More about Villas at Wild Dunes Resort Isle of Palms
Wild Dunes Harbor Course
The Wild Dunes Resort (part of which used to include the Wild Dunes Marina which is now part of the Isle of Palms Marina) has two 18 hole golf courses. One of them, the Harbor Course is alongside the ICW. I'm pretty sure that the use of these courses is restricted to resort guests.
The website says: "The Harbor Course rewards shotmaking skills and strategic thinking on a layout that incorporates the Intracoastal Waterway."
Tom Fazio designed both courses. The Wild Dunes Links winds through massive sand dunes and finishes along the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the island. Practice facilities located across from the Links Clubhouse include a driving range, chipping area and putting green. Bucket of practice balls: $5 (resort guests).
Range hours: 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. all other times. Pro Shop hours: 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. all other times.
The Dunes Resort at Isle of Palm S.C.
We rented a 2 bedroom villa in the Ocean Club section of The Dunes on Isle of Palm. The balcony afforded a beautiful view of the ocean and overlooked the 18th hole of a Tom Fazio golf course. The villa was completely equipped with a full kitchen, all linens, and maid service. The drive into Charleston was an easy 20 minutes away. There was a lot to do at the Dunes Resort besides the two golf courses. You could rent bikes, play tennis and swim in their pool. The restaurants there were a little pricy but excellent cuisine. We definitely will book there again
Not that spectacular
We stayed at a villa. We must have got the oldest villa of them all! It was poorly decorated - I'm talking cheeta motif! There was actually a huge poster in the hall with naked people. Nothing like a little soft porn for your family vacation! The carpet was brown and way outdated. The appliances were circa 1970's. I didn't remember dials on stoves!
The other problem was the broken glass in the window pane of the sliding glass door looking out onto the golf course. We could not enjoy going outside on the deck for fear of my 2 year old stepping on glass.
The resort itself is beautiful. I'm sure the hotel is nice.
The "heated pools" were not heated at all! They kicked us out of the Boardwalk inn pool at 2:00pm to close it for brochure pictures. It was quite alright since I was coming down with hypothermia anyway!
Not a lot to do with Kids. I booked it there thinking my 7 year old could be busy with the kids activities while my toddler napped, but nothing was available until Memorial Day! I thought this was a resort! What the heck is the resort fee I had to pay?
We did like the bikes on the beach. They were $6 every half hour. The only activity we were offered.
All in all, we had a fun vacation due to the weather. I wouldn't come here again with the kids. I would go back to Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach. They have kid's activities year round. They also have a water park.
Watch out for the fees. We paid a total of $108 just in taxes and fees for 3 nights!
Don't confuse the resort with the Boardwalk (hotel)
We live in an inland city in NC and visit often. There's some confusion which I'd like to address, particularly the snide comment from the advisor who insinuated that the poor reviews were from travelers who'd been cheap and got what they paid for.
Wild Dunes is a resort within which are villas and condos available for rent. Many of those properties are owned by investment groups (usually 4-6 couples or a family group), not a single owner. These rentals are managed by several agencies, not just the Wild Dunes group.
The Wild Dunes managament group does rate their villa properties, however, other management agencies DO NOT. If you rent from the Wild Dunes group, you will be eligible to use the kids camps, sports facilities, etc. whether or not the owners have a "Sports Card." If you rent from an outside agency, that will vary with each owner.
The Boardwalk Inn is a hotel on the resort. They have the rudest staff I've ever encountered. The lack of training is absolutely unacceptable for a hotel of this level.
We tried to stay there once for a weekend. Booked a month in advance, CONFIRMED the booking, arrived to learn that they had no record of us and were sold out. The pissy Lilly Pulitzer clad sorority girl at the front desk made no effort to be helpful and only reluctantly called the manager - who was not happy to be disturbed. At one point, they questioned whether our print-out confirmation of our reservation was a forgery.
So, instead of our beachfront room in a nice hotel, we got instead a one room rental in one of the adjacent villas. Dead cockroaches on the stairs, torn blankets, "views" of rooftops and sky. And no discount or apology for the screw-up. We're used to the Ritz Carlton when we travel. Needless to say, this was a shock.
As for the rental villas - they vary greatly. We've stayed in some that were lovely and one which bordered on camping. One friend lucked into a house with a gorgeous widow's walk. But another had a villa where the mattress sagged 8" in the middle (and to the snippy advisor, this was one of those top rated condos - nice decor, but no one had checked the beds). Generally, the newer villas and condos (built post 1995) will be in better shape.
The beach is gorgeous. There are dolphins which swim so close to the shore that you can see them from your balcony. There are sea turtle nests, and your kids can help the rescue teams if 1) you're there the right time of year and 2) you can get the kids up that early.
We love Wild Dunes, but it can be a bit of a hit or miss with those condo/villa rentals. Whatever you do, avoid the Boardwalk Inn.
Too built up
I have to disagree with the positive reviews here. I spent three days here with my wife -- as part of an anniversary trip -- and we were rather disappointed, especially for the money we paid. The whole area (Wild Dunes) is very overbuilt, so that the ratio of concrete to green space is much too high -- everywhere you go there are cars/people/buildings. The Boardwalk Inn itself is built back from the beach, and between it and the beach are dozens of smaller cottages, so the "ocean view" you get from the (small) balconies is of lots of houses with an ocean in the background; similarly you have to walk on a boardwalk crammed with such houses to get to the beach -- you feel like you're in a city, not by the water. Our room was large and nice and quite comfortable, though, and the ocean was great: though I agree that charging 25 bucks a day for beach chairs and umbrellas seemed a bit much. I liked my dinner at the restaurant, though my wife didn't like hers much. (Again, there's no view of the beach, of course, only of a swimming pool.) And we both thought the breakfast was really terrible: a third-rate buffet that made you feel like you were in some airport Ramada Inn somewhere -- but instead of being free cost $12.95! Premade lousy scrambled eggs on a warming table, "fresh fruit" consisting of cantalope and honeydew melon and a few chunks of canned pineapple, those awful plastic dispensers of Kellogg's cold cereal -- you know what I mean. And for $4.50 (a la carte), the oatmeal you order should at least be real, not the instant kind, shouldn't it? --- All in all, this didn't feel like a four-star resort hotel, though it was certainly comfortable and the beach was nice.
Great Fun for the Family
We had heard such great things about Wild Dunes, and were so exicted to secure a Beach Club villa - right on the ocean. When we arrived however they had moved our reservation to the ShipWatch complex, assuring me that it was almost the same, just on one level, whereas the Beach Club Villas are townhouse-like. We drove around to check out both properties - No Comparison! They were clearly bunping us to an inferior site. I called the front desk and they were able to accomodate our initial request. Things did get better! The condo was fine. Great beach access! However, turn the pool heaters off at the end of July! We were there during this heat wave and the pool was gross - way too warm! The cook-out on Sunday night is great fun for the family - very tasty! The Bio Camp was a HUGE hit with our children (6 and 7!) Due to the oppressive heat we did not take advantage of the bike rentals or tennis, but it is a lovely place. My caveat is that the front desk staff doesn't seem especially interested in making your feel welcome, nor do they excel in great customer service.The last night our room key stopped working and we were out on our back porch for over an hour while security tried to get in. (He finally climbed over the neighbor's balcony and came through the condo...) Anyway - the customer service people didn't even acknowledge that it was an inconvenience, much less comp us for our problems. All in all, great beach place for the family.
Too overbuilt - not secluded or peaceful anymore
Wow, I came here to add my thoughts, and I see the previous reviewer has the same feelings about this place. We first came to Wild Dunes while the BoardWalk Inn/Grand Pavilion were being built. The grounds were well manicured, homes and villas were new and in immaculate condition.
Things have changed. The hotel room at the Boardwalk Inn was nice enough although there were a few signs of being worn. When we arrived our room was not ready (of course), but the front desk took our cell phone number and would call us when it was ready...I'm still waiting on that call. Also there is "complimentary" valet parking at the Inn or you can choose to park yourself in the dirt/sand in the staff parking lot which is small and unmarked. Whoever heard of "complimentary" valet. Do you really want to stiff the guy who's driving and navigating YOUR vehicle through the maze of other cars in the parking lot??? Yeah, right.
We knew better than to eat ANY meal at an overpriced resort restaurant. There are so many other excellent choices nearby why would you not go out??? Anyway, I'm glad I didn't pay for an ocean view room, I don't think you would have been able to see much ocean over the rooftops of all of the houses that have been built between the hotel and the ocean. Our room was on the 4th floor on the side, and you could see a slice of ocean here and there between all of the ashpalt shingles.
While we were waiting for our room to be ready we walked down the boardwalk - past 30 or so houses, past loud music being pumped out by the teenage staff and finally got to the ocean. It was unblieveable - what used to be a secluded stretch of beach now looks similar to Daytona...there was a sea of people and beach umbrellas as far as the eye could see. What happened here? There was also trash littering the dunes which I thought I would NEVER see at Wild Dunes. Trust me, this resort has reached saturation...so much for the loggerhead turtles that might still attempt to nest here. It's a pity to see it end this way.
Weekend @ Disney in S.C.
My first impression of this resort was while making reservations over the phone. It was quite evident that everyone I spoke to was not a day over 24. Considering this is known as a luxury property I was concerned about the level of "service" I would recieve.
The day before I arrived I was telephoned and told that I would be upgraded from a room in the Boardwalk Inn to a villa on the Boardwalk. I was very excited and proceeded to buy a cooler full of food so I may take advantage of the kitchen facilities and save a little money on going out to eat. When I arrived a hotel desk clerk (23) told me they were "switching me back to the Inn." I complained and was sent to talk to the manager at the inn (25). Fortunately after some running around the matter was resolved.
The "Villas on the Boardwalk" are outstanding! I had villa #127 on the boardwalk between the Inn and the Grand Pavilion (Beach). The villa had 3 floors, 4 bedrooms, full kitchen (glasses, pots, utensils, etc.), living room, dining room, balcony overlooking the boardwalk (no ocean views). I highly recommend this accomondation.
The villa was just steps away from the Grand Pavilion (2 pools, food and cocktail bar, ice cream shop, beach shop, bathrooms). I spent the day at the beach. You can rent chairs and an umbrella for a fee starting at 9am. I arrived at 9am for my chairs and umbrella and had to wait about 20 minutes to get set up by the beach staff (20). I was a little annoyed that they took their time, but I got over it.
That evening (Sunday), I took a walk over to the Boardwalk Inn to check it out before I went out for dinner. The Boardwalk Inn's lobby reminds me of one of the better Hampton Inns & Suites. I expected more. In the lobby there was a small sitting area, a bar and a room that held the Sea Grill Restaurant. It took all of 3 minutes to survey. The Inn's outdoor pool area is spectacular though! Beautiful arbors and cabanas.
Had dinner off the resort at Atlanticville on Sullivan's Island (check out their website). The food is well worth the trip. The menu is very eclectic. I highly recommend.
Overall the resort is very nice. I stayed only for the weekend and did not begin to take advantage of all this resort has to offer. Perfect for families and reunions. I would not recommend for couples looking for a romantic, peaceful getaway. Very crowded with lots of kids. Service is not the best, I found out later that the Wild Dunes has an extensive "intern" program. Facilities nicely kept and clean. Would return.
Wild Dunes Resort in the Winter
What is it like during the winter time? I am looking to stay at Wild Dunes resort during this time...has anyone been there? If so, would you recommend staying there and what did you do there?