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Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes
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Reviewed July 18, 2008

Overall, this is a good Marriott facility that is somewhat marred by the inconsistent service and lacking management both of which we experienced while there.

First, the positives: The location here is wonderful at the very northern part of Myrtle Beach. Thus, you are never far away from anything, yet you are comfortably away from all the hustle and bustle of MB. This property is located in a nicer, more residential area of MB with a Marriott Hotel directly to the south of it. The resort itself is mid size and the grounds are sprawling and lush. The pools are very nice and of good size and maintenance. The new area ("woodsy pool", etc.) is just a short walk away and is nice enough that it keeps the crowd balanced between the ocean front pools and this area (which, contrary to the previous post, does indeed have a small water slide which is nice for kids and adults. You could actually eat on site and the Marriott restaurant next door your entire stay and never leave the premises...although you may quickly grow tired of Pizza Hut and pub grub. The condos themselves are nicely appointed and spacious, although we stayed in the Starfish building yet did not have a hot tub/jacuzzi tub that others have mentioned on here. The views from the Starfish building are good, although you won't see much up and down of the beach if you are centrally located (as we were).

The negatives: As nice as the amenities are here, the service should be much better at this price point. Staff attitudes range from outstanding and friendly (the bar/grill waitress) to rude and hostile (the evening shift at the conveinence store/Pizza Hut and the evening shift pool maintenance team). I actually witnessed one of the evening shift conveinence store/Pizza Hut/grill workers eating out of the fry pan in the back! Not sure the Health Dept. would appreciate that. As for the wristbands they give you here for the pool area? Well, forget them....nobody is checking them anyway. I overheard two guys talking about how they were staying at a nearby condo, but walk over here to the Marriott to use their pools. Nice, huh, especially considering what you are paying for exclusive use of the pools. Forget the dreaded "towel saving" rules as well, as no one removes any towels until the end of the day. Thus, unless you want to wake your toddlers up and be out by the pool by 9:00am forget getting a chair. Also, you'll find plenty of ball playing in the pool (strictly prohibited by the surrounding signs) and loud cursing. Not exactly condusive of a family environment. Nice enforcement of the rules there Marriott management team!

Outside of what the resort can control, the beach is not the cleanest you'll find, although it was never very crowded. Marriott is non-smoking...but you'll find plenty of cig butts and cigar junk all over the place. Nowhere nearly as clean as the beach that we stayed at last year (Corolla, NC).

I suppose I would recommend this place...if only for the amenities for the kids. However, the service and management are very lacking. I expected better service at this price point.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank brobarus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2008

We just returned from our stay at Marriott's Ocean Watch Villas at Grande Dunes and I can honestly tell you we just love the place!My wife and I purchased a timeshare 2 years ago at Ocean Watch (we also own at Marriott's Cypress Harbour). This year we traveled with family and friends - 3 villas full of people - and were able to get 3 adjoining rooms in the Starfish building, 8th floor. Our room was 3083 - the central room with the extra large curved balcony, which came in great use for the "family & friends" parties! Also, it is a spectacular view from this location as you can see the ocean in the background and the entire pool area (picture a U shaped area and you are at the bottom of the U - high up). It's a great place to sit and listen to the ocean at night (or morning) while sipping your beer (or coffee).

For those that have not stayed at this Marriott, let me provide a run down of the facility and amenities. First of all - we stayed at the hotel next door (a Marriott property as well) July 4-5 on points before we could check-in at the timeshare. What a fun weekend that was! Marriott went out of their way to make the July 4th holiday a great time with poolside food (fantastic buffett), music and entertainment. As timeshare owners (or traders into OW Villas), you can easily wander over to the hotel pool & bar next door. Don't bring your timeshare towel though (they are striped at the timeshare and solid blue at the hotel) as you may get a polite "nudge" from the hotel staff. Hint - if you go over early - say 7am, before the staff arrive, they have all of the pool towels available poolside - just pick-up a couple and you're in good shape for the rest of the week for a quick trip to the hotel pool! Back to the OW Villas!

Villas
The villas are very spacious and tastefully appointed. You have a large master bedroom, hot tub and private toilet & shower area. The MBR bed was extremely comfortable! The 2nd bedroom is also very large with 2 queen size beds and a private bathroom & bathtub/shower area that is accessible from the bathroom and the main living space. The living room and kitchen/dining area are one large great room with all of the amenities you would expect from a timeshare. All 3 main buildings (the first 3 that they built closest to the beach have a parking garage that allows you to enter your building without getting wet when it rains. The main building (Starfish - where we stayed) is also contains the check-in and lobby area, as well as a very large oversized deck overlooking the pool area (great place to have a drink and relax at night). The Marketplace, which serves Starbucks, PizzaHut and food items is located on the ground floor of the Starfish building. Staff was very friendly and always asked how your visit was going. The only problem for us early risers & coffee drinkers is that they don't open the door until 7am! So, you can't get your coffee and sit out on the beach to watch the sunrise unless you make your own coffee in your villa.

Pools & Beach
The pools are great - upper and lower tier, with a large water fountain that shoots high pressure water into the lower pool (kids will love this feature). The new woodsy area, which is directly in front of the new rear Maple building, also has a nice free form pool and kids area with a large tree house situated in a more secluded, natural setting for those that want to get away from the hustle & bustle of the main pools. The main pool has a poolside bar which is very convenient - they can mix up any drink you want (plus you can order lunch there as well). Service can be a little slow during a busy time like lunch - otherwise, staff is very pleasant and love to chat with the guests. Hot tubs are on both sides of the pool and are very spacious and roomy! There is also a nice bar-b-que area just off the pool where we cooked out and had dinner one night. Just a few yards away from there is the entrance to the beach. Note - they installed cubby's on both sides of the path heading to the beach where you can store your beach gear instead of lugging it up to the room each day - very convenient! The beach area is just on the other side of the dunes and is flanked by the hotel on the right and a private club (Grande Dunes) on the left. You can use any of the beach area you want - however, as other reviewers have written, you cannot put your umbrella directly in front of one of the city's "rent for a day" umbrellas & chairs. Minor annoyance - just move down to the left or right and you are fine. What I like about this location (we used to stay in a condo near the Apache pier further north) is that there are private homes to the left of the Grande Dunes club and to the right of the Marriott hotel property, both which are directly adjacent to the timeshare property. Hence, you will NEVER have the crowds you get further north where the condos are on top of each other!

Shopping & Entertainment
You are in the lower end of North Myrtle Beach area - which is nice because you still have dining options near by but not the crazyness and congestion typical of North Myrtle Beach proper. You can easily access the US17 bypass and you are minutes away from Broadway at the Beach shopping & entertainment area. We also discovered a couple miles further down US17 bypass a new, upscale shopping area called "Market Commons" where we ate at the new Tommy Bahamas and a very nice Italian restaurant. I highly recommend Tommy Bahamas and this Italian restaurant. If you are looking for more economical places to eat - a fun and very inexpensive place is Burro Loco (Mexican - think Don Pablos motif). A great seafood buffett is Captain Georges - just adjacent to Broadway at the Beach on US17 bypass. The king crab legs are to die for and you won't walk away hungry from this place! We also managed to squeeze in a visit to Carabbas Italian Restaurant, just down US17 business (left out of the hotel & timeshare area) as well.

I could type for hours about this place - it's just awesome and we love our timeshare at OW Villas. If anyone wants more information about the Marriott Ocean Watch Villas at Grande Dunes, please don't hesitate to email me with questions at: Michael061@aol.com.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
15  Thank Michael061aol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2008

Every year my family attempts a trek to the ocean. This year we spent our week at the Marriott Ocean Watch Villas at Grande Dunes. The property in itself is meticulously kept very clean. The grounds were beautiful, the exercise facilities excellent, and the beach was gorgeous. Our unit was in the Starfish building. It was on the fourth floor and was an end unit with a limited view of the ocean and the pools. Upon arriving we found that we had no hot water. We called down to the front desk and w/in minutes a repair tech came up to fix the problem on the water tank. It took him roughly about 1/2 hour to do so. Also, the master bedroom had a beautiful adjacent bathroom adjoined to it w/jacuzzi and all. Unfortunately when the Starfish building was constructed the workers did not properly insulate the drainage pipes for the toilets so every time someone from above you flushed the toilet you could hear the drainage pipe trhough the walls. Although this was annoying it was not that big of a deal to us. The really only serious complaint that we had was not affiliated with the resort but rather the City of Myrtle Beach which operates and maintains the beaches, including the umbrellas and beach chairs. Not a doubt in my mind that this was the BIGGEST rip off. A STRONG recommendation on my part is NOT TO RENT the beach chairs for the week. The cost is $130 and it is not worth the $$$. You're much better off going to WalMart and buying a couple of cheap beach chairs for a fraction of the cost and using them. You can then use the balance of about $90 or so for a nice dinner and/or show.
While there we did visit Barefoot Landing, which is more of a shopping area. Broadway at the Beach, which we all liked much, much better, The Alligator Farm which was worth the $50 admission cost for the 3 of us, and a TREMENDOUS show called The Legends in Concert which my son just LOVED!!! Especially the Blues Brothers and Madonna. Definitely worth the cash!!!
Again, while our unit was very nice it really wasn't anything more special than our stay at the Grande Ocean in Hilton Head, Ocean Pointe in West Palm Beach, MVC in Williamsburg, or the Grande Vista in Orlando. All in all, I would most likely go back to the Grande Ocean in Hilton Head. Although it is a much larger complex the pools are nicer there and the units are bigger.
Nonetheless, the Oceanwatch Villas are still a great place to stay if you are traveling to Myrtle Beach and the staff there really goes out of there way to make you happy, satisfied, and comfortable.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank Counselor602
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2008

This is a lovely property and we really enjoyed our vacation in Myrtle Beach. The following review is divided in sections for easy reference.

Check-in: We arrived around 1pm on sunday and there were a few people in front of us at the check in desk. It only took a few minutes to be waited on. We were informed our villa was not ready. We were not surprised since check in does not officially occur until 4 pm. We gave them our cell phone number and then went to the pool snack bar for something to eat. The food at the snack bar is very good. After we ate we sat at the pool and were called around 4:15 that our villa was ready. For us it is all about the view. We were given a 5th floor villa in the very front with a view to die for. It was not too high and not too low. Just perfect. Thanks Marriott.

Villa: The villa is a typical set up. Kitchen/dining/Living room. Master bedroom with king bed (comfy). Master bath has a large soaking tub, double sink and separate shower toilet area. There is plenty of counter space for toiletries which is very nice. The second bedroom has 2 double beds and opens to a second bath. The second bath is also accessible from the living area. There is also a washer/dryer. The balcony is huge with an awesome view. My only little complaint is that the balcony only has a table and chairs. The rest of the huge balcony is empty. It would be nice to have some lounge chairs. We brought beach chairs and ended up setting them up on the balcony to relax on. The villa is very clean and the furnishings are very tasteful. They are upscale and not the tacky tropical theme that is so often used in these beach timeshares.

Location: Perfect. It sits on a beautiful piece of property in the north end of Myrtle Beach surrounded by very expensive homes. Our in-laws purchased from another timeshare company and are not on the beach. They wish they had waited and purchased on this property. It is so nice to be able to access the beach so easily. There are tons of restaurants nearby and a Food Lion less than a mile away. It is also a very short drive from Broadway at the Beach. We travel a lot and this place is one of our favorites. There is a lot to do, but it is not as much of a sensory overload as Disney (we do love Disney though).

Property: Beautiful. There are 3 pools. Two adjacent to the ocean, one with a water fall and a third in the new “woodsy” area. The new pool has a kiddie water slide and a kiddie play area. There are also BBQ grills in the ocean area and the woodsy area. There are two large hot tubs in the ocean area, and also a kiddie pool. There is an indoor pool with hot tubs and a nicely appointed gym. There is also a great children’s playground and a fire pit (not getting much use in June, but very nice for cool fall and spring days). There were also lots of activities for all ages. Well done, Marriott.

Beach: We love Myrtle Beach. It is not like the Caribbean or Florida with powdery white sand amd clear blue water, but it is wide and flat and great for walking. It is very shallow a long way out and so it is great for kids. The water is rough enough to boogie board, but not so rough that you would be afraid to let little ones play in the surf. We did not find it to be too hard on the feet (some shells, but could be easily avoided, enough for some minor shell collecting).

Weather: Awesome. Myrtle Beach is great for a vacation in June/July when it is very hot, humid and lots of thundershowers in the Caribbean/Florida. This makes it perfect for those with kids that need to vacation in these months. There is also much less of a threat for hurricanes. Certainly possible, but usually don’t come this far north until later in the season. We had 7 days of pure sunshine, barely a cloud in the sky.

Overall, it is a very classy operation. The staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating.
Here is link to hotel and myrtle beach pictures from this trip:
http://travel.webshots.com/album/563847159ZxFCzU

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank momcat1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2008

We just stayed at this property from 5/31 to 6/7. Our friends own the timeshare and invited us to stay with them. I was a bit worried there would not be enough room, but I was so impressed when I saw our villa. We stayed at the Maple villa near the woodsy pool. Our bedroom and bathroom were more than sufficient and the decor was just lovely. Totally first class from the beds to the kitchen amenities. There were 8 of us staying together in a 2 bedroom villa and we had more than enough room. This is truly a top notch resort. Very classy and one of the very best in that particular area I am sure.

As for the resort itself, it was absolutely gorgeous. It had a Carribbean feel to it. There were a variety of pools to choose from. So if you wanted to be among people you could be or just be more secluded in the woodsy area. Hot tubs are also sprinkled throughout the resort. We had 4 teenagers with us, but from what I noticed this resort really caters to small children. The amenities for them really were nice and well thought out. They also had activities going on every day for small children. The pool bar was nice, although a bit pricey. We did order from there, but just not every day. Within driving distance are a few grocery stores that we also stocked up at.

The gym was very nice and my husband used it every day. There is also an indoor pool and hot tub. There is also a sauna and steam room in both the men and womens locker room.

All in all I would recommend this resort to anyone. It is ideally located between Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing and close to malls and wonderful restaraunts. Do not hesitate to stay at this fine property.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank alynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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