Last week my friends and I traveled to Panama City Beach for our Senior Year Spring Break! We had an absolute blast, and a huge part of that is due to the AMAZING place we had the opportunity to stay in – which we booked through Blue Swell Vacation Rentals! This company is absolutely incredible, let me tell you. Before we booked, we spent months searching for a place to stay. There were 7 of us, and we all had different qualifications and priorities we needed checked off our list! Finding a place that did just that was no easy task. I can’t tell you how many VRBO and HomeAway.com owners I messaged, how many hotels I looked into, how many different locations I searched, etc. Finally, we came across Blue Swell and we couldn’t believe our luck! They had a place that met every single item on our list AND it was beautiful. From the second we began corresponding with the company, I knew I loved them. They were extremely speedy with response time, answered all of our questions, and offered to help in as many ways as they could. Their customer service is truly top-notch, and after some of the experiences we had with previous companies we had looked into booking with, it was truly refreshing to be communicating with such a cheerful & helpful company.
S O, A L I T T L E B I T A B O U T T H E P L A C E…
Origin at Seahaven is a gorgeous condominium complex across the street from the beach (and from Sharky’s Beachfront restaurant, we’ll get to that in a minute), and its location is truly unbeatable. (5 minutes from Pier Park!) We absolutely loved being so close to everything. Each condo inside is individually owned, so some of the not-so-great reviews you may see are true. It really does depend on which unit you get. But because we booked with Blue Swell, we had arguably the best unit in the entire building! We had three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms, (each room had a private balcony on the non-ocean side), and then the unit itself had an 1800 square foot private balcony on the ocean side that jutted out over the water! The living room and kitchen area was truly stunning, and probably my favorite part of the unit (apart from the balcony, but that should go without saying!) It also comes fully stocked with amenities, so literally everything you can think of, we had. Fridge, kitchen utensils, smart TV, laundry room, Wifi, Free beach chairs, parking, linens, pillows… everything! Seriously, Blue Swell knows what they’re doing! In fact, their website even states “Welcome to the nicest unit in Origins at Seahaven” and I believe them! I don’t even need to see the other units. On top of that, they add, “Other properties ‘might’ be as nice as ours, but no one else will treat you better and make you feel more at home!” My friends and I can attest to that! Here are some photos of our beautiful unit that I already miss with my whole heart!
****pics courtesy of Blue Swell website****
Aside from the gorgeous pictures (which were reason enough to book!) there are a few more reasons we loved the unit, the location, this company and everything they offered!
- The unit had a keypad lock, so you didn’t have to worry about people being locked out, losing a key, etc.
- The unit had a full laundry room (and it was HUGE so that’s where we stored beach chairs and things like that!)
- There was a little “Saltwater Market” on the first floor of the building across from the beach. They had lots of breakfast & lunch sandwiches, bottled beverages, and they even served Starbucks iced coffee!
- The company was EXTREMELY transparent, helpful, and descriptive when it came to everything about the booking process, arrival, check in, and check out.
- The company gave a few little bonuses like Uber coupon codes, starter bottles of shampoo, soap, etc., and a phone number line to call in case of any issues at all!
- Housekeeping was TOP NOTCH! We were so impressed by everything when we arrived!
I just cannot recommend Blue Swell enough, y’all! They have TONS of different luxury rentals (houses and condos) in Northwest Florida (PCB, Destin, and 30A). Rent with them, you WON’T be disappointed. (You WILL feel like royalty!)
S O, A L I T T L E B I T A B O U T T H E T R I P…
We arrived on Sunday, but could not check in until 4pm. So we met up with my boyfriend (who was driving from Orlando) and got lunch at a restaurant nearby! We were officially on vacay, and our orders of multiple drinks in souvenir mason jars and super yummy fish tacos all around the table were proof of that.
After lunch, it was about time to check in so we headed to Origin and went up to our room for the very first time. We were in love immediately, and after each claiming a bedroom, I did a quick little video tour on my Instagram story. Then we spent some time exploring the unit more, checking out the balcony, and then we took some short naps, since we had all woken up extremely early for our long 5 or 6 hour drives. After we woke up, we did a large grocery run and then some of us got food for dinner, but Ryan and I went across the street to check out Sharky’s and grab a drink to cheers our third vacation together.
The next morning we all oooohed and ahhhhed over how amazing and comfortable all of our big King beds were, and then we made coffee and tried to brave the freezing weather outside to enjoy some time on our huge balcony. It was SO windy, my coffee almost blew out of my mug. Most of the group decided to go for it and headed down the beach, but as most of you probably know, I have been on a pretty big workout kick, and I didn’t want to forgo exercise on the trip, so Ryan and I headed down to the resort’s fitness center, which is on the same level as and overlooks the pool & hot tub! Ry and I worked out for about 45 min and then walked outside to check out the pool. The pool was actually EXTREMELY warm, which was great! We knew we would be back, but for the time being, we wanted to go down and join our friends on the beach. In the sun, it wasn’t ~that bad, so Ryan and I spent some time on this fringe beach blanket I bought on Amazon and hung out for a little bit!
Then, our friends went to try out Sharky’s, and since Ryan and I had been there the night before, we opted to go upstairs and watch Parks and Rec, (but ended up falling asleep on the couch) because working out + spending 2 hours in the sun = immediate exhaustion. However, when our friends came back up, they were RAVING about Sharky’s and the waitress they had had. Her name was Gina, and she took VERY good care of them. We couldn’t wait to join them the next day! That night, we were excited for a big group dinner at the very fun and festive Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville! We all got dressed up and headed out for a night full of fun & good food.
Tuesday we spent a little time at the beach, though not a lot because we needed to head to Sharky’s to hang out with our new friend, Gina!! Andrew, Natalie, Ryan and I had so much fun sitting under a heat lamp (lol) and enjoying Sharkaritas and the “World Famous” Shark Attack drinks in big souvenir cups. For lunch, Ry and I had both ordered meals that included shrimp and we had TONS of leftovers, so it worked out perfectly that that night we made pasta that we had bought and tossed our leftover shrimp in it. Yummy! That night Ryan and I also started a Marvel TV show on Netflix called Jessica Jones. It’s. SO. Good. After the first episode I was hooked. Do yourself a favor and go watch the pilot episode.
Wednesday we, again, spent time at the beach and then headed to Sharky’s for lunch. Afterwards, though, we had to immediately go back upstairs and take showers and get ready for dinner, because we had kind of a busy night ahead. We were all so excited to explore the Pier Park area! Ryan and I were still stuffed from lunch (and watching our budget because we knew we would need it later that night) so we just walked around, shopped, and watched the sunset directly across the street from a patio. The rest of the group ate dinner at The Back Porch. I had been CRAVNG fro-yo ever since Ron Swanson brought it up on Parks and Rec the first day, so I was excited when we passed Bippy’s By the Beach, a frozen yogurt shop. Ryan and I split a decent sized cup of chocolate and vanilla swirl with all of our favorite toppings, and then we headed to the group’s designated meeting spot, and the evening’s main event, DAVE & BUSTER’S!!! If you know Ryan and I at all, arcades are our ~thing. We are obsessed. And we’re really good at them. The group played games from around 7:30 to 9:30, but then everyone was finished. However, Ryan and I were not. Plus, happy hour started at 10, so of course we were staying. We already had a decent amount of tickets too, so if we kept playing (which is seriously so fun for us!) then we could actually win a really cool prize. So we ordered another round and got to playing. By the time we left, we had traded over 4,000 ticket for two awesome prizes, and still had some leftover. (Dave & Buster’s cards are refillable!)
Being a long distance couple means that sometimes we choose to stay up late instead of get sleep, because we know “this time next week we won’t be together…” so, Ryan and I decided to go through the Taco Bell drive thru (their nacho fries are my current obsession) and stop by the store to grab a Redbox movie to watch in our room when we got home. It was such a great feeling, just doing fun coupley things together and making the most of our vacation. (SIDENOTE: The DVD player in our room didn’t work, lol but our room was the ONLY room with a super old TV, so don’t worry! Plenty of other working TVs in the beautiful unit 1601!) We ended up just watching it on my laptop, and we were just as content.
Thursday the weather had started to warm up a little bit (less wind!) so we spent the most time doing vacation-y things on this day and Friday! I read a decent amount of my book on the beach on Thursday, because we finally got our beach service (two chairs and an umbrella) so Ryan and I sat under it for a while and then we went to (shocker!) Sharky’s hahaha! Gina really hooked us up that day, and we were starting to feel the end-of-vacation depression so we went a little bit “all out” with everything that we ordered! After lunch, Natalie, Andrew, Ryan and I went and scoped out the hot tub situation. For once, there was finally some room in it, so we all climbed in!! It was SO nice! The Origin hot tub overlooks the beach, the weather was amazing and the water was HOT. It was perfect. We ended up staying in for like two hours and COMPLETELY lost track of time. Which, was not good at all because we were seeing a movie that night and had like less than an hour to get ready. (But we wouldn’t trade our hot tub time for anything! We actually ended up chatting with some other college students too, it was just so much fun!) So we jumped out of the tub and raced upstairs. We showered as fast as we could, threw on cute outfits, and ordered an Uber. We all have MoviePass (10/10 would recommend) and we saw Game Night! Afterwards we went home and Ryan and I made more pasta (different flavor) that we had bought, and watched one more episode of Jessica Jones.
Finally, our last day had arrived. I was DEPRESSED. But, I was determined to not waste an entire second, so Ryan and I got up a few minutes earlier than we did any other day of the week and headed down to the beach. We had beach chairs again, which was great (but something that was not communicated to the beach chair rental service, so for future reference, make sure that’s clear!) and we spent some time doing a little photo shoot and just enjoying the AMAZING weather that finally showed up! Then, we headed to our (last!!! so sad!!!) lunch at Sharky’s with Gina. We truly felt like friends with her at this point, and we all told her how much we would miss her. But don’t worry, we’re all friends on Facebook with her, and got a selfie, of course!Ryan and I wanted to go back to the beach, but we truly didn’t have time, as for our last night we had booked a sunset sail dolphin watching cruise. (Which we found through the guidebook in our beautiful room!) We were so excited, and it turned out to be even more magical than we had imagined it to be. We enjoyed the breeze from the sail as we watched the sunset from the absolute best viewing spot – the ocean! We also saw at LEAST 20 dolphins, some close enough to the boat that we could have touched them if we wanted to! The crew members were so fun, the music they played was amazing, and it was just all around wonderful. It was the PERFECT ending to to a perfect week. Thank you so much to Island Time Sailing!
After the sail, we met up with the group at a nice hibachi restaurant & sushi bar called Osaka for dinner, and then headed to the famous Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar for dessert. It was the best night to end our trip with, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I also wouldn’t have wanted to do this week with anyone else, so shout out to Ryan, Emily, Andrew, Natalie, Raegan, and Kinsey for the best week ever!! And lastly, of course, shout out to Blue Swell for hooking us up with the amazing amazing amazing unit we had! I miss this trip so much already, and I know the memories of my senior year spring break are ones I will cherish forever♡
BlueSwell gifted me with a discount on our unit, but as always, all opinions are 100% my own.