Let me 1st say our stay was wonderful!!! We had a 1bd w/twin bunk condo in the West Tower and yes, we rented through Sterling not a private owner and really had a wonderful experience. Our family was on summer vacation (we live in LA and school for most of them doesn't start til after Labor Day) so we basically avoided the summer rush. We arrived on a Tues 8/30/11 @ 11:00p, our info and keys were placed in a lock box by the courtesy of the reception staff even though we weren't scheduled to chk-in til Wed (This is the Wed before Labor Day weekend and the pending Hurricane)- No problem. As for friendliness, we found them to be very helpful and cordial when we asked them questions or advice. Not sure what some previous guests where looking for, hand kissing may be?
We gather our belongings from the car and get a luggage cart, which there were plenty of them. We then walk through a nicely decorated lobby onto the sky bridge. Yes, the sky bridge air-conditioning was still down, but there were fans nicely placed in the bridge. Yes, it was hot, but its FLORIDA in AUGUST dang people get a grip! The walk wasn't that long OR that painful and they had many signs up apologizing for not having their air conditioning repaired. We get to the elevator and wait not even a minute for it to reach us. Walk to or condo, open the door and was pleasantly surprised. The unit was super clean, updated, roomy and well-stocked what more can you ask for. We put away our things and head to the pool because my daughter is now on pins and needles to get in there.
Once we arrive in the pool area (yes with our armbands) our daughter is filled with glee as she runs straight for the waterpark. She is almost 6yrs old and the dumping water bucket didn't frighten her at all and I'm sure that's because of her age. I must say that water was FREEZING! Now I don't exactly expect it to be Jacuzzi hot, but definitely not that cold. But our daughter didn't seem to mind one bit as she romped and played with the other children in there. I lay down to get some sun and everyone is happy.
Onto the pools there are 3 I could tell 1 by the waterpark, 1 in the East tower area, and 1 lazy river pool w/tubes. The pool closest to the waterpark was also FREEZING so we didn't stay in there for too long. Next, over to the other side (East bldg area) to the other pool. OK, not so bad, actually nicely tolerable. As we swim, play and relax we were not disturbed by any of the other squealing, splashing and noisy other children in the area. See that's what happens when you have children with you, you become a little more TOLERABLE. READ the resort information do you not expect kids to be there making noise???? DUH the resort is basically for people with families. If you don't want noise, possible "accidents" in pools DON'T GO cause kids will ALWAYS BE THERE. Or just try and be there when you know "most" kids are definitely in SCHOOL.
Next we head to the beach. OMG the Gulf Beaches are BEAUTIFUL!!! White powder sand and nice blue water. Yes, there was some algae, so um......Sterling controls that huh?? Yeah like most people can move mountains. Gimme a break. That beach is wonderful nothing like our beaches here in Cali. The sand feels like powder and just soothes your feet as you walk. There were plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas around. Very calm waves allowed folks to walk pretty far out from shore. My daughter played and made sand castles with other children, and then we enjoyed a magnificent sunset!!!
Later we visit Pier Park down the road. It was pretty typical for a pier area, lots of restaurants, shops, tourist trap stations, and rides for the children. It’s a nice place to grab some dinner and walk.
Later that night there was a Dive In movie over by the Lazy River, we watched "Despicable Me". They served smores, popcorn and hotdogs for $1. Do I really need to say my daughter loved that!
All in all I would say this place is great, you just have to know when to come i.e. OFF SEASON, if you can't then find somewhere else to go. I do not recommend anyone with small children and tweens going there for Spring Break or in dead summer (June- Early August). You can easily tell the entire area would become unbearable. There is basically a 2-lane road that goes a few miles past Pier Park and if there are a million scooters, cars and drunk young adults on the road it would be a mess! Splash itself I think can become easily overcrowded and unruly; if too many people where there and at the pools at one time ESP if the hotel is at capacity. I also think weekends would be a bit challenging for people doing short getaways.
There are many pictures that will come once uploaded!!
Be polite and clear, tell them what you want in terms of getting a upgraded unit. I really feel you...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC