You know those moments? The ones that you see through your camera lens, but you kind of know that you won’t really need print photos, because the moment is burned in your memory. The ones that are so spontaneous and real. The laughter of your kids, and the genuine joy in their giggle. The moments where you look out at the world from your spot and for just that moment, you are there, present and engaged. I love those moments, and I find that as each year passes, these are the moments that mean the most to me. I want to slow down and enjoy them, soak them in … and capture them. These family trips are such a special way to do just that.
When I was invited to take part in this blogger trip and review the resort, I jumped at the chance to get in some family time … and I am so glad that we took part in this opportunity!
About the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa: (their words) The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa rests along the sugar white sands of Florida’s Northwest coast, overlooking the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. On a peninsula right in the center of Florida’s Panhandle, the community surrounding the Hilton Sandestin Beach is bordered by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on one side, and the calm Choctawhatchee Bay on the other – both providing visitors easy access to beach and water activities year round.
Well-known for the white sands that adorn its coastline the beach along the Hilton Sandestin Beach is made of pure Appalachian quartz, which gives the Gulf waters their trademark emerald-green color by reflecting sunlight back up through the surf. From simply relaxing to engaging in a plethora of water activities, guests at the Hilton Sandestin Beach, surely fine the beach as the focal point of the overall resort experience.
Here is the view as seen from our room (If you look really close, those little specs in the pool on the right side of the photo are my kiddos and my hubby on the lounge chair):
The Hilton Sandestin Beach is committed to adopting green practices to conserve natural resources. The property has recently invested more than $9 million in capital improvements to go green – indoors and out.
In 2009, the resort earned the Florida Green Lodging Program Designation from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for its implementation of recycling programs, water conservation and energy reduction.
As a result of its 2010/11 renovation project, the Hilton Sandestin Beach’s new deck areas are designed to minimize disturbances to nesting sea turtles, their hatchlings, and other coastal wildlife. The deck areas are also made of MoistureShield, an environmentally friendly decking composite. The resort also installed more than $250,000 in habitat-friendly lighting to protect sea turtles and other waterfront animals, and planted more than 30,000 new sea oats
to protect the dunes. Throughout the resort, electrical upgrades to LEED lighting and A/C enhancements totaling $2.5 million resulted in a $50,000 rebate check from Gulf Power to Hilton Sandestin Beach, in recognition of their extreme conservation efforts. Their largest to date, the check marked Gulf Power’s first rebate on their commercial customized incentive program for customers who undertake environmentally friendly improvements.
To help educate guests about the endangered turtles that call our sugar-white sands home, Hilton Sandestin Beach has recruited Sunny the Sea Turtle, a cute and informative companion who shares information about protecting mother turtles as they lay eggs, hatchlings’ journey back to the ocean, and the resort’s turtle-safe lighting. Sunny also likes to be in pictures. As part of the resort’s new annual summer photo contest, children are presented their own colorful cutout of Sunny upon check-in and encouraged to include him in photos of their favorite beachside adventures. Guests may email their photographs to the resort before the end of their stay for a chance to win a range of prizes, including a family vacation for four at the resort.
What this means for you and me? A resort that cares about the future of our beautiful beaches and coastal wildlife. Refreshing to say the least, but also essential. Add to that the fact that this is SUCH family friendly place… you almost feel like you were dropped of in the middle of a dream. And the thing is, it’s a win/win for the entire family. Here’s a bit more about why:
Dining (and snacks!) and most importantly a Coffee Shop:
There were so many options for dining and snacking at the resort. Those with a fine dining appetite can enjoy USDA prime steaks and fresh succulent seafood at the resorts award winning Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood restaurant, which elevates fine dining to a new level. We didn’t eat there, but did take tour, and this place is over the top FANcy.
While there are at least eight options for dining at the resort (actually nine if you count the gift shop, which actually had a pretty good selection of snacks!) we spent most of our time at either the Sandcastle’s Restaurant or the poolside Picnix snack shop.
The Sandcastle’s Restaurant is a must for breakfast, as you can grab breakfast via the buffet (kids 5 and under are FREE!) It’s a great way to start the day and the pasties are amazing! (They are actually made by the resort’s own Pastry Chef Yascha Becker.) Little details like this, make for some delicious moments!
Another of our favorite places to eat was the outdoor Picnix Poolside Market, which is located between the resort’s two outdoor pools, with a stunning view of the Gulf’s emerald-green water. A huge hit with the summertime crowd, Picnix offers a menu of chef-prepared breakfast sandwiches, deli sandwiches and wraps, as well as Pizza Hut™ items, Edy’s ice cream treats, soft-serve yogurt and much more. Guests enjoy the convenience of dining poolside – no shoes required 😉 This was a really nice stop for snacks because first of all, they are affordable, and they also have nice little treats like bags of popcorn and ice-cream cones, which just add to the fun in the sun when you need a little snack.
The Coffee Shop: As silly as it might seem, this was the icing on the cake for me, as I love my coffee, and it was so nice to have a place to go when I needed a little perk. The newly opened Coffee Shop at the Hilton Sandestin Beach, located off the main lobby, offers a wide array of specialty Starbucks® Coffee, Tazo teas, fruit, soft drinks, and a delicious assortment of homemade pastries, baked fresh by their in-house chef.
Mom and Dad need some alone time?
Kids Krew programs: One unique feature about the Hilton Sandestin is the Kids Krew. Now, I will be the first to admit that going into this adventure, I was quick to think that I would probably not be the parent to take advantage of something like a Kids Krew. I mean, the whole reason that I came on vacation with my family was to spend time with them, right? Well, my opinion quickly started to change the first time that my kids got a glimpse of the Kids Krew play area… they could not wait to check it out. And then they met the Kids Krew counselors…and forget about it, they just wanted to be a part of whatever these super cool “big kids” were doing.
And you know what… part of being a happy family, is making sure that everyone is happy. Having the kids spend time at Kids Krew gave my hubby and I a chance to hang out, and it was so relaxing to know that they were doing something fun as well. Sometimes it is so easy to forget that you need that time to connect without the kids, and that is something that my hubby and I don’t do too often.
Blogger Adventures at the Hilton Sandestin
As part of this trip, the folks at the Hilton Sandestin had all kinds of fun in store for the bloggers that they invited, and this included the chance to spend some really fun quality time with my daughter and enjoy all of the fun that the resort has to offer. I always enjoy blogger invite trips because it never fails, I end up meeting the nicest new people and making new friends. This trip was no exception… and I feel so blessed to have met some wonderful new bloggers and their kiddos.
They started off our adventures with a fun sandcastle building contest, in which each mother and child raced to built the very best sandcastle. It was a blast, but let me tell you… being from Idaho I have not built too many sandcastles and this was not exactly my area of expertise, so our castle (if it could even be called that, lol) was not the best, but we sure did have fun. We then headed out on a hotel wide scavenger hunt that was a great way to see all that the hotel had to offer.
Next Stop: Serenity by the Sea Spa. Next on the blogger event agenda was to send the kids off with the Kids Krew counselors so that the moms could enjoy some spa time! I selected a massage and it was so wonderful to get pampered! The Hilton Sandestin has a beautiful spa and gym located in the basement of the hotel.
The Serenity by the Sea Spa is a full-service salon and state-of-the-art fitness center, the spa provides guests with amenities and treatments to suit every need – including separate private men’s and women’s lounge areas. A sense of inner peace is a beautiful thing. Experience it at Serenity by the sea spa at the Hilton Sandestin Beach hotel and resort.
We then met back up with our kiddos, who were beyond giggly and excited over all of the fun that they had at the Kids Krew. My daughter was so excited because she had won a blue ribbon and had also gained a few colorful spots since the last time that I had seen her! Most importantly, she had a blast and was so exited about the new friends that she had made!
Are you thinking a family vacation getaway? I highly recommend checking out all that the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has to offer! You can find packages and special offers here. Travel is of the things that we focus on saving money for. We realize that our kids won’t be “kids” for ever, and the moments that we create together are priceless.
During our time at the Hilton Sandestin, I had the opportunity to experience just about all that the resort has to offer. I am a true believer in quality family time, and what I really love about this type of trip is that it gave my family a chance to reconnect in a simple environment. No noise, chaos, video games, crazy running around… it was simple and fun. The beach and the pool. Sitting on the balcony of our room. Walking along the beach looking for sea shells. Sitting out by the fire pit at night. So many things to do, and it all centered around being together and just enjoying our time.
I think that my favorite part of this trip was the evenings, when the sun would start to set and the beach would start to clear… and it honestly starts to feel like the most peaceful place on earth. My family had such a wonderful time just walking up and down the beach together. We can’t wait to go back as we have decided that we are now definitely beach people.
*Disclosure: I was contacted by the Hilton Sandestin Resort and invited to participate in this wonderful opportunity. This resort review and trip to Florida was sponsored by the resort, however these opinions and thoughts are my own and were in no way influenced by another person.