Terrible RV Park - RV & Tent Camping on of the worst I have been at.
This review pertains to the resort and RV spaces. As I understand they have good reviews of the villas you can rent, but I am specifically addressing the RV, Tent Camping, and the overall resort.
I called Sunbanks Resort in January of 2014 to make a reservation for a full service RV space for the 4th of July Weekend. I paid approximately $50 for the first night deposit. The rate was $46 a night which is a bit steep for this area, but from the website it appeared to be an upscale resort. Their website refers to lush greenery and coveted vacation spots with an on-site Cantina with a bar, Wi-Fi and beach access.
In early June we received an email that our account was delinquent and that if we didn’t pay the rest of what we owed for our reservation that our spot would be given away. The email subject was actually reservation cancellation. It was a very rude short message. My wife contacted them and proceeded to give payment. We now understand why they demand full payment up front before you even arrive. This should have been a warning sign.
We arrived in the afternoon of July 3rd. Before you can enter, you check in at security and are instructed that you must sign their rules in order to enter. It is a one page document that states quiet hours, pets on leash or a $5 fine, etc. They don’t give you time to read the document and just want you to sign and get through. We proceed to drive in and immediately found that the lush greenery was not to be and that it was gravel dusty roads, campers on top of each other. We drove around to our space and found a very un-level died piece of grass spot with much dirt.
Immediately, I found that the power box was at the street on the wrong side of the spot. Since I have a 27’ travel trailer that I had to back in, I determined that my cord would not be long enough to reach the 40+ feet I would need to get power. In addition, there was no sewer connection at the spot. I contacted the front desk in which I was told that that spot did not have sewer. I informed me that I reserved a spot with sewer and was promptly told that they were sold out and that there were no other spots and that I would have to settle for that spot. After much discussion I realized the front desk did not care and that if I wanted to camp there, I would have to take that spot.
We proceeded to back in, which as I said was very uneven and small. I had to disconnect the truck because it would be in the road out front. We proceeded to setup and because of the dirt pile; I put a mat out front of the trailer. We had just settled in to relax and enjoy the day with security walked by. They proceeded to tell me that there were no mats allowed on the grass. I explained that we had very little grass, what was there was dead and the missing areas were all dirt. I have 2 dogs and wanted to not track dirt in and out all weekend. I was informed that we signed a document that said no mats allowed and would have to put it away. I looked at the document later and it did say in the later rules no mats allowed. It also said they are a no-tolerant park and rules must be followed. It was beginning to feel like catholic school again and not a holiday weekend vacation.
We decided that we might check out the Cantina and have an adult beverage and a bit to eat. What we discovered is that the Cantina was not a cantina, because it was supposedly pizza and burgers, but that it is actually closed because the resort is having water issues. They little outside bar was only serving beer and wine. One would have thought they would publish or let you know ahead of time that the Cantina would not be open. It seemed to me they wanted to keep this quiet. So much for a margarita and a taco. Again the website marketing something other than what the actual resort is.
A few hours later we took the dogs for a walk. And behold, I counted no less than 10 other campers on grass much nicer than what we had with mats that were even larger than ours. By the way if you are looking for a resort with an area for pets or a beach area they can swim, this is not your resort. The swimming beach area is a joke; it is only about 150’ wide and not very nice at all. There are no other areas the dogs can explore, play fetch or swim. My impression is this resort caters to the young party crowd and not the more family and people with disposable income that would spend more money.
I informed the front office that I saw so many mats out front and why did I have to remove my mat when many others had there. She said that those were for the sites on dirt where they were allowed. I explained that these were sites on grass and she said that can’t be. She actually started to argue about what I saw. I went and took a few pictures to show her. She said that her manager was going to give us a $16 a night credit, I could pick up a copy of the receipt when I check out. She said that her manager would come discuss with me. I went back to my site and started to prepare dinner. I see this guy walking around by my site, looking at a map of the resort as if he didn’t know where he was at. He then looks up and walks into my site unaware of where he was. He asks if this is site 45 and I said yes. It was the manager Larry.
Well we discussed the situation and from the beginning I could tell he really didn’t care, and there really would be no resolution. When I informed him I booked in January, he said, well you could have had any spot then. I said yes, that is why I booked then. I reserved a full hookup. He said you are in site 45 which has not sewer. I said, I told your representative (DH) that I wanted a full hookup. I don’t know the resort so how am I to know what has sewer and what does not, that is why I make a reservation over the phone and trust those that book, know the resort. This went nowhere with him using a silly analogy of I paid for hamburger and I want steak. So I said “Well I order steak and you brought hamburger”. It was apparent that he has not managed the resort long and probably has not worked in customer service or the retail type environment much. I then asked him about the mat, and he said that they were not allowed. I asked why many others had mats and he said they needed to do a better job of policing it and he would talk to security. At the end he realized that they screwed up and could not do anything but he went on the defensive. He said will we are going to give you a $16 night a credit and if that isn’t bending over backwards I don’t know what is. I said I don’t that would be considered bending over backwards. He said you know I could be up eating dinner right now instead of being here. He then crumpled up his map and walk away shouting; don’t put your mat down.
That night and the next day as we walked the dogs, we still continued to see no less than 10 RV camping spots on full grass with mats out front. So they were evidently not adhering to their no tolerance policy.
We made friends with the tent campers that were around us and discovered that they also were having issues. They cannot drive to their spot to camp. They have to park on the road or on top of each and then pack all their gear in and out. In addition there is no power or water for the tent campers. One of the groups near us, said they drove 4 hours from Federal Way and paid $175 for 3 nights for a ”beach front” tent site. With no power, no electricity, and the beach front is a joke because there was all kinds of branches and trees and they couldn’t access the water. They also informed us that the toilets are nothing more than a hole in the ground with a seat. No running water, just hand sanitizer. I cannot imagine tent camping in these conditions. Most the tent campers in our area, came and used our water to do their dishes and washing. The other group in the same condition told me that they had one shower and apparently the line to use it was very long and not very nice. If you are considering tent camping, I would be wary.
On Friday we took a drive 10 miles down the road and drove around Steamboat State Park. What an Oasis compared to the dump we were in. It was $33 a night for a full hookup. It had lots of big grassy areas with nice beach access. If they would have had any spots available, I would paid whatever and moved immediately. If you are considering camping in the Coulee Dam area, this is only place. The others are nothing compared to this place.
On Saturday after determining that the rest of our weekend would consist of sitting in a dirt pile in 90 degree weather with no beach access and an obvious party environment that they were not going to enforce, we decided to leave.
I went into the office to ask for a copy of my receipt for the credit the manager told me he was going to give us and the girl up front said that the manager had told her to reverse the credit. I asked if he was available to discuss. She went around the back, I think she talked to him, but came out and said she could not find him. At that point I just left.
This is a very poorly run resort. Again, I don’t know about the villas, which I think they are more catering to. The RV and tent camping, the layout, and the beach areas are terrible. The front desk staff and Larry the manager are more concerned with making money for the owner, who is obviously not investing much back in the resort. They want more for you to pay your money and leave them alone. If you want to camp in the area, you should go to Steamboat Rock state park. When I inquired about changing, the staff at the check in office said they get people from Sunbanks on a regular basis wanting to move.