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“More than I expected”

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Sandcastle at Birch Bay
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Birch Bay
Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“More than I expected”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2009

I went there just to relax, reflect and do some writing. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the place. My one bedroom was large and fully equipped and internet access was free. The one-bedrooms do not overlook the beaches, however mine(#405) had a balcony that had a view of the water and I could hear the waves at night time. Saw lots of bald eagles around. It is close to Vancouver, where I live and also I went in to Bellingham for things to do and eat. The onsite restaurant looked and smelled a bit scary, so I didn't attempt it. The spa was closed. Otherwise it was a great trip that went be too fast!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank LeisureGal72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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133 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    49
    17
    3
    1
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2009

My husband and I checked in for a weekend getaway and our expectations were exceeded! The staff was friendly, especially Kathleen at the front desk. Our condo was immaculate, spacious and comfortable. The view is beautiful too. We will be back!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KramerWashington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
seattle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 November 2008

wonderful rooms, we stayed in a mountain view room 407, big living room and the beds are just heavenly!!! excelent view of mount baker, great place to stay..lady at the front desk was kind of goofy..? but nice.

  • Liked — staff
  • Disliked — none
  • Stayed September 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank oldtimetraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2008

We stayed for a week August 9th to the 16th and had a great time. Every employee was very outgoing and helpful. We had many occasions in which we were in the elevator with maids or other workers, and each and every time, they asked us how our vacation was going.

They have a card to put in your door for service or privacy and generally there was someone knocking on our door within 15 minutes of us putting out the service card. (we generally did this in the morning. If we ever just needed supplies, we would leave a note on the card and when we returned the supplies were always there) We never had them actually clean the room during our stay but they were great about getting us extra towels, dishwasher soap, laundry soap, etc. We stayed in the smallest unit, a one bedroom, but it was very large and was very comfortable for myself, my wife and our two daughters age 9 and 13. All stainless steel full size appliances with granite counter tops. It was decorated very nicely. The beds and furniture were very comfortable. They had every imaginable item already in place. Some examples include a fan, hair dryer, bottle opener, cork screw, cheese grater, and on and on. Having a dishwasher and a washer and dryer was GREAT! We came home from a week long trip and had no dirty clothes to worry about, just straight from the suitcase to the closet. Our room faced the golf course in the back. Even though it was not nearly as nice as facing the ocean, I spent many hours throughout the week sitting on the balcony enjoying a cold beverage. There is a nice view of one of the holes, and there are quite a few evergreen trees as well. If you really want an ocean view, call early.

We went to Blaine to a Cost Cutter grocery store our first day and got most of the food and beverages for the week. The room has a very large pantry as well, so you will have no problem with storing a week's worth of supplies. There are grocery stores in Bellingham and Lynden as well. For a quick fix, there is a little market right up the street from the hotel with all the basics. They have two stainless steel grills on the 5th floor, so if you want to grill out, that is an option. We did, and there is something to be said about grilling up a steak while overlooking the bay.

During our stay, we found many things to keep us busy. There is a beautiful drive up to Mt. Baker that leaves from Bellingham. It is a 57 mile scenic byway and at the top it was 46 degrees and we were throwing snowballs in August. Along the way we saw Nooksack falls which is worth the stop and we also stopped at Silver Lake and had a picnic. The entire drive was beautiful. On our way back we also took in Mt. Baker winery and got a couple of bottles for the hotel room. On our second day, we booked a whale watching tour out of Bellingham. This was an all day event that took us through the San Juan islands to Friday Harbor where we had about an hour and a half to get off and do some shopping and get a bite to eat. From there, you go on a three and a half hour whale watching cruise in the same boat. We spent about an hour following a pod of Orca whales before returning to Friday Harbor. We then returned to Bellingham. This lasted from 9:30 until 7:30 and at a cost of $276 for the four of us, it was worth it. We saw bald eagles, harbor seals, and various other wildlife along the beautiful tour. Our kids will never forget it. (mom and dad too!) If you elect to do this tour, bring lots of layers. There is an observation deck on top, but even with sweatshirts, it was too cold to be up there. You would really need a jacket and possibly gloves/hat to sit up there comfortably and enjoy the views. You can see from underneath, but it is through a salt covered window. We used Victoria/San Juan cruises, but there are all sorts of companies that offer similar tours. Third day was about a two hour drive into Seattle. The market on the wharf is a must. Make sure to see the guys throwing the fish! Fourth day was the under an hour drive to Vancouver. Border crossing was a breeze. Make sure you have your passports. Stanley park is a must. You can take a free shuttle all around the park. It is HUGE, so unless you really like to walk a lot, this shuttle will help you get around. (I think you can rent bikes as well.....there were a LOT of folks on bikes) We also drove to Grouse Mt. but did not take the gondola to the top. It would have cost us $110 for that ride and we didn't feel that it was worth it. We talked to some folks that did go to the top, and they said the views of the city were very good. We also hit Water street for some shopping in the gastown district of downtown. Be aware that at the far end there is quite a concentration of homeless folks, but the rest of it was worth seeing. We also took a day to simply walk around Birch Bay. You can walk down to Birch Bay state park (about 1.5 miles each way) and along the way you will find a gift shop and the "C Store" where they have all types of homemade candy and ice cream.

Overall, there really isn't a whole lot to do in Birch Bay itself. They do have a water slide park and a go-cart/mini golf park just a very short drive from the hotel. Be aware that the beaches are mostly rock. There may be sandy beaches somewhere, but we didn't see them. There were still LOTS of families out clamming in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. We watched the sun set from the pool/
jacuzzi area most nights, and it was great.

I don't want to list these as complaints, but rather ways that the management could make it even better. First, the tv in the livingroom is way too small for that space. (the 2 and 3 bedroom units may have larger tv's) I didn't measure it, but I am guessing around 24" lcd. When you are across the room on the couch or sitting at the dinner table, you can't read anything. We watched a lot of the olympic coverage while we were there, and there is a lot of information that you have to read, and it was very difficult to do. There is plenty of room to upgrade, and it would make for a better experience. Second, there are no blinds of any kind on the sliding door to the balcony. Our kids slept on the pull out bed in the living room, and every morning, the sun would beat on them. We ended up moving a large chair over in front of them to try to block it. Adding blinds would help keep the room cooler as there is no a/c in the rooms and they would also add some additional privacy. They had record temperatures in the upper 80's the last two days and it did get a bit warm. The fan got a good workout.

If you read my other reviews, you will see that we generally stay at "budget oriented" places, and this is nothing like them. This is basically an upscale apartment. We originally got this place as part of a time share trial in which we would have to sit through a sales presentation, but the sales offices shut down shortly before our stay and they let us stay for free anyway. I think it is about $250 per night normally and it is open to non-timeshare folks. Probably worth it if that is in your budget.

  • Liked — Very Large well appointed rooms
  • Disliked — Had to drive a lot to get to destinations. Not much going on right in Birch Bay.
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank govikesBABY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oahu
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 April 2008

We were so impressed with everything at this resort.
As others have stated, the weather was cold, rainy, gray and dreary, but our room was 302, the best one there with a huge deck facing the bay. Watching the tide changes was dramatic. From the golf course side, a full view of snow-covered Mt Baker. Our 2br, 3bath was decorated with lush fabric and modern amenities, plush down pillows, cozy fireplace, it was divine.
The staff was delightful and accomodating, very eager to please.
We loved the jacuzzi every night since it was very cold outside. We slept so well!
We used their computer to check email a few times and the concierge was very helpful.
There was no pressure for any timeshare presentations, which was a relief.
Blaine is a little, quiet town with plenty of restaurants to choose from and so close for many day trips.
We explored Olympic Nat'l Park, WA coast, Whidbey Island, ferried through the San Juan Islands to Victoria, visited Vancouver, Bellingham, charming towns of Fairhaven, Lyndon, Ferndale, wineries and Seattle.
The weather stank, but it was a great trip and it was beautiful during the 2d of sun... :)

  • Liked — lush decor, brand new appliances
  • Disliked — nothing!
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank obeythepug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minnesota
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2008

I was VERY impressed when we walked into our 3 bedroom condo! It was immaculate and smelled wonderful. We had a perfect view of the Bay and sunset. The kids loved having their own bed and bathroom! It was cold and rainy when we arrived, but because the pool is SOO warm - we went swimming anyway! Then the jacuzzi - NICE! It was great because you can stay in longer without getting overheated. The cool air keeps you cool while you soak. Then when you get out - just wrap yourself up in the provided bathrobes! Anyway, the view was beautiful, people were nice and very relaxing.

  • Liked — cleanliness
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank craftyk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2008

We planned a girls weekend for a group of middle aged women. We would have had a great 2 day stay if the front desk would have taken the time to check out a noise complaint. They called us to be quiet when WE could hear the noise outside our room. A second call from the front desk with a threat to call the police if we didn't quiet down, ruined the trip. The front desk person was not willing to listen that it was not coming from our room.

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
4 Thank FionaMarie_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandcastle at Birch Bay

Property: Sandcastle at Birch Bay
Address: 7854 Birch Bay Dr, Birch Bay, WA 98230-9656
Region: United States > Washington > Birch Bay
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Birch Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sandcastle at Birch Bay 3.5*
Number of rooms: 48
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Also Known As:
Sandcastle At Birch Bay Hotel Blaine
Sandcastle Birch Bay
Sandcastle At Birch Bay Blaine

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