We stayed in the Harborside Suites portion of the resort in an 2-story 3bdr/3 bath unit for one week in early April. The resort was booked to capacity, thus our check-in was delayed. After driving 1100 miles to get there, our family (5 adults and a one year old) were tired and cranky, so this was an inconvenience we brought up to the resort staff. We were compensated with 6 free drinks for use at their restaurant or tiki bar. We were extremely impressed with the accommodations overall. There was one bedroom/bath on the main level, along with the kitchen, living/dining area, and a balcony. The upstairs had 2 bedrooms/baths and a balcony attached to one of the bedrooms. The unit was decently stocked with basic utensils/cookware and some (not many) toiletries/soaps/etc. Our only complaint was the carpet-it had seen better days no doubt. With how often we were coming in/out to/from the beach and pool it's no wonder the carpet wears quickly, as I'm sure most of the unit's users are doing the same.If you are booking in the harborside suites, do your best to request and score a "harbor view." We were lucky enough to get a top floor unit with this view and I am sure it added 1 star to my rating, at least.
The location (Ruskin, FL) is a pretty desolate area by vacation standards, no doubt. Shame on those reviewers who took points off of the resort for this, though. Do your research ahead of time (pinpoint Ruskin on a map, for example) and you will find yourself aware of this issue and you can then choose not to book your stay here. We took day trips to Clearwater and St. Petersburg. The drive to each took about 40 minutes. There is a SuperWalmart about 15 minutes away, but other grocery stores and fast food are a tad closer than that.
The beach left much to be desired. Had it not been for our great accommodations, I would have downgraded my rating to 3 stars because of this. It was private and not too crowded; however there were VERY FEW chair/umbrellas available for set-up and the water was slightly murky. If you're looking for good swimming/ocean-like waters....head to St. Pete's or Clearwater. The pool closest to our unit on the other hand was GREAT. Water was decently warm, there was a hot tub, plenty of lounge chairs/umbrellas, and a communal gas grill and nice seating area too.
We ate dinner at the restaurant (Sunset Grille) once. Food was a bit pricey, but very good. We had appetizers and drinks at the Tiki Bar a few times. Excellent Mai Tais and reasonably priced. Plus the view was awesome for sunsets. The atmosphere did get a little rowdy though, especially on the weekends.
Overall, a great place for families. The crowd was generally senior citizens and families with young children (we went while most schools were in session, after the Easter holiday). The rowdiness at the bar area was due to the fact that it isn't a private establishment. It seems the locals do congregate there to blow off some steam...but this only seemed to happen on the weekends after 7pm. My advice: request a harbor view and stop at the grocery store (so you can cook a majority of meals in the unit). This place worked out great for us, as our son is still so young that a pool and beach was all he needed to be entertained for the week!
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