After reading a few negative reviews, I realized that I was fortunate to get one of the more recently remodeled rooms in this hotel. My room was very clean, the furnishings were in good shape, and the service at the front desk was friendly, even fulfilling our request for a 2 bed room. We had a balcony and the vanity/sinks are in the room vs in the bathroom. Convenient but can wake a few people up at night. This hotel is on the smaller side with 4 floors. As it is on a waterfront/boat area, the atmosphere is quaint and cozy and not the hustle bustle of the area. Others have complained that the traffic noise is loud but as a local Southern Californian, I didn't find it noisy at all, just a few trucks whizzing by occasionally due to it being on PCH. This ain't the burbs so one really needs to be realistic about environmental noise. The TV was somewhere around 25" with cable channels and the room size was pretty standard. In terms of the negatives, the bathroom left a lot to be desired. The toilets have a much different kind of flushing mechanism; akin to the vacuum suction found for toilets on the airplane. May be for water saving but I you've gotto hold the handle down for everything to make its way out of the toiletbowl. Will very likely require a second flush. I tend to be very particular about my showers and I discovered that the shower experience was horrible due to the fact that the shower head can't be moved to point in a different direction. I'm on the short side and the stream of water hits my chest. Since I couldn't move the shower head, washing anything below the waist was a futile effort. The best that you will get is the water running down your body to clean your feet. Add to this the fact that the tub enclosure itself is more narrow than the standard tub and you have to exert more energy to be less clean. Per BW's traditional features, they provide a breakfast of carbs (bagels, waffles, muffins, toast), yogurt, 4 kinds of juices milk, and cereal. There were apples and bananas as well. No proteins at all. A bit disappointing but it's better than nothing. If you are lucky enough or savvy enough to request one of the newer rooms, the stay can be satisfactory. Or if Sunset Beach is truly your destination and is the priority, than this option may not be so bad. Otherwise I'd pick something else. Btw, I got this hotel reservation on Priceline's Express Deals for roughly $90 for a Saturday night so if you see a listing for a 3 start option in Sunset Beach, this one may be it.
I'd like to also expand beyond my personal experience at this hotel and offer some tips on ways to get the best room possible at 1-3 star hotels. As a teenager, I worked at what would be considered a motel/1-2 star hotel (there was a much better remodeled section of the property) cleaning rooms and have learned about traditional practices that exists to this day with entry level lodging. This Best Western branch seems to be sitting between the more basic 1 star minimal amenities lodging and the more uniform 3+ stars brands. For the most part, some of the following concepts will apply to higher end hotels but that level of the hotel industry tend to have uniformity in accommodations and experience; a brand to protect with the prices to back it up. 1-2.5 star hotels have a lower standard for hospitality and investment in amenities. One finds that when remodeling is occurring, that it may only be in just one part of the hotel. This level can rely on non-repeat customers to rent their rooms resulting in a lower level of service. And since some brands incorporate the franchise business model, there is a wide spectrum of experiences.
1. THE FRONT DESK STAFF WILL ASSESS YOU BOTH OBJECTIVELY AND WITH PERSONAL BIAS AND PLACE YOU IN A ROOM ACCORDINGLY.
- The assignment of rooms is done when you arrive and only pre-specified by the number of beds and handicap accommodations if applicable. Assuming availability of rooms, the desk staff will judge you based upon dress, manner of speech (vocabulary, tonation, etc), your occupation (or assumption of such), and socio-economic status, as well as age and whether or not you are part of a group of guests at the hotel. And based upon that, for smaller hotels, they will place you in a specific part of the hotel demarcated by quality. If you are a group of young partiers, you will get the block of rooms in the more worn-out part of the hotel. If you seem like a working white-collared professional with the potential to contact corporate about a minor problem, chances are you will get the newly remodeled, cleaner room. I saw this occur time and time again when I worked at a hotel years ago and at the end of the day, people can't help but assess and take action based upon their assessment - both biased and objective. So if you want a nicer room dressing up and making a request can help.
2. IT HELPS TO BE NICE AND VOCALIZE REQUESTS. For example, request a higher floor or a 2 queen beds vs 1 king bed room, etc. In my case at this Best Western, I luckily requested a 2 Full-Sized Bed room and happened to be place in a great room with new looking furniture and a comfortable bed. The desk staff was going to put us in a 1 King Bed room and it took persistence to be put into the one that we got.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA IS BIG IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. Thanks to Yelp and sites like TripAdvisor, hotels are upping their service levels at some chains. If they know that you are likely to write a good review, some brands of hotels may give you top notched service. I once bargained with a Hilton location for a free suite upgrade with the promise to write a positive review. And I did. So it doesn't hurt to mention that you go on Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
4. EARLIER CHECKINS WILL YIELD MORE ROOM OPTIONS. Since rooms are assigned generally on a first come first served basis, the earlier that you are, the higher the chances of a bigger, cleaner, better located, newer room. Just be sure to ask.
5. IF YOU ARE STAYING MULTIPLE DAYS, BE SURE TO TIP THE HOUSEKEEPER. Housekeepers that clean rooms are near invisible since they clean when you are away from your room. But coming back to a clean room can make or break a trip. Also, the standard cleaning procedure for overnight stay rooms is make the bed, replenish towels, and do a quick wipedown of the bathroom, as well as taking out the trash. If you'd like sheets/pillowcases changed, the floor to be vacuumed, and the bathroom to be really cleaned, leave a tip and a note. You tip a valet or a waiter, why not the housekeeper? They deserve it and aren't paid much above minimum wage, yet can make such a huge difference. Also if you need extra soap or towels, the tip goes a long way.
6. The blankets and oversized decorative pillows are rarely washed. Housekeepers only change sheets and pillowcases when a person has checked out of a room at most hotels. And rarely do they wash the blanket or decorative pillows because it would be too much work. So before you go snuggling directly in the blanket or hugging that oversized pillow, you may want to consider this fact.
I hope that this info has been helpful and have a happy trip! less