Travel

The Island – Fort Walton Beach, Florida

The Island, by Hotel RL, is a waterfront resort hotel located in Fort Walton Beach, a small city on the Florida panhandle. Branding itself as “the treasure of the Emerald Coast,” Fort Walton Beach is a family-friendly city, with many family-friendly resorts and attractions including parks, museums and aquariums. The property is located on 13 landscaped acres with an 800-foot private beach, and it is a beautiful place for a family getaway in Florida.

Pulling up to the Welcome Center at The Island, my first impression was “Wow!” The center is light, bright and airy. There is comfortable seating both inside and out. I was greeted with a warm welcome and a smile, something I happily became accustomed to from all of the staff at the Island during our entire stay. Upon check-in I was given both verbal directions to the building where the suite was located as well as a map to follow.

Parking is readily available near the building. This made it easy for us to find our suite. But if we had had any trouble finding our way, we needn’t worry–staff throughout the facility are more than willing and able to assist. There are carts available at each entrance to load your belongings and elevators to take you to your floor. We stayed in a two queen suite with a gulf view–the property also offers a poolside king, gulf-front king, and regular king suite in addition to the usual accommodation types. The two queen suite has a separate living room/dining area (with a queen sofa bed) and an additional bedroom with a door. The bathroom is spacious, with plenty of counter space and an oversized shower. This property is newly renovated, as many of the hotels in the area are, making this an up-do-date option for a family vacation.

Upon walking through the door, the first thing I saw was a wall of windows looking out to the Gulf of Mexico–beautiful! After admiring the view of the beautiful Gulf Coast, I looked around my suite. The decor is stylish yet comfortable. The light airy feel of the furnishings and color scheme in the lobby continues into the rooms, making you feel at ease and on vacation. There are balconies off both the living area and the bedroom area to sit, relax and enjoy the gulf breeze and stunning view.

In addition to the suites there are a variety of other room options, both with gulf and pool views. There are a select few first floor rooms where one of the pools is directly off of the the patio–probably not a good option if you are traveling with small children, but really fun for a couple or a girls weekend if you are a pool lover. My daughter and I had a wonderful time playing in the pool and splash pad, as well as enjoying the beautiful Gulf with its stunning white sand.

Let me tell you about the pools first. They wind around with varied depths clearly marked. In the center of the grotto pool with cascading waterfalls, there is a pool bar that you can swim up to. The splash pad has a variety of water features sure to delight your little travelers. My daughter loved it there. There is also a hot tub available for adult use. The grotto swim up bar is really cool, with a waterfall approach. Ashlynn and I swam under the waterfall and up to the bar. We both loved this because it seemed like we were in a cave lost in time!

Now onto the Gulf. What’s not to love about the gulf coast? The sandy beaches and crashing waves are nature at its finest. The beach is cleaned daily and during peak season, and lifeguards are stationed throughout the coastline for guest safety. For a separate fee you can rent chairs and umbrellas for rent. Prices are posted and dependent on number of items you need. I rented two lounge chairs and one umbrella for $38 including tax. I did not need to carry, set up or take it down so I loved it!

There are a variety of eating options both on the property and within short walking distance. Breakfast at the grill onsite was buffet style with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and French toast. The Boardwalk, right next door, has multiple restaurants, both seafood focused and general fare. There are also a few small shops there. Our first night in Florida we ate at The Crab Trap restaurant, sitting on the deck looking at the gulf. The second day, because our suite had a small kitchenette, we were able to take full advantage of the pools and beach, staying in our swimsuits all day. We retired that night happy and tired, but woke up rested as the beds are very comfortable. With our 11 am checkout we were again able to enjoy early morning splash pad and beach time.

All in all we really enjoyed our stay at The Island. It is recommended for family travel, and would also be fun for an adult getaway weekend.

Now on the road again for our next adventure!