from Orlando, Florida
Submitted on 01-10-2016
(Disclaimer: I am a real hotel guest, a paying customer, NOT a paid endorser, NOT a travel agent, NOT a travel writer. The comments in this review are based on a visit to the property within the past month. As someone who has traveled across the U.S. as well as to Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean for business and pleasure, this review is based on hospitality and accommodations experienced in a variety of cities and countries. I rarely write a review and when I do, it‚??s largely bec...
(Disclaimer: I am a real hotel guest, a paying customer, NOT a paid endorser, NOT a travel agent, NOT a travel writer. The comments in this review are based on a visit to the property within the past month. As someone who has traveled across the U.S. as well as to Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean for business and pleasure, this review is based on hospitality and accommodations experienced in a variety of cities and countries. I rarely write a review and when I do, it‚??s largely because of what I liked, not what I disliked)
When I drove up to the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida it was hard to tell this is a 26 year old property (opening, 1990) Much of it appeared freshly painted or power washed, which is frequently not the case at seaside hotels and resorts. Since we have stayed here in the past (but not recently), with excellent results, my wife and I decided to book a three night/four day stay. Now in the hands of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, Hammock Beach is a sister property to the Reunion Resort, just south of Walt Disney World and a ‚??cousin‚?? to two other Florida properties, Innisbrook Golf Club and Henderson Beach Resort. I‚??ve stayed at both Hammock Beach and Reunion half a dozen times over the past decade and accept for the locations (Hammock is at the beach and Reunion is near Orlando) both have remarkable similar characteristics: Clean, well-maintained, top-notch service. The same was again true of our recent visit to Hammock Beach.
Inside the lobby, signs clearly described a renovation process that is going on in the rooms, and in various lobby and store areas. In fact, the front lobby shop was being reorganized, but we were directed to the golf ‚??Pro Shop‚?? where‚?¶ SURPRISE‚?¶ a lot of merchandise was on sale. Anyway, from the valet and bell staff to the check-in clerks, all were professional, courteous and FAST! (we wanted to get right to the beach!). Our room was not ready as we had arrived hours early, but we were immediately notified by cell phone when it was ready (about an hour earlier than standard check-in). By then, we were deep into a poolside cocktail. The pool area is massive at Hammock Beach. The hot tub/spa is as large as a kid pool, so no worries about being too close to strangers. The lazy river, twisty slide and kids swimming area is on a lower level, which keeps the noise level for adults low, as they enjoy the upper-level adults-only pool, near the bar/restaurant. All areas were in good shape, and both towels , chairs, and chaise lounges were plentiful. The pool bar menu was great for drink selections, though we found by day three the food selections somewhat limited (we had basically tried everything we liked). Perhaps adding some items, or changing the menu around would be in order as this was the day time ‚??go-to‚?? spot for the lion‚??s share of guests on property.
Our room was a spacious King suite with a balcony that has a generous amount of room for enjoying morning coffee or an evening glass of wine before dinner. I especially like the fact that there is a separate tub (big enough for two!) from the shower (also big enough for two!) area in the large bathroom. Too many properties have the shower/tub combo which seems old fashioned. The double sinks were pluses when it came time to get ready so my wife and I had a separate grooming area. The bed was plush, plenty of pillows, and extra pillows in the closet. Here again, is what impressed me: the pillows were different in both their sturdiness and stiffness to help accommodate each person‚??s sleeping needs. This is a trait often lost on properties that brand themselves as ‚??high-end‚?? yet fail in key areas that earn that distinction. A small kitchenette with real stainless utensils, two TV‚??s, both with an abundance of channel selection, and parental control programming, and double wide his and hers closets round out the nicely-appointed room. Each night, staff provided turn down service with mints on the pillows, and no one knocked on the door for housekeeping service until well-after 10am each day when we were already on the silky sands below.
Our early mornings, were routine: I ran down to the lobby for coffee. Astoundingly, even before I or any guest gave a plastic ID card to the staff providing coffee, juice, muffins and newspapers, they called out my first name! And the first name of the guy next to me. And the lady next to him. Not sure if this woman was some kind of savant or whether this is standard training but it was shocking! And welcoming. Coffee in hand, bathing suits on, and soon it was off to the beach. Again, ample supplies of towels were available. The resort also provided ice cold water and sleeves of cups to keep you cool on the beach. We found surf chairs, chaise lounges, and umbrellas all set up and ready to go. Note: The last time we were here, there was a daily charge for these amenities. Not sure if that is still the case during ‚??peak‚?? summer season, but the fact that there was no additional charge for the service is smart. When you are already paying per night plus valet and resort fees, you don‚??t want to be nickel and dimed to death. Good call here. We got lucky when it came to the beach (as we have stayed in many places over the years along the Atlantic coast of Florida). There was no seaweed, no jelly fish, no rip tides. Perfect except for the afternoon storms, and no one can be blamed for that.
Dining choices are ample (Atlantic Grille above the Golf Shop at the ‚??Ocean Course‚??, pool bar previously mentioned, Delfino‚??s fine dining, Loggerheads, which has a pool table, and the Sushi Bar). My personal favorite was the Sushi Bar and judging by the fact that on a Thursday night during off-peak season there was not an empty seat, a lot of people felt this place was top notch. Taste wise, it was. The California Roll RULES! The Atlantic Grille was also nice. We ate outside. Cool breezes and calm atmosphere. The Cr√®me Brulee was the highlight.
As for final thoughts, many of the places I‚??ve stayed seem to have their own ‚??personality.‚?? For example, if you go to a predominantly golf-oriented resort, it‚??s typically a serious golf crowd. If you go to a Disney World resort, it‚??s family-oriented. If you go to a swanky beachside resort, you run into a lot of singles (and late night noise). Hammock Beach is one of the few places where I felt there was something for families (miniature golf on a real grass course, and beach games, etc...), couples (fire pit, laid back atmosphere, quiet dining), and the golf crowd (there was a mini-tournament going on while we were there). We also saw a wedding rehearsal on the main lawn facing the ocean. All in all, it‚??s a vacation property that satisfies and one where we shall return.