It was true love.
I was in love with this beautiful lanai patio which overlooked the gorgeous pool, the incredible landscaping and the quiet St. Andrews Bay in front of the resort. I sat down at our little private table with the ceiling fan rotating quietly overhead and just relished the fact that I was at the lovely Bay Point Wyndham Resort, near Panama City Beach, Florida.
My sister, sister-in-law and I were on a girlfriends getaway and had actually been a little hesitant about staying in Panama City Beach, Florida based on a not so relaxed visit years ago to the very, very busy beach town. Panama City is still an extremely popular place but the Wyndham Bay Point Resort is located several miles from the city and is a lovely, quiet refuge from which we only ventured a couple of times for seafood dinners in Panama City, then scurried away from the crowds back to our fabulous resort.
The first of many pleasant surprises came when the friendly bellman carried our luggage into our two adjoining rooms. We were amazed at the size of the rooms, both of which looked out through French doors to the fabulous lanais. With a desk and a nice, upholstered chair perfect for reading and relaxing, the two rooms were wonderful. We also had good-sized refrigerators, which were great for snacks and drinks. The bathrooms had an extra sink and vanity area opposite the closet, right outside the bathroom, which was perfect for two women getting ready at the same time.
Finally, we managed to tear ourselves away from the lanai where we were to spend a great deal of time in the next few days and take a stroll around the property. There are a total of five pools at the Bay Point Wyndham Resort so you never have to walk far to take a dip – and each one is more beautiful than the last. Each is surrounded by the beautiful, well-maintained landscaping which is evident throughout the resort. Some of the landscaping is designed to shade part of the pool, making it the perfect place to be during the hottest part of the day.
The huge pool outside the spa was probably our favorite and it is also especially nice for families with two beach type, walk in entrances that are great for kids. There are some very nice shaded cabana areas, another great spot to shelter from the hot sun – and they were free, which is unusual at most resorts.
Nestled in a 1,100 acre wildlife preserve on St. Andrews Bay, the resort is huge, with two very nice golf courses, tennis courts, and several types of rooms available including one and two bedroom villas which can be combined for families or groups who want more bedrooms. There is even a Laundromat on the property near the villas, which is a huge convenience if you are staying for a while.
There is no Wi-Fi in the guest rooms, which I was concerned about as I need constant access, but this ended up being a non-issue as the wired connection was fast and easy with the provided wire already in our room. You can access Wi-Fi easily in the lobby as well.
The resort also offers jogging and bike trails, water sports rentals, and paddle boarding. It’s a great place for a wedding, any sort of event or meeting or a family or romantic getaway.
One of the best things we did during our visit was spend time at the Serenity Spa at Bay Point. They offer a wide array of treatments and services, but I totally recommend a massage. It was wonderfully relaxing, and aferwards we just wandered out to the beautiful pool and took naps in our lounge chairs. The perfect day!
When we were tired of the pool experience and ready for a beach, the resort offers a free shuttle to nearby Shell Island, which is a natural, undeveloped island between the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrews Bay. It is home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of bottle-nosed dolphins, and the island’s quiet beauty, white sand beach and abundant wildlife make an enjoyable and exciting way to spend the day. You must have a ticket, but they are free and you can pick them up at the front desk.
Since the resort is located on the bay, this is a nice plus for those who want to visit the beautiful white sand beaches of this area. There are no chairs, umbrellas, food or drink on the island but you can bring your own or rent chairs and umbrellas on the shuttle, which we did. Be aware that it is a long walk on a wooden dock from the shuttle to the beach but it is well worth it.
If you don’t feel like making the boat trip, the resort has a very nice little white sand beach on the bay at the end of a long dock. It is small but perfect, with cushioned chairs and umbrellas and easy access to food and drink at Lime’s, an open air bar and grill on the dock. The water is shallow and crystal clear – perfect for a dip in between sunning.
We had dinner at Kingfish Restaurant and Sushi Bar, the main restaurant in the resort the first night and it was delicious – order the local, fresh seafood and you can’t go wrong. Another great food discovery was the breakfast buffet in Kingfish, it was so good we went there twice. It is only $14 for a wonderful, fresh buffet with everything you could want, as well as an omelet bar and waffle maker. The second morning we decided to eat light and paid $8 for the cold items on the buffet, which included all the breads, cereals, yogurt and fresh fruit – plenty! There are also two more casual dining choices at the resort if you just want to have something quick and easy. They also offer room service.
We did venture into Panama City Beach on the other two nights and had two wonderful seafood dinners. One night we headed to Schooners, located right on the beach with an incredible view of the sunset. With live bands and an equally lively crowd, this is a great place for a meal. Get the Thai shrimp wraps for an appetizer and the grouper sandwich for your meal and you will be very pleased. Another night, we tried Spinnaker Beach Club, also right on the beach, where we had some delicious, freshly-caught, fried grouper and enjoyed the open-air, beach atmosphere of this popular place.
But our favorite time was the days spent at the Bay Point Wyndham Resort.
But, for us, it was the perfect place for a quiet, relaxing girlfriends getaway. Great food, great pools and beaches, great spa experience and great friends.
Really. What more do you need?
Jan Ross is a freelance travel writer who has been traveling the world since way back before she can even remember. Her dad was in the Marine Corps so she is used to packing up at a moment’s notice! She loves writing hotel and restaurant reviews since it means she gets to stay in fabulous places and eat wonderful food. She especially loves writing spa reviews because that means she gets phenomenally pampered and, seriously, who does not like that? She has visited lots of places but still gets a thrill of excitement when she boards a plane, steps into a new hotel room, or sees a new location for the first time. And she hopes that thrill never, ever goes away.
For more information on Jan, visit her website at WanderlustWonder.com.