10 Things you need to know about the Crown Reef Resort Myrtle Beach
Driving to Myrtle Beach from DC is no easy fete, but when you are desperate to escape winter and experience a little spring weather you will make 7-9 hour trek down. If you happen to live in North or South Carolina, you are lucky. The trip will take you half the time.
There are numerous oceanfront hotels lining North Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach; probably more than you could count. You can be close to the action or away from the hustle and bustle. I didn’t know much about the Crown Reef Resort before they contacted me to pop down for a review. I just knew it was on the ocean and they offered efficiency suites. I was sold. If I could tuck my boys into bed and sit in a chair looking at the ocean as the sun set behind the hotel I was going to be one happy mama.
The first thing to keep in mind about the Crown Reef Resort Myrtle Beach is that it is a budget hotel. Housekeeping makes your beds and brings you new towels. They will not wash your dishes or clean up after your kids. There is no butler service, room service or any services that luxury hotels offer. What the Crown Reef does offer are clean accommodations at a very good rate so families can play together on the beach, ride down the water slides and splash around in the longest lazy river in Myrtle Beach.
Before you book this property, learn the ins and outs that could impact your stay, where to find the fun, and what you will need to drive to in order to have the best stay possible.
Check in process. You will need to check in across the street from the hotel at the convention center. This was very confusing when we first arrived, and I wish I’d had a heads up, but this does appear to be the norm in this beach community. Why waste oceanfront room space on parking and a big check-in building after all? Ask a lot of questions at check in if you aren’t sure about something. The maps that come with your room keys can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the property.
Beach-front location. As previously mentioned, this resort is not within walking distance to the main strip/boardwalk of Myrtle Beach. It is located on the edge of town. There are a few restaurants within walking distance, as well as Jurassic mini golf, which was a favorite of my boys. The location did offer a quieter pace, away from the crowds loading up on the usual beachwear, tattoos, ice cream and hot dogs on the main drag though.
Room Types. Our room for the weekend (room 631) was a one-bedroom deluxe queen suite. The suite included two queen beds in the bedroom and a sofa bed plus a Murphy bed in the living room. This suite could very comfortably sleep eight people as long as family members don’t mind sleeping two to a bed. There was also enough floor space to throw a few kids in sleeping bags if they didn’t want to double up on beds. The Murphy bed was probably the coolest surprise I found on our first morning, and it was actually very comfortable. The balcony off the living room looked down on the pool and onto the beach. I do wish there was a lock higher up on the sliding door to the balcony. Even my toddler figured out how to open the simple lock on the door after the first day. The suite boasts a full kitchen, which includes an oven, microwave, coffee maker, dish drainer, full-size refrigerator, dishes, silverware, dish soap and a few pots and pans. It was very easy to make meals, especially breakfast in the morning for my “up with the sun” kids.
514 rooms total at the property, most with ocean views:
- Queen Deluxe (sleeps 4)
- Queen Efficiency (sleeps 4)
- King Efficiency (sleeps 4)
- Queen Deluxe Suite (sleeps 8)
- King Jacuzzi Suite (sleeps 6)
- Queen Jacuzzi Suite (sleeps 8)
Budget Accommodations. The Crown Reef Resort is not a high-end hotel. They don’t claim to be and really that is OK. The resort caters to families looking for fun on property, and a vacation away from the crowds but within easy access to everything they love about Myrtle Beach. There were a few quirks, like ineffective blackout curtains, but there were definitely amenities that make it worth the stop, especially if you are just looking for a place to rest your head when you aren’t at the beach.
Perfect family-friendly amenities
- Mini Refrigerator in rooms; full-sized fridge in Suites and Efficacies
- Coffee Pot
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Multiple outlets to plug in electronics
The property underwent a dramatic renovation a few years ago and it does show, but a few elements need to be fixed if families with younger children are going to stay happy throughout their stay, especially the curtains. The blackout curtains weren’t really effective. The sun sets in the west, which meant the sun went straight into the bedroom. For my kids, who go to bed at 7pm, this made their room very bright and hard to fall asleep in even after a very long day.
Open hallways. The open hallways are not a problem in the summer months. I’m sure that breeze feels heavenly. However, every single amenity that families come to the resort for, including the arcade, restaurants, water park, beach and pools, require you to go outside to access them. In the fall, winter and spring this can be a brutal walk if you are in a swimsuit and especially if you are wet. Plan on wearing a coat to and from the pool in the cooler months.
Noise level. The pipes in the resort can make some very strange and loud noises. We could hear almost everything our neighbors were doing with their water while in our sitting room. Thankful it didn’t wake up the boys. The beds were also too close to the window. We could hear people coming and going from their rooms. This isn’t the hotels fault at all. Some guests are just louder than others and don’t remember that someone might be sleeping on the other side of that window. I’d almost rather a solid wall in the bedroom with no window just to block that noise. I’ve seen it down in other beachfront properties and it wasn’t too bad.
Warning: The airport is a few blocks directly behind the resort. You may hear planes landing, although we only heard one landing at 5:30 in the morning. It doesn’t seem to be a big or consistent issue.
Internet Access. The Internet was free! Wahoo! I love when hotels get it right with their Wi-Fi. I had no problems connecting and it was fast enough to upload images to Facebook from my computer and phone. I did have issues getting knocked off later in the evening. I can only assume this is because more people were popping on to check their email and stream movies after getting back from dinner. It was a good excuse for me to shut down my laptop and go to bed.
Water park. This is not a Great Wolf Lodge, but the resort water park does have enough to entertain the kids and give parents a quick thrill. There is one tube run and one long body tube in the park. There is also a smaller tube slide for the kids in the kid play area under the larger tube run. The play area has waterfalls, water shooters, a submarine play structure and plenty to keep younger kids entertained. The only concerning factor is that no lifeguard or trained staff member is in the kid play area. Parents are sitting back at the tables, where the larger water slide partially blocks their view of the small water slide in the play structure. Kids were going down two and three at a time. They also weren’t waiting for kids to come out at the bottom before they tore down the tube themselves. This could become a hazard, especially for younger kids who aren’t as quick to get up once they are down the slide. There is a hotel worker at the bottom of the larger tube run, presumably communicating to someone up top, or a machine, that tells riders when they can safely go.
Swimming Pools. There is no end to the swimming pools at the Crown Reef Resort. I think this is one of the things that really makes it unique and sets it apart from other properties. Instead of everyone crowding into one pool, they have several outdoor pools, a lazy river (the longest in Myrtle Beach), hot tubs and a pool that can be closed off to the elements in the winter months. *No life vests are available at the resort. You will need to bring your own.
Slim dining options on site. The Crown Reef Resort offers up one full service restaurant—the Loco Gecko. The usual beach resort options are on the menu, like burgers, waffles fries, pizza, a few salads, and sandwiches. Nothing really wowed us, but it hit the spot and allowed us to stay on property. The Grab N’ Go Grill and Coffee Bar also serves up a buffet breakfast that can be a great value for families. Adults cost just under $11 per person, while kids 4 and under are free.
Overall the boys and I did have a pleasant stay. The arcade, which is in the “Town Center Dining and Fun Zone” area of the resort on the Lower Level of Tower 2, was a huge hit, especially the Batman game. They are still asking about the Game On! Arcade. The boys also loved the pools and Dek, my 5 year old, never wanted to leave the small water park, even though he was too young to go on the larger slides. His younger brother is scared of everything at the moment, so we just sat back and watched Dek play. The beds were comfortable and the room was clean, which are my two main requirements when looking at a budget hotel. The fact that the Wi-Fi worked, there were plenty of outlets and I had an ocean view sure didn’t hurt either.
Many thanks to the Crown Reef Resort for hosting my boys and I for three nights for the purposes of this review. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.