I just got back from a six-night stay at the Sea Mist, and here are my honest impressions of the place.
Thumbs up. Located on its own side road off of Route 1, you are within walking distance to a small nextdoor bar called Origami to the North, as well as the Scoop Deck, an ice cream parlor, a few dozen yards to the South. As far as driving, Wells Beach is literally a five-minute car ride away, as are many local restaurants. There is no traffic light here, so turning left (South) onto Route 1 would be quite a challenge during the busy season, but it was manageable in May. Turning left off Route 1 to get back to the Sea Mist is considerably easier, because there is a "suicide lane" in which you can wait for a break in traffic.
One other observation about being so close to Route 1 is that there are some units very close to the road, and road noise may be an issue, especially if you go to bed early. It was fine in May, however.
THE ROOM LAYOUT
The room is fairly generously sized for a motel, but unfortunately, the poor layout makes it seem smaller than it is. In an ideal layout, you need the following two things to line up:
1. The TV should be directly in front of the bed.
2. The AC / fan / heater should be right next to the bed, or else it needs to be powerful enough so you can at least feel the effects from the bed itself.
Unfortunately, neither of those was the case. You can see why they sort of "had to" lay it out the way it did, but alas, it doesn't quite work well. You just sort of have to "put up" with the awkward room layout in order to enjoy staying here.
The beds are only queen-sized, which of course is not ideal for two normal-sized adults. I would like to see these replaced with Kings, for the sake of personal space and a good night's sleep. Regarding the mattress itself, my wife found it too hard, though I found it just right. The blanketry is fairly standard for a cheap motel; the comforter is a rather thin quilt-like blanket with no filling and very little weight as comforters go. Under it, there is also a fuzzy beige synthetic blanket, and a somewhat coarse, low-threadcount, standard white topsheet. Nothing to write home about, but tolerable.
First off, the TV is placed in front of the sofabed rather than in front of the bed itself. This makes watching TV from the bed awkward and slightly uncomfortable for both people; very much moreso for whoever is sleeping on the far side.
The TV itself was a joke. It was a pitiful low-end 19-inch cathode ray tube TV. It worked fine, but this is really scraping the bottom of the barrel, as far as TVs are concerned these days. The picture was so small that the heads-up-display on NESN was cut off. I had to take a picture (see my photos) because I thought it was a rather humorous way to illustrate how pathetic the TV was.
In addition, the TV was accompanied by... can you believe ...a VHS player! Woohoo! A hi-fi VHS player! If only I had known, I might have dug my box of videotapes out of the attic to bring along! In all seriousness, the Sea Mist Motel really needs to update all of its TVs and it needs to add DVD players to the room. The entertainment suite in the room is sort of a joke, as-is; barely adequate for the needs of the modern vacationer.
THE AIR CONDITIONER
We roasted in our room, in 65-degree weather, which is just silly. I don't know where the heat was coming from or why the room was so hot. The air conditioning unit itself was rather useless, as it would not stay on, even cranked to Max AC all the way cold. It would run for five minutes then decide to kick off. I wonder if the thermostat was defective or it it was just poorly designed. The fan portion at least stayed on when you set it to Fan Only, but it wasn't cold enough outside for that to be sufficient. And, as I mentioned earlier, the AC unit was too far from the bed for it to do much good.
THE FREE WIRELESS INTERNET
I did happen to bring my laptop, and I can say that the network here was easy to detect and to connect with. I did experience extreme slowness on the first night, due to poor signal strength. However, this cleared up after an hour or so, and did not recur at all during the rest of the week. It was slower than my wireless Internet at home, but still plenty fast enough to be usable and enjoyable. Thumbs up.
There was also a computer available for use by guests in the main office. I didn't really check this out because I had my own, though I did see people on it frequently. The monitor faces the office door, so don't expect any privacy, if you plan to use their computer.
The kitchenette was a nice idea, but so tiny that it barely served our needs. I mean, the whole point of having a kitchenette is that it's supposed to add value to your vacation by allowing you to eat some meals in the room, avoiding the cost of dining out. Unfortunately, the "kitchenette" comes with the rule: No Cooking In The Room. Gee, thanks. You get a coffeemaker and a minuscule microwave that was probably installed in 1980 and probably has little to no radiation shielding.
On the plus side, they do provide a roll of paper towels, three dish towels, dish soap, and a full place setting for 4 people, and a couple of serving pieces, a couple of tupperware bowls, and a very small (about 5" x 7") plastic cutting board (no knives, though). There is also a mini fridge with adjustable shelving, but no freezer compartment of any kind.
If you wanted to shop at the local grocery store and have cereal and milk, yogurt, sandwiches, or salads, you could probably pull that off. You could also probably store and re-heat restaurant leftovers in the microwave. Anything food-prep-wise beyond that would exceed the capability of this kitchenette. It's probably enough to satisfy the needs of most vacationers, though.
The bathroom situation here is actually not as bad as it looks. The sink is separate from the toilet and shower, which is a good move. The sink is well-lit with a large mirror and good privacy from the rest of the room. The bathroom itself has a very noisy fan that rattled and sounded like it was on its last legs. The lighting in the room is dim, making for a poor reading environment.
The shower had excellent water pressure and consistently hot water. I was impressed.
Strangely enough, the maid kept stealing our soap and replacing it with a fresh bar, which I found unnecessary and wasteful, though I appreciate the thought behind it.
THE ICE MACHINE
The ice machine here is woefully inadequate. It looks like it was built in the 1970s. It has a bizarre ice hopper mechanism where you need to press a button to fill the hopper like some sort of "airlock", at which point you can then pull down on the handle and the ice drops down the chute into your awaiting receptacle. The ice that comes out is very watery and looks half melted. I get the feeling that this machine is on its last legs and could very easily be overtaxed during the regular tourist season.
Furthermore, if you neglected to stock up on ice before the office closes 9pm, you are S.O.L. This is because the ice machine is behind a LOCKED door in the main office, which guests cannot access once the office closes. This is a horrible decision. Who ever heard of a hotel ice machine that guests cannot access at night? Think about it. When are you likely to need ice? During the day when you're out being a tourist? Or at night, when you're back from a dinner out and looking to pour a nice nightcap? In fact, there is even a sign on the machine stating that it is not to be used to fill up a cooler. So clearly it is not for day use, but for use while you are hanging out in your room.
The Sea Mist definitely gets a thumbs down here. Ice should be made available to guests 24/7. They need to replace their ice machine, and move it to a place where guests can access it at all times. (Or leave the main office door unlocked. Or AT LEAST make it so that our room keys can unlock that door.)
Clothing storage is also woefully inadequate. There are three drawers underneath the TV, and six coat hangers. That's it. You had better be able to literally live out of your suitcase, because you certainly aren't unpacking your luggage in this room.
Thumbs up. This is a bright spot for the Sea Mist. The indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and surrounding outdoor sun deck are actually quite nice. I found them to be clean, updated, and enjoyable. The pool water was warm enough for even my wife, who is fussy (or should I say wimpy?) about water temperature. The hot tub was kept hot enough for our liking, and the jets were in good working order. There are locker rooms and a shower for changing there, if you prefer. (We showered at the pool, per pool rules, but opted to change in our room.) The interior of the pool room is all knotty pine, which, while not particularly interesting, suited me just fine.
The decking on the outside of the pool building provided a nice place to catch some sun without the hassle of schlepping to the beach. Another advantage of the deck is that it is much less windy than the beach. (We actually retreated from the beach to the deck on a particularly windy day.) Although the ambience isn't the best (eau de parking lot) there were plenty of sun chairs and the deck is made of composite plastic faux wood, which is nice for avoiding splinters. (By contrast, the decking outside the bedrooms is made of real wood and is splintery. Make sure you don't exit the bedrooms barefoot.)
There is ample parking at the Sea Mist Motel. It is spacious, well-lit, flat, and in good repair. There is a speed bump to discourage leadfooted drivers. There is also a spot to drop off passengers if you have passengers who have difficulty ambulating. I found it to be a thoughtfully laid out parking lot.
CAMPUS - SWINGS AND PICNIC AREA
This is another bright spot for the Sea Mist. There is a very nice small swingset consisting of two baby swings and two normal swings for bigger kids or adults.
Additionally, there are three picnic tables, each with its own charcoal grill available for guest use! This was quite a find - If I had known about it in advance, I would have brought some charcoal and some meat. If I ever stay here again, I will definitely plan on grilling at least one night. This is a brilliant and un-advertised feature that can really extend the value of the included kitchenette.
FRONT DESK STAFF
We had a nice experience during check-in with the front desk staff. I can see why some reviewers have said the staff may have seemed unfriendly, though. There were some who gave us funny or suspicious or annoyed looks when we used the pool or entered the office to get ice, like we were perhaps bothering them or interrupting their day, or that they thought we might perhaps be up to no good. I was definitely not overwhelmed with warm-fuzzy feelings emanating from the staff, though they were not overtly rude or apathetic either.
Also, they were consistently using the office phone for personal calls pretty much every time I walked in, although they were very good about hanging up immediately if I needed something. I'm not making excuses for them, but I didn't have a problem with this. I've had friendlier service elsewhere, but then again this is somewhat typical for New England - in general, we charge more for service and the service attitude is worse here than in most of the rest of the country. I wouldn't say this is specific to the Sea Mist at all. I found the front desk staff to be quite "normal" for the region, if that makes sense.
The maid service was unobtrusive, polite, and for the most part, observant. They passed by our room without hassling us, if we hung the Do Not Disturb sign on the exterior doorknob. If we forgot to hang it, they knocked first before entering. If we left for the day, we came back to a clean room with every personal item just as we left it. My only complaint is that I had taken the 2 extra sheets from the sofa-bed to use as an extra sheet on the main bed, and the maid kept removing them without replacing them. So we went from 3 sheets to 2 sheets to only 1 sheet by the end of the week. This was mildly frustrating, but other than that, they did a fine job.
Huge thumbs up here. There were recycling receptacles outside near the stairwells, which I thoroughly applaud. I wish more tourist-driven establishments made it easier for people to recycle. The container was just for bottles, cans, and plastic, no paper or cardboard. Still, it was better than most other motels.
Overall, the Sea Mist was an OK - not outstanding, but fairly decent - place to stay. It's a glorified motel. Or maybe even not-so-glorified. If you compare it to a Motel 6, the Sea Mist probably wins in most areas. If you compare it to a typical RCI "timeshare resort", though, it comes out significantly worse.
Before trading your timeshare week here, you need to be aware that you are trading for, quite literally, a mid-to-low-end motel. It is not upscale, luxury, updated, or full-service, by any definition of those words. It isn't romantic, it isn't classy, and it isn't going to impress anyone.
However, if you have an RCI exchange week to burn, and you want a getaway in Wells, ME with your significant other and/or 1 or 2 small children, the Sea Mist Motel could suit your needs admirably.
I know my review seemed harsh, and there is definitely room for improvement in many aspects of this motel. However, I would absolutely stay here again. For the money I paid, it wasn't too bad a setup.
Hopefully the rough spots I cited in this review will be corrected by the owners over time, but in the meantime, they *can* be tolerated, and you will still have an enjoyable vacation here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Affordable Resort Motel in Wells Maine with great location near Wells Beach, Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. The resort features an indoor pool, hot tub, sun deck and bbq area. Free WiFi, in-room coffee, local calling, use of pool, hot tub and pool towels. All rooms have a kitchenette which includes a small refrigerator, microwave, toaster and coffee pot with free coffee. Full baths, climate control, CCTV with DVD, and hair dryers. The majority of our rooms offer a queen size bed and sleep sofa. We also feature two one-bedroom suites with a separate bedroom and small kitchen, dining and living area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sea Mist Hotel Wells
- Sea Mist Resort Motel Wells, Maine