Myrtle Beach by myself
I was kind of missing the ocean, so I decided to take a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach, just to tide me over to our next cruise in November. I didn’t want to spend a lot, so I went to Hotwire.com. You really have to be careful with Hotwire, because if you do a Hot Deal, you’re stuck with what you get. Always check the ratings, I prefer at least a three star. And it will tell you what the customer rating is also. If it’s just an “okay”, it’s probably not okay. I want it to at least say “good”. Also, it will sometimes tell you what hotel the last person got, and I’ve always gotten that hotel. Plus, it sometimes tells you that it has to be one of the three hotels listed. Check out those hotels and see if they sound like something you’d be happy with.
DoubleTree by Hilton
I found a hotel for a price that was good. It said the last person got the DoubleTree by Hilton, Myrtle Beach, so I took a chance. And that’s exactly the hotel I got. Hotwire did inform me that there would also be a separate resort fee, but every hotel in Myrtle Beach has a resort fee, and this one was less than most of the others. Oh, and don’t bother with buying the $5 trip insurance. It’s a waste of money. It makes it look like you can just cancel, but you can’t. It has to be a big reason for cancelling like illness or hurricane, and you have to have proof. I found that out the hard way.
Just after I purchased this non-refundable hotel our weatherman mentioned on Facebook that Hurricane Humberto, which wasn’t even named at that point, would hit the coast within 36 hours. Well, I know how weathermen like to feel important, and like ratings, so I ignored that. I had already checked the weather for Myrtle Beach prior to booking the hotel, and things looked fine.
The drive in
Myrtle Beach is about a three hour drive for us, so I started out around 8:30 am on Saturday, and got to Myrtle Beach before noon. The bad thing about Myrtle Beach is that there is no freeway into the city. But I actually think that driving routes 301 and 501 is very pleasant. I like to stop at the Welcome Station and take a break. And I like Sparky’s Souvenir stand. You can find a ton of useless souvenirs there, but it’s still fun. And there’s gas, food, and restrooms!
Now when I personally think of Myrtle Beach, I think of shopping and the ocean. So, my first stop was Barefoot Landing Resort. Barefoot Landing is my favorite shopping area in North Myrtle Beach. I was getting hungry, so I went to the Ultimate California Pizza restaurant. I love the Golden Hawaiian Pizza with pineapple and dates, so I ordered a personal pan pizza, but I was annoyed because I forgot to order it on a whole wheat crust. But it was delicious. I saved the rest of it for later, put it in the car cooler, and decided to check out some shops.
Barefoot Landing is set on a scenic lake with multiple bridges for crossing to the other side. Near the Ultimate California Pizza restaurant is a small amusement park area for the little ones and past that is a nice new playground. There are a number of restaurants including Johnny Rockets, and some high end ones. There is a lion encounter where you can get your pictures taken with lion cubs and also an Alligator Adventure. This is where the Alabama theater is located.
Tanger Outlets…yes…two of them!
After Barefoot Landing I had…wait for it…not one, but two separate Tanger Outlets to check out. I did say that I like to shop. And I was going to shop till I dropped. The first Tanger Outlet is right down the street from Barefoot Landing on Highway 17. It’s right at the intersection of Hwy 17 and Hwy 22. You’ll find a Walmart across from it, a Golden Coral, and a Steak N Shake. My favorite stores were the Disney Outlet, Yankee Candle Outlet, and the Kitchen Collection store.
Next I was off to the second Tanger Outlet on route 501. The VF Outlet was my aim here. It seems that it’s going to be a Wrangler Outlet, so right now, in September 2019, it has a lot of its inventory is half off. I ended up with a good haul in there. There is also a large Book Warehouse and an As Seen on TV store that I like. And then the skies got really dark and I figured that maybe I’d better get out of there. I never did see rain, but the wind and clouds of Hurricane Humberto were showing their face.
DoubleTree by Hilton Myrtle Beach Review
And now on to the Doubletree by Hilton Myrtle Beach review. This hotel used to go by the name Springmaid, and it’s right by the Springmaid Pier on the south end of Myrtle Beach. It’s right next to the Myrtle Beach State Park. Check in was at 4:00 pm, and that’s about the time I got there. There were quite a few people in line in front of me, already waiting to check in. It only took about ten minutes to get through the line, and it didn’t take long to get checked in.
Be aware that there is a $22 resort fee which covers parking, bottled water, and chocolate chip cookies. I also got a coupon for discount drinks at the bar. From what I’ve heard, it’s not just for any bar, so ask before you buy. One gentleman had a small Margarita, and he said it was $10, so drinks are not cheap. Nearly all Myrtle Beach hotels have resort fees, and this one was less than some of the others.
Parking and elevators
I was in a room in the building to the left as you leave the registration building. Parking was in a parking garage under the building. Spaces were a bit tight, but seemed a bit bigger the higher up you went. The main elevator was extremely slow and crowded. There was another set of elevators to the right in the parking garage, but one was not working. Still, this elevator was a lot faster than the main one.
I had a bit of trouble getting my room door to unlock. Instead of swiping the keycard, you just hold it close to the black circle lock. But I did get in fairly quickly. I was impressed with the room. It was clean and good sized, with a nice ocean view balcony.
Some people might not like the fact that the bathroom sink area is in the bedroom area, but that didn’t bother me. It’s just more convenient if you have more than one person. The bathtub was comfortable to relax in. There is a double coffee pot in the bedroom, along with a microwave and a small fridge.
The DoubleTree by Hilton used to be called the Springmaid Pier. I visited the Springmaid Pier a few years ago, and it was really nice. You could walk out quite a distance, and there was a shop at the beach end. However, the pier washed away in Hurricane Matthew in 2016. They are rebuilding, but it’s going to take a long while. Be warned, while it’s rebuilding, there may be some construction noise at the hotel.
The cons were that this was a non smoking hotel, but people on the balcony above me were smoking much of the time, so I couldn’t stay out there. Why is it that people think it’s funny when you have a problem with their smoke? I’m allergic to smoke, so I had to stay inside the room far more than I would have liked to. Also, the room was close to the main elevator and ice machines, so groups of people would congregate right outside the room talking. The hotel is on the airport flight path, so plains and helicopters fly by quite often. It didn’t keep me awake at night though, and they do provide earplugs.
They had at least 3 outdoor pools and a lazy river. That looked like a lot of fun. I believe that they may also have an indoor pool but I didn’t see it. The star attraction, of course, is the ocean. It’s an easy walk through the grounds to the beach. There are showers to clean off the sand when you come back in.
I didn’t eat at the hotel, or use the bar. There aren’t any other places to eat near the hotel, so if you don’t want to drive, you’ll need to eat at one of the hotel restaurants. Bu, if you have a car with you, there are tons of restaurants and things to do not that far away. I drove to Hamburger Joe’s and had a fried baloney sandwich and onion rings for dinner. Really delicious. And did I tell you? The free chocolate chip cookies that you get upon check in at DoubleTree are really good for dessert!
And now it’s over…
As for my trip to Myrtle Beach, I was mainly there for shopping, of course, and the beach. There’s easy access to the beach from DoubleTree by Hilton, and when I was there, it wasn’t very crowded. It was evening by the time I actually got there, and the surf was up a bit from Hurricane Humberto, but it was very pleasant to just walk along the beach finding shells. People were walking their dogs, and just enjoying the sea spray. I can never get enough of the ocean, which is probably why I love cruising so much.
MSC Meraviglia is next!
Our next cruise is in November on the MSC Meraviglia. The Meraviglia is a newer ship, just coming to the US from Italy. Keep an eye out for my daily reviews from the Meraviglia!