Opened in 2014, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Fort Walton Beach-West Destin hotel is located right on the beach of Okaloosa Island in beautiful Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The hotel is modern and spacious, and provides all the comforts one would hope for in a beach vacation. In close proximity to restaurants, bars and entertainment, hotel guests will be set up for a fantastic Gulf Coast trip.
Accessibility at the hotel is spot-on, with covered accessible parking, spacious rooms, ADA compliant bathrooms and a swimming pool with a lift AND sloped entry. Add in free breakfast, and this hotel looks to be one of the most attractive options in Fort Walton Beach.
Room Rates & Reservations
Room reservations for the Fairfield Inn & Suites Fort Walton Beach hotel can be made online using the Marriott Hotels website. I booked a room with a king size bed, but was upgraded to an Executive Suite at check-in.
Like most beachside hotels, the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Ft. Walton Beach attracts lots of tourists, particularly in the summer months. The screenshot above shows sample room rates for a single-night stay during the month of August 2019. They range from $225 to $255 per night.
I stayed at this hotel during the month of December, when demand was low and rates were around $100 per night. Prices vary depending on the day of the week, month and level of demand. Be flexible or travel in the low season to find the best deals.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room
The hotel has no ground floor and is elevated on stilts to protect the building from flooding and hurricane damage. The lobby is reached via elevator. Check-in took only a few moments, and my room was one the lobby level.
The Executive Suite I had been upgraded to was ADA accessible with a roll-in shower and king size bed. The bed was comfortable. The top of the mattress was between 28 and 29 inches tall — much higher than my wheelchair. For users of a Hoyer lift, there was 7 inches of clear floor space underneath the bed. By removing the bed frame and placing the mattress and boxspring directly on the floor, you could lower the bed height to 21 to 22 inches.
The only thing that differentiated the Executive Suite from a standard room was a small alcove-like space by the window, which contained a desk and pull-out sofa. Overall, the room was spacious, but the same is true for standard rooms at the hotel.
From the window, I could see the swimming pool and beach. This was nice, but due to the hurricane-proofing, the window was not as large as I would have liked.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
Having switched to the Fairfield Inn from a nearby hotel that was much less accessible, I was delighted to find an ADA compliant bathroom in my hotel room.
The bathroom’s large countertop and sink gave me plenty of room for grooming, and my wheelchair/knees rolled under easily. The toilet was accessible with grab bars, and I had plenty of room to park my power wheelchair directly alongside the commode.
I consider the roll-in shower to be the most important aspect of an accessible hotel room and this one did not disappoint. Grab bars were placed in the appropriate locations on the rear and side wall, plus a bonus vertical grab bar.
The shower’s actual features included a sturdy shower chair that was mounted to the wall, a handheld shower head, water controls within reach, and a standard shower head to accommodate able-bodied guests. Entry into the shower compartment was level with the surrounding bathroom floor, save for a less than one-quarter inch barrier to keep the water contained.
All-in-all, it was a fantastic accessible bathroom! The water pressure was great as well.
Swimming Pool & Beach Access
Although the weather was poor during my December trip to the Gulf Coast, the swimming pool and beach are definitely the place to hang on a sunny summer day.
The swimming pool had a typical chair lift (difficult to see in the photo), as well as sloped entry. Multiple accessible methods of getting into the pool is a big plus.
The beach right in front of the hotel was accessible via a wooden ramp, but there was no provision for wheelchair access down to the water. Multiple companies rent beach wheelchairs along the Gulf Coast.
Every Fairfield Inn provides a complimentary breakfast offering to guests. This hotel offered typical fare, including eggs, a meat option, toast, pancakes, yogurt, cereal and fruit. A selection of juices was also provided. It isn’t a luxury meal by any stretch, but it’s plenty to start the day.
Location & Transportation
Okaloosa Island is filled with hotels, a few tourist shops, mediocre restaurants, gas stations, a liquor store and of course the miles of sandy beach.
Just across the bridge is the city of Fort Walton Beach, which has much more. There is even a Greyhound bus station, approximately 1.8 miles from the hotel.
While you could go without private transportation, I strongly recommend getting a vehicle of your own. If you need a wheelchair accessible van, like I do, I recommend renting from Mobility Plus, who have locations in both Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach. They were able to hook me up with a great van rental, which made my trip much easier and more enjoyable.
My stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Fort Walton Beach was great — my room was accessible, the beachside location was great, parking was free, breakfast was included and the Gulf Coast is beautiful, even when it rains outside. Next time I am visiting the Fort Walton Beach and Destin area, I’ll definitely consider a repeat stay at this hotel.