Most importantly: we rented through an owner at VRBO or HomeAway websites. The unit was managed by a local company who communicated with us prior to, during, and after the visit. I am over-zealous in my research and spent several weeks pouring through HomeAway and VRBO for the perfect vacation spot for my husband, 6-year old daughter and I in late October 2012. We were pleased with Sunset Vistas and we will definitely return.
Our owners prepared us by stocking the kitchen with basic amenities as well as beach necessities - bag, toys, chairs, pool noodles, etc etc. There were several sets of extra sheets and towels and starter kits of kitchen cleaning supplies in addition to the stacked washer dryer which we used daily.
As soon as we checked in I checked the bathrooms and kitchen for cleanliness, which weren't terrible although not spotless. The carpet and tile floors were free of debris but not sparkling clean. Considering the resort is on the beach, you know - with sand, I didn't expect it to be pristine. However, the dishes had debris on them so I put them all in the dishwasher and ran it while we unpacked. Luckily, I checked again before we left to figure out that the dishwasher was broken. I did NOT want to deal with a repair person, so we picked up more dish soap and some disposable stuff as well as trash bags. Problem solved!
We were 2 doors down from the elevator which is one of my very few complaints - the windows facing the courtyard are very thin and did not keep out the hallway noise so my daughter (sleeping in that bedroom) was forced to keep her window closed, and was still bothered by noise. The Gulf-facing windows were extremely effective at blocking noise, particularly when a gaggle of young people gathered on the balcony below us to talk loudly. As soon as I shut the door, I heard silence! The sliding glass doors afforded a nice view, but silent if it was needed. A nice breeze came in at night too! The drapes were heavier, and light blocking although not 100% (can anything be). The small balcony was perfect for morning coffee or an afternoon book. I only wish there had been a hammock :-). You could comfortably seat 2, maaaaybe 3 if your unit had another chair.
The pool was awesome, and had 2 shallow ends / entries. My daughter had a great time in the large pool and the toddler pool (which are on opposite sides of the resort). The hot tub was broken during our visit, which was fine because it seemed that only kids and teenagers wanted to use it. There was ample seating and chaise lounges around the pool but I would recommend more umbrellas or shade options. The lower level bar by the pool had very friendly staff who made great drinks and great conversation.
The boardwalk to the beach was well-maintained, although the shower area could stand to be raised up so that sand actually has a place to go when you rinse off. I do understand that it's a beach, but I hate tracking sand in. We opted to leave a bucket of water at our door and a towel right inside the door. There was also a community box near the boardwalk where you could leave toys etc for others. We found a sand pail there, and a floatie ring, which we left behind at the end of our trip.
The on-site cafe had some great snack and light meal options for us, and we found them to be on the healthier side too. Priced as moderate as could be expected for a beach front resort, the convenience can't be beat, and the staff helpful and friendly. They had a few basics too - dish soap, deodorant, toothbrush. We never had to deal with staff at the front desk so I cannot comment to that.
We had a rental sedan that fit very comfortably in our assigned parking spot - but if a truck or full-size SUV were next to or across from us it could be difficult to reverse out. Just be patient and pay attention! There was an event on the beach while we visited and the hotel had on-site parking attendants to protect the assigned parking and limited visitors spots. We actually did have visitors (friends who happened to be in the area) and they parked easily, LOVED the set up. In our 2-bedroom unit, we had 6 adults and 2 kids for lunch one day and felt there was ample space to sit, perch, converse, and prepare food.
We never utilized the beach chair rental, instead using our unit-provided umbrella and towels. It was a clean beach and we had a lot of fun. Lots of fish but not many shells in the shallow area (my daughter's input). Beautiful area.
We walked to John's Pass one evening and really enjoyed visiting all the little shops. It was a moderate walk for the 6-year old, so stopped for ice cream on the way back. The streets, sidewalks, and pedestrian crossings were clean, well-lit and felt safe. The area pedestrian crossings are controlled, and include neon reflective flags for you to carry as you cross - extremely impressive!
At the end of the vacation I sent a very detailed letter to the management company about discrepancies in the unit - broken dishwasher, certain untidy nuances etc. I was not unhappy with these things, but certainly noticed them and wanted to provide feedback. Not only did they respond within 24 hours, they followed up a few days later to say that the owners had authorized a new dishwasher as well as several other suggestions I made. When we return to FL next year, I know we will consider Tampa airport and Sunset Vistas at the very top of our list.
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- Also Known As:
- Sunset Vistas Beachfront Hotel Treasure Island
- Sunset Vistas Beachfront Resort
- Sunset Vistas Beachfront Suites Treasure Island, Florida