throw-back touch, the restaurant keeps a few jackets on hand to help out inappropriately attired guests.
Located near the front desk, this restaurant produces some of the most beautifully presented sushi I have ever seen. It was almost too pretty to eat. But the members of my party who ordered sushi didn’t hesitate to dive in – and pronounced it as tasty as it was beautiful.
SheBuysTravel Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a beach vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
Seating at Hadashi gives you a front-row seat to the 11-foot television showing sports programming.
Undoubtedly the most popular restaurant at the resort, Barefoot is an open-air restaurant situated between the two outdoor pools and offers a view of the beach. It serves a variety of salads, sandwiches and bar appetizers. There also is an extensive cocktail list. I recommend trying the rum jungle and the spicy blood orange margarita. You’re welcome.
Also located just off the lobby across from Hadashi,Sandcastles is the place where the breakfast buffet is served each morning. It’s an expansive (and pretty good) spread, with the standards such as scrambled eggs, fruit, pastries and biscuits and gravy. There’s also a made-to-order omelet station.
Kids 12 and under eat breakfast for free.
Picnix Poolside Market
Had I been traveling with kids (or my ice-cream-loving husband), I have no doubt we would have spent plenty of time at Picnix, thanks to its Edy’s Ice Cream offerings. The grab-and-go restaurant is located on the pool deck and, in addition to ice cream, sells deli sandwiches, wraps, salads, and Pizza Hut pizza. Note that it’s only open for a few hours each afternoon.
The Coffee Shop
Open mornings, this is the place to grab your morning Starbucks or cuppa and a quick breakfast. Offerings include oatmeal and house-made pastries.
Things to Do at the
This is the reason I headed to the
If you want to get more active on the water, the hotel offers kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals to guests ages 14+. The blue beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rental as well.
The hotel has beach towels available from a towel desk near the pool. Note that beachgoers must wear a wristband to show they are guests of the resort before setting up shop on the private beach.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Reserve your beach chairs when you reserve your room, especially if you’re visiting in summer, the resort’s high season. If you forget to do that, head to the beach hut around 10:45 am. Any chairs that were reserved but not claimed by 11 am are released to people in the line on a first come, first served basis.
All three pools are family-friendly, so there is no adults-only pool option.
I found the pools to be uncrowded when I visited, so it was easy to slide in and swim a few laps.
If you prefer to float, check at the towel desk to see whether anyone has left behind a pool float; they are free to use. If you prefer to bring your own pool floats, don’t waste your breath filling them up. There’s a free air compressor hose next to the towel desk.
Just barely edged out by the beach on my list of “best things to do at
It’s a lovely, calming spot with attentive service and skilled therapists. Top your day off with lunch delivered to the spa.
The spa is also where you’ll find the resort’s full-service fitness center, which includes Peloton bikes and complimentary access to Peloton classes.
And one of my favorite features: the spa offers free yoga classes. We did ours on the expansive pool deck, the Gulf breezes threatening to blow us over as we attempted to hold a tree pose.
A touristy shopping, dining and entertainment district, the Village of Baytowne Wharf is easy to get to, thanks to the free onsite shuttle service that runs between the Hilon Sandestin and the Wharf. The area is home to a variety of boutique shopping, many restaurants and bars and a marina where you can rent boats and bikes. Is it worth the trip? Maybe, if you are a parent looking to entertain kids while you walk around sipping a libation.
There’s a mini zipline, carousel and other rides for little ones and plenty of bars and restaurants for big ones. The village also hosts a variety of special events, such as free concerts, a spooky Halloween celebration and a weekly farmers market. Check the event calendar here.
For more serious shoppers, the Silver Sands Premium Outlets – home to 110 designer and name-brand outlet stores – is just two miles away and accessible via the free shuttle service.
If you don’t want to leave the property, there’s a gift shop selling resortwear and travel essentials such as sunscreen and toothpaste.
I’m not a golfer, so I did not check out the four championship golf courses nearby, but Condé Nast Traveler magazine named the resort one of its “Top 20 Florida Golf Resorts.”
The four golf courses are:
- Raven Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
- Burnt Pine Golf Club, designed by Rees Jones and featuring gorgeous views of Choctawhatchee Bay
- The Links Golf Club, designed by Tom Jackson
- Baytowne Golf Club
Where is the
Hilton Sandestin Located?
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is located at 4000 Sandestin Boulevard South in Miramar Beach, Florida. While most guests drive (self-parking is free). I flew from Chicago. It was a direct flight into the Pensacola Airport (PNS) so I didn’t risk missing a connection, but a long (nearly two hours) drive to the hotel. The Destin/Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) is closer.
Is there a resort fee at the
Yes. It’s $40 per day and includes wifi, self-parking, fitness center, yoga classes at Serenity by the Sea Spa, transportation throughout the resort and to Silver Sands Outlet Mall, board and beach games, discounted resort activities and free breakfast for kids 12 and under.
Are there charging stations for electric vehicles at the
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa?
Yes – and charging is free as part of the resort’s efforts to make the world a greener place. Plus, electric vehicles get free valet parking. Valet parking for gas-powered vehicles is $30/day.
Hilton Sandestin pet-friendly?
No. Only service animals are allowed.