Myrtle Beach is known as one of the best family vacation destinations in the US, due to 60 miles of Grand Strand beachfront, a wealth of dining and nightlife options, and more than 100 golf courses and a myriad of mini golf outlets. Plus, there is amazing shopping with everything from malls to specialty boutiques, and you can access a variety of adventure sports, including deep sea fishing, parasailing, jet skiing, flyboarding, and banana boat rides. In short, Myrtle Beach has it ALL, with a vast number of hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds, and condos.
It’s important to understand that booking accommodations in Myrtle Beach is somewhat unique given that so very many ‘hotel’ properties are actually condo timeshares that look, feel and rent just like regular resorts. And frequently, more than one rental company, along with the hotel itself, is involved in the booking process. This can sometimes cause confusion when it comes to the amenities that guests can or cannot access upon their arrival, and whether or not daily housekeeping is included. It can also lead to vastly different pricing as well as extra fees. So, be sure to do your homework. Research, read up and ask questions to avoid any surprises.
Potential confusion aside, a condo layout has plenty of upsides, the most obvious being that families, big and small, can stay together with all the comforts of home. There is room to spread out with separate bedrooms for privacy, and oftentimes an additional bathroom as well as extra TVs. For these reasons, this type of accommodation is now more popular than standard hotels in the Grand Strand region, and one property that does the condo/resort layout very well is the Sea Watch.
Centrally located in Myrtle Beach and just a mile from Restaurant Row, this property has undergone a few name changes over the years, including Wyndham’s Sea Watch and Sea Watch Plantation. This is a beautiful beachfront resort featuring two towers of accommodations, landscaped grounds, and unencumbered views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are plenty of amenities to please both adults and children, and there are several spacious suite configurations to choose from, including everything from studios to 3-bedroom units that feature separate living rooms with sofa beds, fully equipped kitchens, and small but convenient laundry facilities.
The individual ownership of each unit accounts for why the décor of the accommodations guests are assigned often do not match the photos found on the hotel website. However, owners typically opt for summery pastel shades and charming beachy or tropical décor that meshes with the ocean setting, including hues of blue and green, rattan furniture and washed out wood, palm tree prints, shell decorations, beachy plaques and pictures, and wall art of pelicans and marine life.
As a result of individual ownership throughout the Sea Watch, it’s difficult to accurately say whether the units are modern or dated. For the purpose of this review, we’ll have to leave it as – some are, some aren’t. Nevertheless, the majority of visitors are very pleased by the clean and well-maintained surroundings, with everything you could possibly need, including well-equipped kitchens, hair dryers, extra bedding, irons and ironing boards, extra televisions, and occasionally video players, black-out drapes and in-room safes. Should you require anything further, housekeeping is friendly and anxious to please.
On average, when booking directly via Sea Watch, these units rent at $110/night for a studio and upwards to $280/night for a 3-bedroom. Rates rise much higher during peak season (mid-May until late August) with studios reaching $288/night and 3 bedrooms as high as $588/night. A resort fee is added to the rate and encompasses parking, all onsite amenities (for which you will need to wear an identifying resort wristband), and free wi-fi throughout the property.
Booking via a rental service such as CondoLux or VBRO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) can yield different pricing, though usually cheaper for a full week (shorter stays of only a few days typically are not considered by a rental service). Either way, rates drop drastically during the off-season. Unfortunately, by then, the weather in Myrtle Beach is too cool to swim or sunbathe and watersports drop off as well. And by the time the winter months arrive, many attractions and even some restaurants have shut down. So as much as you might still enjoy the resort, the ocean view, and dining and shopping during this time, your typical beach type of vacation certainly will be affected. Though Myrtle Beach characteristically does not see snow during the winter months, it has been known to happen.
Operating as a full resort, with 275 units within two ocean-facing towers, the Sea Watch boasts an impressive landscaped sun deck including six oceanfront pools, two 225’ lazy rivers (Lazy River Rides are a Myrtle Beach essential), two covered pools, a kiddie pool and ten hot tubs. Guests have access to year-round activities including a weekly poolside DJ. An arcade room is also featured in the resort. Year-round kids’ activities include movie nights, as well as pool and beach competitions.
Peak season can cause crowding in the pools and on the sun deck and can lead to longer wait times for elevators and at the front desk. However, this is true of virtually every popular hotel and condo property in Myrtle Beach during the summer months.
Onsite dining can be found at Captain’s Cove Café, which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner of typically American fare. There is also a Tiki Bar and a Seaside Pizzeria. That said, given the sheer number of restaurants in the area, chances are that you won’t eat at Sea Watch very often.
The fitness center is small but convenient and clean. And when it gets right down to it, the size is irrelevant because chances are that you will skip your regular workout while on vacation since daily exercise will come in the form of swimming, watersports, and longs walks on the beach.
An interesting amenity comes in the form of a Fire Pit, featuring benches and Muskoka style beach chairs around a contained fire. Seemingly, fire pits are growing in popularity so many southern resorts are adding them. At the Sea Watch, this feature is located adjacent to the South Tower, open from dusk until 11 p.m. daily, and is available first come first serve for Sea Watch Resort guests. This is perfect for gathering family and friends on a cool night, with the feeling of a camp bonfire.
PROS: Excellent location. Great views. Convenient Amenities. Well maintained. Great poolscape and beachfront.
CONS: Variations in condo ownership cause rate differences. Onsite dining is more than you would pay at a local restaurant.
On the whole, the Sea Watch scores high with visitors and frequently creates repeat guests. The location is perfect for accessing restaurants, shopping, and plenty of golf courses and adventure sports. And the towers are attractive and well maintained. The property itself contains enough amenities to keep the kids occupied while providing much-needed rest and relaxation for the adults, all while situated on a gorgeous stretch of beach.