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“Poor service, Great location and facilities” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sanderling Resort

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Sanderling Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   1461 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Duck
Louisville, Kentucky
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Poor service, Great location and facilities”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

The grounds are very beautiful and the ocean access is perfect. The rooms are great however I found the service lacking. During our 4 night stay, we encountered the following issues:
- The ice machine in our building was out of service for the duration.
- The hot water stopped working for about 6 hours during afternoon into the evening. We were not notified of the problem nor were we offered any sort of compensation. Instead we were told by management that it was out of their control and that we could walk across the street to take a shower. I understand that issues can arise, but if I am paying over $350 a night, I would expect some sort of compensation when things go wrong.
- We went to the concierge to ask for recommendations for attractions we could visit. Instead of recommendations, she said "I'm not native so I don't know". We weren't offered maps nor put in contact with someone who could help.
- On 3 separate occasions there were no towels by the pool and none were brought during the 3 hours we were there. This despite the fact that we were charged a "Resort Fee" that includes among other things "Beach Towels"
- At no point during the 4 nights were the fire-pits in use. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening by the fire-pit but they were not available.

Bottom line from my experience, the grounds and location are perfect, but the service was far below average for the rates we paid.

Room Tip: If you want to sleep in, Ask not to be placed by a room occupied by a family. The doors have a tenan...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to tell us and others about your stay. We can only improve by listening to what our travelers want. Since your visit in June, the ice machine has been installed in the North Inn and towel stations have been put into place. The firepits, unless inclement weather which could include unsafe winds, go on nightly at dusk - 10pm and we now have signage to this effect. We apologize for the short time the water was out which was not related just to the Sanderling Resort and we were trying to get updates to share with our guests. Your experience regarding local attractions was less than satisfactory and we have addressed with additional training. We do have a local (native) concierge and I am sorry you did not get a chance to speak with her. We do hope you will give us another opportunity to shine on a future visit.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (165)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

I was nervous from the beginning about the $500+ per night price with the requirement to be paid in full prior to arrival, and our concerns proved to be justified. We think this resort is banking too much on the fact that it is situated on the spectacular, outer banks coastline of North Carolina, particularly since there are literally hundreds of other options along the same gorgeous coastline. Apparently, the resort was "shut down" over the winter months for renovations, however not all areas were re-done and we think the high price with the additional "resort fee" is an attempt to recover the costs of renovation. The property is comprised of multiple buildings, with the guest rooms in buildings that are on the ocean side of Hwy 12 and the spa, reception area and hotel's fine dining restaurant are on the sound side. Therefore, guests must cross a very busy highway to utilize the full resort. Be forewarned as there are no rooms with a true "ocean view" as the property is built on the backside of a huge bank of beach sand dunes which entirely block the view of the ocean and the beach. We were informed of this only after we arrived. We were extremely disappointed when we checked into our "ocean view" room with two queens (also, very few rooms are equipped with double queen beds) to find that we were literally hanging over the "children's" pool, which also had speakers blaring out constant music. (So much for enjoying the sound of the surf!) Since there was absolutely zero ocean view, despite the ocean view category and it's inflated price, we ended up moving across the hall, only to overlook an unlandscaped area of dirt, with our deck separated from Hwy 12 by a line of tall bushes...for a slighted reduced price. It was just such a let down. Add this to the fact that the rooms are really nothing special. Our room was basically appointed and clean, however the decor and finishes were far from luxurious or unique. To be totally frank, we might as well have been in a basic, chain hotel. The air conditioning is "locked" at set point, so in the afternoon when the sun sets over the sound on the west side, the west side rooms like ours heat up and guests can not make an adjustment. The common areas did not seem to be as well kept and clean. For example, the windows were in terrible need of cleaning, the floor in the fitness room was filthy and at the end of the hall in the building where our guest room was located, were all the cleaning carts, buckets, vacuum cleaners and various pieces of equipment pushed all together along with piles of what appeared to be bundles of laundered towels.
Some of the positives are the saltwater "adult" pool,which is a separate and away from the "kids" pool. When you show up to the pathway that leads to the beach, the staff will assist guests to their chosen beach spot and set up beach chairs and umbrella or two, as well as provide beach towels. There is a great body and foot shower to hose off after beach time. The resort recently built several new platform decks on the dunes which over look the surf and are an especially nice place to enjoy evenings. Additionally, there is a handy beach snack bar in the center of the property on the way to the beach that serves beverages and food. The snack bar also has restrooms, so guests do not have to return from the beach to the guestroom if nature calls. In the evenings, there are two gas powered fire pits that are turned on and sometimes they have a performer. We listened to guitar music one evening, and it was delightful. And, finally, the fine dining, called Kimball's Kitchen, across the highway offered was outstanding.
All in all, we had a nice stay, but I felt a bit taken advantage of price wise. I would not be able to recommend the resort without reservation.

Room Tip: Ask for the ocean side, but don't expect a full beach / ocean view. The opposite side can have...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
Thank you for your recent visit and we appreciate your feedback. The winter renovations included the lobby, pools, walkways/landscaping, the addition of the Sandbar and remodel of the Lifesaving Station and Kimball's Kitchen. The rooms were part of a renovation two winters ago. We did a few updates in the rooms but did not replace hard or soft goods. The resort did go to a tip free environment so a good portion of that gets paid out to our staff so it is not being used to fund the renovations. We have two queens bedded rooms only in the North Wing which are located near the Resort Pool. They are listed on our website as Sunset or OceanSIDE Two Queens (and corresponding photos show the dune in that room category). We do have an OceanVIEW category as well but they are in either the Main or the South Building where we are able to get above the dune line that does not have the 2 queens. These are full on oceanfront rooms. The landscaping around the North Inn has been completed now and additional storage has been built out for housekeeping. We are sorry these things were not complete prior to your visit. We hope you will give us another opportunity on a future visit to the Outer Banks.
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Silver Spring, Maryland
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

This was our first trip to the Outer Banks, and we are glad we chose the Sanderling. We appreciated that there is an adults only (saltwater) pool, as there are a lot of families, and the family pool was quite active. Our room had a view of the pool/ocean and we had a nice balcony with "Nag's Head Hammock" chairs, very comfortable! Because the resort was full, there was a fair amount of noise, but there was nothing out of the ordinary considering how many families and groups were there. Our impression from this first visit to the region is that the Outer banks is the kind of place where a family/group rents a house, and so, the resort/hotel "scene" is almost non-existent. The Sanderling manages to be a luxurious resort in this kind of setting while "fitting in" and giving that "Outer Banks" experience.

Room Tip: Choose ocean side view, otherwise, you'll have a view of the asphalt parking lot. Second floor s...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
We are glad you had a chance to visit the Outer Banks. You are correct that many do enjoy the vacation rentals and we are the only full service resort in the area. The summer is much different with the market mix than the much quieter but beautiful spring/fall. Winter is even more of a romantic escape. We hope you will return again to the area and be our guest.
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Winchester, VA
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

OVERALL: My stay was very comfortable and enjoyable although I think the room prices are a bit on the high side. There were no special touches that would make me want to stay here again and justify the cost. It is wonderful that staff sets up beach chairs and umbrellas for you and beach towels are provided, but you pay for that in the daily "resort fee." For the price of the room, nice touches such as a complimentary continental breakfast, in-room coffee pot, making the s'mores kits complimentary instead of charging for them are examples. I felt somewhat "nickeled and dimed."

PROS: Fantastic customer service and friendly staff; beach chairs/umbrellas provided and set up for guests; morning coffee set up in each building; very comfortable beds; screen doors to the balconies so that you can enjoy fresh air and the sound of the ocean without the bugs; convenient parking; rain umbrellas provided in each room; heated pools; easy access to beach from all buildings; nice turn down service;

CONS: Need more umbrellas around the Tranquility pool (only 4) or at least a sign that states not to "save" those spots while you jaunt off for your morning coffee/breakfast not to return for 2 hours. There is a nice arbor that could have a screen placed over the top to provide additional shaded area; while the complimentary coffee/apples are nice, for the price you pay for the rooms some of the continental breakfast items offered should also be complimentary; for the first 2 days, my room smelled like Mexican food - a better airing out of the room during turnover cleaning would be nice; the Lifesaving Station restaurant (I had the flounder stuffed with crab served over sweet potatoes. There was no taste at all to any of the food. I had to salt each bite); if there are guest in the room above you, you will definitely hear every thump; while not the fault of the resort, I find the restaurants in the Duck area overpriced for the quality of service and food. I found the restaurants in KH, KDH and NH to have much friendlier staff and tastier food;

Room Tip: If you want to see the ocean from your room, be sure to book the 3rd floor. The South Inn is the be...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
THank you for recently being our guest. We appreciate your feedback and want to continue to improve to ensure our guests want to return. The pools are new to us this season and we will evaluate the umbrellas at the Tranquility pools. We just did the plantings in the arbor and we hope by next season it will provide some shadecover. We are sorry to hear that the food did not meet your expectations and we will share the feedback with the staff on their "fantastic" customer service. Thank you for recognizing them.
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Virginia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

The Sanderling is an oasis of service in the land of self-sufficiency. Typically you hear about people cooking and setting up tents on the beach when in the Outer Banks, but The Sanderling offers a nice alternative when you want to put your feet up while on vacation. Our room and the common areas were very nice, and while some people favor certain locations in the resort, everything is so close together that it doesn't really matter where you stay. The staff made us feel welcome, and we found the food to be quite good. In terms of quibbles, they ran out of towels one afternoon which really shouldn't happen. I overheard one of the staff complaining that guests were taking 5/6 towels at a time, but even if that's true, if you're paying these prices, you expect a towel when you need it. In addition, a staff member came to the resort pool where we were and inquired if anyone needed food/drink. We ordered two drinks which were never delivered. He must have forgot b/c he came back and cleaned up the area 45 minutes later and never mentioned it/sought us out. Then one afternoon, I had an extremely long wait at the Sandbar, and the female bartender told me she'd get to me/acknowledged the busy bar and then let someone cut in front of me when it was my turn. I left b/c I found this unacceptable, but to her defense, the slowness in the first place looked partly due to the slow machine/register she had to use to print the tickets. One morning, I called to make sure the breakfast/coffee bar in the Beach House was open (it was), and I showed up 15 minutes after opening time. I had to wait several minutes before the attendant came back to her post from getting something in the back. If you say you're open at 7, you need to be open at 7. Lastly, the paths connecting all the buildings are sandy, and I saw many folks walking in the grass to avoid the mess. Whether you're dressed up and don't want to hurt your shoes or in flip flops and don't want to track sand into your room, it's not the best idea for a walkway. With those nits aside, we had a great time and would definitely return. The Sanderling makes you feel pampered.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
We are glad you stayed with us and appreciate your Tripadvisor review. We are glad you found your accommodations comfortable and the food good. You are correct we should not run out of towels. WIth this being the first year with the beach and the two pools we have had to adjust our levels. Our observations and your comments have made that happen immediately. We will definitely monitor the wait time at the Sandbar and the poolservice. Next time those two drinks are on us! We have also put into place measures to ensure staff are at their work stations and ready for you on time which is certainly the expectations. We look forward to your return. Note to other travelers: There are some Oceanfront rooms that are above the duneline with very nice views of the ocean especially in the South Wing where there are 3 floors. Please contact reservations if this is important to be sure you confirm the correct accommodations.
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Georgetown, Kentucky
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

We just returned from our vacation at the Sanderling. We purchased the Special Occasion package that included a couples Message in the Spa, and breakfast every morning at the Life Saving Station. We loved the resort, the all adults pool, the beach chairs and umbrellas that are set up on the beach each day for us, and the resort is very clean and relaxing. The staff definitely understand customer service. Most of the young staff were from Jamaica and told us they come for the "season" to work. They sure know how to "serve" others and I hope they were paid enough because they sure deserve it. The food at the Lifesaving station is great and very large portions, but the service is very slow, first morning it took almost 2 hours for breakfast. Second morning was much quicker. We also participated in the July 4th BBQ on property and it was one of my best meals, there was such a large selection of BBQ Pork, seafood, fresh salads, and many local favorites. The beds are very comfy, the room is very clean and comfortable, the porches (very small) have very comfortable Nags Head Hammock chairs that are comfy too. Don't pay extra for an ocean view, as their is not a good ocean view. We were in room 206 and it was very quiet, until our last night and around 2am until 6 am, we could hear footsteps that sounded like someone was moving furniture and stomping around for 4 solid hours, not sure what was going on, but I am glad that we only heard it our last night. It kept waking us up. We stayed in the building closest to the beach houses and near the all adult pool so it was very quiet most times. There is no music at the pool, and never crowded. The firepit and smores were a nice hit each night. There are 2 fire pits, one is in the family pool area and the other is near the all adults pool. They charge $5 for a smore's kit (4 marshmellows, 2 individual packs of single gram crackers, one Hershey bar, and one wooden skewer stick that was about 12" long) after buying the first kit, I ended up buying supplies at the Harry Teeter Grocery store which is about 15 minutes from the resort in Corolla (also sold CHEAP Beer and WINE) and had smores our entire stay, I was able to share them with other folks at the fire pit. The Sandbar is the resort bar near the pools, and their drinks are overpriced at $10 each served in small plastic cups. We picked up our beer and wine at the grocery and used the inroom fridge to have our drinks all week. You can also request a microwave to be delivered to your rooms at no extra charge. The beach areas were NEVER Crowded even on July 4th, and the resort was totally booked up but never seemed crowded. We also used their spa which was ok, It was a good moisturizing rub down for me, but my husband said he got a good deep tissue message (not sure if he has had enough messages to know a good one) but, mine was not a deep tissue and I have definitely had better messages. The spa is very nice.
Each morning they serve coffee staring at 7am on the first floor of each building with chilled half and half (not powered or fake cream) which was nice, a large bowl of apples was always available for quest, which was nice to stick in your beach bag for a beach snack. I would love to come back and stay even longer, there are several beach houses next to the resort that obviously belong to the Sanderling because we talked to a couple at the fire pit who was staying in one of the rental houses who told us they were entitled to full use of the Sandering resort for renting the house. We paid on the average of $550 per night (that includes message, breakfast resort fees and taxes) which I think is expensive, but compared to the other hotels in the area and their prices for July 4th week, I feel like this was a great place and value for us and I refused to remember what I was paying while I was there. : ) The worse thing about our room was that the TV never had a clear picture, it was like the cable wire was not all the way screwed in, and created a cloudy fuzzy picture, we reported it and the maintenance guy who came up and worked on it but said, it was the cable providers fault that they don't have clear programing which I think is Bull.... something was wrong with either the cable wire or the TV but I didn't complain again or really care, as I was not there to watch TV. Only watched it a few minutes before dozing off....

Room Tip: Don't pay extra for Ocean view as there is not really an Ocean View with the dunes. The mainten...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
We are glad you enjoyed your recent stay and thank you for sharing your experience. We are glad you took advantage of the Special Occasions Package and the BBQ. We do that every Wednesday in season with the live music and the sunset. We are very fortunate not to have any other public beach access near us so the beach with just our guests makes it very comfortable. The music at the tranquility pool has been much debated (even on this forum). Some want music and others want to just relax to the music. At this time we are letting everyone enjoy the natural ocean sounds. We do hope you will come back next time for longer. We apologize the TV was not resolved during your stay but it has been looked at and happy to report fixed. Note to travelers: There are Ocean front rooms that are above the dune lines (especially on the 3rd floor in the South Wing) and provide more view than an oceanside room. If this is important please call reservations to be sure you booking what you want. #215 is a new suite that was done with the renovations. It is the only room that faces the Sound (sunset) in the South Wing with a wrap around porch and fireplace.
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Columbia, Maryland
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

My husband and I came back to visit just shy of our one year anniversary (wedding at The Sanderling). We wanted to see the renovations which of course were tastefully done but I liked the old version just as much. The staff was great as we looked around remembering our event one year ago and oohing and aahing over the furniture.

We had a large family dinner at the Lifesaving Station and that is where the Sanderling really stands out. Its not about the color or the decor its the attention to detail and Southern hospitality that we love this place for and keep coming back to. My mother in law has some special dietary needs and they were able to accommodate her by offering her gluten free bread and gluten free items on the menu. The waitress was very helpful and explained everything to her and offered her suggestions on where to look for gluten free items online. After dinner the staff made us feel right at home by letting us look around at the newly renovated event space upstairs. Makes me want to get married allover again.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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wendycoulsonmurray, Director of Sales at Sanderling Resort, responded to this review, July 15, 2013
Welcome back and Happy 1st Anniversary! We are glad you have so many fond memories of Sanderling Resort. We are glad you enjoyed your family dinner at the Lifesaving Station and with the renovations and improved space on the 2nd level we are able to accommodate more diners. We hope to see you next year for your 2nd anniversary.
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Additional Information about Sanderling Resort

Address: 1461 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949
Phone Number:
Location: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Coast > Outer Banks > Duck
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Duck
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanderling Resort 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Along with the Left Bank restaurant, the property is now AAA 4 Diamond. In April 2011, a soft goods renovation was completed for all the guest rooms including carpet, paint and all new bedding including mattresses. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanderling Hotel Duck
Sanderling Resort Duck, NC - Outer Banks
The Sanderling

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