Thursday, January 8, 2009

Throwing Stones at Waterstone

Written by Jason Koertge
Last Updated: January 12, 2009

Waterstone Resorts and Vacation Homes offer vacation rentals all over the state of Florida. On Panama City Beach they claim to manage properties from ten different resorts. The company’s website is full of glowing reviews and recommendations but if someone just scratches the Google search service a little, they will find numerous negative claims about Waterstone.

If that is not enough a check of their status with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) finds a C- rating due to a series of unresolved complaints. On a Waterstone blog website there is evidence that the BBB has given them an unsatisfactory rating, but this has not been discovered in any BBB materials as of yet.

“Waterstone Sucks,” seems to be the ringing sentiment of many current and past clients of the company found on blog websites all over the internet.

Jim Pitts, an owner at Calypso Resorts and Towers that used Waterstone, stated that he inspected his unit three times last year and each time the unit was filthy.

“The carpet was so dirty it had to be replaced,” Pitts said. “There was filth everywhere. The walls were marked up, dust and dirt caked on baseboards, light bulbs and even the toaster was dirty.”

Pitts wrote a handwritten note and email to Waterstone stating that he no longer wanted them to manage his properties. His communications went ignored until he sent a certified letter sometime later demanding that tenants be removed from his property and that Waterstone cease any further management of his property.

Pitts also feels that the company is unethical and unfair in their fee structure and maintenance.

“They charge the owner for travel agent fees on top of their own (fees) and they charge the owner for ‘credit card’ use. They will charge the owner a minimum of $22.50 every time they so much as set foot in the unit to do anything,” Pitts said. “They rip the owners off with the keyless entry crap and owners of Calypso units need to understand that these people are absolutely ruining our investments. They need to be removed from the premises.”

Bill Harris, another individual who has had dealings with Waterstone, has set up numerous blog websites for angered property owners to vent their passions about Waterstone. These can be found at:,, and

Harris claims that Waterstone owns four units at Nautilus Cove Condominiums and that the company is currently past due on their condo’s quarterly assessments. There is also evidence that the State of Florida has already four outstanding liens against the company for over $118,000. If the Nautilus Cove past due amounts were not paid by the end of ’08 then Waterstone will be facing new liens.

Waterstone seems to find them self in a public relation nightmare. When a company ignores claims from concerned clients, there are avenues that these clients can take to attack the company’s reputation. As of right now, a Google search of “Waterstone Panama City” brings up typical listings for the company. The company should be aware that as these blog websites attract new participants there could be a day, not far off, that one of these blog websites could be ranked by a search engine right underneath the Waterstone website or even above it.



#1 Gregg
January 12, 2009 pm31 9:11 pm

We stayed at the Calypso this Summer and certainly were not impressed with Waterstone. while we were in the office around 10:00pm AT NIGHT!! a family came in that had a unit booked for that day. When they went in, they were informed that their unit had not been cleaned as of yet and had no clue when it would be ready as they had only gotten to the 20th floor.

There was no attempt to place them elsewhere, no apology, it was just a matter of fact. This was their attitude we experienced throughout our visit. In addition, the beach manager (or what ever) seemed to have an anger management problem. He was rude to the guests as well as insulting to the folks that worked for him. Quite honestly I did not hear or experience one good thing about Waterstone while we were there.Our secondary purpose of visiting PCB was our interest in purchasing a condo.

One of our requirements was a complex NOT handled by Waterstone. We since then we have purchased one, while at the time, a great price, maybe not so great in today’s market but we are happy with it and the rental company handling our unit. Sooner or later this has got to hurt the resale values in the complexes that they manage. This is a double whammy in today’s depressed market.All I can comment on is our personal experience with them and their interaction with other guests.

Post Reply
#2 Jim

January 13, 2009 pm31 8:54 am

Please don’t let these negative comments form your opinion of Calypso. Most rental companies operate this way. I think you will find on the‘Rentals by Owner’ sites many who take pride in caring for their own units. I think this would be the majority of the units at any of these resorts.

The developer still controls the board at Calypso, so he isn’t making any changes. In fact he had a vested interest in Waterstone at one time. Hopefully this will change next year and the owners’ board can discard Waterstone.

Post Reply
#3 Chris

January 13, 2009 pm31 9:16 am

Interesting to hear this, but not a surprise. My husband and I stayed at Waterstone’s Calypso for a week in September, the purpose of our visit was to purchase a Condo in PCB.

While at Calypso, the staff (if any could be found) were unfriendly. The one day we went to the beach we had to wake up the Waterstone chair attendant to ask for our beachchairs, the 5 minutes he was helping us, he did not even say hello or have a nice day.

The unit we stayed in had dirty carpeting, needed painting and was not cleaned thoroughly. There was writing on the wall in one of the bathrooms. We noticed that there were maintenance issues throughout the resort (cracked tiles in the elevator, etc.)

While in PCB, we looked at about a dozen Calypso units for sale. However, because of the general impression of neglect we decided to purchase our Condo elsewhere.

Post Reply
#4 Gregg

January 13, 2009 pm31 10:51 am

Jim you are correct, the condo we stayed in was individually managed by the owner who uses VRBO, it was clean, well maintained, and certainly we went away with a feeling that the owner had pride in his unit. The Calypso is a beautiful building and has many things to offer.I also have to agree with Chris, the Waterstone staff was unfriendly and less than helpful to their guests. In speaking to the owner of the unit we stayed in, he told us that Developer/Waterstone controlled the HOA and some of the problems the owners were experiencing; it made up our mind that we would not consider a unit that they had anything to do with.

Post Reply
karen smith
January 13, 2009 pm31 11:05 am

Wow!!! How sad for those folks to have that kind of impression when they come to our beach. I am very impatient when people are not kind. I do want them to be competent but at the very least always make people feel welcome and be of service to them. Those of us that love the beach are grateful that there is a format for people to come to and find what works here and what does not. As always Jason thanks for being the EAGLE eye in our community.Now I have an idea I want us all including the management companies to live by my slogan, “The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us”Enjoy your day and help someone enjoy theres too.

Post Reply
#6 Jim

January 13, 2009 pm31 6:02 pm

Any resort, whether it be Calypso or any of the many other nice places, is only as good as its’ Board of Directors. The Board typically is made up of concerned owners who dedicate their free time to making the resort better. When this resort is finally handed over to the owners, per Florida Law, it will become a premier resort.

For those of you that decided to buy at another resort, please check out their Condo Documents carefully, to see what the developer will control and for how long. Developers are in the business of making money, not spending money.

Post Reply
#7 jamnolfin

January 14, 2009 pm31 8:05 pm

We are one of the original owners of Calypso and know well of Waterstone. We are counting the days til 2010 and they are gone. We keep our unit in top notch shape, Im here painting and sprucing up right now. Check it out.

Post Reply
#8 Bob

January 14, 2009 pm31 9:35 pm

When I purchased my condo waterstone was already renting the unit. They were not my company of choice and I changed after a few months and the rentals were fininshed. They would never remove their lock on my door- I had to get a separate company. Plus I never got back my damage deposit of $300 after dozens of calls. I had no choice but just to give up. I would rather leave my unit empty than use those thieves.

Post Reply
#9 Georgia

January 17, 2009 pm31 1:40 pm

Obviously this company has a lot of unhappy customers but what surprised me was that they can ‘owe’ $118,000 to the State for unpaid taxes that they had already collected from customers. If I owed any government body $100 they would probably tap my bank account for it, guess the best way to owe the State money is to owe a lot of it.