Nestled on the coast in the middle of the 6,000-acre state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama, this unique Hilton resort is an oasis that is ideal for honeymoons, romantic getaways, and destination weddings. The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel impresses right away with a sophisticated open lobby that features gorgeous Gulf views.
The setting is serene and soothing, using a light natural color scheme to blend in with the outdoors. Neutral shades echo the surrounding sand dunes and give a fresh, contemporary coastal feel. You’ll find plenty of stylish yet comfortable couches and chairs to relax in and enjoy the atmosphere, as well as a two-sided modern glass fireplace for chillier days. There’s also a deep covered front porch with rocking chairs plus tables and chairs.
The excellent service here starts when you pull up, with valet parking and bell staff to assist with your luggage. (You can also choose to park yourself.) Staff is friendly and helpful, happy to point out all the available amenities and answer any questions you have.
The lobby is set in one of several low-rise buildings that blend into the landscape, part of the thoughtful and eco-conscious design. There are peaceful spots to relax and gaze at the Gulf all over the resort, from the long front porch and the restaurants’ outdoor seating to the loungers around the pool and the public balcony areas on each floor.
A raised walkway leads over the sand dunes to the pristine beach. With no other hotels nearby, you have plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the natural beauty. The Lodge at Gulf State Park truly feels like your own private beach retreat.
In between the main lobby building and the rooms lies an amazing infinity pool that overlooks the Gulf. It’s surrounded by loungers, hammocks, and umbrellas, plus there’s a covered area with tables and chairs. After May 2023, an open-air bar and grill will serve snacks and drinks here, and there’s also an ice cream stand and gift shop.
You can also take advantage of a fitness center and a business center.
Or head over to the inland portion of Gulf State Park, just across the street via an elevated walkway. This features the freshwater Lake Shelby plus 30 miles of paths you can walk or bike, as well as picnic areas, a boat launch, and a dog park along the water. It’s a fun place to explore, paddleboard, fish, or kayak if you want a different experience from the beach. (There are bikes available for rent at the hotel, and paddleboards and kayaks can be rented in the park.)
You’re also just a few miles from the center of Gulf Shores, which offers all sorts of activities, restaurants, bars, and shopping to explore. (Although you probably won’t want to leave the resort!)
The peaceful atmosphere at the Lodge is enhanced by guidelines that ask guests to keep noise to a minimum, especially between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. There’s a no party policy as well, and while children are welcome, running in public areas isn’t allowed. FYI, there is no smoking throughout the entire property.
And while the resort is accessible with common areas, restaurant, and rooms on the first floor plus automatic double doors everywhere, be aware that you can have a bit of a walk from your room to the main lobby building and restaurants. There’s also a short walk from the self-parking area (up a slight incline when you’re returning to the hotel).
How many rooms does the Lodge at Gulf State Park have?
There are 350 rooms and suites at the Lodge at Gulf State Park, spread out over several buildings that are just 5 stories high. Each is spacious with comfy beds, seating areas, large bathrooms with walk-in showers or shower/tub combos, and special touches like full size toiletries, plush towels, and real cups with the in-room coffee maker.
There’s also a sizeable closet with a light that comes on when doors open, mini fridge, dresser, table and chairs, and a large trash can (a hotel rarity) with divider for trash vs. recycling. You can choose between views of the Gulf or of the lake and park.
While most rooms have furnished private balconies (overlooking either the beach or the lake), some rooms on the park side do not.
Even if you don’t have a room with a balcony, there are plenty of outdoor Gulf-front spaces to enjoy the view. These include a public covered area on each floor of the room buildings with comfy seating and a table and chairs, open to all guests.
Tip: Gulf-front rooms on the 4th and 5th floors just have canvas strips dividing your balcony from the neighbors; if you want more privacy, choose a room on floors 1-3, as they have wooden dividers.
In each building there are filtered water stations on the first floor where you can fill your water bottle, and the water is actually delicious, which is not usually the case at beach hotels! There are also workstations on each floor with a computer.
Dining at the Lodge at Gulf State Park
Two restaurants serve locally sourced, inventive, and delicious dishes plus craft cocktails, wine, and beer, all with incredible views of the Gulf. There is plenty of outdoor seating on two levels so you can enjoy the sea breezes.
You have your choice of Foodcraft, set on the main floor and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or Perch, which is on the second floor of the same building and offers an elegant atmosphere for dining.
Either restaurant is the perfect spot for romantic dinners with sunset views. Or, start your day in the most relaxing way with breakfast al fresco by the ocean.
There are bars in the restaurants, and the outdoor Dragonfly Pool Bar & Grill will be open in late spring 2023. Near the pool, you’ll also find an ice cream and frozen treat stand.
Additionally, Roasted Oak Coffee and Wine Bar just off the lobby opens at 6 a.m. for early risers, featuring a variety of coffees and teas as well as fruit and pastries plus light lunches and snacks. For a leisurely morning, grab your coffee or tea and hang out in a rocking chair on the porch, enjoying the view. This spot serves wine, beer, and cocktails as well, and is open until 8 p.m.
For a super romantic and relaxing experience, order room service in the morning. It is hard to beat breakfast on your balcony as the sun sparkles on the waves and the beach slowly wakes up for the day. This is not your ordinary hotel food, either—I had bacon and breakfast potatoes, and both were incredibly delicious, with sizeable portions. Plus, they were delivered precisely on time.
The Beach at the Lodge at Gulf State Park
As I’ve mentioned, the beach here is really beautiful. It’s wide and pristine, with the sugar white sand the Gulf Coast is known for. Since there is protected parkland on either side of the hotel, you have lots of space to spread out and go for long walks. There are chairs and umbrellas are available for rent in the season, or you can bring your own beach gear.
Plus, the beach faces south so you have sun all day and can enjoy both sunrises and sunsets. How far is the Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel, from the beach? Not far at all. The resort sits right along the Gulf, and a raised walkway leads to the sand.
Also, just a short walk down the beach is a long public pier you can walk out on, with a snack bar and other facilities.
When was the Lodge at Gulf State Park built?
This eco-conscious Hilton resort was built in 2018 on the site of the former Lodge, which opened in 1974 but was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The new hotel was constructed as an environmentally friendly structure that is designed to promote sustainability and coastal conservation. It was set back more than 200 feet from the ocean in order to provide room for dunes, and meets LEED© Gold, SITES© Platinum, and FORTIFIED Commercial™ certifications.
The eco-friendly focus translates into low exterior lighting that is sea turtle friendly; all biodegradable disposable products; a permeable parking lot; energy conserving features; and restorative landscaping. Plus there are cool engineering features, like the way the condensation from each room’s air conditioner is collected and piped into the pool to reduce water use.
How much does it cost to stay at the Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel?
Room rates at the Lodge at Gulf State Park vary depending on the type of room and time of year you visit, with vacation times like spring break and the summer being peak season. Rates for a Gulf-front king room with balcony tend to be between just under $200 to more than $500 a night, while the park-view rooms cost between around $130 to over $400 a night. Suites can be up to $800 per night.
Free WiFi is included, and parking is $10 a night for self-parking or $20 a night for valet parking. You can get discounts if you’re a Hilton Honors, AAA, or AARP member or in the military, and you can also often find deals like 4th night free on the hotel’s website.
I highly recommend joining the Hilton Honors program, since you not only get discounted rates but you also get perks when you visit, like free bottled water and food and beverage credits. And, you’ll earn points for each stay that you can redeem for free nights when you get enough.
Weddings at the Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel
This is an incredible spot for a beach wedding. You’ll have your choice of venue sites in over 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. Several of the indoor spaces feature beach views, and the fabulous outdoor area has comfy seating overlooking the Gulf and plenty of room to mingle.
Plus, all your guests can stay onsite, so no one has to drive anywhere and everyone can enjoy the marvelous atmosphere. Gulf Shores is centrally located and easily accessible from I-10, and the hotel is just about an hour away from airports in Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
The event space is set in its own separate building to the other side of the lobby, away from the accommodations, so you have plenty of privacy.
Google Rating: 4.4
TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5
This review was written by Honeymoon Always editor and writer Ashley Ellington Brown.