We are Marriott Vacation Club owners who own a week in the Grande Vista in Orlando. Since we have a lock off feature we are able to split our week for two weeks every year, one of which we usually trade in to Hilton Head, SC around this time every year. We (my husband, myself and our two children; ages 12 and 9) decided to try something different this year. To be perfectly honest, I have never been a big fan of Myrtle Beach due to the large crowds and heavy amount of traffic that I remember the last several times I had been here; however after reading all the positive reviews about Ocean Watch, we decided to give it a try (especially since my husband and children and not been to Myrtle Beach before). Unfortunately our first impression was not a good one. We had no idea that Memorial Day weekend had now also become "bike weekend" in Myrtle Beach. When we arrived on that Saturday, the main strip that runs through the town was literally a parking lot. You could not move, and I mean anywhere!! It was an absolute nightmare. I know that really has nothing to do with Ocean Watch but I mention it because it was our first impression. Thank goodness that after the weekend was over, the traffic seemed to return to "normal" and the crowds seemed to die down so we were able to enjoy the resort and drive around town without having to wait in hours of traffic. With that being said, OceanWatch is a very nice resort. It is what we (as Marriott Vacation owners) have come to expect whenever we stay at a Marriott Vacation Property; nice grounds, spacious villas (although this resort seemed to be one of Marriott's smaller ones as far as villa size goes), beautiful pools, and top notch service. In fact, I think that the more Marriott vacations properties you visit, the more spoiled you become. When we stay in Hilton Head, we are usually able to trade in to an ocean front property (Marriott has 4 ocean front resorts in Hilton Head alone) so when we found out that we were in one of the back buildings at OceanWatch, I was a little disappointed. We spoke with the resort manager who was extremely accommodating but explained that the resort was completely sold out. There were rooms available in the ocean front villas but they were on the ground floor with no view so we opted to stay in the back building on the 14th floor which still had a beautiful (unobstructed) view of the ocean. We already knew the way Marriott works when it comes to requesting rooms; OceanWatch owners who purchased their week in an ocean front unit get first choice, then other Marriott owners, then Interval traders (non Marriott) and then renters. Now that Marriott has gone to their new point system, you can also purchase a ocean front villa with points. With that being said, as one other reviewer wrote, the two back buildings ended up being a decent choice if you have younger kids. They have a tree house playground (probably the biggest and nicest Marriott playground we have ever seen), as well as the "Woodsey" pool, which is the most child friendly out of the 5 pools on the property. The walk to the beach is not more than five minutes, and although I know it can be a little long when you have younger children, it honestly is not bad. If you want to take the "risk" of leaving your chairs, boogey boards, and other beach items close the beach (so you don't have to drag them back and forth to the villa every day), Marriott has plenty of "cubbies" that you can store your "stuff" in. I mentioned the word "risk" because unfortunately the first day we left our items, someone "took" my daughter's dolphin boogie board. I know it is not an expensive item, and one that can easily be replaced, but when my son spotted it in someone else's child buggy (face down) , and the mother claimed that she thought that the items in the cubbies were owned by Marriott for others to use, I became a little upset. She "thought" that the items were in the cubbies for others to use?? Really? I think it was more like she was helping herself to other people's property and hoping that she didn't get caught. The ironic part of that whole thing is that my daughter's boogie board had a small tear on the bottom of it so there was no denying that it was hers. When the mother was caught red handed, I think that was the only thing she could think of saying. Please! No one can be that stupid. I know it was only a $ 20.00 boogie board but it was not the cost but rather the point. If you can afford to stay at the Grand Ocean, you can afford to go buy your child her own boogie board!! We reported the loss to security but they told us that it has happened before so that is why they posted signs (we didn't see them) that they were not responsible for property left there, which of course, I already assumed. The reason I am writing all this in my review is to warn others not to leave anything valuable in the cubbies because Marriott will claim no responsibility for it. Once I got over the issue of our boogie board theft (which was the first time anything was ever stolen from us at any of the Marriott properties), the rest of our week was enjoyable. We really stayed at the resort most of the time but ventured out and rode the "Sea Thunder" one day which was an enjoyable boat dolphin/thrill ride (reasonably priced) and also ate lunch at one of the cute river front restaurants. I think it was called Key West or something like that. We had their fish tacos and there were excellent . In conclusion, I will say that this was a very nice property however it was not my favorite . If you have definitely decided on staying in Myrtle Beach, then this is probably one of the nicest properties, but if you are contemplating staying elsewhere (like HHI), I say go for the latter.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.