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Holiday Surf & Racquet Club 3.0

Destin, Florida Panhandle, Florida

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This hotel has undergone significant renovations since our visit.
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Review Summary

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Pros

Cons

  • Dated decor throughout property and in some rooms
  • No daily cleaning service; optional twice-weekly linen and towel exchange
  • No laundry facilities in units, unlike similar properties nearby
  • All units are individually owned and vary greatly in condition and decor

Bottom Line

While it seems par for the course with condo accommodation in the area, Holiday Surf and Racquet Club's outdated decor looks as if it could belong in the home of someone's retired Floridian grandparents. However, the 86 large, individually decorated and updated (or not) units are perfect for long stays, privacy-seeking couples, young groups of friends, or families. Full kitchens, personal screened-in patios, and non-existent room service give guests maximum privacy and self-sufficiency. Direct access to sugar sand beach and gulf waters, on-site activities, and close proximity to local attractions ensure guests have plenty to do during their stays.

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Scene

Dated design and decor, but direct beach access

The six-story white and turquoise Holiday Surf and Racquet Club is tucked behind a mechanical gate off the main road and fronted by a large parking lot. The glass-door entrance to the hotel is located under a large turquoise overhang and flanked by a painted metal bench and large potted plants. Overall, it feels like an early 80s beachfront retirement home turned hotel; expect pale colors, dated furniture, shuffleboard courts, stucco walls, exceptional ADA-accessibility, and bland architecture. To the Holiday Surf's credit, nearby condo-hotel the Islander seems similarly dated. While many guests don't seem to mind the Golden Girls vibe (this is Florida after all!), it is no secret that the main draw of the hotel is not its decor, but the easy access to its backyard beach. By traveling down a long wooden boardwalk, past the pool and tennis courts, guests can have their toes in soft sand within mere minutes.

Location

In a residential area on the beach, close to food and local attractions

Map of Holiday Surf & Racquet Club

Off a typical Floridian condo-filled main drag lined with palm trees, the Holiday Surf & Raquet Club has direct beach access via a wooden boardwalk at the back of the property. However, within a five- to 15-minute drive out its front parking lot, guests will find a slew of chain restaurants, shops and some of the area's best attractions. Nearby family fun includes the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Track Family Recreation Center, Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park, and the Emerald Coast Science Center. Guests can stock up on provisions and sunblock at Target, just a five-minute drive away.

Rooms

Beach-facing, condo-style units; each with individual decor and screened-in balconies

Because each of Holiday Surf & Raquet Club's units are individually owned, some of the one- and two-bedroom units are gorgeously remodeled with updated appliances and decor, while others may serve as a stark reminder of decades past. Check the individual units online before booking. All beach-facing units come with a screened-in porch to keep the bugs out, but only views on higher floors actually reach the beach (lower rooms provide peeps of the pool and tennis courts). Rooms also have full kitchens, separate living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms. The best beach views can be found on the outer edges of the hotel's "V" shape, but are farther from the elevators. The one-bedroom option is nice for couples; nearby Islander only has two-bedroom units available.

Features

Lots of on-site activities and easy beach access, but no daily cleaning service

With two lighted beach-side tennis courts, dueling shuffleboard courts, male and female dry saunas, two heated pools, a small fitness room, event space, and special activities for kids, the Holiday Surf and Racquet Club can successfully keep guests active and entertained. Although beach access is year-round, two beach chairs and one umbrella are reserved for each unit between March and October. While the Holiday Surf may not have the two hot tubs and large poolside pavilion with multiple barbecues found at the nearby Islander condos, it does have an oddly placed area off the pool with basic grills and seating. Firework viewing takes place on Thursday nights. The hotel does not provides daily cleaning service, but a twice-weekly linen exchange is offered (the Islander, by comparison, offers laundry exchange three times a week in season).

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Address

510 Gulf Shore Dr, Destin, Florida Panhandle 32541-3038, United States

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