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“Perfect Location; Disappointing Facilities; Average Service”
Review of Bal Harbour Hotels

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Bal Harbour Hotels
Ranked #32 of 68 Hotels in Wildwood Crest
Reviewed November 22, 2011

I have very fond memories of Bal Harbour from the years that my family spent summer vacation there in the late 80's. Now that I'm 30 and living back in New Jersey, I thought it would be nice to take my wife there for an off-season weekend getaway. From the moment we walked through the door, I felt as though I was 10 years old again - looking for a dollar in my pocket to exchange for quarters to use in the arcade or wanting to race up to the room so we could hit the pool or run to the ocean. Bal Harbour was once a beautiful, well kept and maintained, exciting, friendly getaway. Unfortunately, times have changed.

The clerk (young guy in his 20's) at the front desk was friendly and had a decent sense of humor. He checked us in quickly and tried to help us find a place to eat. He handed us the room key and wished us a pleasant stay. Yes, the hotel still uses metal keys for the room locks. This was the first clue that nothing had changed in 20 years.

We reserved one of the best rooms they offer with fabulous dual views of the ocean and pool, a separate private bedroom and kitchenette. Everything seemed fine as we walked through the door but things started falling a part quickly. Let me quickly list the issues with the room:

- The sofa smelled like sweat, was stained and worn in several spots. We actually didn't want to sit in it it was so bad.
- The sliding screen door leading to the balcony was bent and did not close.
- The television worked intermitently. Cable service was sporadic at best.
- The paint on the balcony was peeling and the concrete had mildew on it.
- The restroom - well, the toilet was small, difficult to flush, the toilet paper was thin and cheap, rust around the mirror, light fxitures and sink, and the shower head was at least 30 years old.
- The wallpaper was stained and peeling in several spots.
- The beds - awful. My back killed me after the first night. The matresses are firm and thin and remind me of a cheap pull-out sofa. BAD!

We ate breakfast in the restaurant our first morning there. The staff was kind but aloof and had zero interest in waiting on guests. The congregated near the kitchen and chatted among themsleves. They weren't trying to be rude - they just didn't grasp the concept of how to excel in customer service. When we got their attention, they were pleasant...but it was hard to do that when we rarely saw them. My wife and I ordered coffee. A simple request. We asked for cream and sweetener. Simple also. The cream containers were warm, wet and dirty with food on them. Sweetener - forget about it. Our server said and I quote, "A bunch of old people were in last week and stole all our artificial sweetener and because it's off-season, we're not going to order any more." I replied by saying that the hotel was going to reamin open for nearly a month more. Her response - she shrugged her shoulders and stared at us. I joked with her and said you couldn't go to WaWa to get some more - the sweetener doesn't go bad and you could use it next season. More stares. the food - eggs, toast, home-fried - mediocre at best. I will say that we didn't get sick so I guess it was OK.

After breakfast, we went to the hotel's gift shop. Because it was the end of the season, everything was on clearance so we decided to prurchase a few things totalling $40+. When I handed the clerk my credit card - she glared at me and snapped that she wasn't going to accept the card because it cost her too much in fees and her prices were reduced by such a percentage that she would lose money on the deal. I said that we would come back with cash and I think she realized that we were shocked by her initial reaction to the card that she reluctantly agreed to accept the card - all the while complaining.

The beach was awesome. The pool great. Everything was fantastic in that respect.

Bottom line - we felt as if the owners (which are new since my family stayed there in the 80's) are out to collect as much money as possible for the least amount of effort. Food was expensive, room was expensive (off-season rates), the room quality was poor at best and the trip was a disappointment. My wife, while trying to be nice, did say afterwards that she would not be up to returning. This place could be a gold mine if it were renovated and brought back to it orginal glory. Sad really.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Lacrosse8213
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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426 - 432 of 664 reviews

Reviewed October 28, 2011

Every year--as a group of roughly 100 doctors and associates of the Brit Yosef Yitzchak organization--we visit Bal Harbour. We book out over 100 rooms. We have a great time. It has very spacious rooms, great ocean views, and wonderful pool and patio area. The management is very accomodating and was even more so this year. We were cancelled-out of convention space at the Wildwood Convention Center for the annual "Doctors of Brit Milah 2011" lectures. [This was not the hotel fault]. We didn't know what to do as we were out of space and some of our people traveled all the way from Israel. The woman at the desk went out her way, had her staff remove all the games from the game room, and offered us 'for free' usage of that room and the restaurant. And when one of the women forgot to buy fresh figs for a homemade dish, even the Mexican gardener Mr J --offered her some from his own home garden. By the way, he's always busy watering all the lush vegetation and flowers and more than willing to offer advice on gardening...a real expert...and even speaks english well. It's the little things such as this that makes a vacation special.

Room Tip: With this hotel nearly every room is either oceanfront or oceanview...great views from nearly all ro...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled on business
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Thank spockmannewyork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2011

This place is average I've stayed in nicer hotels and some that have been worse. We had an ocean view room, and the view was spectacular. As other reviewers stated this hotel is very dated and dark. The ceilings on the floors are very low and the elevators are a little bit scary. I wouldn't have minded the fact that they still use regular keys for the rooms if it wasn't so difficult to open the door with them. The location of where you have to flush the toilet is very inconvenient. The water pressure in the shower went from full blast to a little trickle. I was unable to get hot water to come out of the sinks so I ended up washing my hands in the shower. Even though the hotel is non smoking there were still people who were smoking as you could smell it in the hallways.

With a little updating this place does have potential.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank J W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2011

we went labor day weekend & had a fabulous time. I love the cleanliness of this hotel. There was plenty of pools where you didnt feel crowded. Also theres a restaurant inside & we ate there for breakfast very good.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jessica b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2011

Wifi @ $12/day.
Room basics missing --- Old carpet; toilet tissue 1/2 ply; no facial tissue; Towels are virtually 1 ply. Entire hotel runs AC & Heat. If in transitional season you get no heat or A/C control. Hotel is on either / or. Balcony mildewed. Better bring your own pillows.
This place is a Rip off for the price!

Room Tip: We had the best they offered & it was Poor.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank R C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2011

This is our 3rd stay at this resort, first in '07 and then in '09. Keep in mind that this resort is nothing more than a motel, so don't get your hopes up for anything above and beyond anything else in Wildwood. The whole resort is a throwback to the early 80s, particularly the Dolphin building. Very retro if I don't say so myself.

Our room in the Sailfish building was updated (NOT renovated), and may not be consistent with the other rooms in the building. It wasn't as nice as the room pictured on the hotel's website but some changes took place since we were last there. Basically, the only changes were new bedding, lighting (which still doesn't offer enough light, the room still has that cave feel to it), a flat-screen TV in the main room, and the walls which didn't have tacky wallpaper were painted a turquoise color instead of the former white. We had no problems with the A/C and everything worked well. The pull-out sofa was easy to assemble, it wasn't comfortable but I don't think I've ever slept on a comfortable pull out bed anyway. The room was clean when we got there. We have stayed in the Sailfish building all 3 times, so I don't know what the Dolphin building rooms are like. The room had a door to another connecting room, but it was locked and blocked off by a dresser.

The bathrooms are unchanged, and still have those flush knobs which are too close to the counter. Plus, you need to hold down the knob hard and for a few seconds for it to flush. The sink knob was also confusing to work, and might as well be replaced since it looked old. There were plenty of towels in the bathroom and all the linens looked new and fresh, compared to the other times when we were here. The resort still uses metal keys instead of key cards, it's stressful to remember the keys since they are so easy to misplace and there's a security deposit on them.

The pool is not heated and nobody was in there since it was cold all weekend. There is no hot tub but 3 kiddie pools. There is a snack bar at the pool but we didn't go to it this time. The common areas were all well kept and clean, still in their 80s splendor. Although almost no lights in the lobby were kept on during the day, so it was dark, especially on a rainy day. The A/C was also on throughout the halls and lobby. We never tried the restaurant on site, it didn't look too fancy, but they did offer room service for breakfast. Also, the gift shop looked closed every time we walked past.

The elevators are always crowded and smelly, but there's not much anyone can do about that. However, one elevator took us to the wrong floor, and had no sign of anyone else pressing the elevator button. The parking garage was tight but what can you do about it. There was wi-fi available in the rooms, although I'm not sure if it was free or not, there was a card in the room with directions on how to log on.

We never had any problems with the staff. Most of the complaints from other reviews were of the female staff members, and the only one we came in contact with was a guy, who was friendly and helpful. However, I couldn't believe the manager's responses on here, I'm surprised the hotel hasn't gone out of business by the way the management would tell customers that they were unruly and should never come back. Also, one response claimed that the tile in the bathrooms were replaced every year - that is a downright lie, no hotel replaces tile every year.

All in all, the resort is nice and has no major problems. It has potential to be much nicer even with just a few minor changes such as new furniture, key cards, etc. But it's a place to stay and has all the amenities.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank kyrbyboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2011

read some troubling reviews ,we were a bit nervous but it was a lovely hotel, clean, friendly,good restaurant, nice pool, no complaints at all, will definetly be returning

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with family
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Thank lisajames0324
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bal Harbour Hotels

Address: 508 E Stanton Rd, Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260-3768
Location: United States > New Jersey > Jersey Shore > Cape May County > Wildwood Crest
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Wildwood Crest
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bal Harbour is the most complete family resort complex in the Wildwoods. Spanning a full block right on the beach, it is a luxurious hotel with its own private entrance to the beautiful beaches of Wildwood Crest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Bal Harbour Oceanfront
Bal Harbour Oceanfront Wildwood Crest
Bal Harbour Hotel Wildwood Crest

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