Pros:Comfortable rooms, right on the beach, close to convention center, movie theater and mall.
The Bottom Line: Stay right on the beach at the Holiday Inn Sunspree, North Beach in Virginia Beach.
My daughter has been a cheerleader for a number of years and this year we have been to more competitions than ever before, some close to home and some that required hotel stays. When the coaches decided to attend a competition in Virginia, they chose the Holiday Inn Sunspree, North Beach in Virginia Beach.
We were told that our check in time was 4:00 pm, but when we arrived at 3:30, my room and a friend's room were both ready. This hotel has two six-story building connected by a glass walkway on the ground level. There are suites and standard rooms available, and every room has a balcony that the ocean can be seen from. Some balconies have better views than others since some face the beach itself and others, like mine was, are angled towards the water and face the other building while overlooking one of the pools and the guest drop off area.
Our check in process went smoothly, which is not always the case when somebody else has made your reservation as part of a block of twenty or so rooms. Since our team was in the building that the lobby was not a part of, we had a little bit of a walk to the elevators. The two small elevators ran rather slowly, and only fit six adults at most and less if they had luggage. This meant that on occasion, we opted to use the stairs.
Our room was clean and comfortable, with a large bathroom with plenty of counter space for our toiletries. There was only a large shower stall, and no bathtub, which was fine for me and my teenage daughter, but it could be a problem if you were traveling with small children who needed to be bathed in a tub. A hair dryer was provided, but we had to continually reset both it and the outlet as it overheated very quickly. After hearing that another person from our group had a similar problem I decided not to ask housekeeping for a replacement as we were only staying there for two days.
Our room had two queen beds, with four pillows each which had tags on them indicating whether they were soft or firm. A clock radio and telephone were on the nightstand between the beds with two lamps attached to the wall above it. A large chest of drawers had a shelf for the microwave oven and ice bucket and also concealed the refrigerator. A flat screen television sat on top of this chest along with a four-cup coffee pot. A desk with a lamp and a telephone, two desk chairs, a floor lamp and an armchair completed the room. A sliding glass door opened onto the balcony which contained two lawn chairs.
This hotel offers valet parking, but since they park the cars right across the street in the same lot that we were given a parking pass for upon registration, we found it easier just to self-park during our stay. Snacks were available for sale in the lobby along with twenty-four hour free coffee.
There are three restaurants housed within this hotel property: The Greenery, The Square Whale and Isle of Capri. The Greenery is a buffet which only serves breakfast, and it was included in our stay. Be mindful that if a group, such as hundreds of cheerleaders, is staying at this hotel, you may have a very long wait for breakfast. On one morning, we put eight of our girls at a round table set for six, and six adults sat/stood at a small table that would normally seat four. The buffet did have fresh food, including hot and cold cereal, yogurt, fruit, breads and muffins, scrambled eggs, meats and made to order waffles. The Square Whale is a casual outdoor cafe near the beach and pool and the Isle of Capri is where you can have a nice Italian dinner, with reservations being recommended and proper attire required.
This hotel is right on the beach, but it also has indoor and outdoor pools for guests to enjoy. One pool is behind the walkway that connects the two buildings with the beach right on the other side and the other one has tube slides and is in the front of the building surrounded by a high fence so that it cannot be seen by the road. For a third choice, there is the lazy river located in the indoor Splish Splash Lagoon.
On the first floor of the hotel is a movie room where family-friendly movies ran continuously during our stay, and there is also a fitness center, guest laundry and free Wi-Fi in the rooms and throughout the hotel.
There are a number of stores within walking distance such as 7-Eleven, Starbucks, pizzerias and other eateries, and plenty of souvenir shops. My daughter's competition was held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, which was about a five minute drive from this hotel and there was a large indoor mall with a movie theater and chain restaurants located about ten minutes away.
Since this hotel is so close to the convention center, I would think that they would often be completely booked with large groups. However, our group ran into some housekeeping problems. There were rooms that did not get new towels, others that did not get additional shampoo bottles that were asked for and the last two rooms in our group were just being made up for the day as we were heading out for dinner. Personally, I had no problems as my room was made up early and had been restocked with everything I needed, but friends of mine were a bit inconvenienced. It is possible that the hotel was short-staffed during our stay since managers and front-desk personnel were often seen on our floor emptying hallway trash cans and even changing a light bulb.
Since this hotel is located on a beach in a summer vacation destination area, the room rates vary greatly depending on when you want to stay. A stay during the winter might cost about one hundred dollars per night, while a summertime weekend night could be three hundred dollars or more per night.
If I was planning a trip to Virginia Beach, I would definitely look into staying at the Holiday Inn Sunspree, North Beach located at 3900 Atlantic Avenue. It was clean, comfortable and convenient to get to.
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