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Sugar Beach 3.0

Orange Beach, Alabama, United States

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Great location directly on the white sands of Sugar Beach
  • Attractive rates for a beachfront property
  • Located a two-minute drive to Adventure Island
  • Three clean outdoor pools and a kiddy pool
  • Most units are clean, updated, and spacious
  • Outdoor tennis and shuffleboard courts
  • Seasonal poolside snack shop that sells alcoholic beverages
  • Free, secure parking spaces are mostly covered

Cons

  • Numerous complaints that some units are dirty and not maintained
  • Many units offer limited or no views of the beach
  • Poolside restaurant is seasonal 
  • Dark and dingy hallways are institution-like
  • Spotty or non-existent Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

The mid-range Sugar Beach is an older vacation condo complex located directly on the beach. It offers limited amenities, but does have three clean outdoor pools and an elevated boardwalk that leads to the white sandy beach. Sugar Shack, poolside, sells burgers, snacks, and beverages during the warmer months. Many of the 120 individually owned and decorated units are spacious and impeccably maintained, but guest have reported others to be dated, dirty, and unkempt. There’s a wide range of choice in size and configuration, and rates are attractive for families and extended stay travelers who flock to this seaside complex. For newer accommodations in a traditional hotel, consider the mid-range Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach that opened on the beach in 2011.

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Scene

Older vacation complex filled with snowbirds and families on longer stays

The attractive rates of this older complex and its great beachfront location draws lots of snowbirds, vacationing families on a budget, and other travelers who are seeking seaside accommodations for longer stays. With three pools and no clubhouse or sit-down restaurant or bar, there isn't a central gathering place for guests and those who own (and stay) in their units. The Sugar Shack near the beachside East and West pools is probably the closest thing to a communal area, set with picnic tables and a home base for families coming and going during warm weather. The boardwalk that connects the pools and the beach stays busy. It passes over lovely dunes on its way to the white sands, and it has an area to rinse off sand under an outdoor shower before returning to the hotel. The beach bustles with sun lovers and beach attendants who rent gear. All in all, this is a quiet and laid-back complex geared toward families and retirees.

Location

Directly on Sugar Beach, a short drive from Adventure Island

Map of Sugar Beach

The Sugar Beach complex sits directly on the Gulf of Mexico along Orange Beach’s main thoroughfare, Perdido Beach Boulevard. The hotel is surrounded by other vacation condo complexes and vacation homes. A seafood market and restaurant is located within a one-minute walk, and numerous other restaurants and shops are a quick drive away. The popular Adventure Island theme park is a two-minute drive, and Gulf State Park is a four-minute drive away. The Wharf in Orange Beach and its amphitheater, cinemas, shops, and restaurants are about 13 minutes away by car. The dozens of stores at the Tanger Outlet Foley are 20 minutes away by car. Approximate drive times to Pensacola International Airport and the Mobile Regional Airport are one hour and 90 minutes, respectively. 

Rooms

Condos in a wide range of decor, size, and condition; all with fully equipped kitchens

Sugar Beach's homelike condos are individually owned and as such, vary widely in decor, size, and upkeep. One attractive aspect of this complex is the wide range of choice, from studio and efficiency units with Murphy beds to four-bedroom, multiple-bathroom units. Generally speaking, expect to see a casual beach motif that utilizes bright pastel colors like turquoise blues and greens on the walls, upholstered furniture, and bedspreads. Beige tile and laminate wood floors are more typical than carpet. Nautical theme artwork hangs on the walls. Furnishings in the fully equipped kitchens can range from matching stainless steel appliances to dated, mismatched appliances. Granite countertops are common, but so are older, Corian laminate countertops. Bars set with stools are used frequently in the kitchen areas, and sleeper sofas are common, too. The latest models of large flat-screen TVs and DVD players are provided in some units, while others have older tube-style TVs and even VCRs. Washer/dryer combos are standard. 

Some of the bathrooms can be quite nice, with granite vanities and walk-in showers framed by polished marble. Others are dated with acrylic vanities and shower/tub combos. 

Many of the 120 units are clean and impeccably maintained, but others are the subject of rather scathing complaints for being dirty and unkempt with leaking ceilings, moldy shower curtains, and worn out carpet and mattresses. Many units offer lovely ocean views from their small balconies. Others offer partial beach views or views of pools or the interior courtyard. Free Wi-Fi is offered, but many guests report it to be spotty or virtually non-existent in some units.  

Features

Three pools, seasonal snack shack, and direct beach access

Probably the most talked about features at this vacation rental complex -- other than the beach -- are the three clean outdoor pools. Two of the pools abut dunes on the beach and have adjacent kiddy pools. The third pool sits above the parking garage and is surrounded by interior units to form a courtyard area that also has a worn tennis and shuffleboard court. Each pool has a nice sundeck set with lounge chairs. The beachside pools also have picnic tables covered by gazebos. There's an additional sundeck overlooking the beach that has loungers and rocking chairs. 

Sugar Shack is open seasonally. It sells burgers, hot dogs, snacks, and various beverages including beer. Beach access is via an elevated boardwalk over dunes. Beach attendants rent chairs, umbrellas, and other beach gear in season to guests. The parking complex is attended by a security guard. Plenty of parking is available directly below the condos, with many covered spaces. Rolling carts are available to haul luggage to the elevators and up to the condos through dark and dingy hallways. Free Wi-Fi is supposedly accessible throughout the hotel, but many guests complain that it's unreliable.  

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Address

23044 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, Alabama 36561-3003, United States

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