Room 124 Ocean Sands Beach Club Overpriced 1980's Room with a View - We stayed at Sands Beach Club for 1 week during 2016 March Spring break (25th to 31st) 6 nights, 7 days. First off the photos are misleading.
The building photo must have been taken decades ago or photo shopped. There are indeed numerous other buildings, on each side and this is NOT secluded as the photo appears. To be real, it is as populated as every other high rise hotel on the strip with wall to wall buildings. If you think this is a stand alone hotel with it's own private beach area off the beaten path, you will be disappointed.
We arrived good Friday at the address location printed on the bookit.com voucher 9400 Shore Dr. to barely catch the 'Condo Office' just before they left for the Easter weekend to get our keys. They had no record of our reservation and called the sister property (located by Ocean Annies) where our information and reservation and billing was based out of - requiring that we go to THAT location (just up the street) and check in. After a long wait I was nervous as multiple other clients were having issues with missing reservations, lack of awareness they needed to report to separate location to get keys etc., I was wondering why the Ocean Sands club or Bookit.com didn't simply INCLUDE these details with the trip information or even simply POST SIGNS in the lobby of Ocean Club Tower buildings and Condo Rental Office to check in via Ocean Annies building.
We were not alone in this snafoo and I felt sorry for the people who would be arriving Saturday, Sunday, or even after hours Friday when the Condo office was CLOSED wondering how to get into their building/room. I met one such family the next evening wondering about the lobby asking where the check-in desk was...as they had been to the Condo Office which was clearly closed for the weekend and were in a panic. I advised them where to go to check in. This is a prevalent issue, widespread, repeatedly mentioned online and occurring daily.
At east 1/2 the people in the Annies lobby (full) experienced this. A clerk checked us in - however it did take her a moment to locate our reservation since it was from the other office. This organization needs to invest in some SIGNAGE to direct people how/where to check in. Check in time is after 4pm.
Condo office closes at 5, clearly an issue. Post paper signs on the Condo office, in the tower lobby's etc., if I had a printer and computer I would have posted one myself for the poor folks arriving Easter weekend to a vacant Condo office, with no idea, instructions or signage on how to proceed. Keys in hand we located our room which was (at booking) advertised as being on the 7th to 15th floor. I was indeed surprised to be on 1st floor.
I did not dare complain after what I saw in the lobby with people's mixed up/missing reservations - as I did not want to be room-less. Despite the claims in advertisements that this was a renovated hotel, this is NOT THE CASE and only RANDOM rooms which are renovated BY THE INDIVIDUAL CONDO OWNERS are actually updated. You can literally stand on the beach and look up into the rooms at night and SEE THIS. Clearly there is no uniformity, standard, or common upgrade requirement.
Some rooms have granite, ceiling fans and amenities you would expect for the price, while others sit with late 1980's, early 1990's furniture and wallpaper. This was my husbands first time to the coast and Ocean and it was important for us to have an Oceanfront view. That was granted as promised. The view was indeed breathtaking; however you did have to stomach (in our case room 124 - North Tower) the 1980's decor.
The wallpaper was peeling off in many places and while overall it was 'clean' it was certainly NOT updated. For us the room was a severe DOWNGRADE to what we are used to at home. The carpet was old and dark blue and in need of replacement. The tiling in the bathroom was a *** job and my husband had to unclog the non Master bath drain on the first night.
The kitchen was cheap with a layout where the fridge door blocked the pull out drawers. You had to lean into the refrigerator to move it out of the way to access the drawers. The stove was within the last 5 yrs, coiled burners, and the 2 flat screen TV's were 30 something inches. The light (2 lamps) in the 2nd BR was inadequate and the room quite dim.
The furniture was the style of a late 1980's, early 1990's best western style. It isthe kind of furniture you would expect from a Motel 6, pr Super 8 economy level hotel, for a resort it was quite disappointing. The master bed was comfortable - and the dining chairs, however the pull out couch and single sitting chair in the living area were very uncomfortable. Outside 'furniture'consisted of 2 plastic chairs and a plastic table.
The walls were textured plaster and 20 yr old wallpaper that was peeling. There were water stains in a few spots where ceiling meets the walls, and the sliding balcony doors were quite beaten and dented. Still functional however I would say a few good slams and they will need replaced. The curtains all around were appropriately heavy (darkening) but very ugly and again appeared to be 20+ yrs old.
We posted pics of the view and beach on social media, but were too embarrassed to post pictured of the room. The average we paid for the room per night was $189 which for that we could have stayed in a NEW RESORT (with the same oceanfront view) for the same price. The parking was acceptable but inconvenient as half the garage was sealed off for renovation. The pool and hot tub area (remodeled in the last year - asnoted by some friends we met who go there yearly) were nice - but there was very dark black mold growing in the hot tub next to the entrance stairs.
Since it was above the water line we used the hot tub - however given the state of the mold, were concerned it could be stachybotrys. Due to renovations we had to walk through construction hallways with drop cloth plastic tarps serving as walls as the actual walls werebeing redone. The wallpaper scraped off and bare sheetrock exposed. Tacky doesn't describe it well enough.
Pool hours were till 11pm and we had better luck with both hot tub and pool usage from 9PM onward when all the screaming kids were gone off to bed. Although we don't partake, it was allowed for people to bring their own coolers, 12 packs, booze into the pool despite there was an onsite bar. We did observe some rowdiness by drinkers, but this is expected on vacation and nothing to complain about. Although signs were posted kids needed an adult companion to supervise - we observed this rule was not followed and there were times kids in the 8-11 age range were left unattended in the pool....the pool was indoor outdoow with the indoor side and hot tub both covered which was nice.
It made for great time even when there was rain and overcast weather. We checked out the pool at Ocean Annies which was larger and square with neat strobe and disco style lighting, black ceiling and very much 'party' atmosphere but was well over run with kids and noticeably the cleintele there was predominantly black and mexican and we didn't feel 'welcome'' in that 'section' of the resort. The North tower pool and clientele was predominantly white (Oceanfront condos). I mention this because there seemed to be a night and day difference between the atmospheres of this singularly owned set of properties.
Beach access was easy and the elevators were fast compared to similar resorts. Our booking promised a stacking washer and dryer., which our room DID NOT HAVE. We learned from other guests the whereabouts of laundry - each floor having a single washer dryer (pay with quarters) laundramat style. So if you wanted to do laundry you had to wait for an opening and then time it so your items weren't stolen...
we packed light since we booked an in-room washer /dryer. I blame this on bookit vs the resort however. The place was clean, but only surface clean. If you lay daown in the bath tub you could see in the master bath where filth line of crud had accumulated on the crevice crack all around the tub on the platic wall insert.
The main bathroom did not have this issue. The kitchen was clean but there was cooking splatter on the cabinets and randomly throught the kitchen. Clearly no professional cleaning staff had thoroughly cleaned the kitchen in a while properly. The dishes were 10% dirty.
For every 10th dish you pulled out (included silver and glassware) it was evidently dirty with encrusted food and wine...the amount and variety of kitchen amenity was impressive. I expected service for 4 but found a nice collection //stack of plates bowls and excellent array of bakeware, cookware and pans. Besides missing a spatula the kitchen was pretty equipped for cooking. I had no problems preparing fresh local market fish, crab legs, corn on the cob all together using the collection of cookware on hand.
There was even a large serving dish. The coffeepot was stadard and functional as was the microwave. The refrigerator included an ice maker but the container was far too small so we added a bowl to collect the ice. We were thrilled with the view - but after walking the strip in person and comparing room rates to much newer (actually modernized resorts) did not feel this was up to the value as advertised.
The stay was still a nice experience, but the room was simply not to expectation concerning the price/promised amenity in the advertising versus what you 'get'. It is /can be still a great play to stay if you adjust your expectations and place the value in more space (2BR 2 BA condo + efficiency kitchen) and ocean view vs. modern//comfort. If you are used t modern comfort (at home) this will feel like a living 'downgrade'.
The TV's worked but the bedroom remote was missing and it was only able to show one channel. We later found the remote buried inside the pull out couch, then my husband programmed it properly and we were able to use the bedroom TV right. The cleaning service stated garbage and towel changes would occur daily with a full room cleaning / bathrooms / sweeping to occur on 4th night of the stay. We observed 3 African American maids exiting our room on night 4 and expected it to have been cleaned/swept but only the towels and garbage had been taken.
Sand was on the floor all week and had accumulated somewhat by the end of our stay. White sand...dark blue carpet...you get the idea. The towels were refreshed about every other day only, as well as the garbage and the full cleaning, simply never happened. We cleaned up after ourselves.
We tested the room safe and it worked and then didn't so we opted not to use it for fear it was not properly working 100% and instead stored valuables in our car when away from the room. The ad also mentioned free local calls and telephone - however there was no phone in the room. At one point I returned from a walk on the beach while my husband was sleeping only to find my key did not work...it gave red and yellow lights vs green light and I ended up being stranded with no phone. Eventually I beat/kicked the door loud enough to awaken him.
We noticed the key processor in the door was generally finicky (plastic credit card like keycard access only ) and we had key card entry issues a few more times - managing to get back in the room after several swipes/retries across the 2 cards. The magnetic reader appears to be on its last leg. We had a great time because we are the kind of people who turn things sunny side up and the weather and view and ocean waves make relaxation easy...but I was personally embarrassed to have booked this room for my husbands big Ocean adventure. Our thoughts about this were 'what a shame' what a magnificent view and space with so much potential to be a fabulous was outdated and falling apart.
There was a giant chunk of plaster that had fallen from the balcony leaving a sort of 'hole' as well. With some new floors, counters, walls, tile and furniture and balcony door replacement/ refresh this place could be a' really nice resort'. Instead it's just an economy resort with a view - if you don't expect the rooms to be updated/very nice, cleaned on schedule, and to have all the amenity you asked for (missing laundry) and working keys then you won't be disappointed. If you are used to nice/modern amenity at home (or when vacationing) you will certainly experience a 'downgrade' in lifestyle for your stay.
Based on the mixed reviews we justified taking a chance on this due to the advertised seclusion aspect - which also was not the case - it is as busy, noisy and on the beaten path as anything else on the North strip...the staff is average. Nothing to complain about but certainly not the friendly extra you expect for the price. The condo office staff on the other hand was extremely helpful and up to par for the value. All in all I would not stay in this resort again under a bookit.com listing.
I would instead seek to go through a private owner suite and verify with photos that I was getting a modern room with the amenity I paid for. I find it unfair the modern rooms vs the old rooms list for the same price. I donot believe any person owns this condo as they would take much more pride in it and consider it an outdated 2BR 2BA hotel room with a kitchen. As someone who almost exclusively rents from direct condo owners (real condos) it is very evident this is just a big hotel chain - with many rooms it owns and you can not be certain you are getting a modernized 'individual condo owner' type suite with that homey feel where pride is taken in the room and furniture and amenity because the owners actually stay there from time to time.
Another chain hotel property company mis-advertising it's BEST suites and then handing you it's commercial old suites. I took a lot of photos and will be posting them on other review sites on the internet under the same title as possible to help you find them. We plan to return in the future but I will seek out and book through the CONDO OFFICE with individual owners, vs through the 'chain' and risk getting another one of their older, falling apart rooms. As for bookit.com we also purchased flights through them from American Airlines which both had delay issues, hidden extra fees just to SIT TOGETHER (cost an additional 100$ just for us to sit together) and they allowed us to book a Carolina Opry show ON EASTER SUNDAY which clearly the venue is not only closed for that Holiday but EVERY SUNDAY - fortunately the folks at the Opry gave us another ticket date but bookit should not have allowed any ticketing for any Sunday or Holiday in the selection and registration process...further the Hard Rock cafe tickets did NOT include priority seating as stated and after waiting 45 mins in the tiny gift shop (because the seating pager only worked in close proximity) we gave up and left and were not even able to use our meal vouchers due to the long lines (on a Wed evening at 7pm).
Overall I do not recommend bookit.com and will never use their service again. We had issues with every single service they provided from the room .amenity.check in/misadvertised as updated to the flight (extra cost to sit together), allowance of booking an Opry show on days/times the Opry is actually CLOSED and misrepresentation of priority seating on the meal voucher. Additionally we booked a car through them guaranteed at 15$ rate per day then learned upon renal there are 38% in taxes and fees added. A car rental advertised at around 115$ was indeed 205$ in reality.
The tickets for Hard Rock and Opry weren't really discounted either. So all in all the bookit.com claimed to be saving me $600 in it's package for our 2 person 6 night stay including American Airlines flights...but when I add in the the hidden costs from the airline, car rental and taxes and fees, missing amenities and mis-reperesented room level, bookit did not save me any money. It only served as a central point for reservations, and wasn't very good at that. I would not book from them again unless their selection included the actual room number and photos of the specific room and proof of the flight including seats selection being together.
Despite giving me a confirmation the rental was booked, when we arrived they had no record but honored the price per day (and then informed of the 38% taxes and fees sur charges and that was WITHOUT extra insurance - it was Alamo). I booked this in the 1st week of March so with 3 weeks notice they provided options - but those options were not at the savings or levels expected. If there were a value grade for using bookit.com service in general (these reviews here are just about the resort on numerical grading scale) I would grade bookit.com a 1 (lowest on the scale). Other guests we talked to had similar experience with bookit and had moved away from their service, but stayed with the resort/location under other services/methods.
I also noticed during the shopping process that bookit would change the price on me the longer and more often I shopped (I shopped for 1 week before selecting and looked at resorts in Cancun, HI, FL, and SC) and noticed they were using internt cookies as markers to increase prices on me to fake an 'urgency'. When it was time to actually book (once I knew the resort and room we wanted) I used another computer [fresh with no bookit cookies] entirely and got better rates even though it was a week later in the process. be smart and clar your internet cookies or use a differentfresh computer or mobile to get the best prices...basically the longer you shop the more they increase the price. This is a tactic used also by some other booking agencies but with bookit was so blatantly evident when you bookmark a rate /room and then check it 2 days later and the price increases vs checking the same rate/room on another fresh computer and getting the deepest discount.
I literally had multiple computers and devices open to the same package giving me different prices based on my search history. Buyer - browser beware! They are taking advantage of the lay person who does not know better making them feel pressured the package the re-check is increasing in cost with time, when the truth is the FIRST deal with give you is the best. Good luck everyone.
I hope this was helpful. This is a 3 star resort with 4 star resort pricing.
Reason of review: Bad quality.
Bookit Cons: Integrity.
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina