Home Travel Emerald Grande Destin: Not So Grand After All

Emerald Grande Destin: Not So Grand After All

by victoriavadenking
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Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse

The Emerald Grande at Harborwalk Village is an amazingly beautiful hotel with stunning views!

Well, if you don’t mind cockroaches.

When we booked a penthouse for our sixth wedding anniversary, we didn’t know roaches would be celebrating with us.

Words cannot describe how amazing this experience was.

That is — until we saw a roach.

Then, another.

And another.

This post is all about the Emerald Grande Destin Hotel.

emerald grande destin

Recently, we drove to Destin, Florida for my cousin’s wedding.

Originally, we planned to vacation on a cruise ship, but 2020 made sure to throw a wrench in that plan.

So — the updated wedding plans booked us a stay at the Emerald Grande Hotel.

Because my husband and I were celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary the same week, we decided to have a “treat yo self” vacation.

We booked the Emerald Grande – 3 bedroom deluxe pool view corner penthouse.

The hotel itself is very grand upon entering.

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida Boogie Water Sports Dolphin Tour
emerald grande at harborwalk village in destin, florida (boat view)

Penthouse Perks and Parking Ease

It’s 2020, and you know how that year went, right?

Valet service was as extinct as dinosaurs, but hey, parking was a breeze, both in the lot and the garage.

We breezed through check-in too.

I mean, we had our keys in hand faster than you can finish a TikTok dance – 15 minutes tops!

After we unloaded the car (which felt like we brought everything but the kitchen sink), we noticed this cool James Bond-style feature.

If you’re staying in the penthouse, you get this special key that’s the only way to access the top floor.

Talk about feeling like a VIP!

And our room? It was tucked away at the end of the hall.

But let me tell you, the moment we stepped into that corner penthouse, it was like walking into a dream.

Absolutely took our breath away!

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse
emerald grande penthouse view of the harbor

Is the Emerald Coast in Florida nice?

Oh, is the Emerald Coast nice?

That’s like asking if ice cream is delicious!

Absolutely, it’s a slice of paradise.

Imagine crystal clear waters that sparkle like emeralds (hence the name)…

Pristine white sandy beaches that feel like powdered sugar under your feet…

And a laid-back vibe that makes you forget all about your to-do list.

It’s the kind of place where you can kick back, soak up the sun, and let the world go by.

So, in a nutshell, yes, the Emerald Coast in Florida is more than nice – it’s downright dreamy!

emerald grande

Destin Harbor: A Morning View That’s Beyond Words

We got to the hotel pretty late, so the grand reveal of the water view had to wait until morning.

But when we woke up, it was like the curtain lifted on the most spectacular show – the Destin harbor in all its glory.

Trying to put into words the beauty of our view from the Emerald Grande is like trying to catch the wind.

It’s something you really need to see to believe.

If your budget allows, I’d say go for it.

It’s worth every penny.

We’ve had our share of five-star hotel experiences.

And while Emerald Grande might not be in that club, the penthouse and its view are in a class of their own.

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse
Emerald Grande Resort & Spa penthouse living room
Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse
Emerald Grande Destin penthouse kitchen

Inside the Corner Penthouse at Emerald Grande

Alright, let’s talk about the corner penthouse.

Even though it’s technically smaller than the 4-bedroom, it’s like a Tardis – bigger on the inside!

It’s got enough room to comfortably fit eight people, so it’s perfect for a family vacation or a getaway with friends.

As soon as you walk in, there’s a cozy bunk bedroom on your right, just across from a handy stackable washer/dryer.

The bathroom is conveniently split, with the sink and closet separate from the shower and toilet – perfect for when you need to multitask in the mornings.

Now, the main area is where the magic happens.

It’s all open-concept, with a welcoming foyer that leads you straight into a spacious kitchen.

And this kitchen has got everything you need – clean dishes, pots, and pans, silverware, a toaster for your morning bagels, a stove, a fridge, a microwave, and even a dishwasher.

(Because who wants to wash dishes on vacation, right?)

Plus, there’s a cool bar with stool seating, perfect for breakfast or late-night snacks.

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse
Emerald Grande Resort & Spa penthouse bedroom
Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse
Emerald Grande Resort & Spa penthouse master bedroom

A Tale of Two Bedrooms

So, on the other side of the balcony and living room, you’ll find the second bedroom.

It’s pretty much a twin of the master bedroom in terms of size.

The bathroom might be a tad smaller than the master’s because it doesn’t have a bathtub, but it still has plenty of room to move around.

The master bedroom is just off the foyer/dining room.

And, you guessed it, it’s about the same size as the second bedroom.

It has its own door to the balcony, but here’s the kicker: the master’s balcony is its own private island.

It’s not connected to the rest of the balcony, which was a bit of a surprise to us.

Not a big deal, but something to keep in mind.

emerald grande at harborwalk village

Where Breakfast Dreams Meet Room Service Reality

The master bathroom is like a mini spa retreat.

It’s got his-and-her sinks, a corner tub perfect for a relaxing soak, a separate standing shower, a toilet, and a closet.

And the view?

You get to feast your eyes on the pool, the captain’s deck, the Harborwalk, and the entire harbor itself.

It’s like having a postcard come to life right outside your window.

We decided to treat ourselves to room service on our first morning and let me tell you, it was a treat indeed.

Sitting out on the balcony, enjoying the views and the perfect weather, it was like having breakfast in paradise.

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida room service breakfast
Breakfast with a view I’ll never forget

Now, a little heads up about the room service menu.

The one online is a bit of a relic from the past.

The current menu is a bit more streamlined, with fewer options.

But don’t let that deter you.

The food is delicious, and they certainly don’t skimp on the portions.

In fact, we found the portion sizes to be more generous than some of the restaurants we ordered from, and for the same price too.

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida
Emerald Grande Resort & Spa penthouse master bathroom

Where Luxury Meets Infestation

Our penthouse, while spacious, showed clear signs of water damage.

The master bathtub seemed to be on a cold-water-only diet, so I ended up giving our girls a shower instead.

But let me tell you about the uninvited guests – the cockroaches!

They were like the party guests who just wouldn’t leave.

Despite the front desk sending someone to spray our room, those little critters kept coming back.

We were squashing three to five of them every single day.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the views were nothing short of spectacular.

But when you’re shelling out $376 plus tax per night, you don’t expect to be sharing your room with roaches.

The final straw was on our last night. I was packing up and found one of those little monsters crawling in my luggage.

I nearly hit the roof!

emerald grande at harborwalk
Because I need to be fair…

Now, to be fair, I should mention that the roach issue isn’t unique to the Emerald Grande or even to Destin.

It’s more of a Florida thing.

Being a northeast native, I was pretty taken aback by the number of these critters practically everywhere in the Sunshine State.

But as it turns out, or so I’ve been told, they’re big fans of palm trees.

So, while it was definitely not the most pleasant part of our trip, it didn’t ruin our family vacation.

Honestly, despite the unexpected guests, it was still one of our best family vacations to date.

Emerald Grande Resort & Spa Destin, Florida penthouse roaches

Roaches, Refunds, and Remarkable Memories

I’ve got to give a shout-out to the overnight manager.

She was a real gem amidst all the chaos.

She showed genuine empathy for our situation, and I know that the issues we faced weren’t her doing.

She even credited us $100, which we appreciated.

However, considering our total expenses during our stay, it was like throwing a pebble into the ocean.

Now, I’m not one to freak out over a few ants or the odd fly, but roaches?

In a penthouse?

That’s a different story.

emerald grande destin florida

This post was all about the Emerald Grande Destin.

But let’s not let the bugs steal the show.

Despite their unwelcome presence, we had an amazing time.

The memories we made during our stay, they kind of put the bug issue into perspective.

It was a small inconvenience in an otherwise unforgettable vacation.

How about a peek into our city-hopping adventures with our tiny tots?

Head over to our Instagram page for a taste of “milk in the city.”

(Basically, our chronicles of exploring urban jungles with our little explorers.)

It’s a click that’ll take you on a journey, one adorable baby step at a time!

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Jasmine Hewitt March 17, 2022 - 10:31 am

I’m from the Ga/Fla border and the roaches are no joke in some areas of the south! It’s unfortunate because they seem to linger in some amazing places, but totally ruin the experience

victoriavadenking April 11, 2022 - 12:23 am

Oh my goodness, it was so surprising to find out that they love palm trees. It’s crazy how such a beautiful tree harbors little disgusting critters. But, it was a great trip which is what we remember the most.


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victoria vaden

a diaper duties mom blog


victoria vaden king

Victoria Vaden

Original YouTuber when ‘viral’ was just a flu symptom. My English degree qualified me to tell stories (the good kind). So, I'm sharing the not-so-normal reality of motherhood and marriage.

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DYEM is for the not-so-perfect, spit-up-stained, smile-through-anything moms out there looking for sanity. Motherhood is messy and full of mistakes. You'll find plenty of that here.

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