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“A contrast of good and not so good” 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
Springfield, Oregon
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“A contrast of good and not so good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

We just returned home from a week at Birch Bay. The community is very nice and the resort ambiance good for family vacations. There are super day trips available from Birch Bay. We took advantage of the location and had a very enjoyable week.

Sandcastle at Birch Bay has wonderful rooms. We were in a 3BR, 2 Bath unit that had a decent view of Birch Bay. The room was very spacious with nice appliances and comfortable furniture. The pool on site was ok, but nothing to brag about. The lobby was roomy and comfortable. A small for well-equipped gym was very acceptable. The staff was very professional and pleasant. These are all pluses.

The downside was noise from the restaurant/bar and inexcusably from that establishment's employees. Our room was four floors above the establishment's trash / service area. Employees congregated out in this area and were very loud. Plus, they would dump glass into the glass recycling bin and it sounded like we were in the middle of our local recycling center ... and even after midnight. I posted a negative review about this establishment, "Shores" and you can see what happened to us there.

We enjoyed Birch Bay and didn't have a bad experience at Sandcastle, overall, but don't imagine we'll be back (at least, not at this hotel). It is part of the Raintree Vacation Club family of resorts and clearly is not RVC's "flagship."

Room Tip: Being on the outside of the building vs. center area overlooking the pool area would be our recommen...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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
Thank you for your kind words regarding Sandcastle at Birch Bay. We appreciate your positive comments about our resort.

Please be advised that we are currently working with the owner of the Shore's restaurant below our resort to resolve the noise and employee issues you discussed. This restaurant is not affiliated with Raintree's Sandcastle at Birch Bay Resort and we are making every effort to reduce the impact this establishment's current practices impose on our guests. We look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement with the owner and management of The Shores as quickly as possible.
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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)
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English first
Las Vegas, Nevada
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2013

We purchased our stay as a bonus vacation from RCI. The property looked modern and updated on the outside. It appeared clean and well kept. Building access seems secure as you need a key card to enter the building at night.

We stayed in a 3 bedroom suite which has modern and tasteful decor. The floor plan was a bit like a maze with having to take four turns before getting to the open kitchen/living area. This may play into the lack of air flow. Ceiling fans would be an asset since there is no air conditioning in the units. It's good that box fans are provided but they are noisy and not easy to set up near the window in the bedrooms. The beds are comfortable but could use more sleeping pillows rather than decorative pillows. The location of the suite wasn't so bad. It was on the back side of the building but we had a partial view of the water front but mostly the parking lot. We were on the second floor just above the lobby. We had no traffic noise.

The staff was friendly enough but a bit greedy with bath towels. There were no bath towels when we arrived so I called the next morning to ask for 8 towels, one for each of us. I didn't know my sister had already asked for 4 towels so I was questioned if I was exchanging the 4 that were already delivered. I just didn't see what the big deal was if we were given extra towels.

Overall it's a nice property located just across the street from the beach. Don't expect sandy beaches though as the tide rises almost up to the road, so it's more of a muddy beach with puddles. Muddy but the ground was firm enough to walk atop within sinking. The property does provide a water hose to rinse off before entering the lobby. Great for clam digging though. It's not your typical sandy beach but we had a great time playing in it.

It wasn't excellent but acceptable. Only wished the staff wasn't being so difficult with amenities. Not only did they gave us a hard time about the towels, they warned us about the $5 charge at check in if we lost a room key, $35 if we lost a safe key and the amenities provided in the suite was not enough to last us the week so we just went out and bought more on our own rather than going through the hassle with front desk. They only provided one detergent sheet for laundry, a small bottle of dish detergent and a couple extra bags which are all not enough for our group for the week. We bought more ourselves to avoid the hassle with front desk. Definitely did not feel welcome but if you don't need a lot of interaction with the staff it's an average stay.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
SF Bay Area, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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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Seattle WA
Top Contributor
312 reviews 312 reviews
76 hotel reviews
Reviews in 96 cities Reviews in 96 cities
117 helpful votes 117 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
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 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
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 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.

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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*
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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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