Hotel Effie Opening Exceeds High Expectations
A rooftop lounge and pool combine with exquisite culinary and guest experiences in area’s newest coastal hotel
No longer is the rooftop pool and lounge a Northwest Florida daydream. Stand high above Choctawhatchee Bay, your favorite cocktail in hand, and feel the comforting crossbreeze of the Gulf of Mexico at the recently opened Hotel Effie.
Located on the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort property, this new hotel features 250 guest rooms and suites, four culinary concepts, a luxury spa, spacious meeting spaces, a rooftop lounge and pool and many more enviable amenities. The first guests, who were welcomed to the hotel on Feb. 1, walked into a lobby that emphasizes curated artwork, clean lines and white quartz — all combining the aesthetic of trendy coastal meets timeless beauty. The vacationing family in their swimsuits would feel just as at ease in this space as the woman in the ballgown descending the staircase on her way to the ballroom.
Where the hotel interior is contemporary coastal, the facade gives a nod to the South with its brickwork, wood beams and hurricane shutters. This Southern hospitality is even warmer inside, where you are greeted by a portrait of the hotel’s namesake, Effie Burns. Effie is the grandmother to owner and developer Tom Becnel, and she was known for her charm and hospitality, just as the hotel hopes to be.
“We want to be known for and visited again and again because of our customer service, commitment to excellence and the overall enhanced beauty of the hotel and property,” said Sunni Dupree, general manager at the Hotel Effie. “A lot of thought went into creating a hotel that caters to the experience you desire.”
Your stay begins by checking into a luxury guest room or suite that is composed of a coastal-cool color palette. Sink into the feather-soft beds each night, and indulge in LATHER bath products that are organic and align with Effie’s eco-conscious efforts.
For more pampering, head to the decadent Spa Lilliana, which offers an extensive menu of services to pamper and put yourself at peace. The 10 treatment rooms offer massages, facials and body treatments with OSEA products, a spa line based in Malibu. The salon includes manicures, pedicures, makeup services, hairstyling and specializes in bridal services.
The dining and drinking options range from coffee and pastries at Sweetbay Coffee to begin your day, lunch or dinner at the signature restaurant Ovide, and a nightcap and light bites at Ara. James Beard award-winning chef Hugh Acheson infuses his culinary creativity and expertise into each dish, leaning into French influences alongside the freshest Gulf Coast seafood. The dynamic dining team includes mixologist Kelli Thorn and sommelier Steven Grubbs.
Ara Pool + Lounge is an open-air rooftop space featuring cabanas, loungers, outdoor games, creative cocktails and Spanish-inspired tapas, all with panoramic views of the Gulf and bay. At any of the dining establishments and at any time of day, enjoy Effie’s specialty biscuits, a recipe handed down for generations and shared with guests.
If you’re looking to burn off the calories you will surely consume, the state-of-the-art gym holds any fitness equipment your cardiovascular system could desire — from Peloton® Bikes and Life Fitness machines to kettlebells, TRX and more.
With 20,000 square feet of dedicated meeting and event space, a 13,000-square-foot ballroom and 30,000 square feet available at the Baytowne Conference Center, Hotel Effie can host corporate meetings, weddings and all varieties of events for up to 1,200 attendees. With plenty of space for gatherings and desirable amenities, the hotel is sure to attract the refined business traveler as well as the happy couple.
The hotel itself is located upon 2,400 acres of lush Florida land that beckons for you to explore its four golf courses, tennis courts, marina, water activities and the most sought-after beaches in the world.
“Hotel Effie is like a self-inclusive world,” said Dupree. “Once you arrive, you won’t need to get back in your car because everything you need is right on property. We blend comfort and relaxation with amenities and activities to accommodate an experience unique to every guest.”