We stayed at this Hampton Inn for an extended weekend 10/4 -10/8 when the Chicago Bears played in town. I struggled with making the decision about where to stay for weeks! I am so glad I picked the HI. It was clearly the best choice for us once we got there and saw other nearby options.
Being from Chicago, we were specifically looking for the beach experience for our getaway,not just a hotel in Jacksonville. Having traveled all over Mexico and the Caribean, staying in predominantly AI hotels, we have gotten spoiled! A lot of the hotels in the beach cities really didn't seem to offer much but tiny pools in the parking lot. The pool and Tiki Bar at the HI really made the few days we had feel like vacation. I loved the beachy decor and vibe the hotel offers.
It appears there used to maybe be a bar inside and that would sure be a welcome addition for the nighttime since the Tiki closes kind of early, but we enjoyed that outdoor area a lot.
The breakfast was not what we are used to, it was very crowded and seemed disorganized, but it was nice to have that included. I hate having to get up in the morning and forage for food. I don't like decision making that early, unless it is whether I should sit at the pool or on the beach.
I agree with the other comments I've read about the staff. They were great from the moment we arrived. We had a very early flight and they let us check-in hours before the stated time. The ladies and gentleman I had contact with were all very accomodating and nice. They helped with any need we had from restaurant suggestions to calling a cab with a smile. We met family and friends in Jacksonville, but really wouldn't have needed to travel that far for anything. There were a lot of unique places to eat and drink within walking distance or a very short drive. Not big chains that offer the same thing I can get at home. We loved watching college football at Sneakers and having dinner at a pub that was Edgar Allan Poe themed called Poe's Tavern.
I wish I had gotten the name of the wonderful bartender who took care of us at the Tiki Bar multiple times during our stay. She was awesome! (Look for the tiny blond) There was a poolside server on the weekend. Nice touch!!
The room we had was oceanfront and worth the extra money. I'm a sucker for sitting on a balconey listening to waves.
There was not only a bed, but a couch and sitting area, fridge, micro etc. and I did not book a suite. In my opinion the bed and pillows were really good for a hotel. The linens smelled nice.
I would offer just a few suggestions for minor improvements, unless I missed the boat and just didn't see what I should have when it comes to these things.
Beach/pool towels - We did not know where to get towels for the pool/beach and we didn't see any signs about that during the week. On the weekend there was an attendant at the pool with towels which was great.
We had no idea where the people on the beach got chairs and cabanas. On our last day, again on the weekend, we figured out there is a vendor who rents them. Information about this type of service would have been great to have in the room.
The bathroom needs an exhaust fan. Man it stayed humid in there for a while after a shower. That was not the best environment to get ready in.
We were concerned about traveling the distance to the game and back, so we'd made reservations for the day of the game downtown. When the time came we didn't want to leave and actually found out the hotel was making shuttle arrangements for their guests. That should have been advertised. I never would have left.
If the Bears come back to Jax, offering a game package would be great. I'm in for sure :)
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