Amenity Card: Please do not believe the myth of the “amenity card.” There is no such thing. It is a tale woven by a desperate rental company to scare you. It is a terrorist tactic to compel you to rent through them, to pay dearly for a condo not of your choosing, and to increase your rental rate by about 14% in order to contribute to a non-existent resort fee. As my guest, you are welcome to do anything, participate in everything, enjoy all the facilities, and patronize any merchant in the resort. The vendors in the resort are private, and they will do business with you whether you are staying in the resort, or even if you are not. They charge for their services, and you pay them directly.
Resort: You have access to everything the resort has to offer. There are tram passes for you to take the tram to the bay side and visit the Village at Baytowne Wharf. There is golf, tennis, spa, beach service, bikes, jet skis, fireworks, festivals, farmers markets, movie theater, grocery store, shopping, and too much to name.
Tram: You have passes in the condo that give you access to the tram service over to the bay side of the resort. The tram takes you to the Village at Baytowne Wharf and Grand Boulevard. At Westwinds, the tram stops in the lower garage.
Keyless Entry: Your condo has a Kaba lock. This is a state of the art, number pad system that gives you a code that corresponds to your stay dates. Your code is unique, and no one else has your code. You do not need to commit this code to memory. You can (and should) personalize your code to a number you and the kids can easily remember.
Early check-in or late check-out: There is no charge for early arrival. Your arrival time is dictated only by Sue and Susie’s cleaning schedule. You are more than welcome to arrive whenever you like, but your condo may not yet be ready if you arrive too early. If the guest before you left early and Sue and Susie got an earlier start, it will be ready earlier. I say 4pm check in because your unit should be ready no later than 4pm. But they will usually have your unit ready to go before then.
Predictability and consistency in check-in and check-out times are what keep the “Sue and Susie machine” running along. They have a lot of work to do and a schedule to stick to. However, there are times when guests need/request/plead-for an early check-in or late check-out, sometimes with notice and other times on short notice. I always try to accommodate everyone, if possible. However, all credit goes to Sue and Susie. They will bust their rear ends to try to get you in early, or shift things around and work late. Believe me, normal housekeepers do not do this. (I have been there many times when there are families sitting in the lobby, with luggage and groceries, waiting for 4pm or later when they are allowed to go into their condo.) Why do they do this? I think they want to please me even though I do not pay them anything additional, and I think they enjoy being the best at what they do — but mainly, I think they have a soft spot for tired moms with kids, and they truly feel that you are their guests, too. So please, if they have turned on the turbo to get you in early, or if they are working late in order to give you a late checkout, please leave them a thank you when you leave. … thank you, from me.
Security: The resort is gated, and all guests are required to obtain and display a pass on their dash. A camera records all vehicles in and out of the resort. Security guards are posted at the gates, and patrol the resort at all times. Westwinds has cameras throughout the inside and outside of the property. The Westwinds parking deck, building, and beach access have a keypad entry. Your Kaba lock records all attempts to gain entry. Your condo door has a secondary lock that cannot be bypassed, except by emergency personnel.
Beach Service: You are welcome to rent chairs and umbrellas from the private vendor that sets up on the beach. They only accept credit cards. It is $45 per day, and $190 per week.
Beach Supplies: Every condo has a dedicated beach closet stocked with a ton of beach stuff, including four chairs and at least one umbrella, and we have extras if needed. There is also a beach cart, pails and shovels, toys, balls, floaties, skim board, boogie board, air pump, air mattress, water wings, beach balls, and swim diapers. There is plenty of sunblock. And I have flashlights for crab hunting at night. I always leave a beach bag just for you, and you are welcome to borrow my beach towels. The beach closet is right by the door, making the condo functional for beach fun.
Pool Access: This is another myth concocted by that same rental company: that only if you rent through them will you have access to pools throughout the resort. Westwinds has the absolute, bar none, best pool at the entire resort. The other available pools throughout the resort are small and dated, and are not even in the same league as the Westwinds pool. They are not even on the radar if you are staying at Westwinds. They are intended for owners and guests on the bay side who do not have a pool at their house or in their community. As a guest of Westwinds, you already have access to the nicest pool in the resort. And no one who is not a guest of Westwinds has access to your pools. Moreover, there is no pool at Sandestin as well heated as the Westwinds pool. In the off season, you definitely want to be at Westwinds.
Supplies: We are known for stocking our condos. We want your vacation to be stress free, and most importantly, as much a vacation for mom as for the kids. In pursuit of this goal, we stock this unit with basic kitchen items, such as salt and spices, sugar, tea and coffee, oil, condiments and more. We also keep paper plates and plastic cups, foil, wraps, paper towels and ziplock bags in the cabinets for you. Under the kitchen sink I have dish soap, hand soap, dishwasher pods, wipes and garbage bags. The laundry room has detergent, stain spray, and dryer sheets. I have basic bathroom items under the sink, including shampoo and conditioner, baby bath, hair dryer, extension cords, hair ties, Q-tips, toilet paper and baby wipes. You will have a collection of the highest quality bathroom amenities I could find, Poggesi, from Italy, and a travel bag with personal accessories.
Private Wifi: Your condo comes with your own, secure, high speed internet connection, perfect for work or confidential data. You can also stream movies and other media on your computer, and connect every electronic device you bring. Your arrival information will have your password in it. Westwinds has free wifi throughout the property, which you are welcome to use. However, it is not secure, and it will not allow you to stream movies.
TVs: Every room has a new, smart TV. I have purchased a Netflix account just for you, giving you access to thousands of movies, tv shows and documentaries. The second bedroom has a dvd player for the kids, even though my daughter tells me no one watches dvds anymore. The cable mini box gets the SEC channel, which allows you to get the SEC Network football games, plus many more channels. Our Westwinds building has provided free wifi for years, and you are also welcome to use it, especially out by the pool.
Linens: We provide the towels and linens, not a service. This means that you have the highest quality commercial hotel and spa sheets and towels we could find, Comphy brand. Even your kitchen cloth is a Water Liberty Nano towel. The cute, matchy bedspreads are gone, and in their place is a crisp and clean white coverlet; no more reused bed linens. I have beach towels you are welcome to borrow, and additional pillows if you need them.
Children: No one has had more children at the beach than I. I know how it works. I have two packnplays with sheets and blankets, toddler cot with sheets and blankets, bed bumpers, high chair, pumpkin seat sling, stroller, baby bath, swim diapers, baby wipes, baby lotion, adult camping cot and sheets for bigger children, water floats, baby spoons and baby sunscreen. Netflix has a channel for kids, and I try to keep books and dvds for children in the second bedroom. I also have a motion sensor you are welcome to use for little escape artists.
Bikes: I have several bikes at Westwinds in youth and adult sizes, plus a tagalong for younger children. I have helmets for the kids. John and Rose at Coastal Cruisers are wonderful, and they can get you fixed up with anything that I do not have.
Workout Room: Westwinds has a small gym on the property on the ground level. If you walk into the building through the garage and keep walking straight, you will run into the workout room. You will need your code, and it is only accessible through the lobby.
Laundry: Every unit has a new front loading, stacked, washer and dryer unit. I provide HE laundry detergent, stain spray, and dryer sheets.
Grill Patio: There are grills on the patio by the pool if you want to grill out at Westwinds.
Ice: The refrigerator makes filtered-water ice and fills up the bin in the door. Westwinds has a large ice machine in the garage that dispenses potable bagged ice and takes credit cards.
Housekeeping: We have the most wonderful housekeepers, Sue and Susie, who do the cleaning and who help me keep the unit spic and span. They pleasantly tolerate the closets and cabinets I have stuffed full of vacation extras for our guests, and live nearby if you need anything. They do not normally come during your stay. But if you need any help with anything, they are happy to assist you in any way.