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Reviewed 16 June 2014

I booked my one week stay at the Island Hideaway through their own website. I was required to pay in full 60 days in advance of my stay, and received an email confirmation from the owner (Rhonda) saying I would be staying in a ground floor, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1,100 square foot unit called "The Starfish", and was told it is located at 165 Anchorage Street. The photos of the unit looked phenomenal - granite countertops, plush furniture, spa-like bathroom, fresh herb & fruit garden in the back yard with a tranquil pool and hottub, and a modern, updated outside with lots of curb appeal. After driving 1,200 miles from Ohio, we arrived at 165 Anchorage Street. I had emailed Rhonda to let her know my arrival time. She was not there when we arrived, so we sat in the driveway for at least 20 minutes until finally an elderly cleaning lady asked us why we were there. I said "because I have a reservation for the Starfish unit starting today." She was clueless about which unit was the Starfish, and said that all of the units were occupied, so maybe I was at the wrong location. I said, "no, here is my email confirmation" and showed it to her. She promised to try to call Rhonda and get here there to figure out "where we were supposed to be." I had a bad feeling brewing. The cleaning lady asked us to go find a restaurant and have some lunch and come back at 2:30 to check in. So after having traveled 1,200 miles, we went on our way and had some lunch on the island, then sat in a park, and finally came back to 165 Anchorage where Rhonda met us. Rhonda told us that we would be staying at their "newest" property, which was across the street - 176 Anchorage. We looked across the street and were sorely disappointed. Compared to 165 Anchorage (which is where the owner Rhonda, and her husband Phillip live), 176 Anchorage is an absolute eyesore and a dump. The paint is peeling, the stairs are sketchy, there was junk lying around all over the place outside, and things like ladders, bug killer, and concrete blocks littered throughout the backyard. I had specifically chosen to rent from Island Hideaway because of the photos and because I was promised a ground floor unit - my husband and I travel with a senior dog (mini schnauzer) who has some trouble getting around and so a ground floor unit was necessary for his safety. Instead, Rhonda points us to the "coconut" unit, which is the upper story unit of the "Oasis" house. I was concerned immediately and thought to myself, "wait, this isn't right - I was supposed to be in a ground floor unit?" but then thought "ok, you're in paradise, chill out and maybe it won't be so bad." Ha! I couldn't have been more wrong. Rhonda opened the door and although the first impression is that the "coconut" unit was nicely furnished, after being there for less than 10 minutes, the unit's glaring flaws starting showing. Rhonda very quickly hurried out of the room, and handed us the key after telling us that the pool was "across the street, through the gate, and in the back yard of my house, and the beach access is down past the stop sign and 3 feet to the left". Oh my goodness where to begin with all the problems and flaws - oh boy. First of all, it became immediately obvious that she had overbooked and had NO CLUE that we were arriving and scrambled to throw us in any unit available, even though what she gave us was not even close to what we were promised. First of all, we were promised an 1,100 square foot, ground floor unit. We were given a 500 square foot, second story unit that required a trip up some sketchy stairs to access. We were promised that the pool was a few steps out the back door, not across a blazing hot asphalt street, through a gate and into the owner's back yard. I would have been ok with being put in a different unit IF (AND ONLY IF), Rhonda would have been up front about her mistake and told us "hey, I'm really sorry but due to a scheduling snafu, I'm going to have to move you." But instead, she said nothing and tried to play it off as if the unit she put us in was the correct one. Bad move on her part. Ok, so after dragging all our luggage up to the second story and into the unit, we were tired and ready for a shower (especially after having just driven 1,200 miles!). I go in the bathroom and the faucet in the sink won't turn on. The cold water handle worked, but not the hot water. So I tried the faucet in the tub - same thing, no hot water. I run out to the kitchen, no hot water there, either. And it was stifling hot in the unit, probably 88 degrees. My husband and I fiddled with the thermostat and got the AC to kick on but I'm not kidding you - it took a full two days for the unit to cool down to 73 degrees and the bedroom never did cool down (the windows in the bedroom are old and wouldn't close all the way!) Back to the lack of hot water - I call the owner and there is no answer. So I go looking for the cleaning lady and tell her that we have no hot water and she says "a breaker must have blown" and walks away. I was fuming mad at this point but once again decided that I'm in paradise, and I needed to chill out and appreciate that I was even here. I go back to the unit, and take a cold shower. It was then that I noticed the faucet in the tub wouldn't shut off completely - and it wasn't just a drip, it was a constant stream coming out of the faucet. I tried calling Rhonda again. No answer still. So I sent her an email, alerting her to the lack of hot water, the constantly running faucet, also saying I'm not happy with the fact that what we were in was not a ground unit, and that the unit was literally half the size of what was advertised, and also asking for the wifi password (I am a business owner and needed to have wifi to access my email to handle a few small duties while on vacation). I sent the email and waited for a response. I got nothing in return. Long story short, we had been in the unit for 24 hours before the hot water was turned on (but they never told us it was turned on - we had to find out by testing it ourselves), and didn't get the wifi password until Monday (we arrived on Saturday). Once I did receive the wifi password after repeated calls (her husband Phillip finally answered and gave me the password), I was able to connect, but the connection was very poor, and didn't connect at all in the bedroom. The TV was nice, and when the wifi was working you could play videos on your TV using your iPad. The hot water lever on the bathroom sink never did work the entire time we were there. I only used the pool twice, each time for no more than 15 minutes. The pool is beautiful but very small, and I felt like I was invading the privacy of the owner and the other guests in that house having to walk across the street, through their front yard, side gate and back yard to use the pool. When I was in the pool, I looked around for the fresh herb garden that was promised. I never located any of it, short of one pineapple plant that had a very small pineapple on it. I never found any trace of spinach, limes, lemons or any of the other items that were advertised as being grown on the property and available for guest use. Also, the bathroom in this unit we were put in has a tongue and groove wood surround in the tub/shower; what I was promised was a spa-like granite bathroom but instead got a leaky, improperly working bathroom. In short, I feel exceptionally taken advantage of, but after having read the other reviews of this "resort", genuinely feel afraid to approach the owners about a partial refund because of how uncooperative and combative they've been with other guests. I feel taken advantage of because I did NOT receive what was promised, and was given a unit that was literally half the size of what was promised. I will say that the unit did have nice furniture and the bed was luxurious and comfortable but it was hard to sleep because the bedroom was so hot. The only light that comes in the living room is if you open the blinds on the full-glass double doors, which means anyone walking by can see right in. The kitchen was sparsely furnished with utensils for cooking so we ended up eating out for about every meal. There was a large stain on the carpet right in front of the door, and the previous occupants must have also had a dog because there were paw prints on the leather couch, and there was a spot on the carpet that was wet and smelled of bleach. One thing I did appreciate was that there was a washer and dryer downstairs that was free to use (you supply the laundry soap, however). The beach itself was gorgeous and I would definitely return to Fort Myers for another vacation, but would definitely NOT recommend renting from Island Hideaway if you want to get what you pay for. Because the unit was half the size of what was promised, and considering the difficulties we experienced with the water, I am considering contacting the BBB to help intervene for a partial refund.

Date of stay: June 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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17  Thank StickerChick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FreeIsland, Owner at Island Hideaway Luxury Suites, responded to this reviewResponded 23 February 2015

We try to accommodate every one and m pm. The unit was not ready and the guest had traveled a long way. We did have the unit ready by the check in time. The original unit they were to stay in was a 900 sf one bedroom, we had t move a guest due to a mechanical issue the prior week. This guest was given a larger two bedroom suite and we were told it was fine with them. Yes we did have the breaker to the water heater which had to be reset and were told the water was fine. Neither myself , my spouse or the cleaning lady was ever told there were any other issues and they were happy. We do address any issues immediately and were completely sure this couple was happy and enjoying their time. It's very sad when we have a guest that is unhappy and we are not given the opportunity to address concerns. We both lose at that point.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

This unit was very disappointing. Just walking to the entry was not a good first impression. The door was in need of a paint job, rusty chair outside needed to be removed, not very inviting. Inside the door we found the unit to be very dark with dirty rugs, burned out light bulbs and broken ceiling tiles. The kitchen appliances needed to be replaced and or properly cleaned. Furniture had spots, most lamps were older and cords were very dusty. The bedroom lacked in furniture to put your things on or in. No bedside clock was supplied. The linens were clean! The bathroom was small. Shower stall was not comfortable and curtain had to be replaced. No hair dryer in unit. These are just some of the comforts of home that we expect when on vacation. The pool area was small with not much comfortable outside furniture. Hottub was not working properly and pool was not heated. This is supposed to be the selling feature of this property. We had just been through a long cold dark winter and this unit was not going to give us the bright sunny spot with expected to experience in Florida. We left after our first week having booked in for a month. It was a very expensive week and we did not get any kind of partial refund back. This property is an example of great photography as it did not come any where near being as nice as the photos looked. Also we must have missed in the rental ad that it was pet-friendly as we are not pet owners and would not have given this property any consideration.

Date of stay: April 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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6  Thank ChewChoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FreeIsland, Owner at Island Hideaway Luxury Suites, responded to this reviewResponded 23 February 2015

This guest was completely unhappy with the unit from the time they pulled into the driveway, they were unhappy we were not beach front, we do not claim to be and our site is very detailed showing accurate and up to date photos and descriptions of how far the beach is to get to. We did offer her an upgraded unit which she refused to look at or consider. All of our units are kept very well both inside and out. Please see all our reviews who rave of our establishment. All of the appliances are less than 3 years old, stainless steel and black, very modern. This unit is a ground floor unit furnished with nice furnishings, over sized king bed, the living room overlooks the pool on one end and a screened in lanai on the other. Our efforts to provide a relaxing atmosphere or make any adjustments for her comfort were unacceptable to her. We are a vacation rental and we make every effort to provide any reasonable request.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2014

This was a very nice place....close to the beach (less than 5 minute walk) and near FT.Myers restauraunts, shopping and nightlife... but secluded. Rhoda and Phil were great and made sure everything was in order. Our second stay at this place and definitely going back!

Room tip: Nice little firepits in the two locations we stayed in.
Date of stay: January 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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3  Thank BTMCT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

My wife and I just returned from a great stay at the Island Hideaway. There were a couple of glitches when we first got there, but our hosts, Rhonda and Phil addressed them immediately and then proceeded to make us feel welcome throughout our stay. For the past several years we have vacationed in Sanibel but after looking at Rhonda's website we decided to try her 1BR suite and we are so happy we did. It's a very short walk to the beach and the beach is terrific. The condo is secluded, yet we felt that we were near everything Ft Myers Beach had to offer. Rhonda and Phil gave us terrific dining recommendations and we found several "jewels" of our own.
The bed was sooooo comfortable and the kitchen was great. There was a pool just 2 steps from our back door and a very comfortable screened lanai in the front.
Dollar for dollar this is one of the best vacation values we have ever experienced. WE WILL BE BACK !!!

Date of stay: November 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Tom Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2013

This is so terrible it will sound like a fictional story, but its sadly true:

We booked the property through VRBO (a known property rental site) and were promised a week in paradise. It was anything but. They do not show pictures of the location anywhere other than tripadvisor, and we booked it thinking it was another property. The pictures make it appear that it is on the beach, or at least close to one. It is 3 blocks away down a rocky dirt road, then across the busiest road on the island, then down a path.

We booked the location with Rhonda the manager, but she was not there when we arrived like she told us she would be. Instead she sent her husband who was extremely unprofessional, crass, and just plain rude. We arrived in confusion as to why we were where we were standing. The property was shared with 2 other people, one neighbor to the left (its a condo) and then the owners LIVED UPSTAIRS. We were renting out what is equivalent to their basement. My wife broke down bawling because she had booked the location in cash and it was nothing that we had expected. Rhonda's husband Philip (who has nothing to do with the properties, as stated by himself) laughed at my wife and said "are you seriously crying?" She then explained how it was nothing that she had expected it to be, and he began badgering her saying that her reasons for not liking the location were "bull***" because this was his home and he was happy living here. She ran into the other room crying while I spoke with him, and he said we could leave and we could work out a refund. I asked if this could be guaranteed, but he said no because Rhonda was out with her girlfriends and she manages the property. SHE WAS OUT WITH HER GIRLFRIENDS. That's why she couldn't meet up with the people that just rented her property for a week.

We scrambled to find a hotel at 9 PM on a Thursday, which is difficult because they are all almost full. While we waited to find a place and a cab, we looked around the property and took pictures of everything that was wrong. The washer and dryer were completely dismantled and hanging open in the middle of the unit, the drop down ceilings were water stained and sagging, the ceiling fans were shaking and one almost fell on my wife when she went to shut it off, the shower head was puttied on, and the floors looked like someone just scraped tile off of them. Cabinets were also missing doors and the screens on the front were not blocking insects from coming inside. Rhonda called the floors rustic and said they had just remodeled.. She also said the presentation of the ceiling fans were not what was important, and that they were safe.

My wife tried contacting her multiple times, and when she finally got a hold of her, she said she would not be giving a refund because we took her time from her. She left us abandoned in a state we are not from with her husband who we feared was not in control of his emotions.

My wife wrote a review on the site we rented it from and stated everything that I have previously mentioned. Rhonda (the manager) wrote back saying that she is overly emotional and delusional. Rhonda wrote back stating she was there when we arrived, completely lied about her interaction with us (which never happened because she couldn't show up), and threw slander about my wife on VRBO.com. May I repeat, Rhonda has never met my wife nor myself because she failed to show up to the property.

I tried resolving this with her as well one on one. I figured, why not, shes never met me, doesn't know me, and doesn't have opinions about me. I started talking with her and she stated she is not doing the refund solely because my wife wrote a negative review about her property. Very unprofessional, very childish, and unbelievably insane. She contradicts everything she tells us, and then tried to sell me on staying there again as if it were an option. The property is unsafe and disgusting. Mold, insects, and hazards everywhere.

She has been avoiding my wife since we left, I had to pose as a potential renter to speak with her.

Please stay away, there are plenty of nice rental properties in the area as well as fairly priced hotels with amenities for the same price - on the beach - and have the decency to clean before you show up. STAY AWAY.

I will post photos of everything once I speak with my wife who documented everything at the location.

If there was a rating worse than Terrible classified as "WTF" I would choose it in a heartbeat.

Room tip: None of the rooms are good. They are dark and falling apart. You can hear the owner watching TV and yelling at people on the phone upstairs.
Date of stay: October 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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18  Thank Joe H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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