Night Heron Additional Entry Instructions: Be sure you are at the right door!
In addition to our general instructions on how you will receive your entry code and how to use our KABA locks, sometimes guests get confused at Night Heron and try to open the wrong door!
IMPORTANT FOR NIGHT HERON. Each unit of Night Heron HAS TWO DOORS. Be sure you are trying to open the HOUSE door with the entry code for the HOUSE and the extra fridge closet with with its own code.
THE HOUSE LOCK is a KABA Lock, and says KABA on it. The first door as you walk back is the closet door which holds an extra refrigerator. Please keep going straight and you’ll find the main entry door with a KABA lock.
CARPORT FRIDGE DOOR CODE! Your code for the extra fridge in the door in the carport is 1590# The lock buzzes and turns green for about 5 seconds. You have to open the door in this time frame, or reenter the code. When the door shuts, you have to enter the code again for entry.
Entry Code Help: Getting into the vacation home!
ALL our homes are equipped with electronic locks. You are provided an entry code ahead of time, via email, for the times and dates of your stay, and you use this code to open the door. You do not need to meet anyone!
BUT FIRST: Guests staying in a Southern Vacation Rentals Managed Home
IMPORTANT: Are you staying in a home managed for us by Southern Vacation Rentals? Your information from us will clearly state they are the local management co, along with providing Southern’s contact info. This includes Beach Castle, Fort Sun, Gulf & Golf at the Plantation, The Pearl, Sea Monster, Sea Urchins, and Wits End.
For these homes, you will receive your entry code directly from Southern Vacation Rentals. We, unfortunately, do not have access to your codes and we cannot look them up or generate them. Southern handles all access, maintenance, and other issues for our guests in the homes they manage for us. For SOUTHERN guests, you will have received an email from them inviting you to their portal. Your code will be in their portal and you may be able to use that link and your email and arrival date to access it. If you have any issues with your stay in one of their managed homes, please contact them:
Southern Vacation Rentals
866-290-8214. Also 24 hour text line: (850) 367-7256
But… check junk or spam for the note from them. That’s one of the most common problems…
For everyone else! How to get into your beach home? We can help!
Entry to the homes we, as Bama Beach Houses, manage (that is, everywhere but the Southern homes noted above), we send you the codes directly.
All these homes use industry standard Kaba electronic deadbolt locks. Let’s hit a few of the most common issues we hear when guests reach out:
1. Are you at the right home, at the right date and time?
Seriously… it happens. Especially mixing up East and West on duplexes, etc. Right Home? East/West? Address? Double check! Let’s make sure you are actually at the right place! And that you are not too early (the codes are tied to times and dates of stay).
2. Do you have your entry code?
Check junk folders! We EMAIL the codes from firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time, actually several times! If you do not have them, 99 out of 100 times its because our email is landing in a junk or spam folder. Some of the email message titles include:
“BBH: Entry Code and Wifi Reminder” and “BBH: Check in Instructions”– NOTE the email entitled “BBH: Initial Check in Instructions” (the word INITIAL in it), will NOT have the entry code. Only the other ones will. Under very rare circumstances, older copies of these messages may not actually contain the code. If the latest ones do not have the code, please text us (251.202.7145, text only) and we can get it sent right out to you. This only happens on (1) relatively last minute stays and (2) occasionally with stays that have rented BOTH sides of a duplex under one name.
3. Need help opening the lock?
How to open? (1) Enter the code. No # or anything else. (2) Then turn the knob to unlock. Note, if you pause entering the code (like, say, if you look up the rest of the code while entering it), then the lock can time out. Try again!
Enter the Code. Detailed version.
As you enter the code, it should beep and flash a green light with each digit. It MIGHT flash both green and red with each digit. That is okay, but you should tell us when you have a chance as it means the batteries are getting low. They will operate for weeks but we definitely want to change them out as soon as possible. If when you finish entering it, it beeps and flashes red, then the code was not accepted. Double check the code and re-enter it, and double check… right house, right time, right date… 🙂
Turn the Knob!
Almost all of our Kaba locks are deadbolts. You enter a correct code, it provides access by enabling the deadbolt to be turned open. It does NOT turn it for you (this is actually great because the ones that turn for you tend to chew up batteries and have alignment issues). This does however mean that just like one you might use a key on at home, you have to turn the knob AND you have to do so before the valid code that you entered times out (about 5 seconds)… if not, you have to restart.
4. Lock it?
No code needed: Turn the knob. Done.
However, very occasionally these locks can misbehave and require the code. If the battery is okay (entering a key flashes green), and you cannot turn the knob to lock the lock as you leave for the beach… then you can try using the code. If this happens, send us a note and we will fix it for you so you don’t have to do that!
Advanced Kaba Lock Stuff: Can I change my code?
Why yes you can actually. You can’t change it per se, but, with a valid code, you can create an alternative code for your stay. The one we provide you will still be operational, but this might be useful if you want to provide one to your gang that might be easier to remember.
PLEASE NOTE: WE DO NOT PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THIS. It will NOT mess up your existing code, but if you don’t get it to work, staff cannot assist you. I am including this because it is pretty easy and might be handy.
That said… to add an additional code for your stay: enter the system generated code on a lock and then hit the “#” button followed by the personal 6 digits. Test it out. As with everything else, delays in entering things can time out the lock.
Contact us if you cannot get in after trying all the above! (And are not in a Southern managed home)
Text us at 251.202.7145 (txt/sms only).
For entry related issues for anyone staying directly with us who is NOT in a home locally managed by Southern Vacation Rentals (see above), the quickest way to reach us will usually be to text to 251.202.7145 and state the specific home and side (if a duplex) as well as the last name on the reservation.
Please also note anything specific about the problem. It will usually be one of two things:
- I do not have my code. Be sure sure if this is it that you checked junk, because as noted above 99 out of 100 times, we will be grabbing the code OUT OF THE EMAIL you were sent… 🙂 OR…
- My code isn’t working (and I did try all the troubleshooting above, and turned the knob…).
251.202.7145 is NOT a voice number. You cannot call it and get through. However, multiple people will see the relayed text message and can reply via text or call you back. These are the folks most likely to be able to rapidly assist with access.
You can also email us by replying to any of our messages or emailing email@example.com. These are usually seen pretty quickly, but text will be faster.
As a last resort, you can call our 251.732.4020 number too; however, please try the text first and give folks at least a few minutes to reply. Emergency phone calls (specifically after 5pm Eastern and you choose ’emergency’) will route to a lot of our people’s mobile numbers but most of them will not be able to assist with entry as rapidly as those who will see the text message.
What is your policy regarding renter age and restrictions?
Glad you asked! We have a very strict policy regarding the age and nature of guests that stay in our homes.
You must be at least 25 years of age to reserve our homes. The 25 year old must be present for checkin and throughout the stay. For some homes, and under some pre-approved circumstances, we may, at our sole discretion, and only in advance, agree to allow those under 25 to rent our homes subject to additional terms and conditions to include a co-signer over 25, an additional security deposit generally no less than the greater of $3000 or the full rental rate of the home, whichever is greater, payable by check only and directly to us, and provision of a list and identification of all guests prior to check in. We do NOT rent to large groups of unrelated adults under 25 regardless of the age of the primary renter.
Abrogation of any of these terms is a breach of agreement subject to all terms and conditions herein, including immediate cancellation with no refund of monies paid or due and payable.
Two key rules come into play and are in our terms and conditions of rental, and the rental agreement:
- You must be 25 or older to be the primary renter of one of our homes AND that person must be present throughout the stay
- Regardless of the age of the primary renter, we do not rent to large groups of unrelated adults under 25. Having a few over 25 does not make this acceptable without pre-approval.
We do make exceptions from time to time when people make open and honest requests ahead of booking. These are evaluated on a case by case basis, and subject to additional terms and conditions. Please inquire if you have a special situation.
Under no condition will house parties, over occupancy, or other issues be allowed. Immediate discontinuation of occupancy, no refunds, and damages will be recouped, including any potential loss of rents and good will for incoming guests.
We are well behaved… yada yada… will you consider?
So, you can ASK but…
Although we have had very positive experiences with many groups of young adults looking for a place to unwind, I want to avoid any potential misunderstanding: our home is NOT A PARTY PAD, and there cannot be any house parties. No parties, period. While drinking, spilling stuff everywhere, general mayhem? This you? Or even remotely like what you want to do? Don’t. It will not end well. Don’t lie when asking. Don’t let it get out of hand if you are allowed. Again, it won’t end well.
Most people looking for a trip like yours understand this but from time to time we run into a group that does not treat our homes respectfully. Nothing good comes of that for anyone involved!
In fact that’s why we mostly shut down doing this… but I do have 2 kids in the same age group as you… so I get that not everyone is going to trash my home… but the heartache is pretty significant when folks do because we usually spent a ton of time and money getting them ready during winter…
That said, I am happy to consider hosting groups of well-behaved young people needing a break! So I will consider a request.
I do have several rules and restrictions to allow those under 25 to stay in the home. This protects my home from the small minority of problem groups, while giving everyone else the opportunity to rent a home–something you likely are finding is not very common.
1. We ask that someone over 25 sign onto the lease agreement prior to checkin. This person does not need to stay in the home and in almost all cases should be a parent. Sometimes we require more than one…. depends on the situation, size of home and group, etc.
2. A Refundable Damage Deposit. While most of the groups we agree to allow stay in our homes leave them as they found them, we do have problems occasionally, and those problems can be expensive. Historically, we have required guests such as yourselves to pay a Refundable Damage Deposit equal to the amount of the rental, or $3000, whichever is greater (so a $6000 rental has a $6000 refundable damage deposit). Expenses add up quickly. Damaging a couch alone in a rental unit can cost > $3000 to replace. Trashing a home is often $10s of thousands of dollars to fully clean and repair, and can impact incoming guests too, which is expensive if we can’t accommodate them on time, or it impacts their experience….
This refundable damage deposit is an additional payment of a damage deposit made only by check or e-check directly to us as part of reserving the home. This is FULLY REFUNDABLE PROVIDED THERE IS NO DAMAGE OR EXCESSIVE CLEANING OR WEAR AND TEAR. Please understand that this is not a get out of jail free card. If you cause a lot of damage and exceed the amount of the deposit, you and all guests will be held responsible. Provided there is not a problem with your stay, your deposit will be accounted for and returned approximately 2 weeks after your stay.
3. To protect everyone involved, we require, prior to check in, information on all guests staying in the unit (and subject to occupancy limits).
4. The stay generally must be for a minimum of 6 nights and preferably start OR end on a Saturday. No 4 night, over the weekends. And summer must be Sat to Sat.
5. Generally I will NOT allow a max occupancy on a home for these exceptions and if folks show up above an agreed to occupancy when I approve it, you will be asked to leave. Why? 22-26 young adults in a 6 bedroom home is just not a great idea.
I hope it also seems reasonable given you are asking to stay in a home often valued over $1 million dollars and that we know little about you! If it seems harsh or unfair, then all I can say is… look elsewhere as most folks won’t even consider these requests.
In short: “Good news! YES, sometimes we will still allow folks under 25 in my home. We need someone over 25 to sign, pay a refundable damage deposit, and provide guest identification” easy peasy.
In the end, because Gulf Shores is also a family friendly destination, you have to ask yourself whether, if you happened to be in a place right next door to families, you would be compatible? This doesn’t mean you have to be quiet and I do understand that some folks are just not reasonable, but… would you be compatible with a reasonable family with say younger kids. I try to avoid putting potentially incompatible groups next to each out… but it could happen…
OR… well… sorry! As much as I’d like to help, these are not party pads, and the heartache and hassle is simply not worth it!
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Home Elevators, the 411
Do any of your Gulf Shores beach vacation homes have elevators? How do the beach house elevators work? What if elevator is not working? We have the 411 on a whole lot of common questions and situations regarding private elevators in our vacation homes!
Does your beach home have an elevator? Yes, in some limited cases, we do have elevators!
We have a page with our homes with elevators. They are The Pearl duplex (2×10 bedrooms), and the Diamond (10BR), Emerald (12BR), and Sapphire (12BR) at the Cottages at Romar.
How to use the elevator!
So… this seems like a no brainer… they aren’t all that different in terms of buttons and so on that any elevator you may have used. BUT there are some key differences in how they actually work, and things that can go wrong!
Children MUST be supervised and should not be allowed to use the elevators alone.
We have kids too. We get it. Tempting to play with the elevators too, right? What could go wrong? Plenty! Seriously… not a toy, and not as bullet proof (er child friendly) as commercial ones in hotels etc)… and most of the things that CAN go awry with the elevators, will go awry if kids are messing with them. Doors not shut all the way and on all levels. Getting on and off 6+ times without going anywhere (see below, this ones a big one!). We appreciate your cooperation on this.
DO NOT GET ON & OFF MULTIPLE TIMES!
First things first, home elevators have lock outs. Getting on and off 6 times (or more) without going anywhere will cause it to LOCK OUT and be unusable until it is manually reset. What’s the first thing you might do? Load a bunch of luggage? If you do that by getting on and off 6 times, or if someone wanders on and off that many times, or a child is playing and does the same thing…. then it will lock out. You will not be able to use it until it is reset. Please avoid this! Its standard on home elevators and is a safety and mechanical precaution.
What about 7 times? Yeah, anything 6 or more. Just don’t do it. What about 5? Okay smarty pants… 5 might not do it, but unless you are sure someone didn’t hop on and off first, then lets not push it! In the end, open the doors, get on, and head out. So how does that work you ask? Glad you asked…
- Press the button beside the door.
This “calls” the elevator to you, and initiates unlocking the door.
- Wait for light to illuminate and a click.
When lit, the elevator has arrived and the click means the door has unlocked!
- Open the outside door and interior bifold door.
There are too doors. Open both. Now you can go inside.** BUT DON’T GO IN AND OUT 6 times or more**
- Close BOTH the outside and bifold doors COMPLETELY after entering elevator.
BOTH doors must be securely closed for the elevator to go anywhere. This releases the safety interlock.
- Choose Destination.
Ground = 1st floor. Bonus tip. If it won’t go anywhere, check the doors AND the red ‘stop’ button on the back wall.
- Open BOTH doors. Get off! 🙂
** Same deal as #3. When its open, do not get on and off repeatedly!
- CLOSE BOTH Doors behind you SECURELY.
** This is important. If any doors are even slightly ajar, the elevator cannot be called to another floor. Worse. Its possible to get the interior door sort of closed, then close the outside one, and it will lock the outside one, and be stuck because the inside is then “not locked” even though you sorta closed it. 🙂
OR How about a quick video about how to use….
Help! The elevator isn’t working….
Most elevator issues are related to either getting on and off 6 times without going anywhere OR not getting all the doors securely closed on all levels.
- Check ALL doors on ALL floors
Make sure ALL doors are closed on each floor. If one door is open or even a little ajar, the elevator WILL NOT WORK
- Check the Red stop button
Located in the middle of the panel inside elevator. It must be pushed in in order for the elevator to operate.
- Resetting the Elevator
So, this is the shotgun approach, but you can try resetting the breaker on the elevator. For Emerald, Sapphire, and Diamond, the panel is located in the middle floor Southwest bedroom behind the door. Turn the elevator breaker off, leave it a minute, and turn it back on. This may get the elevator back up and running, especially if it is locked out from getting on and off repeatedly. If this does not resolve the issue, contact the office.
Releasing a door/Doors ‘stuck’
Never ‘force’ any door. It could be quite costly….
It is also possible that if someone failed to fully securely latch the interior door on any level and then shut the outer door, that you will end up in a ‘stuck’ situation where you cannot open the external door to get to the internal door to secure it. A bit of a catch 22! We do not recommend trying to release the external door manually, even though there IS a hole on each one, much like a passage lock, that will override it. If there is no elevator at that level though, it is a drop, and dangerous. The moral is CLOSE THE BIFOLD DOOR SECURELY.
If you checked the red stop button, checked all the doors as best you can, and even reset the elevator, then please contact us and we will have someone provide assistance. Please note that 95% of elevator issues are related to users either doing the ‘on/off’ thing or not getting the doors closed, and elevator service is not generally considered an emergency.
STILL NEED HELP?
If you are staying in our Diamond, Emerald, or Pearl, please contact Southern Vacation Rentals. They are your local management company. Your check in email from us (and from them.. where you got your entry codes!) will have your reservation number and their contact information too. But… just in case:
Southern Vacation Rentals
866-290-8214. Also 24 hour text line: (850) 367-7256 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are staying in our Sapphire home, then reach out to us. The BEST way to do that is by replying to any of our emails, so we have your stay information, but just in case:
Bama Beach Houses
Please note that although issues with residential elevators are usually easy for you (see above) or us to troubleshoot, sometimes it requires a service visit from the manufacturers rep, and they are not under our control and often days out. Generally an elevator not working is not considered an emergency, unless someone is stuck inside; however, we understand the loss of this amenity can be an inconvenience and will do our best to get you up and running. If you avoid the issues we note above (getting on and off, not securing doors, etc) then they usually work rather well!
Worth repeating: Please do not let children use the elevator by themselves. Adults must be with children when in use.
Are pets allowed in your homes? Sometimes, some places, and only with PRE-APPROVAL
Do we allow pets in our homes? Generally, no. But we do have some homes were we consider polite requests for furry friends to tag alone. Generally speaking, we only allow dogs, with a limit of 2, and subject to requests for more information, usually starting with AGE and BREED.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Pre-approval is required. Requests for furry friends to tag along are a courtesy and by request, in advance, and require PRE-APPROVAL. Please do not decide afterward you want to add one, or worse, show up, as this would be grounds for termination of the leasing agreement with no refunds.
- Primarily in stand alone homes.
- Primarily only in off season.
- Sometimes in duplexes but usually ONLY if you are renting both sides of the duplex.
- Approved requests are subject to a $250 pet fee, per pet.
Emotional Support Animals/ESAs
Emotional Support Animals/ESAs are NOT service animals and are considered a ‘pet’ for the purposes of short term vacation homes. If you have an ESA, you are welcome to make a request for your ESA to come. Such requests are subject to all approval and fees.
Service Animals (Dogs)
Service animals (dogs), as defined by federal regulations, are always welcome, and we ask you let us know ahead of time that you will have a service animal, that you confirm that the service dog is required because of a disability and to let us know what work or task your service animal has been trained to perform.
What is the cancellation policy? Can we cancel and get a refund? All about cancellations!
Our cancellation policy generally follows that of our third-party local management companies and does not provide refunds for unforeseen developments such as illnesses, mandatory hurricane evacuations and similar events that can affect your trip. We strongly suggest that you purchase travel insurance.
NO REFUNDS are issued for cancellations or early departure due to inclement weather or personal circumstances or for any other reason. This includes, but is not limited to, beach closures, hurricane closures, loss of job, or the family pet passing away. Many of these are, however, covered by travel insurance.
Our cancellation policy is strict on our big homes and we do not provide for cancellations. This is because most of them rent 6 months, and more commonly, more than one year out.
People who want a big place plan way ahead and aren’t so much last minute shoppers so it becomes significantly harder, if not impossible, to re-let them in a shorter time frame, and certainly not at normal rates.
We strongly suggest trip insurance if you have any reason to believe you will have to cancel. Some people opt to self-insure by basically never getting insurance and knowing they have to use that savings toward a big expense if it ever happens.
All moneys remain due and payable if you cancel a trip. However, we will try to help, and if you cancel, and we are able to re-rent the home, we will work with you to reschedule. If you have an issue, definitely reach out as early as possible so we are aware and may be able to assist. And, of course… travel insurance… but you have to get it BEFORE whatever might happen to scuttle the trip actually happens (otherwise they won’t pay for it). See our travel insurance link for more info.
Travel Protection Insurance (“Trip Insurance”) may be a good option
Most third-party trip insurance agencies will allow you to add trip insurance to a trip up to your last payment, though those policies are up to the individual agencies. They cover a wide range of issues, so be sure that whatever you main concern is that it is in fact covered. Most will not allow cancellation for any ol’ reason, and you will need to meet their criteria for death, injury, weather, but they can protect you against loss if they are a god fit for your group.
We do offer travel insurance too, through a third party provider. Check it out. You may find it helpful. You are of course welcome to shop around and choose any provider you like. Thanks again!
People often want to know what is and is not available at one of our places. Here’s the 411!
This list is in addition to our own FAQs and is gathered from the various local management companies that work with us. Please keep in mind that provided/not provided may vary slightly by home and could vary a bit. If you arrive and their is something we said isn’t provide, don’t freak out. Seriously, we’ve had people ‘complain’ because they bring something along and it was there–people leave stuff, we do nice things. We won’t remove those things unless there are issues, but that won’t make it to the “we always provide” list either. It happens. Relax. Enjoy! 🙂 Similarly, if a “we provide” item is awol, which also happens, shoot us a note.
All rental properties are equipped with the following unless otherwise indicated:
- Bed Linens
- Bath Towels (generally no hand towels)
- Wash Clothes
- Central AC/Heat
- Basic TV service
- Refrigerator with Ice Maker
- Coffee Maker (both drip and standard Keurig type)
- Hand Mixer
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Vacuum Cleaner
What You Should Bring
While all rental units are set up for normal housekeeping, the properties will NOT have hairdryers; clothes hangers; cleaning products; or toilet paper, paper towels, and soap intended to last for the duration of your stay.
Each rental property is equipped with a starter set of essentials for your first night, including 1 roll of paper towels, 1 sponge, 2 dishwasher tabs and 2 kitchen towels in the kitchen and 2 bars of soap and 1 roll of toilet tissue for each bathroom. Trash can liners are placed in the kitchen and bathroom trash cans. You are responsible for replenishing your supplies as needed.
A Useful Shopping and Packing List
- Bathroom Tissue
- Facial Tissue
- Paper Towels
- Aluminum Foil
- Plastic Wrap
- Coffee and Filters
- Garbage Bags
- Staple Items
- Dishwasher Detergent
- Dishwashing Liquid
- Bath Soap
- Laundry Detergent
- Hair dryer
- Hand Towels
- Beach Towels
- Beach Chairs
- Beach Umbrella
- Sunscreen & Other Personal Items
Some Common Questions about specific items
Do you provide a grill?
Grills are not provided. With the exception of our Jewels by the Sea (Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond), we do not provide grills. In some locations, we are precluded from doing so by code or HOA, although you are able to have them yourselves. They CANNOT be under or next to the home when in use. Sometimes a home will have inherited a grill from a previous guest. We cannot guarantee that, nor the functionality or safety of anything you may find. When one of our family’s goes down, we simply plan to snag a low cost kettle grill or similar from an area store like Walmart.
Do you provide beach chairs or umbrellas?
We don’t provide beach chairs or umbrellas. They tend to disappear, especially if guests leave them out and Gulf Shores collects all of the stuff every night! And then guests show up and are upset about ‘where are the beach chairs and umbrellas!’ — to which I always think… grr… good question! Easier to just not try to provide! However, depending on what you want, you can purchase some rather cheaply once in town OR there are several places that rent chairs, umbrellas, even volleyball sets.
Just remember… Gulf Shores requires all stuff be brought in. If you leave it out, it will disappear overnight!
Have a question about something else? Let us know and we will respond… and add it to the FAQ!
Thanks again for choosing to stay in our homes!
We do not provide grills at most homes
Grills are not provided. With the exception of our Jewels by the Sea (Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond) and the Pearl, we do not provide grills. In some locations, we are precluded from doing so by code or HOA, although you are able to have them yourselves. They CANNOT be under or next to the home when in use.
Sometimes a home will have inherited a grill from a previous guest. We cannot guarantee that, nor the functionality or safety of anything you may find. When one of our family’s goes down, we simply plan to snag a low cost kettle grill or similar from an area store like Walmart.
Don’t be THAT guest. Whitelist/Safelist our email address so you get the 411 you need!
You want to be able to get into your awesome vacation home, right?
We want that to go smoothly too!
We send all messaging from email@example.com, INCLUDING confirmation and check-in information.
Some of these messages are long and include a lot of personalized data and account information, like payments and days etc.
These can land in spam.
To ensure it does not, you should “whitelist” or “safelist” our email address. This is handled a lot of different ways base on your email provider. Its usually as simple as adding that address as a Contact but it does vary.
Don’t know how? Here are a couple great job aids for different email providers.
This one is quick and covers the main providers.
This one is a lot longer and has many of the less known email providers.
Don’t be that guest. You know the one. The one who hasn’t gotten any messages. Doesn’t think about it until they are standing outside our door and then calls an emergency line (and not the management co). That’s not a good thing. Of course we are sending lots of emails. That’s how I roll… Don’t be that guest. 🙂
In the end, if you are not receiving anything from us directly, something is wrong! Reach out, we can help!
Is the pool heatable? All about heatable pools!
Is the pool at a specific place heatable?
Sometimes! We have a limited number of homes that have heatable pools. These homes WILL NOTE THIS in the listing. If it does not say anything about a heatable pool, then the homes’ pool is NOT heatable. Heatable pools are VERY rare along the Gulf Coast as they are very expensive to operate and maintain. However, we opted to add some as a trial at some of our homes.
Specifically, with the exception of Seafoam, ALL BEACHFRONT stand-alone homes currently have heatable pools.
Additionally, the Pearl and Wits End duplexes have heatable pools, as does East 11 Cottage G and each side of Night Heron.
This can change at any time, with sand and salt (and bad guest behavior) wreaking havoc on the heaters….
How warm will it be?
The pool temperature will be set at 82 degrees. This is at the high side of recommended recreational pool temperatures. How “warm” this is, depends on a whole lot of circumstances, including ambient air temperature, age of the swimmers, and what folks are used to. I (one of the owners) have even gone from feeling cold one day to “my goodness, is the pool set too high” the next, even though it read 82 on both occasions (I got out to check!). These are heatable pools, not hot tubs, so you should expect that it will take the edge off, but depending on the outside temperatures, your personal preferences and what you are doing (playing? or trying to lounge with a beverage while wind whistles across the surface!?), it may feel anywhere from warm, luke warm, or luke cold. Most people love when it is heated–and off season it is truly unusable when it is not — except for stout psychopaths like myself…. There are the occasional folks who do not like it regardless, as its just not “warm enough” for them. Very young children will likely find it cold if it is cold outside. It can also feel ‘cold’ if it is VERY hot, since the pool will likely be cooler in summer than the beach and the gulf, but again MANY people also think the cooler pool (yet not COLD) in the summer is a perfect respite. Of note for this, the sheltered pools (under homes) are great in this regard, but definitely benefit from the heaters being on. Older kids. btw, in all cases, will likely spend all day in it at the set temp. But of course YMMV.
How do I add pool heating?
Pool heating is by request in advance and includes a market-based nightly surcharge. This surcharge is priced at the time that the heating is added not at the time the reservation is made. If you add it later, it may be more or less than an originally quoted amount. All the heaters are propane based and cost a significant amount to run. For the past year, this surcharge has varied from $35 (prior to all the crazy inflation) to $80+ per night, and does vary somewhat by home, season, and pool size as well.
When can I add pool heating?
Pool heating MUST be added at least 1 week prior to the stay. If you wait this long, however, you increase the risk that a pool heater may be down for service, as we schedule repairs whenever possible to coincide with times when the pool heat is NOT requested.
Can I add it last minute? Can I add it after we arrive?
While you CAN make the request right before arrival, or even during the stay, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, it is VERY unlikely it will be able to be turned on immediately, or even over the weekend, if it is a weekend start. We make the request of the the third-party pool people to turn it on, and they are not usually available last minute. Second, regardless of when you add it, you will still be charged the nightly surcharge per day for the length of stay. Why? Because it still costs us to turn it on last minute, and often there is an additional trip charge cost too. Please just plan ahead. The bonus of planning ahead? We schedule it to be on before you arrive, so that it is up to temperature at the start of your stay. Note, once turned on, unless it is extremely cold, the pool should reach temperature in a few hours, or overnight.
Can I add pool heating for a portion of my stay?
Pool heating must be requested and paid for the length of stay. The only potential exception to this is for stays greater than 28 days where a guest would like to turn it on for a one week minimum subset of the overall stay, when perhaps other guests (grands?!) will arrive for a visit. If you have such a specific special situation, please inquire. In NO case will a stay of less than 10 days be permitted a shorter heated pool duration.
I am coming as a 28+ day stay, can I have it on the whole time?
Yes. However, as with any other stay, it is subject to the nightly surcharge. Month long runs for last year were over $1500 in gas costs alone for long term stays. And that was before gas prices spiked ever further! Additionally, while we do our best to keep them running, winter months can be very hard on the pool heaters when run 24/7 for long periods, so operation is not guaranteed.
What if it doesn’t feel “warm enough.” Can you set it higher? Can I get a refund?
No, and no. However, the first thing we will want to do is ensure that the pool heater is actually on and working and that the temp is reaching the target. While rare, it is possible it was not turned on or is having a problem (electrical surges, power outages, guests, all sorts of things can cause them to stop). Many pools will have a thermometer you can check–it will be in the filter basket area. It also, for most seasons, is truly apparent when it is not on at all. If you can get in, it is no doubt working. Off season it is truly polar plunge. I do it, the rest of my family not so much… Note, it is not unusual for there to be a 1-2 degree various high or low during the stay as a pool heater works like your home HVAC and will come on at trigger points and turn off. But if its set at the target, and reads at the target on the heater, its functioning per spec.
What if the pool heater is NOT working during my stay? Is pool heating guaranteed? Do I get a refund?
Pool heating is not guaranteed. However, if you requested and paid for the pool to be heated well ahead of time, and the pool heater is confirmed to be inoperable (not just “too cold”) for whatever reason, you will be provided a pro-rata refund of the pool heating surcharge for days it was not working, or a full refund of those fees if it was for length of stay. Salt and sand, external weather conditions, and bad guest behavior (tampering), can all cause unforeseeable loss of operation of this amenity, sadly. Refund of the pool heating fees are the guests’ sole remedy for any such loss of access to the pool heating.
Can I adjust the pool heater or other pool equipment?
NO. Tampering with the pool heater or other pool equipment is explicitly noted as a breach of contract in your rental agreement (and on signage on the equipment itself) and modification is blocked on the heaters. It is subject to a penalty and to expenses for damages. We have had guests mess with the devices and burn out the heaters or at best run the propane tanks out (each pool heater is gas, and runs off a tank, with deliveries based on expected usage but if the heaters are messed with and set at increased temperatures, the tanks will run dry). As above, if the pool is very cold, reach out and we can have someone check it for you.
Is pool heating worth it?
This of course is very specific to YOU and your guests. But for my family, for what its worth, we use the pool when it is heated, and all me and my son would not do so otherwise during off season. Even I only do the polar plunge a few times in a week when staying at one of our places without one, or when it is offline. During summer, and warm spring and fall days, its still worth it to us, especially at the homes with pools fully or partially sheltered underneath, as it is a small price to pay for significantly warmer water temperatures (those pools will almost always be easily under 75, and often under 70, even 60 or more depending on the ambient temps!). So, 82 is a big jump. Is it ‘warm enough’ for you? That is a personal decision, and, as noted above, quite subject to personal preferences and external conditions. However, I can safely say even with those folks: if you don’t like it at the heated temp, you absolutely wouldn’t be able to dip a toe in at the ‘natural’ temp!
Send us a note on any of your reservation messaging to inquire about adding it to your stay. We can quote the current cost, and get it added no problem!
Thank you, and have a great stay!