Schooner II Beach and Racquet Club: In the heart of Myrtle Beach

In this month’s Resort Profile we feature Schooner II Beach and Racquet Club, located in the heart of Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Ocean Boulevard at 21st Avenue North. This central locale in this vacation hot spot offers owners and guests the opportunity to enjoy the beach and resort amenities, as well as the opportunity to walk to nearby restaurants, shops and activities.

This oceanfront high-rise resort, developed between 1985 and 1986, offers owners and guests an outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness center, racquetball court, game room, complimentary parking and high-speed Internet access. Schooner II Beach and Racquet Club has a total of 54 units: 26 one-bedroom suites, 26 two-bedroom suites, one VIP suite – which is a larger one-bedroom – and one penthouse suite. The penthouse suite is a fractional ownership unit, with 13 owners each owning four weeks per year. The penthouse suite is a large three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, two-story unit that is on the 15th and 16th floors.

“Our in-room amenities feature balconies, jetted tubs, fully-furnished kitchens with granite countertops, microwaves, refrigerators, stove-top ovens, coffee/tea makers and flat screen televisions with cable and DVD players,” said Carey Younger, general manager of Schooner II Beach and Racquet Club.

“Upon arrival, owners and guests are greeted with hospitality and a smile. SPM Resorts, the management company at Schooner II, believes that an owner or guest will have a positive vacation experience if their unit is clean, ready and in working order. Therefore, management works diligently with the staff to ensure these items are in place. Not only does this make for a happy owner or guest, but it increases the likelihood that owners will pay their maintenance fees again the following year, and that guests will return to the Schooner II in the future.

“In the main lobby, guests enjoy looking at the large fish tank and settling into vacation mode. The lobby boasts a unique spiral staircase leading to the second floor lounge area with couches, tables, chairs and a large-screen television. An information kiosk will be installed in the coming weeks that will have information about restaurants, activities, attractions, directions and more. The kiosk will help visitors find their way around town a little bit easier,” Carey explained.

The staff at Schooner II works with local attractions to provide owners and guests with discounted tickets, and will even make reservations and take payments and at the resort for these attractions. The resort also has special 48-hour golf rates and will make tee times and take payments right at the front desk.

Myrtle Beach is well-known for being one of the South’s greatest beach vacation destinations. The activities are unlimited, and you could say that the area is a golfer’s dream come true. In 2007-2008, Golf Digest named 10 of Myrtle Beach’s 100 golf courses to their list of Top 100 Public Courses in America.

“In addition to the fantastic golfing opportunities Myrtle Beach provides, the entertainment, shopping and restaurant options are endless. Broadway at the Beach is a nearby attraction and is home to 19 restaurants, more than 100 shops, two movie theatre complexes, nightclubs and live theaters and other fun exhibits. Newest to Broadway at the Beach is the WonderWorks museum. This 50,000-square-foot museum provides interactive exhibits, and some call it an ‘amusement park for the mind.’ Exhibits include being ‘blown away’ by 74-mile-per-hour hurricane-force winds, piloting a fighter jet, designing and riding a 360-degree virtual roller coaster and more. Myrtle Beach offers something for every type of traveler,” said Carey.

The folks at Schooner II Beach and Racquet Club recently completed some renovations to the property. “Some of the most obvious updates include a new pool deck surface and a recoated pool and spa. Additionally, landscaping received a facelift with a new front entrance sign, potted trees with flowers and ivy, new outdoor seating at the front entrance, and trimmed palm trees to open up the outdoor area.”

Carey told us that the wood in the sauna and spa has been stained for regular maintenance and upkeep. On the first floor, the carpet leading toward the pool has been replaced, and the first floor outdoor showers and walls have received new tile, new walls, new wallpaper, and new fixtures. The vending area on the fifth floor received new ceramic tile and wallpaper to update the look, and on the 15th floor, the entryway restrooms got new tile in the entryway, new ceiling grids and tile, new tile in the restrooms, new marble sinks and new fixtures.

“Each spacious yet cozy unit has been recently renovated by an experienced interior decorator. The units feature new furniture, fresh bedding and linens, new kitchens complete with granite countertops and more. The units have new carpet in the bedrooms and living rooms. The bathrooms and kitchens have been updated with new ceramic tile. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher. Guests will also find an iron, ironing board and hairdryer in each unit. Each unit has its own private balcony (except the VIP suite) to enjoy the morning sunrise or the evening moon,” Carey said.

Once we got up to date on the renovations, we asked Andrew Graziano, rental inventory manager for Schooner II, if the current economy has changed their sales and marketing strategies. “Like many timeshare resorts, the downturn in the economy produced more owners who can’t or won’t pay their maintenance fees. To combat this and other issues, we have attempted to strengthen the property’s rental program. We have launched a new website for Schooner II – www.schooner2myrtlebeach.com – and are using online travel agents such as Expedia, Orbitz and similar engines to help promote the property.”

And what about resales? Schooner II has an affiliation with Palmetto Marketing, a timeshare resale company and SPM sister company. Paul Goodrich is the company’s president. “Palmetto Marketing has been working with the resort since the early 1990s. Palmetto does an in-house sales program working with the guests on the property. We work to sell any of the inventory the association owns, as well as any owner resales.

We operate using no-pressure sales techniques, so buyers will never go through a high-pressure sales pitch or be offered incentives for attending a presentation. Palmetto Marketing works hard to find what meets the buyers’ needs. We show them the benefits to ownership, find what fits those needs, and then we fulfill those needs with the appropriate inventory.”

We then asked Lanse McColl, SPM Resorts’ regional vice president of operations, if economic conditions have changed the way Schooner II conducts its daily operations. “As with any resort, the economic times that we have seen during the past few years provide a good opportunity to step back and evaluate what is being done well and what can be improved upon. We have not made major daily operations changes at Schooner II, but what we have done is try to be smarter with our resources. We have evaluated our contracts for items such as insurance, supplies and other vendors to see where we can maximize services while reducing overall costs. We have also made staffing changes to help us to be more effective in managing the resort.”

And speaking of staff, some of the friendly faces owners and guests will see during their stay at the property include Carmen Edward, Schooner II’s front office manager who assists owners and guests with check-ins, reservations, tickets to attractions and more. The resort’s maintenance supervisor, Walter Merchant, has been with Schooner II since it opened in 1986, and laundry attendant Rubin Gary has been with the resort for more than 20 years.

“Schooner II is not only a wonderful place to vacation, it is a great place to work,” said Carey. “By seeing many of the same families and guests year after year, you get to know them very well. And, because many of our employees have been with us for so long, visitors enjoy seeing them upon their return. All of these things have created a sense of belonging to the ‘Schooner II family.’”

www.schooner2myrtlebeach.com