My husband and I stayed at the Lodge three nights the weekend of October 7th, 2011. It was unfortunate that a bad storm came through, with high winds and torrential rain. However, we really enjoyed it despite the weather and had a fantastic time!
I research everything carefully before booking a vacation, and I read every review on Trip Advisor for Hammock Beach. I was a little apprehensive when I read some of the negative reviews, but truly, you have to take some of this with a grain of salt. We are picky people, and we thought it was phenomenal.
We loved our room at the Lodge. The rooms are simply decorated but fitting for the space. The bathrooms are very nice with a huge shower. My only thought would be to put a solid door on the bathroom. It is in the style of a shutter, so it can limit privacy somewhat, though it can be worked around and is not a huge issue. There is a little window that can be opened to let fresh air in, in addition to a porch and view of the water. You are so close to the beach, especially at high tide, that it looks like you are almost flying over the water! It is the closest I've ever been to the water ocean front. I see a recent review saying that they had a bad experience staying at the Lodge. We found the Lodge from the main hotel without a problem. When you check in, they put your room keys in a packet that opens to a map, which is not hard to read, and the Lodge is not far from the main hotel at all. We parked and took our own things in, though they offered to have a staff meet us over there to help us. It is obvious where the front door is and there are obvious elevators and stairs leading up to the rooms, which you can see are above the main floor as you approach the hotel. We had no problem at all finding our room. There are two doors leading in and out of the Lodge- the front door and a door in the bar area. I can't see that this is a problem at all. You can use either door to easily get to the rest of the resort. Staying at the Lodge feels like your own private, quiet hotel and we absolutely loved it. I did request a corner room four months before we arrived. I emailed and called multiple times, but we did not get a corner room. It was still wonderful, but do not expect to be able to request a particular room.
I saw multiple reviews here about negative experiences with customer service. I have to say that everyone was extremely nice!! I am sorry to hear that some people did not get good customer service, but we had no issues whatsoever. Staff stopped to chat with us frequently, and we were asked all the time by passing staff if we were doing ok and and if we needed any help. The manager on duty while we were there was incredible, and he took a great deal of personal time with us when he found out we had just arrived to show us around and tell us about the resort. This is a very large resort with an incredibly large staff, so it would make sense if not every person is wonderful. It did take a minute or two to figure out that concierge is where you also check in, but really, it's not that big of an issue. They were very nice, and unlike other experiences in the reviews, they gave us great directions and offered lots of assistance, which we declined.
The food in the restaurants was fabulous! I was so impressed and not expecting it to be the caliber it was. Yes, you do pay high prices for the food. It depends on your motivation for going. We wanted a weekend getaway where we did not have to leave the resort or prepare food for ourselves. Therefore, we wanted multiple dining options, so we were ok to pay higher prices to have that experience. I would have been upset to pay more and have lower quality food, but the food was top notch. It is very hard to find a resort in the States that has multiple places to eat without having to leave a resort, so I was fine to pay the prices. The sushi bar was absolutely incredible, so worth the money in my opinion. We also ate at Atlantic Grille several times (fantastic!!), Loggerhead, and we went to the Cigar Bar. The two of us spent about as much on the food and a few drinks as we did on the price of the room for three nights. We did bring alcohol and snacks with us, which I recommend.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful. I saw a past review that the resort was not well maintained and that the pools were dirty. This was not the case at all when we were there. We didn't even get to see it in its best state because of the storm (debris everywhere from the winds, everything soaked, umbrellas down, etc) and what we experienced, we loved. The beach was wonderful, though with the weather being bad, they did not put the chairs and umbrellas out. The pools were really fantastic, some of the best I've experienced. We spent hours in the huge hot tub, despite the rain.
The taxes, fees, etc. I can't tell you how nice it was to stay somewhere and not have to worry about tipping. This was the first time we've experienced this. The downside is that you do have to pay resort fees, but I didn't mind because we loved the experience of not having to carry cash to tip. We love to travel, and we tend to stay at expensive places, so we are used to extra fees added to bills for a resort experience. If you are not used to this type of thing, I can see that you would be upset. Just know going into it that you will pay fees here, but once there, you are free of tipping, and that is fabulous. When you book a room on the website, they will show you how much the fees are before you confirm.
If you are trying to decide whether to stay here or not, know that it is not going to be a super cheap beach vacation. If you go in knowing you are going to spend a little more but get a lot out of your experience, then you will have a wonderful time. Do your research and book at a time that you will have the best chance to have a good experience in regards to weather, bugs, crowds, etc. If you want a higher end beach resort vacation with lots of options, then stay at Hammock Beach. We will definitely be going back!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.