Extra fees for breakfast and beach umbrella/chair rentals
Surrounding area is sleepy during the winter
Guests complain of limited parking in high season
Tides Folly Beach is a solid mid-range hotel with an excellent waterfront location between Center Street and Folly Beach Pier. Its 132 rooms can accommodate two to four guests and are spacious with beachy decor, though some guests complain of wear-and-tear. Amenities include mini-fridges and coffeemakers with Starbucks coffee. Helpful on-site facilities include a full-service restaurant with lounge and dining space, indoor and outdoor bars, room service all day, and a cafe selling Starbucks coffee, light snacks, and souvenirs. The outdoor pool isn’t fancy, but it’s heated and open year-round. The fitness center is underwhelming, but has a handful of cardio machines and free weights. Guests complain about the extra fees attached to breakfast and umbrella and beach chair rentals, but Wi-Fi and parking are free. For a more intimate bed-and-breakfast feel consider Regatta Inn.
Beachy oceanfront hotel with stylish common spaces
Guests looking for a respite from the touristy crowds in Charleston can take a beach vacation just nine miles away at Tides Folly Beach Hotel, which has a relaxed vibe and enough amenities for it to offer up a resort feel. The waterfront hotel’s spacious lobby features fresh decor with aqua and turquoise walls and beachy accents like an aquarium, surfboard wall art, and a driftwood lamp. Elsewhere Danish loungers and zigzag prints give a nod to mid-century mod. There are lots of cozy spots around the property: Lounge spaces furnished with upholstered couches and chairs overlook the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows, while the bar offers Adirondack chairs around fire pits. Vacationing families and couples are frequent guests, taking advantage of the beachside location and spacious rooms that can sleep up to four.
Oceanfront spot in Folly Beach, nine miles from Charleston
This hotel is exceptionally well located right along the water in Folly Beach, a small Folly Island city that’s mostly made up of the waterfront, the pier, and a stretch of shops and restaurants on Center Street. These are all within a few minute’s walk of Tides, the only resort in the area. The main attraction here is the beach and everything that comes along with it -- swimming, fishing, jet-skiing, dolphin-watching, and kayaking. All of the beaches in this small community are public, and swimming is allowed in all of them. Summertime brings a surge of people and energy to the neighborhood, but many of the restaurants and bars close up for the cooler winter months. Even when the weather is too cold for the beach, historic Charleston is about a 20-minute drive away. Charleston International Airport is about a 35-minute drive, depending on traffic. Parking is free, but guests sometimes complain about limited spaces.
Big, bright, beachy ocean-view guest rooms with mini-fridges and Starbucks coffee
Guest rooms -- which all face the ocean -- are bright and roomy with beachy decor. Wave-patterned wall-to-wall carpeting is paired with bright white walls, while aqua-blue accent walls and matching textiles play off white furniture. Bathrooms are big with granite sinks and combo showers and tubs with curved rods. At over 300 square feet, both Oceanfront and Beachfront rooms can sleep two to four guests with either one king-sized bed or two queen-sized beds. On the downside, guests have complained of dated details, like worn carpeting, fabric stains, or peeling paint. Still, rooms are clean, comfortable, and well-equipped for a mid-range property. All units have air-conditioning, sitting areas and/or desks, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, coffeemakers with free Starbucks coffee, MP3 compatible radios, irons and ironing boards, plus hairdryers and free individual toiletries. So-called Oceanfront Rooms have narrow Juliet balconies. Upgraded Beachfront rooms have small, furnished patios plus upgraded decor with wood floors and tray ceilings.
Huge restaurant with indoor and outdoor bars, plus on-site cafe and heated outdoor pool
The highlight of the hotel is certainly its beachfront location, but it also has some nice extra property features for a three-pearl hotel, including BLU, a bright, beachy-casual restaurant that also features a big bar and stylish lounge space. Outside you’ll find an oceanfront patio with its own big bar and seating for dining or drinking. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches, though it’s opened on limited days during low season. The hotel also offers a buffet for an extra fee or has an a la carte breakfast menu. Roasted, an on-site cafe shop, serves Starbucks coffee, grab-and-go items, light snacks, and souvenirs. Room service is offered into the evening.
The hotel also has an outdoor pool -- with just a concrete deck, it’s not luxurious, but it’s well-kept, surrounded by loungers, heated, and open year-round. The gym is compact with just a few cardio machines, a bench, and a rack of free weights. A business corner offers a computer for guest use, Wi-Fi throughout is free, and the hotel has several meeting and event rooms. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to borrow, but the rental fee annoys some guests. Pets are welcome for an extra per-stay fee, and families traveling with children can make use of high chairs, playpens, cribs, and kids’ menus.
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