We (me, husband, and teen child) planned a trip to Amelia Island over the long 4th of July weekend. We booked through Hotels.com and paid a premium price to book a villa with a kitchen, sitting & dining areas, washer/dryer, and an ocean view in the Sandcastle Villas. I am recovering from knee surgery. The plan was that my child & husband would spend time with his family since my husband grew up here, and I would relax in the villa looking at the ocean and enjoying the amenities we had paid for (such as a refrigerator with a freezer where I could store the ice packs I need to use on my knee)
When we checked in & got to our villa, it was just a room with 2 queen beds. The ocean view was there, but nothing else. The Sandcastle Villas have a very motel-like atmosphere, though the room seemed reasonably adequate. But still, it was just one room.
My husband returned to reception and was told by a female manager that they would not honor what we paid for at Hotels.com and that Hotels.com (which is owned by Expedia) had inaccurate information about their accommodations. The only thing this female manager offered to do was call Expedia for us. (Hmm, how does that really help us at that moment? Answer: It doesn’t.) A male manager then finally offered us an alternate accommodation in the Fairway Oaks Villas. He called it a “house” but it was actually just a large connected villa in a row of them. These villas look like a retirement community and are far, far from the beach. They sit on the golf course, SO NO OCEAN VIEW. The unit we were given was two bedrooms, two bathrooms with kitchen, sitting area and dining area, and washer/dryer. The unit didn’t appear to have been stayed in for a while. (in other words, not freshly cleaned).
These Fairway Oaks Villas seem to have many permanent residents. At 2am-ish, the first night, our next door neighbors began blasting music that made the walls vibrate and the smell of cigarette smoke wafted strongly into our villa. Lovely!!
The moral of this story is that the Omni Amelia Island Resort will not honor reservations made through sites like Hotels.com, Expedia, etc. They won’t compensate you even if you have a written reservation saying what you paid for (which we did).
The most disappointing part of the trip was not being at the beach. My child & husband would have liked to walk out the doors of the beachfront Sandcastle Villas (where our villa was supposed to be) and walk onto the beach. I could have sat right on the balcony & seen them & enjoyed the view myself. The Fairway Oaks Villa (where we actually stayed) had no outdoor sitting area or a view that was worth looking at.
This is our second time staying at this resort. The last time was prior to the Omni takeover, and we stayed in the hotel as opposed to a villa that time. My impression of this property hasn’t changed. It wants to be upscale. You can see it in the safari-coated staff that greets you when you check in. But you don’t see it in the customer service. It just isn’t here.
Also, beware of the $40 per night Resort Fee. Ouch!!
I have been coming to Amelia Island for over 25 years. This is most definitely the last time I would book any accommodation at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation.