MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A TikTok showing the moldy conditions inside the Sea Mist Resort in downtown Myrtle Beach now has more than six million views and nearly 35,000 comments.
The poster, Kelly Bruce, is from Durham, North Carolina. She saved up to take her lifelong friends on a girls’ trip to Myrtle Beach. What they saw when they arrived is something they will never forget.
“This was my gift to my friends, like it was horrible,” Bruce said. “The conditions there were just horrible. We were traumatized because we’ve never seen anything like that in our lives.”
When Bruce and her friends first arrived at the hotel, she said they were placed in the wrong room. After alerting hotel staff, she said they were placed in what the hotel’s management called “an upgrade.”
“It was mold from the ceiling to the floor from the bed, the carpet, the chairs,” Bruce said. “It was just everywhere. We were just in disbelief.”
That is when she took out her phone and started taking a video of what she saw.
“I was like, oh my God, is this real,” Bruce said. “I thought this was supposed to be an upgrade.”
She said she went straight to the manager to show her the video, but the manager was not interested.
“[The manager] told me she didn’t want to see the video,” Bruce said. “She said ‘I believe you. I don’t wanna see it.’”
That is when Bruce decided to post the video on TikTok.
“I did not expect [the video] to blow up,” Bruce said. “I was just like, ‘this is unbelievable. Nobody’s gonna believe me if I don’t have something to document this.’”
Bruce said she wanted the public to know what the hotel was like before they paid more than $300 a night like she did.
“The world needs to see that that’s disgusting,” Bruce said. “No one, I don’t care what you paid. If you paid a dollar, $10, nobody should have to stay in those type of standards.”
It did not take long for the hotel’s corporate office to find the post.
“I was called to the manager’s office and they told me that corporate saw the TikTok and they wanted me to remove it,” Bruce said.
The hotel offered her a refund, a three-day stay in the resort’s penthouse, free breakfast and tickets to Ripley’s aquarium.
Bruce initially told hotel staff members that she would consider the offer. When she returned to the hotel management the next day, she said she wanted to speak to corporate first. That’s when the staff told her that the offer of a refund and gifts was no longer on the table.
“[The manager] told me that I will not be getting a refund and [any] of the things that they were going to provide in that offer if I removed the TikTok,” Bruce said. “It was being rescinded and I would not be receiving it.”
After the TikTok gained popularity, the Sea Mist Resort posted a statement on its Facebook page:
“We are aware of the viral TikTok video depicting a room with mold. We’d like to take this opportunity to give you more details. This unit is managed by Sea Mist but not owned by Sea Mist. The unit was on maintenance block to be treated for mold, which is a regular issue at EVERY resort in a humid climate. The unit was released in error and the guest was moved to a newly renovated unit that she then occupied for her two nights. In addition to the upgrade, the guest was offered compensation that she declined. While we do have rooms around the property that are blocked due to various maintenance issues, this was an isolated incident and we have hundreds of newly renovated rooms for all your vacation needs.”
Sea Mist has since deleted the post.
According to Bruce, the incident did not seem isolated.
“The times that I was in the management office, [other guests] were talking about the mold,” Bruce said. “People were complaining about the mold, so that was not an isolated incident.”
Bruce said all she wanted from her TikTok was to make people aware.
“The story needs to get out,” Bruce said. “People need to realize that this company does not care about the health of the people that it provides services for.”
News13 has reached out to Sea Mist Resort for comment. At the time of this report, they have not responded.