Oceanview vs. Oceanfront

IMG_0493What’s the difference between oceanview and oceanfront?

At many hotels there are two different roomtypes with regard to viewing the ocean.  Oceanview, and oceanfront.  What’s the difference and why should you choose one over the other?

An oceanview room is, as may seem obvious, a room with a view of the ocean.  Simple enough, right?  Book this room, and enjoy the beautiful vistas of the ocean.  Resorts, in their ongoing quest to maximize room revenue, can be fairly liberal in their definition of oceanview.  I got a call just last week from a client who had just checked into their oceanview room.  She was quite upset because she couldn’t see the ocean from inside her room.  She had to go out to her balcony to see the ocean.  I once was upgraded to a simply breathtaking room called a “One Bedroom Oceanview Master Suite”.  Now, the room was really really great.  I felt embarrassed to be in such a beautiful room all by myself.  As far as the view went, though, in order to actually see the water I had to go out to the balcony, look to my left and lean way over.  If I’d paid for that room expecting to be able to enjoy a view of the water, I’d have been rather upset.

Basically if you can see the slightest sliver of water from any vantage point of your room or balcony, the hotel can call this an oceanview room. Not all hotels have both roomtypes though.

So, the answer is to only book oceanfront rooms, right?  Well…that can be complicated too.  Oceanfront usually means that you are right up next to the water with a full on view of the water.  We’ve found a couple of hotels, though, who define particular rooms as oceanfront even though you can’t see the water at all from the room.

Let me explain.

In both hotels where I’ve found this to be the case, the hotel has areas where the rooms are right on the beach, but foliage or palm trees obstruct the view.  So, the room is right next to the ocean “Oceanfront”.  But, there is no view of the ocean.  Those particular hotels are quick to clarify that “oceanfront does not mean oceanview”.

Also, you will sometimes also find rooms called things like “beachfront”.

Confusing, right?

I agree.

So, what’s a person to do?  You just want to sit in your room and be able to gaze out upon the endless beauty of the ocean.  That’s why you took your time and money to go to the beach. Your best bet is to work with someone who is familiar with the resorts.  Make sure they understand the kind of room you’re wanting…the kind of experience you’re wanting to have.  If they’re good, they’ll be able to guide you either to the room type that will fulfill what you want…or a different resort altogether.

About Catherine Banks
Catherine has been sending people on great vacations since 1989. She is responsible for all of the websites associated with Legacy Travel and is the mother of two great kids. If she isn't working on a website, doing laundry or helping with homework, she's probably out walking Lacy, her Golden Retriever.


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