Opened in 2014, this mid-range Holiday Inn outpost has a fresh, tropical design; indoor and outdoor pools; good food and drink; and 152 bright, comfy guest rooms, many with balconies and gorgeous Gulf views. Set on a spectacular white sand beach between Destin and Fort Walton Beach, the resort is a great choice for families and has lots of kid-friendly amenities; it's also suitable for business travelers who need access to the Convention Center across the street. However, the resort fee, lack of free breakfast and -- in particular -- the fees for using beach chairs and parasols may put some visitors off.
A relaxed beachside resort with a touch of retro surf style
The Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach is a relaxed beachside resort with a bright, tropical feel and an upbeat atmosphere. Everything is spotless, fresh, and modern, with a touch of retro surf style in the funky furniture and pops of bright green and blue in the paint and carpeting. The massive windows in both the lobby and the guest rooms manages to bring the gorgeous Gulf views indoors, making the resort feel a bit nicer than the typical Holiday Inn. The lobby is spacious and airy, and the Riptide Restaurant and Sports Bar serves good-quality American food in a fun dining room with enormous picture windows and surfboards on the walls. Outdoors, thatched tiki huts serve tropical drinks with surfboards acting as cocktail menus. Even the lobby’s water dispenser is filled with colorful tropical fruit, adding a bright touch to the space. While the resort is particularly popular with vacationing families, it's also suitable for business travelers, owing largely to its location across from a business center.
On a beautiful white sand beach, across from the local convention center
The resort is located on a white sand beach on Okaloosa Island, between Fort Walton Beach and Destin, and conveniently across the street from the Emerald Coast Convention Center. It's on the major Gulf Coast tourist highway, which can get crowded with traffic in the peak season. Plenty of restaurants and other hotels are nearby as well as the Gulfarium Marina Adventure Park. Both Okaloosa Island Pier and Adventure Golf and Arcade are less than 10 minutes away on foot.
Bright, clean, airy rooms plus special Kids' Suites with videogame consoles and fun decor
Rooms at the Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach are bright and clean and decorated in punchy kelly green, with beach-themed artwork that reflects the sun and sand outside. Mid-century-style chairs, pedestal tables, and mod lamps add more personality. Beach-facing rooms have balconies and great views; it's worth paying extra for these considering rooms on the other side face the parking lot. Amenities include flat-screen TV with premium cable, mini-fridges, microwaves, irons and ironing boards, iPod docks, and laptop safes. Bathrooms are modern, with lots of counter space, toiletries, shower/tub combos, and ocean-themed photographic prints on the walls. Kids' Suites with alcoves containing bunkbeds, beanbag chairs, TVs and Xboxes are fantastic for families, and adjoining rooms are also available.
Beautiful beach, lazy river, indoor pool, whirlpool, restaurant, and tiki bar
The Holiday Inn Resort Fort Walton Beach features a large lazy-river pool with palm islands, rocky outcroppings, and waterfalls, and a bright, skylit indoor pool for inclement days. A whirlpool provides extra relaxation when guests need a break from lounging on lounge chairs or sipping on fruity cocktails at the adorable poolside tiki bar. Just beyond the pool deck, a long ramp leads out to a powdery white sand beach with a net for volleyball. There's also a 24-hour fitness center, an on-site ATM, small gift shop, vending machines, and coin-operated laundry machines. Business travelers can also make use of the meeting rooms and the workstation with computers for guests' use.
Riptides Restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine either in a cheery lobby dining room, poolside, or via room service, and kids eat free. Note, breakfast is not included in the room rate. The resort also offers kids activities on weekends, including Dive-In movies. While Wi-Fi is free, guests must pay a resort fee, and both breakfast and beach chair and umbrella use cost extra.
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