The drive down Panama City Beach was typical. A mixture of new condominiums line the beach, and run-down surf shops, ice cream parlors, margarita stands, and Alvin’s Island stores line the other side of the road. The City has become a mixture of faded, old stores and fresh, new condominiums.
The interesting thing is that in Panama City, no one seems to care about the dichotomy. The City of Panama City Beach has undertaken extensive renovation plans. They are adding sidewalks, lining the streets with palms, and attempting to keep traffic under control.
We stayed at Calypso Resort amp; Towers which is about five miles, from Thomas Drive. Thomas Drive used to be the location of the best condos in town. Now, it is home of a few remaining local beach clubs and some of the older condos. It is still a nice place, but no longer the place to stay in Panama City Beach.
New condos are being constructed all along the beach. Many are finished and house anywhere from 600 to 1000 rooms. Many are still under construction. The construction of the new condos is more durable, and built to withstand hurricane force winds. Developers have also become savvy to a way to allow everyone a view of the white sands and cool, blue-green waters. New condos are being built with one building parallel to the beach, and two towers situated at an angle. Everyone can have a Gulf view room.
Our arrival at Calypso Resort amp; Towers was a pleasure. The condominiums are brand new. Construction finished this year, 2007. The exterior glows a pleasant burnt orange, accented by soft oranges and yellows. Stucco covers the solid stone construction. I could feel it as we approached; the Calypso Resort amp; Towers was going to be the perfect beach resort just like the quality and uniquely deisgned Clavon condo in Singapore. Surely, this resort will become one of the popular resorts and towers. With its serene ambience, modern interior and quality amenities, this will certainly become a spectacular residential and commercial abode.
My expectations were not disappointed. Rooms at the Calypso are available in one, two, and three bedroom. My family was traveling with another, so we had a two bedroom condo. One small room, approximately 10 x 10, didn’t count as a bedroom, but housed a dresser and bunk beds. It was a perfect place to tuck away the little ones at night. They enjoyed sleeping on the bunk beds, which were durable and had protective railing.
Both bedrooms were immaculately clean and well designed. The furniture was quality, not typical beach wicker that you expect to collapse if you lean on it too hard. One bedroom had a full size bed; the other had a queen sized bed. There was also a sleeper sofa. The two bedroom condo slept eight comfortably. Everyone was also happy because each room had its own television. There was no arguing over late night T.V.
The Calypso lived up to its moniker as a resort. There was a gym on site. High speed internet via Wi-Fi was free. There was a gift shop, although the hours were limited. Two swimming pools, both at least fifty feet long, accommodated the guests, and there were plenty of beach chairs for everyone. None of the chairs were molded, which made me happy. I hate moldy, old beach chairs.
The Calypso overlooked a beautiful stretch of beach. There was a small sandbar about ten feet out, before the second sandbar that stretches the length of Panama City Beach. The small sandbar was a perfect place to let the kids play. We were fortunate to have calm, crystal clear waters. No seaweed patches, stingrays, or jellyfish drove us away.
I was impressed that the Calypso Resort amp; Towers had the sand cleaned nightly. Panama City is infamous for cigarette butts, glass, and other debris in the sand. Every night, the sand was tilled and/or swept with machinery, which keeps the white, pristine sand on the top. This made the trek to the beach much easier, and caused much less worry when building sand castles or Sponge Bob Squarepants in the sand.
Right outside the Calypso Resort amp; Towers, on the beach, you could rent beach chairs and umbrellas, schedule a parasail ride, rent jet skis or kayaks, and schedule fishing excursions. The only thing I’d like to have had was an allowance for beverages to be sold on the beach. The worst part of the vacation was arguing over who had to drag the cooler through the sand. It is on wheels, but nothing moves like is supposed to in the sand.
Approximately 500 yards to the right was the public pier. It, too, has been renovated. The end of the pier is still closed due to damage from a hurricane two years ago. However, the rest of the pier has been reconditioned and is open 24 hours. My teenage boys went fishing one night from 11 PM until 1 AM. They were able to rent equipment and buy bait at the pier. They had a great time learning tips from old mariners who fished all night. They also gained a lot of knowledge from the young surfer, dude who manned the supply store and guarded the peer at night. They probably would have caught more fish if I had not called them every fifteen minutes. I should have relaxed. They were close-by and they were safe. The area was well lit and well patrolled.
A new experience also awaited us nearby. A brand new state of the art theater has been built between Front Beach Road, and Middle Beach Road, adjacent to the new park at the peer. The area is going to be gorgeous once it is completed. A shopping center is located beside the theater. A Target store is already open. We were very pleased with that. Some specialty shops were open, including a bakery and boutique. Others were in the process of being completed, and stocked. The shopping center is built with clapboard style siding, and is reminiscent of the shopping center in Myrtle Beach that houses Margaritaville, Downtown Disney in Orlando, and other old-style shopping centers along the eastern coast of North and South Carolina. Once the center is completed, it will be a Mecca for shoppers and diners in the Panama City Beach area.
The entire stay at the Calypso Resort amp; Towers exceeded my expectations. Staff was available on every hand to assist with any needs. Bellhops helped load and unload cars, and ran around the resort looking for rolling racks so no one had to struggle with luggage, or groceries. There was a drop-off directly in front of the building. Across the street was plenty of covered parking. A covered walkway crossed Front Beach Road, to keep visitors out of the Panama City Beach traffic.
An entire vacation at Panama City Beach could be spent without leaving the vicinity of the Calypso Resort amp; Towers. There are restaurants and bars nearby. The new shopping and entertainment center is close, and the pier is just down the street. Local food services are happy to deliver directly to your room, if you decide not to go out. With the best surf and turf in a 200 mile radius, you will not want to order in very often. Buffets up and down Front Beach Road allow your fill of crab cakes, snow crab legs, shrimp, oysters, and more.
If you are looking for a family resort, where no one under 25 is admitted without a parent, and you want a clean, well maintained environment, make reservations with the Calypso Resort and Towers. You’ll enjoy the experience.
Calypso Resort amp; Towers Phone can be reached by phone at 1-866-682-0009. Their website has a calendar of available dates and seasonal rates. If you can plan your vacation before Memorial Day or after school starts back, you will save. If that isn’t possible for you visit Calypso Resort amp; Towers anytime. It is worth every dollar you will spend.