Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach
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TravelPod Member ReviewsHoliday Inn Resort Panama City Beach
Rooms a little small, but kids liked the bunks. Outside is lovely, and beach access out our door is really cool :)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach
Holiday Inn Sunspree was a wonderful experience. It was everything our family hoped for. One thing I noticed that sums up just about everything I'm going to say is that when you looked at all the other guests at the hotel everyone was relaxed and smiling - obviously having a great time. Stricking up a converation was easy and several persons I talked with said they had visited this resort several times. That is the highest of compliments to a hotel.
We arrived at a very busy check-in time but we quickly were processed by friendly staff and aided by friendly staff bellhop. The hotel was busy but it is large enough that you didn't feel cramped. When scheduling I was trying to decide between 3 hotels and for several weeks kept calling about rates while checking internet sites - always worried about staying at a new place - I got an outstanding rate of $119/night, way below their advertised price.
The pool was full of guests but it is so large that we didn't feel crowded. The pool was clean and the only drawback there was seating - - the guests really do go out at dawn to place beach towels on the chairs to save (but this is guest-caused, the hotel asks that this not be done). Still, during the day I was usually able to find some seating if I wanted to be around the pool area. Landscaping at the pool area is very nice and the whole area is kept clean. (There's a nice lady who brings attractive, inexepensive silver jewelry for sale at the pool area - - so take some cash!). Wear sandals on the pool deck - the beach sand is cool but this deck - ouch!
The beach is only a few steps away and the sand was cleaned in the morning by machine. No problem finding a place to sit or being crowded at oceanside.
Our room was kept very clean by staff. The room was a bit worn, as most beach hotels are but it was clean. Loved the shutters in the room. I was apprehensive about the tiled floor as far as sand but it was mopped daily and was fine. The balcony was large and the most wonderful view of the ocean was given. We were on floor 9, if you are lower - maybe floors 1-3 your view would mostly be of the pool. They also provided netting for balconies with small children. The bathroom was a decent size and there was a full-sized refrigerator and microwave in the room.
There were also two vanities in the room.
The grill near the pool had excellent food and remember - kids eat free! The restaurant had great salads and breakfast buffets - and again the kids eat free - even if parents don't eat breakfast buffet the kids eat free - great deal! I wanted to try the seafood all-you-can eat buffet but it was just too pricey.
Karoaki at the bar at night was family fun, too. I can't say enough good things about the kids' activities. The young adults who ran the program were outstanding, just provided lots of fun, enthusiasm and great role-modeling.
I loved the fact that the hotel had you wear wrist bands (or anklets, if you prefer) for security. I felt comfortable with my older kids not staying strictly at my side. The bands really were checked by the staff security.
I have few negative comments about the hotel. The water pressure in our shower was rather weak, the doorknob didn't always lock to the bath and I couldn't get the safe to work. I didn't contact the desk about these problems, though, so I don't know how helpful they would have been.
The biggest negative to our hotel happened as we were checking out. It was busy and the clerk was very nice but there was a beach chair rental charge to the room that wasn't ours. The clerk asked his manager and he gave us a suspicious look and asked if it was ours. We again said it wasn't and the manager asked the clerk to pull the charge. My husband laughed at what someone had as his first initial and last name signature because it was so far from his own signature. It was also the day that we first checked in and there was no time on the charge sheet to tell when it was made. The accounting manager (Mr. "C") kept scowling and called the girl from the beach who reserves the chairs (her name was on the charge as "per ____"). The had a private discussion and then Mr. C. came back over (still scowling, I might add) and told the clerk to delete the charge. I thought this was all really unnecessary to make us stand in line so long and to hold up the line when he could have deleted the charge and spoke with employees later.
We had no intention of paying the charge since the signature wasn't even ours. The clerk was extremely nice and apologetic; Mr. C had no apology whatsoever. Ok, the staff of the hotel were amazingly nice and polite - the accounting manager could use a refresher course in personal skills.
The water in the ocean was extremely filled with sea weed or kelp or whatever it was (don't know if this is normal or from some recent storms in the Texas area) and the waves at this point weren't as strong, for their body boards, as what my kids like as they are the east coast.
I would never recommend Panama City Beach to anyone for a vacation because it is filthy, the nightlife is too wild and gutted out buildings are everywhere. With that said, I would highly recommend going to this resort and will probably do so again. The resort is all-inclusive and you don't even have to leave to have a great time.
There's also the all-important Wal-Mart less than a mile away.
Great service, good facility @ Sunspree
I received a few positive recommendations from people, and then read the (mostly) good reviews here and decided to stay at the Sunspree for my family vacation in early July 2003. I had never been to Panama City Beach (PCB) before this trip.
The area is somewhat worn down from spring-break type partying. Even in July, the main strip along the beach (Front Beach Road) was jammed from afternoon through midnight with teens in trucks, on motorcycles, etc.
The beach itself was less packed (at the Sunspree), and I was pleasantly surprised each day at the ease of finding a nice spot on the beach to setup our chairs, etc. When we first arrived, I was surprised to see a large accumulation of dead plant life (I'm not sure what it was) all along the beach, in a strip about 15-20 feet wide. The water, too, was full of this stuff that kept washing up on the beach. On the second day, though, the water was mostly clear and the Sunspree was the ONLY hotel (in viewing distance) that had the beach cleaned! I was impressed by that. Even by the time we left a few days later, the Sunspree's section of the beach was clean and everyone else's was still covered by the dead plant stuff.
The hotel common areas were very clean and nicely appointed. Check-in was fast and easy, and the staff was very friendly. As soon as we checked in, a bellhop unloaded our van and quickly delivered everything to the room. I parked my van in their parking lot across the street (accessible through an under-street tunnel) and was quickly shuttled back. The shuttle(s) ran continuously back and forth to the parking lot, although the walk was short and painless (through the tunnel - no traffic!). The elevators worked quickly, although they were often hot (not much ventilation). It was clear that this hotel was more family-oriented than many along the beach.
The rooms were in good condition with tile floors, a full-size refrigerator and microwave, a large vanity outside the bathroom, and a clean bathroom including another large vanity. The view from the balcony was great, although we worried a bit about our kids climbing through the railing - then the hotel put a strong, tight-mesh net on the railing and solved the problem! Again, very family-friendly. The housekeeping staff did a good job each day of cleaning the room and (important!) removing the sand from the floor.
The pool area was particularly nice but often crowded. There was a live DJ near the pool from about 11am to sundown each day, helping to keep the excitement level up. Lots of palm trees and other tropical plants were very pretty and well-kept (I could see employees trimming and planting in the early morning from my balcony every day).
The hotel has a children's activity staff that plans several activities every day for children, such as face painting, sand sculpting, dancing with the DJ, "movie nights", etc. Most of the activities are free, and the staffers were all very friendly and good with children. This is a big asset of this hotel.
The hotel also had a security staff that monitored the pool area and beach entrances. All guests were issued wristbands and if you didn't have it you didn't get back in (at least without a lot of trouble).
This helped a lot to keep beach traffic out of the hotel areas. This, too, was a noticeable difference between the Sunspree and other hotels.
Check-out was convenient. The bellhop service was quick and friendly, loading my van for me. Checkout was smooth with no unexpected charges.
Why not a rating of 5? The price is a bit higher than what I usually pay. The best rates I could find anywhere were $189 weekend, $169 weekday.
Summary: the area is a bit worn-out, but if you are going to Panama City Beach, the Sunspree offers one of the best hotels on the beach.
It's a "jewel in the rough".
Never will go again!!!!
I am so disappointed in the Sunspree resort. I read lots of reviews before staying there and expected a better experience. Check-in went was fast and easy. Things deteriorated after that. The door to our room did not shut tight, the door frame was warped and molding was hanging loose. There was no soap or toilet paper in the room on arrival. The floors were dirty!!! Hair, dirt, sand, and grit was everywhere: the dresser, the air conditioner, the bedside table. We called three times to get the safe repaired since it would not lock. The fourth time they finally replaced it. When I turned down my bed the first night I was surprised by dirty sheets. The sheets had hair, stains, food, and sand on them. The walls and ceiling were covered with stains, like some sort of food fight had occurred. The room smelled like urine. The elevators have glass walls that look they they have never been cleaned. Hand prints and smear marks cover the glass. The pool itself is beautiful but always crowded. Most of the children use floatees. With so many plastic boats, alligators, and dolphins in the pool there is no room to swim. The beach is great except for the trash. Cigarette butts litter the sand. Beer cans and garbage are left on the beach and picked up only once a day, if then. Security presence is everywhere but most of their attention is directed at the "walking bikinis". This is a vacation resort for the spring break type crowd only.
I Love It!
I love the Sunspree! It is the best hotel that I have ever stayed in. I will NEVER stay anywhere else. It is WONDERFUL.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree in late June 2003, and had a great time. The rooms were very clean, the pool was awesome, and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The only problem we had was at check-in. Do not arrive to early to check in because you might have to wait. We got there way to early thinking maybe we could get in a room on a higher floor earlier but it turned out that we should have waited.
We walked on the beach and sat in the lobby till around 2:45 pm waiting on a room, and finally one came available on the 12th floor. Other than that we had a great time. I would suggest staying here, especially if you have kids. They have activities throughout the day and night for kids like games and movie nights. Also, they have a big celelbration every evening at sundown and play music. For the adults, there is karaoke from 7-12 out by the pool. We are planning our next trip to the Sunspree and can't wait to go back.
My Annual Vacation
This is a wonderful hotel for couples or families. I have been 3 times with my parents and 2 times with my friends. This will be the first year I haven't been in five years (b/c we're honeymooning elsewhere). The pool is fabulous...not just your typical concrete square. There are beautiful trees and flowers everywhere to make you feel like you're on a tropical island, not at a hotel. The grill is great, but it is pricey. The indoors restaurant is okay, but it is better to venture out to other places for dinner (try Spinnakers, Chubby's and Pineapple Willy's). These places offer more atmosphere and are cheaper. The balconies have a great ocean view, and the rooms are clean. The one problem with the hotel has to do with the guests, not the place itself. People tend to leave towels on pool chairs the night before, so that it is impossible to get one after 9:30am. Therefore, either go to the beach first, or get to the pool before 9:30 to reserve your own seat. The complaint about the walk to the beach is crazy. You merely walk out of the hotel, past the pool, and down a ramp and you're on the sand. This is AT MOST a 200 foot walk from the hotel doors. Overall, there is really nothing bad to say about this place. Great hotel, great beach, great pool, great fun!
Good price, friendly staff, terrible resturant
The pool is awesome! Lots of great fun for the kids, right on the beach. The rooms are small, nothing special at all. The staff was friendly, the outdoor snack bar was ten times better than the sit down resturant. The resturant was just TERRIBLE. The food was awful, the service was ok--she was friendly, but did not seem too aware of what was going on, even though we were one of two tables. The guest counter employees were friendly, especially when I made the reservation via the telephone. There was somewhat of a wait when I arrived to check in, one of the employees had a conflict over hotel charges with a group of spring breakers checking out. All in All, I prefer Destin for the money. My husband and I noticed PC looking a bit run down and trashed. Not nearly as nice as it once was. I think way too much spring break partying has taken a toll on this area.
TO GLAM FOR ME
I think that the Sunspree resort is absolutely beautiful, however it is over priced and to glammed up. I do have to say that the rooms are very clean. The problem is that you have to wind through this overly created tropical scene to ge to the beach. By the time oyu make it there, it looks like a big lake. It really takes away from the beach. The pool is very nce, however it is overcrowded. And if yu foget something in your room, you will have a nice long trip back to the hotel and in the elevators to get it.
Spring Break etc
What an amazing place. I went their for 5 different spring breaks! I never bothered going elsewhere. I had a great deal with my college and most college students will end up paying twice as much for a place half as good. I wound up coming back again on a non springbreak trip to show my parents how nice it wasI don't know where to begin. All rooms face the beach which is excellent. Nice central location of the beaches. The pool area is beautiful- first class, you can't beat it- tiki bars, grill etc. Blue Marlin is a great restaurant inside the hotel. All rooms come with a kitchen and fullsize fridge. The beach is great and there was entertainment provided and shuttles provided to the clubs at night.
The most beautiful beach ever! Was kept very clean. The pool area is almost as nice! Had my 3 year old son with me,he had a ball there without ever getting his feet in the sand. The only downfall I saw was somewhat slow maid service. Very friendly,helpful staff. Has everything you need to never have to leave,your own little piece of heaven-truly paradise..
TripAdvisor Reviews Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach
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