Myrtle Beach 2011
Marriott Ocean Watch Villas at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach, SC
Balcony from our condo
One of several buildings at the Marriott in Myrtle Beach
Beach and pool view from our balcony
We check into a two-bedroom condo on the eight floor of the Conch Villa, one of the beach front buildings. Our condo is well laid out with the bedrooms located on each side of a spacious living room and a well appointed kitchen. The bedrooms are nicely furnished and each has its own marble bathroom. But the most striking feature about this condo is the view from the living area and the bedrooms. Miles and miles of beaches stretch in both directions curving gently to embrace the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. I can imagine the glorious morning view when the sun peeks over the line that separates the sky and the sea. Since this is in early May and the prime season is still a few weeks away, the beach and pool areas are sparsely occupied and the water is slightly on the cool side.

Tonight, Marriott is welcoming its guests with a happy hour on the lobby balcony overlooking the sea with live music, drinks, and foods. We munch on appetizers, sip our drinks, and enjoy the scenery.

Later in the evening, we visit the shops in an area called "Barefoot Landing" in North Myrtle Beach. Lee picks up a cute little hat for our granddaughter, Cameron. We then drive south to "Broadway at the Beach" on US 17 and 29th Avenue North. "Broadway at the Beach" is a huge development consisting of shops, hotels, restaurant, movie theaters, and amusement parks. All are located on a huge ring road and surround a large man-made lake. We check out Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Restaurant, pass by the numerous clubs on the Celebrity Circle, then have dinner at Charley's.
Dinner at Charley's in "Broadway at the Beach"
Umbrellas and chairs set up for the day
Friday, May 6, 2011

Nothing is planned for today so we will just get lazy, lay out on the beach, and go eat when we get hungry.

After a sumptuous buffet breakfast of omelets, fruits, cereal, juices and coffee at the Ocean's on 82nd, a restaurant inside the Marriott Hotel with breathtaking views, we hit the beach.

The Marriott Resort has set up beach chaises and umbrellas for guests to rent. We pay $30 for a couple of chairs and an umbrella. It is a warm and sunny day with a cool breeze gently blowing in from the sea. As mentioned, the water is cool but you could get used to it shortly after you get in. We stay on the beach until the clouds start rolling in and it starts raining in late afternoon.

Since the weather cuts short our beach plan, we decide to go shopping for fresh seafood. Driving in the rain to Murrell Inlet south of Myrtle Beach, we stop by a number of seafood markets to get our clams and soft-shell crabs, and at a local Wal-Mart for steaks and vegetable.

In the evening, "Chef" Don puts on his apron and turns all the ingredients into a wonderful dinner. I really enjoy the tasty steaks and the steaming and delicious seafood paired with a wonderful wine followed by coffee and dessert.
Lee shopping at the Purpleholic Shop in "Barefoot Landing"
Khanh, Lee, and Bo breakfasting at Marriott's "Ocean's on 82nd"
Sun lounges at the Marriott's pool area
Khanh and Don on the balcony outside "Ocean's on 82nd"
Saturday, May 7, 2011

The sun shines brightly this morning and after a breakfast at the condo, we walk around other villas and check out other areas that we have not seen.

We then go to the beach and lay out for a long time.

As part of our vacation package, we are requested to attend a time-share sale by Marriott and all of us go to the presentation in the afternoon as scheduled. The 90-minute presentation is interesting since I had wanted to know more about the new Marriott vacation program but in the end, none of us makes a purchase. I appreciate the professionalism displayed by Marriott sales people because they do not pressure their guests into buying or make their guest feel bad about not buying.

Later in the afternoon, we drive down Ocean Boulevard through downtown Myrtle Beach to get a sense of the City. Crowds of weekenders gather on the sidewalks in front of the beachfront hotel and condos, restaurants, miniature golf places, and souvenir shops. It's a Saturday night.

Also as a part of the "Bring-A-Friend" package, Marriott is treating its guests to a complimentary dinner at Senor Frog's at "Broadway at the Beach". Arriving early, we marvel at the upside down "Wonder Works" building, feed the fish in the 23-acre lake and create a feeding frenzy, watch people zip-lining over the lake, and window shop. Then we are ushered through the VIP line at Senor Frog's and seated in Marriott's private party section. Margarita of various types are served in tall glasses and a buffet of specialty Mexican foods is set up for guests. All complimentary and a good time!

Until the next trip. So long from Myrtle Beach, SC.
Complimentary dinner at Senor Frog's courtesy of Marriott
Sunday, May 8, 2011

It’s time to check out of the condo and head to the airport to fly home. It has been a short but great trip to a beautiful locale.

I love to take in deep breaths of ocean air and swim in the cold water and so this is great for me. Lee is glad to get away from her daily duties for a few days and this is great for her too.

Thanks Don and Khanh for inviting us to Myrtle Beach. Hope you had as great a time as we did.

As owners of Marriott Vacation Club, my sister-in-law, Khanh, and her husband, Don, were invited to a “Bring-A-Friend” event organized by Marriott where they and their two guests get to come and stay at the Marriott Resort in Myrtle Beach for four days and three nights. Khanh and Don asked us to come with them and since we have not been to Myrtle Beach before, we agreed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We catch a Delta flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Atlanta then change plane for a short flight to Myrtle Beach. At Myrtle Beach International Airport near the center of the City, we pick up the rental car, drive north for about 10 miles, and arrive at the Marriott Ocean Watch Villas at Grande Dunes.

This luxurious resort is located on a private beach halfway between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach and consists of ocean front high rise condominiums. The resort is adjacent to a Marriott Hotel and all together, they occupy several acres of beach front property. The resort lobby is beautiful, the three gorgeous outdoor pools, heated Jacuzzis, and picnic areas are set in an amazing tropical landscape. Behind the beach front condominiums are several other plantation villas surrounding more graceful pools, a kids’ water park, and a spectacular tree house.

Lee in front of a pavillion
Hammocks in pool area
Lee and Khanh at the Grande Dunes Beach
Stopping at the pool on way to beach
Treehouse towers over tall trees
Kiddie pool
Khanh and Lee climb up the treehouse
Heading to the beach
Khanh and Lee on way to the beach
View of Grande Dunes Beach
Back to the condo. Khanh and Don on balcony
It's a windswept day
Lee, Khanh, and Don. On our way to dinner
at "Broadway at the Beach"
"Wonder Works", an upside down building on "Broadway at the Beach"
Lee feeding the fish
Feeding frenzy
Someone zip-lining over the lake
Dinner at lakeside Senor Frog's

What do you think?
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