The weekend after Thanksgiving, my family and I all loaded up in our white Tahoe with our bags thrown in the back, kids buckled in their booster seats and off to the beach we headed. The weather was perfect, just chilly enough for a sweatshirt or a light-weight jacket with the sun shining down to offer a blanket of warmth at just the right times. It was a perfect day with my family.
A new adventure awaited us to embark on. The ship was to set sail at 3:00 in the afternoon. I listened as my children squealed in excitement when they saw the big ship that was going to take us out into the ocean to see the amazing world of dolphins. This was going to be a new experience for all of us, and I must admit, I felt just like my kids did, bubbling over in excitement on the inside. The cruise lasted a total of three long hours. We saw pods and pods of dolphins as they swam and performed in front of the ship. I admired the Cheshire cat grins on my children’s faces as the captains hat was placed on their little heads and they steered the ship, and I enjoyed the peace that I found that day on the clear blue ocean water. However, with all this happiness and joy, by the end of the three hours tour, I was exhausted. All I wanted at this point was to find a hotel, get checked in, and take a much needed nap.
The winning hotel ended up being the Days Inn. The staff was polite at check in and the process was surprisingly hassle free and fairly fast (which was perfect for a pregnant woman with two young-cranky children and an irritable husband). We were located on the third floor and the room was very clean and eye appealing. The bathtub was spacious and enjoyable to relax in. However, you can imagine my disappointment when I laid on the bed and found it to be harder than a stone floor. Although the price of the hotel room was reasonable for today’s rates, I believe they could invest a little more into the beds considering the main reason people stay at hotels is to sleep. We were able to bring our leftovers from dinner back to the hotel with us and store cold drinks thanks to the miniature fridge, and the personal coffee pot with two options of coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated) was perfect for in the morning.
It seems Days Inn has come a long way in the years. The hotel offered an indoor pool (which is a rarity to find in the South but a wonderful amenity for families that vacation in the winter-which is exactly what we were). The gym had up-to-date equipment and was located right next to the pool with glass walls so parents could watch their children playing and splashing in the water while they relieved some built up tension. They even offered a continental breakfast that was more than just fruit and muffins. The free breakfast bar offered sausage and eggs, fresh waffles that you cook right then and there and if you weren’t that hungry, they offered a variety of cereals, bagels and toast. There was juice or coffee to drink and if you didn’t feel like dinning in the dining room the staff offered a tray for you to be able to carry your breakfast up to your room.
In the end, the vacation to Destin, Florida was a success. Even though we were unable to get a good night’s sleep due to the rock hard beds, the other amenities helped us not notice how tired we actually were. The next time we go on vacation, we just might have to consider staying at Days Inn once again.