Tides Hotel Waterfront? We think not

Ground view from hotel to the water

What do you think? Is the Tides Hotel Waterfront justified in calling itself waterfront even though the hotel has a busy six-lane road (US Highway 1) between it and the Indian River?

I and several of my professional travel-writing colleagues say it’s not, because “waterfront” means that a place is on the water — not near the water, across the street from it, or within view of it. That would be “water view.” When Wessel and I pulled up to the “waterfront” hotel, in Melbourne, Fla., where we had reservations for two nights, we felt we’d been tricked.

View from the waterside looking at the hotel. Be careful crossing the road!

Not surprisingly, the misleading moniker was only one of our problems with the Tides.

Overall, their claim of being a boutique hotel is ludicrous. Fauxtique is more like it. Playing club music in the lobby and decorating with fake plastic grass doesn’t fool anyone.

The worst of the offenses? The shower was lukewarm. (When we complained, we were told we should first run it for 20 minutes! Can you imagine?) The wireless service worked in the lobby but not in our fifth-floor room. (We were told it must be a problem with our computers.) The meager cold breakfast was on par with a low-end Days Inn. Every employee had a different excuse for everything. I had to argue for a partial refund.

To be a boutique hotel, one needs more than fake-grass decorations

Adding fuel to my fire, the owners, Landcom Hospitality Management in Jacksonville, won’t return my calls. In my years of consumer advocacy, whether private or public, I’ve never had a company not return my call. And this is a hotel management outfit. Wow.

Why were we there in the first place? I’m writing a travel piece on Melbourne and the “Space Coast” for the Washington Post. Part of the theme is how downtown Melbourne has come of age. After Googling around, I stumbled upon the website for Tides Hotel Waterfront and read it was Melbourne‘s “only boutique hotel,” and “luxurious” at that. I thought it would be a great example for the story. The opposite  turned out to be true.

We've seen much better at a Days Inn

In all my years of travel, I’ve never seen such a blatant case of hotel deception in the US. This will teach me to study Google Satellite and read Trip Advisor first. I would have read these earlier comments:

“It’s waterfront if you don’t mind looking across and listening to US Route 1, a six-lane road. What a bogus claim.”

View from the fifth floor. Water view? Yes. Waterfront? What do you think?

“The advertising overstated the deliverables — waterfront really meant a four-lane highway between the hotel and the water; boutique really meant remodeled with new paint, fixtures, and furniture, but the hotel still feels like a 1970s concrete block motor inn. As an example, breakfast was prepackaged muffins and pastries along with styrofoam cups for your coffee and juice. This is not what I had in mind when I saw the word ‘boutique.’ ”

I would invite Landcom to remove “Waterfront” from the hotel’s name, along with the “boutique” claims — or start living up to them. Shame on Landcom if they keep up the charade.

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9 Responses to “Tides Hotel Waterfront? We think not”

  1. Kristin Says:

    It all sounds pretty infuriating, Diane. No “boutique” I’d ever want to stay in. Breakfast out of plastic wrappers would put me over the top. I wonder if this will make it into the Post article?

  2. Aunt Vocus Says:

    I wonder how many other guests have shared your feeling of insult. I have a feeling Tides Hotel Waterfront-My-Tush must not have many repeat customers.

    • didaniel Says:

      Some people writing at trip Advisor said nice things. I guess they don’t care about the waterfront issue and maybe everything else was working correctly at the time. But several shared my feelings. Considering they had next to no guests, you’re probably right.

  3. boldlygosolo Says:

    This happened to me even before the Internet days – when I was just looking at real estate listings.
    I’m not sure how to avoid it other than to, as you say, go to tripadvisor, or only go to places that friends recommend, or use a travel agent who has visited a property (does anyone do that anymore?) or ask questions in excruciating detail. Such as “Is there a highway between me and the beach?”
    As IF this is something we’re supposed to think to ask, when the hotel bills itself as “waterfront!”

  4. Karen Says:

    Because of little surprises just like this, I never go anywhere w/o checking TripAdvisor anymore. What saddens me the most is that a hotel that makes you feel lied to & taken advantage of, sets the stage for how you’re going to feel about the place you’re visiting. It not only takes away from – or even spoils – your vacation, but it affects the community because you’re not likely to feel like spending money at shops and restaurants. At the very least, you won’t return for another trip and you won’t have good things to say about the area. A hotel that starts off your visit to a place by giving you a feeling of being let down does a disservice to the whole community.

  5. alice Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly that waterfront means being on the water. Webster’s 3d International Unabridged says ” land with property fronting or abutting on a body of water.”
    And I also agree that breakfast that comes pre-packaged in plastic is more like a Seven-Eleven than a boutique hotel.

  6. Lauren Says:

    If the business were honest about what it was offering, that would be fine. People could make an informed decision about whether to patronize it or not. But this place is intentionally misleading customers. It’s bad business. Moreover, it’s just plain wrong.

  7. HB Says:

    While boutique is somewhat subjective-waterfront is not as. I think expectations are waterfront means you walk from your hotel to the water directly not across the street.

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