Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach is a pretty, sprawling property with a total of 1,600 rooms. It is organized like a little town that can be broken down into four resorts and 30 separate neighborhoods -- each with different decor and price range, but all feature attractive rooms with upscale decor. Depending on the size of their group and budget, guests can choose between a standard hotel room, condo, villa, or town home. In addition to a village and market full of shops, restaurants, and entertainment, this resort is brimming with recreational activities that bring the Sandestin to the top of our list: a 98-slip marina, 15 tennis courts, 19 pools, four golf courses, and over seven miles of beachfront.
WaterColor Inn & Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The WaterColor Inn & Resort is reminiscent of its name, with beach-y whites, blues, and light greens dominating the color scheme throughout the luxurious lobby and rooms. The inn offers an airy and relaxing atmosphere, and sits right on a beautiful private beach. It's part of a larger resort community that's packed with amenities (but not quite as many as the Sandestin), including four restaurants, water sports, bike rentals, and a long wooden pathway leading to the beach.
Margaritaville Beach Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The first hotel to open under the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand, the Margaritaville Beach Hotel offers a relaxed, tropical atmosphere right on a beautiful stretch of sandy coastline. The hotel's white and blue color palette, wicker furnishings, and palm trees add to the beachy atmosphere, as do the seasonal live entertainment, and a poolside Tiki bar. Rooms are sophisticated, clean, and airy with huge balconies, flat-screen TVs, and free Internet. The sweeping views of the white sand beach and Gulf of Mexico, viewable throughout the property and from the sleek outdoor pool, are a highlight. This hotel lacks the spa that the Sandestin and the WaterColor Inn both have, but otherwise it's up to par -- and its rooms are arguably even more luxe.
Portofino Island Resort & Spa Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Portofino Island Resort and Spa offers a total of five Mediterranean-inspired towers with two- and three-bedroom condo units. All rooms have balconies with great views over the beaches to the Gulf of Mexico or Santa Rosa Sound. Convenient perks in the condos include fully equipped kitchens and washer/dryers. Each tower has its own outdoor pool and the resort offers a long list of water and land sports, as well as a free dolphin cruise and a floating water park. While there is no direct beach access -- the beach is across a street -- this resort does offer spa services, a total of three restaurants, and free Wi-Fi.