My family and I decided at the last minute to take an overnight trip to Garden City to celebrate the holidays with my sister and her family. We had a party of eight, so we needed a large condo unit. After searching several search engines, we came across the Waters Edge Resort, and a 3BR unit for a very reasonable price. Having lived down at Garden City for many years, I was familiar with the location, and to get a large unit like this that was not only oceanfront, but available for just one night, seemed to be the perfect answer to our accommodations' needs.
First, the positives. Despite check-in time being at 4pm, we arrived around 1pm and were warmly welcomed by the staff and able to check in early, which was a pleasant surprise. We also discovered that the on-site bar and cafe were both open during this time of year, which we did not expect with it being the down season. After taking an elevator ride up to the 7th floor, we attempted to enter our unit, but struggled with the entry lock/key. After several attempts, we had to send someone back down to the front desk to request assistance. Maintenance was dispatched to our unit, and he showed us the "secret" to these locks, which was a little unorthodoxed. However, we were able to finally get into our unit, and what a pleasant surprise it was. The condo was layed-out in a very comfortable and spacious way, with a "shotgun" hallway leading to all three bedrooms. The kitchen was clean and modern, and the unit itself was painted in a tropical, festive blue with furniture that was a bit outdated but comfortable. The bedrooms were of good size, especially the master, which sported a king-sized bed and a balcony overlooking the ocean. When they say oceanfront, they mean it! The water was literally lapping at the edge of the property.
The beds were a bit soft; you could tell that economy was more prevalant than expense, but the beds slept fine for the one night that we spent. There were two full baths, plus a half-bath in the hallway that ended up being very convenient for our guests. The view was spectacular from the living room balcony, and the balcony itself was very spacious, unusual for an condo like this. In addition, having a washer/dryer was also a benefit after a swim in the pool/hottub.
While we didn't have time to take advantage of the bar and cafe, we did stop in for a peek. The bar seemed to be nice, and that night they were having a two-person accoustic show, which was again unusual for the time of year. Had we not have made previous plans for the evening, we would have definitely taken advantage of the opportunity to sit oceanfront and listen to a good band while enjoying a cocktail. In addition, the cafe menu was posted on the door, and there seemed to be a nice selection of simple foods (burgers, chicken, etc.) at very reasonable prices for a resort location. Even the breakfast menu was very appealing, though we didn't take advantage.
The indoor pool was a great positive, and it was much larger than expected. It was very warm, and the kids really enjoyed it. The hot tub inside was also very nice, although the large hottub outside was ever nicer - if you could stand the cold air getting out to it! The whole pool experience really made the vacation nice for the kids.
Now, the negatives. The front door to our unit was covered in rust - looked like the door had not been touched in years. Just a very disappointing first impression for us. In the third bedroom, the heat did not work, and on this particular night, temperatures dropped into the upper 30's. I had the misfortune of being assigned to this room, and it was a very cold night of sleep to say the least. Unfortunately we did not discover this until late in the evening, when we closed the door to the room, and at that time it was just too late to call maintenance. Overall, the unit was "cozy", but definitely could have used some upgrading. There were TVs in the master and third bedrooms, which was nice, but having one in the 2nd bedroom would have been nice also. The television in the living area was an old 25" tube-style, and while I know most people don't watch a whole lot of TV while at the beach, having at least a 32" flat screen would have made viewing TV at night a lot more enjoyable, given the low prices of those units these days. And just a small note, but maybe having one of the bedrooms with two double beds instead of a queen would be a big upgrade, considering that most families that stay here have children.
Overall, this place has a lot of potential, and is somewhere that we will give a lot of consideration to for a return visit in the summer. The room layouts are very nice and spacious, the views great, and the location couldn't be more convenient. If the ownership would just put a little money into some minor upgrades (exterior of property, inside units), it could be one of the nicer venues on the south end of the beach, especially for the price. We will definitely stay again in the future.
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