by Karon Warren
One of more than 50 Marriott Vacation Club resorts, Marriott’s OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach is tucked away along the beach, behind a wealth of trees and lush landscaping in the 2,200-acre Grande Dunes residential community. Built in 2004, the hotel underwent renovations in 2009, and still looks fresh and up-to-date. Comprised of five buildings, the property features 361 two-bedroom, two-bath villas that accommodate up to eight guests each. With full kitchens, separate living rooms and balconies, there is more than enough room for families to spread out and relax.
Of course, with several swimming pools, whirlpools, a three-story treehouse playground, onsite sports courts, children’s activities, and the beach, many guests tend to spend their time away from their rooms as they enjoy fun in the sun. Marriott’s OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes also offers two onsite pool bars and restaurants, plus a coffee house and convenience store, so you don’t have to leave the property to seek out a family meal. You can even cook up something tasty in your villa or at one of the many onsite barbecue areas. Simply put, once you arrive, you won’t have to leave again–at least not until check-out.
For more information, read about Marriott Vacation Club Resorts and Hotels.
Our Editor Loves
- Five pools for all ages
- Treehouse playground
- Two-bedroom, two-bath accommodations
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All accommodations at Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes feature two bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a spacious living and dining area that includes a full kitchen. Square footage ranges from 1,056 to 1,166, which means families have room to move without stepping on one another. The master bedroom includes a king bed, while the second bedroom comes with two queen beds. There is also a sofa bed in the living room. Although rollaway beds are not permitted, guests can have up to two cribs.
In the master bathroom, you'll find a separate tub and shower. The second bathroom, which is attached to the second bedroom, but also features entry from the living area, contains a shower/tub combination.
The kitchen includes a full-size refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher and coffee maker. It also comes with dishes, glasses, pots, pans, serving dishes and silverware; however, if you plan to cook extensively during your stay, plan to bring your favorite cooking utensils, large skillets and any specialty cookware, like a muffin tin, to make sure you have what you need. The unit does include dish-cleaning supplies, but these can be limited, so you may want to bring extra sponges and towels if you plan to cook often.
In the living and dining area, you'll find a dining table for six, a couch, chairs, accent tables, a flat-screen TV with cable/satellite and a DVD player. Flat-screen TV's are also in each bedroom. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in all units.
All units also include a washer and dryer, along with an initial supply of washing detergent. If you plan to do laundry often, plan to bring your own wash supplies.
The Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes includes mobility accessible rooms with roll-in showers, as well as hearing accessible rooms with visual alarms and visual notification devices for the door and phone.
Because this property is a timeshare resort and is incorporated as a condominium association, daily housekeeping services are not included in room rates. Instead, the resort offers three levels of housekeeping for an additional fee, and this must be arranged in advance. The $12.50 trash and towel service includes replacement of all dirty towels, and all trashcans are emptied. With the $31.35 tidy service, beds are made with existing linens, the dishwasher is loaded, dirty towels are replaced, amenities are restocked, trash is emptied and the countertops are cleaned. For $74, the entire villa will be cleaned, with all towels and linens replaced and all amenities replenished.
In addition, there is a "checklist" of items that must be completed just prior to check-out. These include gathering all the linens together, emptying the trashcans, and loading and running the dishwasher. The list is minimal and doesn't take long to complete.
This could not be much better! Never had a room facing the ocean 9 floors up with more room than I could ever fill! I requested and it was granted - wow! Everything is delightful, view, unit - (clean, beautifully decorated, all amenities), staff very pleasant, and location perfect. in this unit there were both sunset and sunrise beautifully visible! I would certainly recommend, if coming to this area, that you come here.
My wife and I took a few days off from early montreal winter and stayed at the Ocean Watch Marriott Villas in Myrtle Beach. Early november in Myrtle Beach, . after 2 phenomenally beautiful sunny days, a colder stream came in ... and then we met Tony at the Sand Dollar pool bar, Tony will make your meals and drinks taste better, the most customer focused bartender my beautiful wife had ever met. Whether you're staying at the Marriott or not, you gotta stop by and let Tony make you feel better !!!
At Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes, families will find more than enough entertainment to fill the days (and nights). As one might expect, outside activities focus on water fun, both at the beach and at the property's many swimming pools. At the beach, which is just a brief walk from your villa, guests will find beach chairs and umbrellas for rent. If you do decide to bring your own, the property offers free storage bins at its beach entrance, where you can store your stuff in between beach trips. This is a great benefit for guests who don't want to lug their belongings back and forth from the villa. Please note, however, that these are open shelves and guests leave their belongings at their own risk. Also of special note, this area of beach is under the watch of lifeguards, an important factor for families.
For those who want water fun without the sand, Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes features five swimming pools. Behind the Starfish building (where you check in), you'll find an upper pool deck with a swimming pool and whirlpool spa, as well as a lower pool deck with a swimming pool, children's pool and two whirlpool spas. The upper pool ranges between 3 feet in its shallow end and 4 feet in its deepest end. The lower pool starts at 3 feet in its shallow end and reaches a total depth of 4.5 feet in the deep end. The outdoor children's pool is just 1 foot deep, and the whirlpool spas are each 3 feet deep.
In the heart of the property, you'll find the Woodsy zero-entry pool (including water sprayer elements, dumping buckets and shoot-up fountains), a waterslide, a whirlpool spa and the Serenity pool (for quiet swimming). The zero-entry pool reaches a depth of 4.5 feet at its deepest point, which is in the middle of this large swimming pool. The waterslide ends in a small pool that reaches 4 feet deep, and the whirlpool is 3 feet deep.
Near the Woodsy pool deck, you'll find the indoor pool, an indoor children's pool and a whirlpool spa in the Magnolia Amenities Building. The indoor pool starts at 3.5 feet and reaches a depth of 4.5 feet. The children's pool is just 1 foot deep, and the whirlpool is 3 feet deep.
Unlike the beach, there are no lifeguards on duty at the swimming pools. Pool hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Parents should take note of the location of the nearest restrooms for their little ones. For instance, restrooms at the Woodsy pool deck are in the nearby Magnolia Amenities Building. This is about a two- to three-minute walk from the zero-entry side of the pool, so be aware of this if your child needs a bathroom quickly.
The resort does supply towels in each unit for use at the resort's swimming pools. However, these are not permitted on the beach, so plan to bring your own towels for beach excursions.
Scheduled Activities & Kids Programs
Looking for a water break, but still want to have fun? Check out the property's resort activities schedule, which lists activities for guests of all ages. Scheduled events range from arts and crafts and book club discussions to exercise classes and S'mores at the campfire. Activities are marked so guests know who can participate (family, adults only, teens only, ages 3 to 6, etc.). Some activities require advanced reservations and/or fees to participate.
While Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes does not have an official kids program where parents can drop off their children, there is an onsite activities room full of games, crafts, books and so on, available to guests. Parents can accompany their children to Marriott's Activity Zone Experience, which is usually open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Starfish building, and enjoy a few hours of playtime together.
Family Bingo and Kids' Night In, where kids enjoy pizza, games and a movie, are also available for a fee.
Sports Courts and Treehouse Playground
The resort maintains several sports courts in the Woodsy area, including shuffleboard, bocce ball, basketball, pickle ball and foosball. There are pool tables, table tennis, beanbag toss games and a putting green also. Equipment for all of these activities can be checked out from the activities room until 6 p.m., at which time they can be checked out at the front desk until 9 p.m. (hours change seasonally).
Children also will love exploring the three-story treehouse, situated near the Woodsy pool deck. Please note that swimsuits are not allowed, and children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult.
When it's time to eat, guests of Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes can grab a bite at the Sand Dollar Pool Bar, Sand Dollar Grill or the Woodsy Grill and Pool Bar. Weather permitting, both the Sand Dollar Pool Bar and the Woodsy Grill and Pool Bar open for lunch.
Sand Dollar Pool Bar and Sand Dollar Grill
Menu items include burgers, sandwiches and other traditional American cuisine. Kids' menu items include burgers, chicken tenders and hot dogs. The Sand Dollar Grill also includes a Pizza Hut Express and Starbucks coffee. The Sand Dollar Grill is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Woodsy Grill and Pool Bar
This casual restaurant is a great spot for lunch. The Woodsy Grill and Pool Bar open at 11 a.m. and the Woodsy Grill closes at 6 p.m
The Marketplace Express
For a quick snack, you can grab something 24 hours a day at the Marketplace Express near the front desk.
Of course, with a full kitchen in your villa, you can cook up whatever you want, whenever you want. Also, the property includes several barbecue grills that are available 24 hours a day. These are very popular with guests, so be prepared to wait for or to share a grill if you want to use one during peak meal times.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Upon check-in, guests may receive discount coupons for local restaurants, free gifts and coupons for free activities at local businesses. In fact, the property has its own "Vacation Privileges Card" that comes with discounts and special offers at participating local establishments. The onsite concierge can assist guests with tickets to local shows and attractions, arranging tours and fishing charters and scheduling tee times.
The resort also offers a "Take a Book, Leave a Book" program, wherein guests can choose a book in the owners' lounge to read during their stay. In fact, they are welcome to take the book with them provided they leave one in return.
The resort offers free Wi-Fi access.
Fitness Center and Spa
For guests wanting to continue their daily workouts, the fitness center in the Magnolia Amenities Building contains a selection of cardiovascular machines, as well as strength-training equipment. You'll also find men and women's locker rooms, each with steam rooms and saunas. A variety of spa services are available in the Top of the Watch Petite Spa in the main resort building.
The Art of Smart Timing
All outdoor facilities operate on seasonal, weather-permitting schedules, so check for current hours during your stay. While summer is the warmest season for the Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes, temperatures in Myrtle Beach remain fairly mild throughout the remainder of the year. Winter temps usually average in the mid to high 50's, with spring and fall temperatures averaging between the mid 60's and low- to mid-70's.
With the beach being the main draw at the resort, summer is the busiest time of year, followed by spring and fall, especially during school breaks. Keep in mind that hurricane season is June through November, so the potential for extremely bad weather does exist. Winter is easily the slow season for the property; as such, you'll find the lowest rates during at this time.
Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes is 12 miles north of Myrtle Beach International Airport. The hotel does not provide shuttle service, so plan to make transportation arrangements. The estimated taxi fare for a one-way trip is $30.
For those driving in from the north, consider taking Hwy. 22 (Veterans Highway) after getting on I-95, which is a bypass to North Myrtle Beach and U.S. Hwy. 17 (North Kings Highway), just north of the resort. By doing so, you will avoid much of the traffic and congestion found in downtown Myrtle Beach.
If you plan to explore the local area, a rental car is recommended. Parking is free at the hotel.
For Mom and Dad
If mom and dad find some time without the kids, they should consider heading to the 17th floor of the main building to the Top of the Watch Petite Spa for a massage. Another option is a quiet dinner at one of Myrtle Beach's restaurants, such as Chestnut Hill or the Sea Captain's House Restaurant. Of course, a walk on the beach is always available.