Great location, especially for families. Surf lessons, boardwalk rides, white sand beach and ice cream cones on the wharf are all within walking distance. Excellent staff in all areas of the hotel. Room was clean with nice amenities. The decor has a fun retro vibe. Felt more like a place for young couples or families.
We were on the second floor (street level), right above the pool. The exterior hallway was somewhat open to the public and quite noisy. We could hear suitcases and housecleaning carts rolling across the tile floors at all hours. I would recommend trying to stay in rooms not directly over the pool, where the hall is enclosed. The pool was in use in March from 7:30 AM until 11 PM and a bit noisy in our room. The bed was quite comfy. The cushions on the sofa, which had a pull out sofa in it, were always sliding all over the place and not very comfortable to sit in. Just enough room for the two of us to sit on the patio and enjoy our wine with the sunset.
Santa Cruz is a fantastic place to play with your kids, but there is a seedy side to it too. Twice our neighbors were smoking pot on their patio, which was quite annoying. Two security guards were strolling the pool area periodically, which made me a bit concerned about the area. I ran down to the liquor store across the street at 8 PM on a Saturday and there were quite a few drunks getting loud out front. Not sure I would want my teenage kids hanging out here alone at night. Two very attractive and quite made up young ladies were knocking on our door at midnight. I didn't open the door, but they ended up going in next door. Thought that was a bit strange too. I should have probably reported all of this to the management, but having spent numerous summers here as a kid, I just took it as part of the Santa Cruz experience.