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“Adult Family Vacation - Pros and Cons”

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Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 July 2012

My family arrived at the Emerald Grande after receiving recommendations from friends who were impressed by the accommodations, amenities, and "private" beach. Throughout our week-long stay we found both pros and cons to staying at the Emerald Grande.

The 3-bed, 3-bath apartment was spacious and very attractive. It included high-end finishes such as granite countertops, stainless appliances, and crown molding that are not typical of many beach condos I've rented. The daily maid service was ok (they spread up the bed, emptied the trash, and left soaps) but still appreciated. Those staying in bedrooms with windows experienced some significant road & weekly concert noise which occasionally made sleeping difficult. I appreciated the in-unit washer & dryer. Also, parking is some of the tightest I've ever seen (and I live in a large city known for limited parking!) so be careful about dinged doors.

One should note that this complex is located on the bay/marina near a busy bridge and not within walking distance to the ocean. Consequently, the "private" beach that our friend mentioned is a bay inlet which felt more like an overcrowded swimming pool than the seashore. While this might be appealing to families with small kids, the lack of waves and an inability to take long beach walks was disappointing for us. The ferry transportation to this "beach" is provided between 9am and 6pm, but arriving and departing frequently involved a 30+ minute wait (not so fantastic when everyone is trying to leave because of an approaching storm!). Chairs, umbrellas, and beach towels are provided but be mindful that the only bathroom facilities were on the ferry boat.

Emerald has both outdoor and indoor pools. The indoor pool was very small and seemed like an oversized jacuzzi in a muggy atmosphere . . . not so appealing. The outdoor pool space was more substantial and interesting and contained lounge chairs, umbrellas, and dining-style tables. However, this space (like the beach zone) felt overly small for the number of guest rooms at the facility. Towels for this area are complementary which was nice.

Having been disappointed by Emerald's beach and pool areas, we spent the majority of our vacation visiting the lovely public beaches, including Beasley Park, that were a five minute drive across the bridge. These facilities offered food, beverages, restrooms, covered tables, and rent-able chairs & umbrellas. Most importantly for us, the park was on a long stretch of uncrowded, enjoy-the-waves beach that felt lacking at Emerald.

During our stay, we checked out most of the amenities offered by the complex. Several family members scheduled spa treatments and were very impressed with the massages and pedicures they received ("one of the best massages I've had in a long time!"). The fitness and steam rooms are available to all guests of Emerald Grande, but the sauna is only accessible on the day you schedule a spa treatment. That said, the sauna is super-tiny and probably wouldn't be a huge disappointment to miss. The ladies locker and relaxation rooms had lovely views of the harbor and several nice lounge chairs.

Harbor Walk (the business and retail area around Emerald Grande) includes several restaurants and carnival-like activities (e.g. caricature sketches, bungee trampolines). This seemed to draw crowds to the area but ultimately did not appeal to our family with ages ranging from 24 to 58. You will be located near grocery stores, Target, Walmart, and movie theaters, but be mindful that traffic can be pretty thick during the evenings.

Ultimately, my family will not be returning to the Emerald Grande. For us, a walk-to-the-beach location is more important that high-end finishes. We simply prefer to arrive at the beach and enjoy the location without feeling compelled to spend a lot of money on cruise ship-style excursions and activities. I can imagine that some folks would be drawn to Emerald and its offerings; it just wasn't a good match for us.

Room Tip: Rooms in the "A" building tend to have better views of the coast and bay.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank alalfor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VictoriaWyatt, Manager at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, responded to this reviewResponded 6 August 2012

Dear alalfor,

Thank you for taking the time to review our property. I'm glad you were able to enjoy many of the unique amenities we have to offer. I would recommend visiting the area when it is not so busy like the fall or spring. This way you can avoid heavy traffic and long wait times like you mentioned. We pride ourselves on our unique location but unfortunately understand also that is not for everyone. I hope you change your mind and decide to revisit us again. If there is anything you would like to discuss please feel free to contact me directly at (850) 424-0631 or vwyatt@legendaryinc.com.

Best regards,
Victoria Wyatt

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707 - 711 of 986 reviews

Reviewed 22 July 2012

We arrived at Emerald Grande on 07/15.. we arrived a couple of hours early, and our room was not ready. No problem there , the hotel was more than accomodating, we received a temp key to access the pool area, and was able to take water taxi , to the beach. The resort was gorgeous, swimming pool was just the right size for our family, no need for a large pool, as you have the entire ocean to swim in. Rent a Pantoon boat, cost around $250.00 for a 1/2 day, but it was the highlight of our trip. We went to crab island, kids loved this.. we saw several dolphins, and burgers on the ocean, what an experience. The condo 1209, had an awesome view of the Destin Strip, and Gulf Coast, best view I've ever had of the Gulf. The condo was spaceous and clean, fully equiped. Furniture was a little outdated, but not worried about that, didn't spend a lot of time in the room ; however all rooms had flat screen tvs, this was a plus. The condo accomodated a total of 4 adults and 4 kids.. 3 bedroom/3 bath.. All bathrooms included double bowl sinks, and stand up showers.. Granite Counter tops, and Master - Jacuzzi Tub.

Only Con.. To get to private beach area, you must take a water taxi, if line is long, your wait can be anywhere between 15-30 mins for a ride to and from.. outside of that, I no other complaints.

Best family vacation ever, So much to see and do in Destin.. Several things for the kids on the Boardwalk, Several great resturants.. You will not run out of things to do !

Looking forward to going back next year.

Room Tip: Higher floors have the best view, and especially on the East Tower.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Sweetdabram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VictoriaWyatt, Manager at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, responded to this reviewResponded 26 July 2012

Dear Sweetdabram,

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed your stay with us and were able to utilize all the amenities offered on property. We look forward to your next visit! I recommend if you can to come in the fall or spring when the lines are less longer for the shuttle but the weather is still great.

Thank you,
Victoria Wyatt

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Reviewed 22 July 2012

I have been coming to Emerald Grande with family and business from the year they were built. We rent several units and spend $10,000 for the week. I also rent a single unit 3-4 times a year. I have always been told that the lounge and steam room closes at 11pm. Even this year the first 2 days we were told that it closes at 11pm. Then Ms Ana, the spa director, did not like that we were using the lounge and told us that it closes at 7pm. When I tried to explain to her that I am a long time customer and I have been told for all these years that it was 11pm, she started yelling at me and attacking me on a personal level. She called me a horrible person and said she couldn't wait to get me and my family thrown of the property. She was sticking her fingers in my face and screaming. I know that is hard to believe, I too was in shock. I have never been treated so horribly in my whole life. I never did anything to provoke her like that. I only tried to get an explanation why the rules changes for us since the day before. I am a very calm person and never raised my voice at her although she was screaming at me. She called security and they were calming her down because she was still screaming at a family that was just trying to enjoy a vacation. I believe this woman is a racist and treated us horribly because of that. This was just unbelievable. It ruined my whole vacation. WE PAID $10,000 TO BE SCREAMED AT. Beware of this place. Go some where you will be appreciated.

Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
12  Thank Bill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2012

My 2 friends and I decided to include our husbands for our birthday celebration this year. The Emerald Grande is absolutely beautiful, comfortable, and very well located. The beds were very comfortable and the 3 bedroom, 3 condo we had was in the east wing with a corner spot overlooking the pool, crab island, the bay, and East into Destin. Overall I would recommend others to stay here with the reservation of having no "beach front" access. Catching the ferry to the private beach may keep others from staying here. We brought along 2 ski jets which each sat 3 so we were able to go where ever we wanted at any time. Check in was hard! Finding our way around was confusing and funny. We did have a problem with the electrical outlets going out in all the bathrooms the last night of our stay so we couldn't really fix our hair............ The only other problem in the condo was the main room TV locked up a few times and mtce. had to be called in. It was a very positive stay overall.

Room Tip: Ask for a corner view to the bay! It's worth it.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank mkc62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2012

We thought we were going “all out” when we booked. The room we reserved was listed as a "Harbor View Suite". When we arrived and found out our view was of another wall of the hotel we returned to the front and the nasty troll at the desk indicated it was our fault for not doing better research. There were supposedly no other rooms available and after we had traveled half way across the country, being probed, poked searched, and double charged for baggage at the airport, we were bent over here for a little more attention. Since we had paid in advance, they didn’t care if we were satisfied or not. The service at the hotel was average on the best day if you compare to a Super 8. If you are looking for Hilton-type service… don’t think for a second this is even close to Hilton type service. This place is a glorified Econolodge “painted real purdy” to make the stupid people feel good about paying too much for accommodations. I honestly got better response from KBR on post in Afghanistan, than our family received from the Emerald Grande. The area around the hotel was top notch for eating, shopping, and socializing, but; you can park near here easily enough if you stay at another hotel. If you expect a great night sleep here, you will be disappointed. The hotel allowed very loud parties to go on in rooms around us until after 2:00 in the morning. Even my teen-age daughters were not able to sleep, with all of the commotion. I believe every trailer-park in Alabama exported their “brightest and best” the week we were here. The hotel was overwhelmed as Snookie at a Wal-mart during double coupon day. The hallways smelled like trash on our floor, and the elevators took forever. I am not sure if the rooms had really thin walls or if the neighbors children were super loud. Either way, the best thing about this hotel (besides location) is the Spa. Located right next to the gym, they were anxious to help in any way possible.

Room Tip: If you book in advance, do your homework to insure you are getting what you want. Don't book on...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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9  Thank strattons117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
VictoriaWyatt, Manager at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2012

Dear strattons117,

Thank you for your review. I'm sorry your stay was less than enjoyable. I apologize we were unable to move you to another unit during your visit, but as you have probably heard before, we are a very unique property in many ways. This particular way, is that we are not a full Wyndham resort and because of this, room moves and upgrades are very limited especially during the peak summer months. I apologize the issues you had with the loud neighbors, but if reported we could have sent security up who is here on property 24/7 who resolve these types of issues regularly. If there is anything further you would like to discuss, I encourage you to contact me directly at (850) 424-0631 or vwyatt@legendaryinc.com.

Best regards,
Victoria Wyatt

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Additional Information about Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

Address: 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin, FL 32541-7374
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Florida Panhandle > Destin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 55 Speciality Lodging in Destin
Price Range: ₹ 19,552 - ₹ 42,416 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village 3.5*
Number of rooms: 286
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village is Destin's shining jewel overlooking some of the most marvelous turquoise water and sugar sand beaches in creation. The one-of-a-kind architecture blends harmoniously with the harbor front setting. All rooms have spacious balconies with panoramic views overlooking the Emerald Coast. With four different resort residence categories to accommodate families of all sizes, you'll enjoy luxurious accommodations that include custom-crafted furnishings and lavish baths, with a level of service that sets the standard for all other family resorts. Amenities include a full service European spa and fitness center, indoor and outdoor heated pools overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, full-time concierge, numerous restaurants to choose from as well as in-room dining, state-of-the-art business center, garage parking and 24 hour security. Emerald Grande is nestled inside HarborWalk Village where activities and entertainment waits to please each and every member of your family-dive in and make memories that will last a lifetime. Here you can find waterfront shopping, water sports, boat, pontoon and ski rentals, world class fishing, aqua adventures, dolphin cruises, clubs and nightlife, weekly fireworks, seasonal festivals, live entertainment, magic shows, and an array of restaurants to satisfy all tastes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Emerald Grande Harbor Walk Village Hotel Destin

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