I've stayed at the Waterway Lodge several times, and really don't understand the handful of negative reviews here. It's a privately owned hotel in a fantastic location, where you spend half of what you would anywhere on the beach, yet are a quick walk or bike ride to several restaurants, bars, shops, and of course the beach. Walk across the road and there's the waterway. The drawbridge. Summer Rest Park. It's awesome, and the rooms are clean. My last stay was for two nights in late April 2016, and I had a efficiency room with full kitchen, king bed, etc for $320 total. That would have been one night at the Sunspree or Blockade Runner. Until I hit the Powerball, that ain't happening.
The staff I've interacted with is very helpful, and very friendly. Getting in late? They'll call and let you know your key is in a lockbox, and provide you with the code. Very convenient for my situation.
At any rate, give it a shot...I think some of these reviewers just have sand in their bathing suits.More