Hotel Effie Sandestin Receives Celebrated Designation

Hotel Effie Among Top 7% of AAA Diamond Hotels and Restaurants

Hotel Effie, a new luxury property at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, has received the AAA Four Diamond designation. This is the first time the property has attained this prestigious honor since its highly anticipated opening in 2021. The award is received in parallel with the 50-year anniversary of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, an experiential mainstay for multigenerational travelers for half a century. 

Located between the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay, Hotel Effie features 250 guest rooms and suites, culinary outlets by James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson and the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Since opening, it has become one of the premier offerings for travelers visiting northwest Florida.”

Gbr56408We are honored to receive the acclaimed AAA Four Diamond designation,” said Jim Marino, general manager of Hotel Effie. “This award reflects our staff and management’s commitment to providing every guest with exceptional hospitality throughout their visit.” 

Hotel Effie is part of a select group representing the top tier of the hospitality industry in North America. To earn the impressive AAA Four Diamond designation, hotels and restaurants must pass a rigorous evaluation that includes unannounced, in-person evaluations by AAA’s expert inspectors. Only 1,752 hotels and 561 restaurants earned the AAA Four Diamond designation in 2023. Hotels at this level, which include just 7% of the more than 25,000 AAA Diamond lodgings, are noted for their upscale style and amenities enhanced with the right touch of service. 

“AAA is pleased to recognize Hotel Effie with the Four Diamond designation, meaning its unwavering attention to both service and surroundings has placed it in the upper tier of AAA’s Diamond Program,” said Stacey Barber, executive director of AAA Travel Information & Content. “To maintain the exceptional standards required for this designation on a daily basis is an outstanding achievement. Four Diamond hotels and restaurants are attentive to guests’ needs and consistently deliver memorable travel and dining experiences.”

Named after owner Tom Becnel’s grandmother, Hotel Effie exemplifies all the charm and personality of its namesake, who was best described as the “ultimate hostess.” Hotel Effie was designed to welcome all guests of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to an experience that exemplifies genuine Southern hospitality and exceptional service wrapped in comfortable luxury. The hotel features a host of amenities, including Spa Lilliana, a luxury wellness center offering a variety of treatments; a state-of-the-art fitness center; and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

Hotel Effie 0149Guests can look forward to visiting Effie’s rocking chair in the hotel lobby, where homemade chocolate chip cookies are served nightly. They can also order a round of Effie’s Biscuits at celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s signature restaurant, Ovide, which is open for three meals daily. Other food and beverage offerings include The Lobby Bar (TLB), serving a robust selection of craft cocktails, wines and beers; Sweetbay Coffee, offering homemade baked goods and coffee/tea; and Ara Rooftop Pool and Lounge, offering panoramic views of the beach and the bay complemented by beach-inspired libations. 

Hotel Effie guests have access to all Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort amenities, including more than 2,400 acres of pristine beaches and bayfront, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, a 223-slip marina and an additional 65,000 square feet of meeting space. They’re also within walking distance of the Village of Baytowne Wharf, a charming pedestrian village with events, shopping, dining and nightlife. For more information on Hotel Effie, visit

Learn more about the AAA Diamond Program at


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