My husband and I just returned from a wonderful, relaxing vacation at the Monarch (April 6 - 13). I spent the first part of the week with a girlfriend, and our husbands arrived near the end of the week. Our villa was very nice with both pool and ocean views (Azalea building - 3rd floor). Prior to arriving, I requested that the twin beds in the 2nd bedroom be put together and you would have never known that it wasn't one bed. The ONLY negative about the villa was that although the furnishings were new and attractive, the sofa and chairs weren't particularly comfortable. We actually joked that the sofa was like sitting in a church pew. I do realize that it must be difficult to find attractive durable furniture, but it would have been a bit more enjoyable if the sitting area had been a little more comfy.
There is no pool bar (which would have been nice), but the Sea Pines Beach Club is right next door and serves drinks and lunch outside. the beach was a little crowded directly in front of the Beach Club, but fairly empty in front of the Monarch property. We brought our own chairs and umbrella and set up a nice quiet area each day near the beach access on the far side of the Azalea building.
We rented bikes at the Monarch ($30 per week) and I suggest that everyone do this (there are other rental places nearby that may be cheaper, but the convenience of renting at the Monarch is probably worth the price difference). We rode to Harbour Town a few times for both breakfast and afternoon cocktails. We took the free trolley (the stop is at the entrance to the Sea Pines Beach Club next door to the Monarch) to Harbour Town once for dinner. I highly recommend Harbour Town Bakery for breakfast - sit outside if the weather is nice. We also rode our bikes to Coligny Plaza - there are several restaurants and shops there too.
The staff at the Monarch is top-notch. Everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. We will be staying at the Marriott Grande Ocean in August - looking forward to it, but will miss being in Sea Pines.