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“This Ain't Kansas Toto” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of White Sands Inn

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White Sands Inn
Ranked #6 of 17 Marathon B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Ocala, Florida
Level Contributor
39 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“This Ain't Kansas Toto”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2013

I really wanted to rate this Inn higher. We met and liked the owner and daughter and both were friendly but, as it turned out, absent most of the time. That was the good part. We stayed for 6 days and I thought it was unusual that I was asked to pay up-front rather than at the end of our stay. (After reading some of the other reviews, I now know why.) The ice machine was inoperative the entire time and I thought it was odd when the owner said, "Gee, nobody's ever asked about ice." Right. The mattress in the king bed was hard as a rock and felt like a cheapo from Mattress Barn. The bed was not made up nor the sheets changed for the entire 6 days. The room was not cleaned for the entire 6 days. A walk to the end of the dock revealed a fish cleaning station and at low tide 40-50 fish carcasses right at the end of the steps to get to the mud flats. Disgusting. The crabs and birds cleaned out the carcasses in a couple of days. The best part of the entire stay was the pool which was surrounded by coconut palms and fan palms which made a pleasant sound in the constant ocean breeze. After our 1st day, however, the promised towels daily at poolside disappeared, and for the remaining 5 days I had to skim debris off the pool every morning (fished out 2 crabs zipping along the bottom of the pool too.). The "For Sale" sign in the front of the Inn did not inspire confidence in this traveler nor was the 6 foot pile of tree debris in the front yard or the sewage smell when the wind wasn't blowing or the garbage dump in the vacant property immediately to the north. I was wanting to make this a better review but there was just no way it's possible. There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.......

Room Tip: The Holiday Inn Express is only a couple of miles south.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gus L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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247 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    117
    72
    29
    12
    17
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (50)
Date | Rating
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English first
Napa, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 6, 2013

We booked three nights at the White Sands Inn in Marathon, FL based on good Tripadvisor reviews, photos on the Inn's website, and a relatively low rate (~$460 total). What a mistake- staying at the White Sands Inn almost ruined our experience in the Florida Keys. When we first walked into Room 5, which we had reserved for the kitchenette, we were overcome with a strong moldy/mildew-y odor. The mold/mildew seemed to originate from the shower ceiling and from the upper deck outside...unfortunately, the air conditioner was right under the rotting wood from the deck, so contaminated air was pumping into our room. The management angrily insisted that there was no mold or mildew, but you could clearly see it, smell it, and practically taste it. It was very difficult to breathe, and were told that no other rooms were available until the following night. We decided to stick it out, since it was a Saturday night in the Keys, we had no other options, and were promised an upgrade for the remainder of our stay. The next day we switched to the Dolphin Room in their other building to escape the mold/mildew. It seemed okay at first, with a better kitchen and no foul odor, so we went to Bahia Honda State Park for the day (Sandspur is an awesome swimming area, by the way) and came back to the Inn in the evening to cook dinner. I'd like to add that at this point, I had no insect bites whatsoever. Then, I woke up in the middle of the night with little itchy, bloody insect bites (not regular mosquito bites!) all over my legs. I covered my legs in cortisone, took a Nyquil, and tried not to think about it...when we got up in the morning, we found a little insect crawling around on the bed, and little reddish-black insect poops all over the sheets. While investigating, we noticed that the mattress was old and dirty and the sheets were stained (not from us!!!). I felt so disgusted that I went to go take a shower, but when I stepped in the shower, there was a cockroach under my foot (see picture!)- the management said it was "just a palmetto bug," which they "have in all the rooms," but upon further research, is a type of flying cockroach that has the ability to spray stinky fumes out of its rear. I ran out of the shower with shampoo in my hair and decided it was time to leave.The management continued to deny any problems with their rooms, and their behavior and attitude escalated from indifferent and rude to insulting, nasty, and screaming in our face (I think their names were Rachel and Tom). They at first refused to refund us (with the excuses, "Every man for himself," "We tried to give you a way out," "We wish you had never stayed," "You expected too much," "You must have never stayed in a motel before," and "You're a pain in the [--].") and wouldn't own up to any of the inn's problems. Eventually, after much arguing and refusing to leave without our money back, the management credited my Visa for the entire stay (only because they said that they "didn't want to hear my voice anymore") under the condition that I don't go "slander them online." Well, guess what, Rachel? This isn't slander (or libel...) because not one word that I have written is untrue. I haven't even gone into the stench of the polluted shoreline, the stained, ratty bath towels, the broken kayaks, the lack of kitchen supplies, etc. I wouldn't waste my time warning future travelers about the White Sands Inn if it weren't such a horrible, disgusting place to stay. I have a bad feeling that the Tripadvisor reviews are skewed for the White Sands Inn because the owners threaten guests to not tell about their bad experiences. We decided to leave the Keys and drive north to Fort Pierce, where we stayed at the Seahorse Beach Bungalows for half the price, 10 times the quality, and an infinitely more beautiful shoreline. I would definitely visit the Keys again, as it is such a pretty area, but wouldn't go to the White Sands Inn on Grassy Key unless I were wearing a thick biohazard suit...but even then, I would still have to think about it.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jane L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coral Springs, Florida
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2013

We just back from our stay here yesterday (6/30/2013). Knowing how expensive staying in the Keys can be, our $125/night tab at this quiet, relaxing, you-don't-have-to-do-anything-you-don't-feel-like-doing, intimate motel was just what the hubby and I needed. We stayed in Room 2 which directly faced the ocean, only STEPS away, with two chaises right our door and a hammock immediately to the left. The pool was clean and very pleasant, half of it shaded by the coconut palms overhead. There were plenty of chaises around the pool as well as over-sized pool towels provided. Available free of charge are two ocean kayaks, fishing poles, paddles, a small rowboat with oars, small fishing net, sand toys, trucks for small kids to play with, and more. There is also a separate house on the property with a nice-sized yard that a family with children would appreciate. There are also charcoal grills available to use as well as a picnic table under a tiki.

This is a very laid-back property, in that when you arrive, you pick up a phone to contact the person on-site to either tell you your room number - and that the key is in the room - or will meet you in a moment to sign you in. I would say we had one of the smallest rooms with only a queen-sized bed, small table and chairs, dresser, armoire, luggage stand, apartment-sized fridge, coffee maker with mugs, and microwave. It was definitely nice to have those amenities in such a small room.

The bathroom was small but sufficient with the shower just large enough to get clean in. We had plenty of towels and cleaning service was daily if you wanted it. Despite needing a filter cleaning, the A/C was ice cold. Oh, and the bed was just as comfortable as we have at home (not too hard, and not too soft).

We will DEFINITELY be back!!

Room Tip: Rooms 6 & 8 on backside of property while Room 7 faces highway but foliage blocks - all upper fl...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank rdobben
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
happywifey
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2013 via mobile

It was our savior from the the horrendous rainbow bend- OMG this place is quiet quaint clean and so lovely... Room 7 was amazing ! Will be back! It saved us from a nightmare and thankfully we found heaven!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank happywifey19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 5, 2013

Every year we try to stop and stay at the White Sands Inn on our way to Key West. It is really a charming place and totally laid back atmosphere. I love waking up and walking out to a Beautiful Sunrise on the water ! They have a really nice pool area and the rooms are very clean.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank keys2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonds, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 16, 2013

I stayed here with my family and when I was looking for hotels in the Keys, I wanted value for money and a laid-back vacation spot on the water. I found this in the White Sands Inn. Rachel, one of the owners, was very accommodating when I spoke to her on the phone and her father, Tom, who was managing the Inn while we were there, was helpful and friendly. The rooms don't come with daily housekeeping but fresh towels are left daily and our request for more teaspoons was promptly satisfied. There was no hairdryer in the room. Four of us stayed in Room 5 which is a tight fit but worked for the 5 days we were there. The room is nicely decorated. My favorite part of the inn was the grounds. The hammocks, beach chairs, and picnic table allow you to relax under the palm trees. The inn was full occupancy on the weekend but we never felt that the grounds were crowded.

Room Tip: You can't go too wrong but Rooms 1 and 2 on the ground floor directly face the beach. Rooms 4 an...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kerri H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 26, 2013

My family stayed in the Hibiscus room for 3 nights and loved it! The Inn is right on the water but there is no beach to speak of. Honestly, a sandy beach is difficult to find in the Keys anyways. The White Sands Inn has the Key feel I was looking for. From the palm trees and hammocks on the property to decoration in the room. This place is perfect for families! When we arrived and were bringing our bags to our room, my kids started to explore the property. Immediately, the gentleman who worked there(sorry don't know his name) brought a bucket of sand toys for my kids to use. Also, the heated pool was a big hit with my kids. There were chairs for me to sun myself while kids played in pool. SIDE NOTE, towels were provided at pool so you don't need bring your own or use the towels from your room. Our room was the perfect size for our family. The small kitchen had the basic essentials much more than other places I have stayed and helped save on money. Marathon is only a short drive away to buy groceries. The room was clean and was "Key" decorated. The bed and futon were very comfortable. New towels and trash bags were provided daily. My only (small) complaint about the room not enough hooks. With 4 people showering and our own towels used during day trips, there was not enough places to hang a towel or our bags/purses. There are two chairs outside of the room on the little patio which were fine to use the first night since the room next to ours was vacant. The chairs are right outside of the other room's window. The next two nights when the room was occupied we simply sat under the tiki hut. SIDE NOTE, there are white Christmas lights inside tiki hut plug is located in corner closet to the Inn. Enough light we were able to play cards. I also want to mention the Kayaks. This was a major plus for me when deciding where to stay. The kayaks were awesome! They are the sit on top kind but better than ones I have used previously. The kayaks are meant for one person but my kids fit in front of each of us comfortably. The gentleman recommended launching from wooden steps at the corner of property by large grass area. SIDE NOTE, kayaking ocean is much different than a river or stream, lol! It was very windy but I got a good workout. Overall an awesome vacation!! I'm sorry I did not see one of the beautiful sunrises but I'm not a morning person. Oh but the moon rise was something amazing. I will stay here again and can't wait until I do.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Teresa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about White Sands Inn

Property: White Sands Inn
Address: 57622 Overseas Hwy, Mile Marker 57.5 Oceanside, Marathon, FL 33050-5625
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Marathon
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Marathon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — White Sands Inn 2.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
White Sands Hotel Marathon

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