The Rio Sands is a budget hotel that appears to have once been a motel, and has been updated. The hotel is located in a residential area of Aptos about two blocks from Rio Del Mar beach and Seacliff State Beach. Be advised that Aptos Creek is the border between Rio Del Mar to the south and Seacliff, and that the creek can change course seasonally. When we visited in January, 2014, the creek did not reach the ocean, and bisected Rio Del Mar, making beach access more difficult. A short 5-minute stroll over the creek bridge led us to Seacliff, and all the waves we wanted.
Our two-room suite was small but clean and suited well for a short or extended stay. Upon entry we were greeted with one front room with kids bunk bed and convertible love seat, as well as a wall-mounted flat screen TV. Off the front room near the entry was the shower-over-tub bathroom, with pedestal sink and ample towels.
A door divided the front and master sections of the suite, good for mommy and daddy privacy. This room was a bedroom with attached kitchenette, small bistro table and two chairs, and a king bed with side tables. Another wall-mounted flat screen was located facing the bed. The kitchenette featured a full-sized fridge, sink, microwave and oven/stovetop combo. A few dishes, kitchen knives and mugs were in the cupboard. Additional items were available if needed from the front desk.
A sliding glass door with privacy curtain led to the well-manicured common areas, as well as a clean and very popular hot tub and heated pool area, just past the pool gate. Guest rest and changing rooms were located near the pool area. Outside the pool were numerous lounge chair sitting areas and a large pit barbeque for guest and event use. One the pool deck, several tables with dated fiberglass umbrellas and well-used, but clean molded chairs. Ample lounge chairs on the pool deck. Pool towels available at the front desk upon request.
The night of our stay, the hotel was completely booked. Being an older property, we were able to hear the upstairs guests' coughing and muffled loud conversation, as well as creaking from the floor when they walked. Not unbearable, but noticeable.
In the morning, the included breakfast was more than expected. After the short stroll down the block to the banquet facility, we arrived at the breakfast service. Fruit, hard boiled eggs, pastries and make-your own waffles were available, along with fresh coffee, juice and tea. It was a typical continental-style, serve yourself morning, but the staff member I saw was attentive, and the area kept clean and stocked. We left feeling full and satisfied.
It should be noted that, although the hotel is very close to the beaches, there is not a lot going on in this section of town during the evening, if that's your thing. One small restaurant near the beach, Pixie's, was closed at sundown, and catered to the beach crowd. Same with the coffeehouse nearby. The tavern on the corner was closed down when we visited. The upscale looking Rio Cafe was open for business and bustling. The corner market was grimy and stocked random canned items, dusty single bottles of beer and not much else. I mention this because, if you plan to make use of the kitchenette, you will need to head up the hill and on to Soquel Drive to get any groceries. We opted to call Pizza My Heart on 41st Avenue in Capitola to deliver us some fresh pizza.
Overall, the cleanliness, on-property family-friendly amenities, courteous and friendly and proximity to the beaches made our stay enjoyable. We would stay at the Rio Sands again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rio Sands Hotel is by the beach. Just a 2 minute walk to 20 miles of walkable sea shore. We have rooms with fully stocked kitchenettes, a BBQ area, pool heated to 80 degrees year round. Enjoy our continental breakfast served daily. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rio Sands Hotel Aptos
- Rio Sands Aptos