The 598-room Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is the largest full-service beachfront resort in Northwest Florida. I visited recently to check in on the ongoing $18 million transformation on a warm sunny fall weekend.
I delight in the metamorphosis of its conference facility. The carpet dons a seascape of soft sandy beaches and emerald green waters of the Gulf, bringing the awe-inspiring outdoors into your meeting space. The overall effect creates an amazingly soothing and refreshing atmosphere.
“We do our best to bring our best asset, our evocatively beautiful beachfront location into our hotel,” says Richard Ross, VP of sales/marketing at Hilton Sandestin. “The sea theme is seen throughout the entire hotel in addition to the convention space. The abundance of sea themed foyer space is staggering and ideal for groups to mingle during breaks and registration and possibly set up a small exhibit area.”
There is over 32,000 sf of flexible meeting space with three ballrooms that can be divided into 13 smaller rooms, a 106-seat theater ideal for award ceremonies or presentations, and the new 20,000-sf pool and beachside deck.
As the sun is setting and the full moon rising, we leisurely saunter over to enjoy a pleasurable dinner in the open air on a small section of the newly renovated deck. Getting a glimpse of what is possible for various groups with a commanding view of the emerald waves breaking on the sensational sugar white sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Our jovial group enjoys swaying to the tropical music and imbibing specialty cocktails from the refreshing Beachside Bar & Grill adjacent to the deck.
Tonight’s featured concoction is the Southern version of a Long Island Iced Tea with an emphasis on the deliciously sweet tea over crushed ice. Dinners, receptions and teambuilding activities all benefit from the new deck.
The four-diamond Seagar’s Prime Steak & Seafood Restaurant is known for over 600 fine wine labels that can now be ordered via iPad, complete with pairing suggestions. This definitely eases ordering for the wine connoisseur in your group. In addition to the 150-seat restaurant, planners have a choice of four private uniquely designed spaces ranging from the wine room to boardroom, seating 2-40.
The ongoing renovations are a veritable floor-to-ceiling overhaul of all of the Spa Tower’s 200 guest rooms. The 1,200-sf Presidential Suites on the 6th/7th floors have views of the sun rising and setting, and they feature a steam shower along with all the luxury amenities VIP’s look for.
A spectacular sea view of the pristine white sands and majestic blue green waters of the Gulf will be the backdrop of the lobby. Every aspect of the resort will have been touched, affirms GM Gary Brielmayer, who says, virtually a new resort will be complete this coming spring.
“The Hilton Sandestin Resort is one of the perfect locations throughout South Walton that showcase the upscale venues for meetings and conventions with a beautiful back drop of 16 different and unique beach neighborhoods,” says Pamela Watkins, Director of Sales, Visit South Walton. “We are an excellent destination for meetings and conventions with 26 miles of sugar white sand and turquoise waters.”