This honest Tides Folly Beach Hotel review shares the pros and cons of staying at Tides Folly just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
Where is Tides Folly Beach Hotel?
Located at 1 Center St, Folly Beach, SC 29439, Tides Folly is near the beach and boardwalk area of Folly Beach, South Carolina. Folly Beach is just a short drive from downtown Charleston making it an easy day or overnight trip while visiting Charleston.
Tides Folly Beach Review - An Honest Recap of my Experience
During a recent visit to Charleston, I knew I wanted to spend at least one day at the nearby beaches given just how close they are to downtown Charleston. After some research, I chose Folly Beach given the wider selection of restaurants and things to do. Plus, Folly has a great super chill surfer vibe.
When researching where to stay in Folly Beach, Tides Folly was the hotel that showed up on every list and every search. Upon reading reviews, I noticed they were overwhelmingly positive and while we did enjoy our visit to Folly, I can't say Tides Hotel was the perfect stay.
So, I'm here to share an honest review of Tides Folly Beach with it's pros and cons so you can make an informed decision before booking your stay in Folly.
Pros of Tides Folly Beach Hotel
Tides Folly is truly a beachfront property
The location of Tides Folly is quite literally on the beach. To access the beach you simply have to head to the lobby, head out of the large doors that lead to the pool deck and walk out onto the beach. If your plan is to spend as much time on the beach as possible, then this hotel makes that really easy.
Convenient location to explore Folly
In addition to being on the beach, Tides is also smack dab in the middle of the small town boardwalk where you can find a great selection of restaurants, bars, shops and more within a short walk. We walked less than a mile from Tides on Center Street to all of the places we went.
When we checked in, I noticed how friendly the staff was. They were welcoming, efficient with check-in and started the stay on a positive note. When we requested extra towels they were quick to bring a big batch to the room.
In addition to beach access, there's a lovely swimming pool on the property. We didn't use it during our trip but I could see families and kids enjoying the amenity. There were plenty of lounge chairs and pool towels for guests too.
Every room has a view
As promised on their website, every room at Folly has an ocean view! Each room comes with a small balcony or patio that faces the ocean. I will note, however, that these balconies are very small and do not have any seating, so it's really more of a stand and look at the view versus being able to sit and relax on the balcony.
Dining options on-site
Tides Folly is also home to it's own on-site restaurant, called Blu. They are open for breakfast through dinner and offer plenty of tropical frozen drinks to fit the vibe of being on beach time. We didn't dine here as we wanted to explore restaurants around the neighborhood, but I appreciate the convenience of having a restaurant in the hotel.
Additionally, they have a cafe serving up Starbucks. So if you are someone who needs caffeine to start your day and would rather not use the in-room setup, all you have to do is head to the first floor for your Starbucks order.
On-site parking included
Your stay includes the cost of one parking spot at their property. When staying in downtown Charleston, our parking cost us an extra $40 per night at the hotel so I'd say free parking is a WIN! Folly Beach is known for getting crowded on weekends so having that promised parking spot is a relief.
For a one night stay at Tides Folly in mid-May, we spent $318. In comparison, most Airbnbs and vacation rentals are twice as much if not more per night. The reason being, those places are usually meant for larger groups. Therefore, for two people, Tides Folly may be the more economical option because all you need is the room versus an entire condo or beach house. This was one of the main reasons we stayed here along with the convenient location.
Cons of Tides Folly Beach Hotel
Outdated building with some wear and tear
So, the building and rooms have some wear and tear and loss of functionality. I'd say overall, the place felt clean, but not necessarily clean with an attention to detail. For example, there were some spots on our bathroom ceiling and our bar of hand soap was just left on the sink with no designated area to keep it. The tub was also slow to drain - it was a few inches high during my relatively quick shower. If we had been staying here more than one night, I may have inquired about a new room.
The lobby itself was in good condition, however, they are maybe trying to cover up a smell by using very strong air freshener. Basically, the lobby smelled like walking into an Abercrombie & Fitch store in 2005. It was really strong for me and thankfully the rooms did not have that scent.
The room is damp
Being so close to the beach means it's going to be a challenge to keep the place sand free and dry. And I definitely felt that when walking into the room. It just felt damp, for lack of a better word.
While we spent most of our day and evening outside of the hotel, we did try to watch some television as we settled into bed. However, the TV quality was so fuzzy it was barely worth watching anything. Bring your laptop or iPad instead.
No Privacy latch lock inside
The door did have a deadbolt, but there was no privacy latch on the door from the inside. I don't think I've ever experienced this at any hotel and I really hated it. If I would have been traveling alone I'd have been very uncomfortable. Thankfully there was no mishap with staff or housekeeping accidentally opening the door while we were in the room.
Tides Folly Beach is Very noisy
What I couldn't tell from the Tides Folly website is that because all of the rooms are oceanfront, there are only rooms on one side of hotel. So the hallway is to one side of the hotel and it's open to the elements. You can't access it unless you go inside through the lobby and there are elevators. However, being open to elements like that really doesn't help with muffling sounds from outside the room.
Additionally, the hallway is just concrete since it's open to the outside, meaning there's no carpet to soften the sound of luggage, strollers and cleaning carts rolling by. The staff would also have conversations from down the hall from each other and the voices just kind of echoed.
I found it incredibly noisy and thankfully my white noise app help to cover some of the sounds. If you're staying here on the weekend when it's even more busy, I imagine there's going to be even more noise so don't expect to sleep in.
Summary & FAQ
Should you stay at Tides Folly Beach?
- If you are on a budget, coming as a couple or small group and are focused on spending tons of time at the beach, then Tides Folly would be a good pick. You're getting the value of what you're paying for with the less comfortable rooms, but gaining a lot of convenience to the beach and local businesses.
- You can find more reviews and images on the Booking.com Tides Folly page.
- If you're with a group, you should consider a local vacation rental or checking out Airbnb and VRBO. You'll be able to find more space and likely still get a good value with a group staying at one of the beachfront condos and houses along the beach.
- If you want a relaxing, indulgent getaway, I would recommend looking elsewhere. You can find a small private condo rental in Folly that may cost more, but will likely deliver on the atmosphere you're looking for.
- And you can also consider a more secluded beach stay at Sullivan's Island or Isle of Palms instead of Folly. Wild Dunes Resort has an on-site spa and easy access to IOP beaches.
Does Tides in Folly have a pool?
Yes! Tides in Folly Beach has a pool for guests that is open year round. During cooler months the pool is heated. The pool is open every day from 10 am-10 pm and includes pool chairs and towels.
What time is check out at Tides Folly Beach?
Check-out at Tides Folly Beach is 11 am and check-in is 4 pm. The hotel will try to accommodate early check-in and late check-out requests.
How far is Tides Folly Beach from historic Charleston?
Tides Folly Beach, and Folly Beach in general, is about 12 miles from historic, downtown Charleston making it an easy trip from the city. Without traffic the drive is about 20 minutes, but you can expect slow-downs on busy weekends.
Why is Folly Beach so popular?
For several reasons! Visitors can easily visit Folly Beach from Charleston to enjoy six miles of sunny beaches, exciting water sports like surfing or kayaking, as well as a chill, surfer town vibe with a great assortment of local restaurants and bars.
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Casey is the founder of Casey La Vie & has been running this travel and lifestyle blog since 2016. She’s on a mission to balance her career as a social media manager with exploring her home of New York City and seeing more of the world.