Worried about planning a beach trip as the oil situation unfolds? Here’s another great reason to go ahead and book. Senior Writer Valerie Luesse reports from the Gulf Coast:
Sterling Resorts has vacation properties on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Florida panhandle — both of which are frequent vacation destinations for my husband and me. So we were curious when we read about Sterling’s guarantee of an “oil-free vacation.”
Apparently, it’s true. I just booked a beach trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and the Sterling agent I spoke with told me that if the oil spill closes local beaches before we get there, we can cancel with no penalty and get a 100% refund of our deposit.
Also, she said that if the beaches close while we’re there, and we decide to cut our trip short, we’ll only be charged for the days before the beach closing. So we’re booked at Sterling Breeze in Panama City, Florida. We stayed there in November and loved it. (If you book a condo on one of their upper floors, the view from your living room is nothing but beautiful water — it’s like being in a boat on the Gulf…with flatscreen TV and a coffee maker.) Bonus: they gave us a discount since we’re returning guests, and that brought the cost of our trip down a bit.”
Sterling says their company is working with county, state, and federal officials to stay updated on any projected impact on gulf coast beaches. For questions regarding current reservations or future bookings, call 866-573-7678 (888-5-RESORT).
This just in: We hear that the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is offering a “Stress-free Summer Guarantee,” which includes a 7‐day cancellation policy for all guests and a 24-hour cancellation policy if the city, county, state, or federal government closes local beaches because of the spill. For more information, call (850) 267-9500 or (800) 367-1271, or visit http://www.HiltonSandestinBeach.com.
UPDATE (6/10/10): South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, FL announced a Clean-Beach Guarantee, with some fine print. The policy states: “If the vacation is disrupted*, a 100 percent refund will be provided up to one
week prior to the stay. The refund includes room, resort fee and taxes.” We’re checking to see if this means you won’t get a refund if oil washes up less than a week before your stay. Stay tuned…
Photo: The family-friendly pool at Splash!, a Sterling Resorts beachfront condominium in Panama City Beach, Fla. Their indoor water park is a no-fail kid-pleaser, and oil-spill-proof to boot. Check out more fun things to do in Panama City, which opened a brand-new international airport Sunday with daily direct flights on Southwest Airlines from Baltimore, Houston, Nashville, and Orlando.