Girls Getaway Weekend
Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
1Trip End Jul 28, 2008
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My friend Jill and I had a wonderful time at the resort for a 2 night stay Saturday to Monday. It is an hour and a half ride to Long Branch on the North Jersey Coast Line from Manhattan. The cost is $20.50 off-peak RT. Call the hotel when you arrive at the train station and a free shuttle bus will come to pick you up. The bus is not marked but it is a white van, and our driver, a tall young blond guy from Poland, was wearing a blue uniform and a gold name tag. Cabs are there also for a cost of about $4.00. The resort is only 5 minutes away from the station.
As you drive up, the hotel looks like a large convention center, with a big blue shell as its logo. Check-in was very smooth-at 1pm on a Saturday, our room was ready. I grabbed a couple of the free apples on the desk for later. The room itself is not as nice as you would hope for $399 a night, but it was clean. The bathroom was spotless. As others have said, you're paying for the location and the beach. (Come during the week if you can, because Sunday night the rate went down to $299.) Room 412 is considered a no view room; however, sitting on the small but functional balcony, we had a beautiful view to the right of the beach and the ocean. The room had 2 queen beds, very prettily made up with lots of pillows. There is a safe in the closet. The TV is old and there is no PPV. Plenty of places to sit or put suitcases. A three drawer dresser is underneath the TV. Got some ice for our drinks, then we sat on the balcony and had a toast before going down to the pool.
The pool is on the second floor. The water looked a little murky with suntan lotion from all the kids, so we passed on getting in. You get a yellow towel card at check-in, to trade for 2 towels each. Go down stairs to the locker room on the beach level to get your towels, and don't forget to get a beach pass. The towel ladies forgot to give us ours, and the college kid guarding the entrance to the beach sent us back, even though we had the signature blue and white striped resort towels in our arms. The beach is pretty clean but there is some random trash. (I wish people would clean up after themselves.) Broken shells are abundant so wear aquashoes. The chair boys will get a lounger for you and put it wherever you want. They started taking the chairs away at 5pm. It seems you can lay out by the pool as long as you want.
The new Pier Village is picturesque, a mixture of stores, restaurants, and condos. We tried to go to Sirena Restaurant for dinner Saturday night, but there was a 2 hour wait for walk-ins. We ended up at SAWA - Hibachi Steak House. We had edaname which was not hot enough or well-seasoned. The shrimp dumplings were good. I had chicken teriyaki which I enjoyed but Jill wasn't crazy about her shrimp soba noodles. We only had to wait about 30 minutes to get in.
The next day we ate breakfast at the hotel because the front desk had given us each a coupon for a complimentary continental breakfast. If you wanted the hot buffet it was $10.00 extra. The free food included oatmeal, cereal and Pecan Sticky Buns; there was an omelet station with the basics--ham, onion, cheese, tomato, mushrooms. The cheese blintz with raspberry and blueberry sauce was my favorite. They had pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs. Some of the staff were surly, but our waitress was sweet and helpful - brought us more orange juice in to go cups. Breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays is available from 630am to 1pm.
The Ocean View Lounge has pool tables, comfy chairs and a live band. They allow kids and it was noisy.
We got to Rooney's on Sunday in time for happy hour, $5.00 mojitos, 3-6pm. Dinner was excellent.
Breakfast Monday morning at the Turning Point. I had Huevos Rancheros, which rivaled the ones I used to eat in Texas. Jill wasn't too excited by the Wilbur skillet.
On the day you check out, you can keep your towels and beach pass and they will store your luggage for as long as you like. Jellyfish were washing up on the beach so we didn't get in the water. We saw a wedding party and the bride and groom were taking pictures with the ocean in the background. They looked happy. I would highly recommend this resort to brides and non-brides alike!
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