We recently had a family vacation in Miramar Beach Florida, where we stayed at the SurfSide in unit #502. The experience was, shall we say less than we expected. The management company was incompetent, did not meet their legal requirements when responding to an emergency and left us in a bad situation despite a ton of attempts on our side to work with them.
To top things off HomeAway refused to provide even the most minimal levels of assistance when the management company failed to live up to their obligations.
Bellow is my unedited review of that experience, hopefully, it will help someone in the future.
This is our second stop while in the Destin area. Our first was as a described and great experience provided by Southern Vacation Rentals, this stay, however, left us, literally with a bad taste in our mouth.
Pulling up to the building it was obvious it had seen better days but on other vacations, we have had similar thoughts and were pleasantly surprised when we got to the room.
This time, however, when we opened the door a sour smell reminiscent of dried vomit🤮 engulfed us. A quick inspection revealed that it originated from the couches and the rugs. They, like everything in this unit, are well used and poorly taken care of. It’s clear this is a rental unit where only tenants or service people visit as I have to believe a owner would take care of the things we had to deal with.
We contacted the management firm and they said they would send house cleaning to take care of the smell. House cleaning did not show up, so to manage the smell we had to put the couch cushions and slips on the deck as it would not be possible to stay in here with that odor. We called again that night and were told someone would be here in the morning. They did not show.
The furniture is ready to be replaced, the refrigerator was dirty inside and out, to top it off the wires that power the light inside it are hanging out due to a cracked housing.
The unit appears to have been remodeled over a decade ago but only minimal maintenance has been done since then.
Though it is clear the room was lightly cleaned prior to our visit I doubt it’s had a real deep cleaning in a long time as there was splattered food on the wall and the drinking glasses were sticky so we washed them all on arrival.
To top off the above we tried to do a load of laundry and the washer flooded the apartment bathroom, hallway, master bedroom and the hallway leading to the unit.
We called the management firm and they said they could not get ahold of maintenance and asked us to spend our evening to clean up the water as best we can, which we did. They did offer to have someone come in the morning (sound familiar?) to take care of what’s left.
It was clear the management firm was concerned with the potential damage but they did not seem to care about our situation at all. Since they couldn’t reach maintenance we also could get no replacement towels so no showers in the morning.
I should note that it’s clear this flooding has happened before because the trim in the hallway of the unit shows clear signs of past water damage.
We asked the management firm to move us to a different unit, after all, if vomit stench and a flood were not enough to justify that what would be? Unfortunately, the best they could offer was one day at another unit a unit 30 minutes away having to return the next day. Since it was already midnight and it would have only been for that night we passed.
If you recall they said someone would come in the morning to take care of the flooding, you guessed it — they never showed up.
We called again in the evening and spoke to the manager for the site and he apologized for the lack of response on prior calls and promised someone would be here to clean up and provide us towels tonight since we have six people and no towels. Of course, no one showed with towels.
We also tried to warm milk in the microwave today but it too doesn’t work, yet another work order has been filed.
On our last day, the manager contacted us asking if we had gotten the towels he had sent, we had not. A few minutes later towels do show up, we now have had enough towels for a week but we leave in the morning.
The manager did finally offer a concession for this ridiculousness, $150 for the inconvenience. It took three of us Three hours to clean up the water alone. So it looks like they are valuing our time at a little over $15 an hour, and could care less about the inconvenience (no towels, no clean clothes, no microwave, disgusting odor, time lost doing basic housekeeping, time wasted trying to get them to do their jobs, etc) and then there is the intangible damage they did to our vacation they place no value on.
The reality is beyond the wasted time and inconvenience we were able to use less than half of this unit. The living room was largely unusable due to lack of a place to sit, the deck was at least 1/4 unusable as it held the stinky couch bits, there was no laundry, no cooking, and no towels.
I guess it’s only fair to share the good stuff too, while dealing with vomit stench, cleaning up a massive amount of water and failing to use the appliances we had an opportunity to think about the locations fantastic view, if you choose to stay here despite what I shared you will rest assured you will have an amazing view of the gulf and a nice deck to enjoy it from while your not cleaning up a mess.