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As the wife to a man in the hotel and restaurant industry, I have become very discerning about where we stay. I’m a fanatic about indoor hallways and decor is almost as important. I love a resort feel, and a gorgeous view yields major bonus points.
Cleanliness tops the list where lodging is concerned. A resort gets ONE opportunity to get the whole cleanliness thing right, and if they fail, we’re done. Finito. For good.
Don’t mess with me where cleanliness is concerned.
When I got to Emerald Grande, I was impressed. The outside of the resort is off of a busy street but once you park, enter the building, then go out the back to the Harbor Walk Village area, you feel like you’re in your own little private land. You can’t hear the traffic on the street, and the resort literally has every thing you could possibly want or need without ever having to leave.
The resort was not easy to get around in unless you were quick to pick up on what “P” and “R” meant in the elevators. (P for Parking and R for Resort). There are blonde roots under this henna hair dye and it took me until the last day we were there to figure it out. There are also two towers so you have to know where you are in the Harbor Walk Village to remember whether or not you need to go to the GV level and switch elevators or if you can ride your elevator to the correct floor in your tower. Don’t let this detract you from staying here, it was only a very mild annoyance, as we got tons of laughs out of every wrong turn we made. My 11 year old would have probably understood the entire system of hallways, towers, and elevators within 50 seconds – I’m just special.
The rooms were two bedroom suites with an extra bunk room that housed 2 more people. Our room had a gorgeous kitchen, a California King bed in the master suite, and an Olympic Queen bed in the second bedroom. The balcony overlooked the swimming pool and we had a great view of the ocean as well. Our living and dining area looked comfortable, but I was way too busy enjoying all of the water sports, the sugar-sanded Florida beaches, the Destin night life, and the delicious restaurants to ever use it. The TV might have worked? I’m not sure. Who needs TV when you’ve got clear water and gorgeous, sunny skies at your fingertips?
One of my favorite features of the resort was the ability to order Starbucks and have it delivered to your room. We had a great Starbucks breakfast spread with coffee (or breve’ lattes if you please), one morning and we didn’t even have to get out of our pajamas to enjoy it.
The Grande Vista restaurant on the GV level hosted us for breakfast and lunch meals. I had absolutely no problem ordering a gluten free meal either time we ate there. Their daily $5 drink specials were fantastic. Where else can you get an enormous Long Island Iced Tea for $5?
On-site activities include (but are not limited to): Water skiing, Paddle boarding, boat shuttle to the beach, snorkeling/snuba, laser tag, a train ride for your kiddos, two beautiful pools (one indoor, one outdoor), shopping, and several restaurants.
If you are planning a family vacation to the beach, I strongly recommend Destin, FL. And make sure you make Emerald Grande Harbor Walk Village your DESTINation. You won’t be disappointed, whether you’re going for a family-friendly vacation with your kids, or a romantic get away with your honey.