You know how on cruise ships your cabin steward always addresses you by name and if a staff member doesn't know your name they call you "Mister" or "Missus"? That's what you get here. Staff is extremely friendly, very accommodating and they give you personal attention (special shout-out to Paul at the bar who it turns out grew up in the same neighborhood as I did). Even if they're in the middle of something (like front desk staff looking something up on computer), they stop and give you their full attention until your question is answered, problem is resolved, etc. You are also greeted with a "good day"/"good evening" every time you
encounter a staff member (again, just like we've seen on our cruises). This is a big plus. Champagne also appeared in our room with a "happy birthday" card the day we arrived which I thought was an extremely nice touch (both wife and I were celebrating birthdays).
The grounds of the hotel are clean, common areas are neat and well maintained and the staff obviously maintains the property properly.
The layout of the resort is a little... odd. First, unless you have a GPS or know exactly where to go, you could go past the entrance of the hotel even if you're trying to find it. The sign for the entrance isn't really facing the road and you actually don't see it until you're past the main driveway. The main building is almost right on top of the road also, so there isn't a long driveway and you have to (literally) make a sharp 90 degree right turn, then a sharp 180 degree left turn to come to the main entrance. The (required) valet parking is $18/day + tax but as I came to find out, all the resorts in the area have a required valet charge and some of them (like the Marriott a few hotels to the north) are actually more expensive. Wireless
internet access is available FOR FREE in the main building of the resort (there's no WiFi anywhere else). It's refreshing to see something like that (whereas most upper-scale properties will give you free WiFi in the lobby and then you have to pay a ridiculous daily fee
if you want to use it anywhere else) and while that may seem like a very small thing, when I learned that it was free it made me very happy.
The main building houses the lobby/valet, the rooms and a small gift shop. There is a small outdoor pool on the 5th floor which we didn't use because hey... we have the beach. If you want to get to the "restaurants" (more on why I put that in quotes later) you have to actually exit the main building, walk *through* the parking garage and down a short path to another building. This other building houses the lounge (which was not open) and Sale e Pepe (their signature restaurant). The other restaurants listed on their web site are really just areas of their dining room. For example, The Saletta is what they call the area right around the bar in Sale e Pepe. The Terrace is the actual terrace at Sale e Pepe. The Toulouse Lounge is
is a small room off the main entrance to Sale e Pepe and is only open during weddings and during peak tourist season (I was told). The Poolside Bar is on the 5th floor right next to the pool (not the "rooftop sundeck" their web site claims, unless by "rooftop" they mean the roof of the parking garage) and their Beachfront Bar and Grill is three tables right outside the external bar of Sale e Pepe (which is on the walkway to the beach). There's also no signage anywhere telling you which area is which. When you enter the second building, you see an elevator and a staircase and a few doors (no "Enter here for Sale e Pepe"). That type of layout just seemed really weird to my wife and I. (Side note: Sale e Pepe is on OpenTable so you can make reservations online) Note that to get to the beach, you have to walk the same route, but just go past the second building.
Food was excellent. Drinks were very well made. Cost of food was pricey (especially for breakfast). An 18% gratuity is added to *everything* you order automatically (sort of like the
automatic gratuity on a cruise ship). One would think that wouldn't give servers/staff any incentive to provide excellent service, but we actually didn't see this. The staff DOES work for that 18% which I thought was good and I didn't have a problem with the auto-gratuity.
It's something people should be aware of though. Bottled wine prices were pretty on-par with what you would see at a higher-class restaurant. We ordered a bottle of 1991 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" which cost us $275 (retail is probably about $170) so the markup wasn't huge.
Coffee sucks. If you're a coffee lover, don't bother even ordering it here. It's dreadful. I can never understand why resorts skimp on quality coffee in their restaurants.
The rooms were a bit on the small side. Yes, there's a small kitchenette, but that actually takes up a little more than a 3rd of the "sitting room". The bedroom had a large, soft, extremely comfortable king bed which took up most of the space. Bathroom was a good size with a regular tub, vanity, toilet and a small shower (small = room for one). There are a lot of plugs scattered around the room so there's no problems with hunting for places to charge your electronics, nor do you have to do silly things like unplug the TV or clock or lamps in order to get a free outlet. That was nice to see.
We were on the 8th floor which had a "partial view" of the gulf. The "full view" rooms were floors 10-12. By partial view, they mean your view is mainly of the second/restaurant building, but you can see a little bit of the water. Not a huge deal for us, but people wondering what "partial view" and "full view" mean with regards to this property should be aware of that second building that could obstruct the view from the terrace.
Overall impression of hotel:
Excellent. It has a few quirks but not enough to keep me away. I would go back there again if mainly because although my review may seem critical, it actually isn't; nor are the quirks enough to keep me away.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The resort epitomizes the AAA Five-Diamond standards. Marco Beach Ocean Resort features casual and elegant dining, a spa and fitness center, pool and hot tub, rooftop gardens, four miles of white sand beach and nearby golf, tennis and shopping. Complimentary smoothies on the beach and pool offered daily at 3pm. Wireless internet available complimentary to guests. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Marco Beach Ocean Hotel Marco Island
- Marco Island Beach Ocean Resort
- Marco Beach Resort
- Marco Island Beach Ocean Hotel
- Marco Beach Ocean Resort Marco Island, Florida