MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A TikTok showing the musty 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 forever friends on a girls’ trip to Myrtle Beach. What they saw when they arrived is something they will never forget.
“It was my gift to my friends, like it was awful,” Bruce said. “The conditions there were just awful. We were traumatized because we have never seen anything like it in our lives.
When Bruce and his friends first arrived at the hotel, she said they had been put in the wrong room. After alerting hotel staff, she said they had been placed in what hotel 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’s when she pulled out her phone and started filming what she saw.
“I was like, oh my god, is this real,” Bruce said. “I thought it was supposed to be an upgrade.”
She said she went straight to the manager to show him 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 want to see it.'”
It was then that Bruce decided to post the video on TikTok.
“I was not expecting this [the video] blow up,” Bruce said. “I was just like, ‘This is amazing. Nobody’s going to 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 paying over $300 a night like she did.
“The world needs to see this is disgusting,” Bruce said. “Nobody, I don’t care what you paid. If you pay a dollar, $10, no one should have to stay within those kind of standards.
It didn’t take long for the hotel’s head office to find the position.
“I was called to the manager’s office and they told me the company had seen the TikTok and they wanted me to take it down,” 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 first told hotel staff members that she would consider the offer. When she returned to hotel management the next day, she said she wanted to speak to the company first. It was then that the staff told him that the offer of refunds and freebies was no longer on the table.
“[The manager] told me that I would not be reimbursed and [any] things that they were going to provide in this offer if I took down TikTok,” Bruce said. “It was canceled and I wouldn’t receive it.”
After the TikTok gained popularity, the Sea Mist Resort released a statement on its Facebook page:
“We are aware of the viral TikTok video of a room with mold. We would like to take this opportunity to give you more details. This unit is operated by Sea Mist but not owned by Sea Mist. The unit was under maintenance to be treated for mold, which is a regular problem in EVERY resort in a humid climate. The unit was vacated by mistake and the guest was moved to a newly remodeled unit which she then occupied for her two nights. In addition to the upgrade, the guest was offered compensation which she declined. Although we have rooms around the property that are jammed 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 I was in the management office, [other guests] were talking about mold,” Bruce said. “People were complaining about mold, so it wasn’t an isolated incident.”
Bruce said all she wanted from her TikTok was to raise awareness.
“The story has to come out,” Bruce said. “People need to realize that this company doesn’t care about the health of the people they serve.”
News13 has contacted Sea Mist Resort for comment. At the time of this report, they have not responded.