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“*** No Air Conditioning nor Ceiling Fans *** Check the weather before checking in.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sandcastle at Birch Bay

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Sandcastle at Birch Bay
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   7854 Birch Bay Drive, Birch Bay, WA 98230   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Birch Bay
Certificate of Excellence 2014
SF Bay Area, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“*** No Air Conditioning nor Ceiling Fans *** Check the weather before checking in.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

Resort amenities are at par with other Raintree properties we've stayed at.

Except for ventilation.

A relative who's a Washington resident has indicated to me that this is common in Washington. However, I still don't understand why.

We made a reservation at this property June 23-29, 2013. This is our second day. Weather forecast called for high % of precipitation 5 out of the 7 days we'll be here.

While summers in northern Washington can often be cool, an air conditioning is still a must for a property of this level/type. If there's no AC, a decent ceiling fan would be acceptable. Neither was present.

When we walked in the first night, there were two box fans in the bedroom closet. My initial impression was they were probably there as supplemental cooling equipment... in addition to the in-room air conditioning system. It was a warm night so I looked for the temperature control for AC. Found 2 on the wall: one was the fireplace control and another the thermostat -- for heating only. When I inquired with the front-desk, I was told there really was no A/C. For calling, we should open the windows and turn on the box fans provided. The box fans are those you'd find at the local store chain that sells for about $10 -- No frills. Just a 5" thick hollow box with grates on both side and blades inside. No timer control, no stand, no oscillation. We have to put it on a table top if we want air while sleeping. I can understand opening the window as we're as close to nature as we can get. Problem is it also rains.. so water can also get in when when open the window.

Good thing about this is you can always file a complaint management or Raintree customer service. I told them no mention was made during the reservation that there was NO AC in the unit. They took care of me by giving me all my points back and charging me just 14,000 points for a 4 night stay (vs 7142 points per night for 7 nites on our original reservation for a 1BR unit). The 4-night stay is perfect substitute to our original 7 nights because it rains most of the time during our stay here. And clamming is not advisable because of the red tide advisory.

Like I said earlier, there are no issues with amenities other than ventilation.

The unit came with fairly new kitchen utensils/equipment. Cooking vent comes from the over-the-stove microwave oven. Not advisable when frying (what my kids like to eat). BBQ grills are also available onsite but not in the unit. Kitchen appliances are Frigidaire brand -- this is a lower end brand but they are all functional. Stove is standalone with 4 burner smooth cooktop. Pots and pans are stainless steel -- decent but not the heavy, durable quality.

Laundry area is the usual apartment type (stacked dryer/washer). Washer is the front-load type. Clothes came out clean. We didn't use the dryer all that much.

A 40-inch Samsung thin tv (not sure if it's plasma or lcd) sits on top of the fireplace. Another smaller tv is in the bedroom.

I give it high marks for service as they are always available when needed.

All in all, this is an almost perfect property.. Almost because of the missing AC.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul J, General Manager at Sandcastle at Birch Bay, responded to this review, July 23, 2013
You speak...We listen. We are happy to announce that we are currently underway with installation of ceiling fans in all of our units! Next step...we will be looking into adding portable air conditioning units to our resort. Thank you for your comments.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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94 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Seattle WA
Top Contributor
371 reviews 371 reviews
83 hotel reviews
Reviews in 104 cities Reviews in 104 cities
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

This resort is located in a great location steps away from the beach. I will start with the pros the property offers as there was one major negative with this.-Large Kitchens to cook in
-Huge deck overlooking the water if you pay an upgrade and get one beach side as I did and it was two bedroom.
-Restaurants and bars are within walking distance.
-Full amenities like plates, stove, refrigerator, filtered water in fridge, ice maker, pans, towels, soap etc, You just bring your food.
-Beds are very comfortable
-Pool with hot tub that overlooks the water.
-Lots of free parking
-On site 24 hour staff
-Restaurant attached. (Shores)

Here are the cons. The weather had been fairly warm leading up to my stay. When I checked in I was given a condo on the east side of the property farthest away from the water. When I entered the room it was about 83 degrees and had no air flow. This was at 4pm. I opened the sliding doors and there was still no air flow. If you are staying at this property on hot summer days you need to know there is no air conditioning and that is very uncomfortable. I spoke the front desk staff and they indicated that there were fans in the closets. The only thing I could do was upgrade. I paid for an upgrade fee and moved to a room located right across from the beach. The nice about this is that there are many windows and the unit stays cool. It was about 10 degrees cooler in this unit. I would highly recommend paying extra to get a beach side unit.

Room Tip: Book room on beach side or ask for upgrade. I was able to upgrade for $30 a day
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2013

On a trip to Seattle, we were looking for a quiet seaside village to spend a few days with our young family. This place was perfect for that. We had a 1 bedroom suite with a pull out couch that worked well for our 3 and 4 year olds. It was very spacious and the kitchen has nearly everything you have at home. We didn't have to drive anywhere once we got there as the beach is right across the street and many restaurants nearby.

If I had to be picky and mention some downsides, I'd say the pool was a bit dirty with pine needles in the water and hot tub, stained cement, and stained carpets in the hallways. Not a huge deal for me, but I wonder why the hotel wouldn't put more effort there.

There is a nice grocery story 5 miles out of Birch Bay near the I-5 as you come in, along with a Woods Coffee, Jack in the Box, and Bob's Burgers.

It wasn't easy to book online through the Raintree website as we couldn't select our province of residence, so we went through bookings.com. We didn't really interact much with the staff but they seemed nice when we did.

Overall, the Sandcastle met our expectations and we would recommend it as a good hotel in a great location.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camarillo, California
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2013

The 1st thing I noticed about the Sandcastle was that the outside of the building was very dated. That's actually ok with me as long as it is well maintained.....and it was. My husband and I spent a lovely week there.

The room was CLEAN, roomy and comfortable. Initially, I was a bit disappointed we were not assigned a room that faced the bay. There were obviously many available at the time. However, I soon realized that our view of the meadow to the back of the property afforded us much more privacy, reduced noise, and was beautiful and peaceful. It was green and wooded, with a sprawling lake and walking trails. One morning I looked out and saw eagles playing there. I was very pleased with our accomodations. Oh yes, the bed was comfy too!

The only things I wasn't absolutely thrilled with were:
* a big stain on the hall carpet outside our room
* neighbors that partied very loudly all night for one night
* large gap under door to hallway allowing it to sound like the neighbors were in the room with us.

I would not hesitate to stay at the Sandcastle on my next trip to Birchbay.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marysville, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

What a delightful treasure we found at the Sandcastle at Birch Bay. We made a last minute decision to go away for a night and found this wonderful resort. The room was amazing, more than we expected and the price was very reasonable. Our room had a view of the water and we were lucky enough to view a wonderful sunset. If I had to find something that wasn't quite up to par it would be on the kitchen floor there was what appeared to be some egg yolk that hadn't been cleaned up.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Sandcastle Resort at Birch Bay when we ran the Birch Bay Half Marathon in February. The room was amazing, with a full kitchen that we did not expect to have (we could have known that there was a full kitchen if we had done more research before going). The room was great, and priced at a great value. We were looking for convenience in getting to the start line, and were not disappointed, as we only had to drive about ten minutes to get to the start line in Birch Bay State Park. Also, the room was incredibly clean, and had all of the kitchen utensils we needed to prepare our own food (we are both vegetarian athletes, so when we travel to places a bit off the radar, we typically bring our own food).

The property is also beautifully situated right on Birch Bay, which afforded great views. We had a private balcony that looked over a parking lot directly, but had views of the ocean if you strained your neck hard enough. We couldn't complain, though. We had an absolutely wonderful time, and if we opt to run the Birch Bay race again next year, we'll no doubt stay at the Sandcastle.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

We've been staying at The Sandcastle in Birch Bay on a regular basis since it opened. After doing the math we realized it is a better alternative to buying a seaside cottage. And as a bonus, our vacation time is free of all the maintenance chores which come with a cottage.

The Sandcastle has well maintained units with full size kitchens for practical family use. TV’s with DVD players are good for movies and music CD’s. Balconies have either ocean or golf club views. The furniture is stylish, comfortable and rugged. There is a heated pool and hot tub for all year use; A workout room with decent equipment; Family movie nights; And a rooftop games room with a deck and two grills ( a great place to meet fellow travellers) . All in all it is a great place to visit and relax.

The staff work hard to keep the place clean and in shape. However, you must realize that this is a popular seaside resort, with families constantly trudging through the hallways after days playing on the tidal flats. No carpeting can keep up, regardless of the cleaning. This also applies to the furniture. We groaned when we saw the first scratches and pot marks on the tables. That is the tough part of not having exclusive ownership. But the convenience is a good trade off.

We can check in for a few days, enjoy the oceanside, build a fire, exercise in the pool, explore the local farms and markets, wine and dine in style in our unit, (visit a casino & nearby outlets for a few hours). And never have to pick up a hammer or bucket of paint!

Room Tip: The rooms facing the back are the quietest and get morning sun. The front is noisier because of the...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandcastle at Birch Bay

Address: 7854 Birch Bay Drive, Birch Bay, WA 98230
Location: United States > Washington > Birch Bay
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Birch Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sandcastle at Birch Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 48
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Also Known As:
Sandcastle At Birch Bay Hotel Blaine
Sandcastle Birch Bay
Sandcastle At Birch Bay Blaine

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