I'll add, we stay in the garden rooms now as we don't spend that much time there. We've paid for the bfvs once, got upgraded for free from the greathouse to the first floor bfvs once and now we can't afford beachfront anymore. I admit, we really enjoyed the first floor but not the second floor so much. Our view was obstructed so not worth the money imo.
We have stayed in both a beachfront verandah suite and in the greathouse. To us, the greathouse felt too "hotel-like" and it was a completely different vibe than being beach front. You may have the "ocean" category confused with "beach-view" because there is no beach-view category. The ocean verandah suite rooms are exactly the same as the BFVS rooms except they are situated behind the BFVS rooms, so the view is not quite as good. You will still be plenty close to the beach in the ocean rooms. We love the BFVS rooms for their proximity to the beach. Many resorts say that they rooms are beachfront, and they are actually 100 yards or more from the beach. The BFVS rooms are truly beachfront.
We stayed in the greathouse on our last visit and liked it. We had previously stayed in the ocean verandah suites and they do have more of a tropical feel. We are going back in September and staying in the greathouse due to the little time spent in the rooms and being able to stay an extra day with the money we saved.
We booked a BFVS for June 2014 and are really excited about it and hoping we get a first floor room. We haven't been on a trip in a really long time so we splurged for the upgrade. On our honeymoon however in 2008 we stayed in a great house room and really enjoyed it. In one direction we had a view of the ocean and the other a view of the gardens. We were really close to the pool and pretty close to the beach and the room was really quiet. It definitely is more hotel-like but that didn't bother me. The only complaint I had was that the entire great house (not our room, we kept the AC low) was air conditioned and so cold! Sometimes it was a chilly walk down the hallway coming back from the beach or dinner.
opted for the garden this time...last time was over 3 yrs ago! loved the atrium, but that has gone up in lowest to third from lowest. like hubby says, we won't be in our room much. he just wants to make sure that we get to go on the cat! happy 20th anniv to us can't wait!