I was nervous from the beginning about the $500+ per night price with the requirement to be paid in full prior to arrival, and our concerns proved to be justified. We think this resort is banking too much on the fact that it is situated on the spectacular, outer banks coastline of North Carolina, particularly since there are literally hundreds of other options along the same gorgeous coastline. Apparently, the resort was "shut down" over the winter months for renovations, however not all areas were re-done and we think the high price with the additional "resort fee" is an attempt to recover the costs of renovation. The property is comprised of multiple buildings, with the guest rooms in buildings that are on the ocean side of Hwy 12 and the spa, reception area and hotel's fine dining restaurant are on the sound side. Therefore, guests must cross a very busy highway to utilize the full resort. Be forewarned as there are no rooms with a true "ocean view" as the property is built on the backside of a huge bank of beach sand dunes which entirely block the view of the ocean and the beach. We were informed of this only after we arrived. We were extremely disappointed when we checked into our "ocean view" room with two queens (also, very few rooms are equipped with double queen beds) to find that we were literally hanging over the "children's" pool, which also had speakers blaring out constant music. (So much for enjoying the sound of the surf!) Since there was absolutely zero ocean view, despite the ocean view category and it's inflated price, we ended up moving across the hall, only to overlook an unlandscaped area of dirt, with our deck separated from Hwy 12 by a line of tall bushes...for a slighted reduced price. It was just such a let down. Add this to the fact that the rooms are really nothing special. Our room was basically appointed and clean, however the decor and finishes were far from luxurious or unique. To be totally frank, we might as well have been in a basic, chain hotel. The air conditioning is "locked" at set point, so in the afternoon when the sun sets over the sound on the west side, the west side rooms like ours heat up and guests can not make an adjustment. The common areas did not seem to be as well kept and clean. For example, the windows were in terrible need of cleaning, the floor in the fitness room was filthy and at the end of the hall in the building where our guest room was located, were all the cleaning carts, buckets, vacuum cleaners and various pieces of equipment pushed all together along with piles of what appeared to be bundles of laundered towels.
Some of the positives are the saltwater "adult" pool,which is a separate and away from the "kids" pool. When you show up to the pathway that leads to the beach, the staff will assist guests to their chosen beach spot and set up beach chairs and umbrella or two, as well as provide beach towels. There is a great body and foot shower to hose off after beach time. The resort recently built several new platform decks on the dunes which over look the surf and are an especially nice place to enjoy evenings. Additionally, there is a handy beach snack bar in the center of the property on the way to the beach that serves beverages and food. The snack bar also has restrooms, so guests do not have to return from the beach to the guestroom if nature calls. In the evenings, there are two gas powered fire pits that are turned on and sometimes they have a performer. We listened to guitar music one evening, and it was delightful. And, finally, the fine dining, called Kimball's Kitchen, across the highway offered was outstanding.
All in all, we had a nice stay, but I felt a bit taken advantage of price wise. I would not be able to recommend the resort without reservation.
Ask for the ocean side, but don't expect a full beach / ocean view. The opposite side can have...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
July 17, 2013
Thank you for your recent visit and we appreciate your feedback. The winter renovations included the lobby, pools, walkways/landscaping, the addition of the Sandbar and remodel of the Lifesaving Station and Kimball's Kitchen. The rooms were part of a renovation two winters ago. We did a few updates in the rooms but did not replace hard or soft goods. The resort did go to a tip free environment so a good portion of that gets paid out to our staff so it is not being used to fund the renovations. We have two queens bedded rooms only in the North Wing which are located near the Resort Pool. They are listed on our website as Sunset or OceanSIDE Two Queens (and corresponding photos show the dune in that room category). We do have an OceanVIEW category as well but they are in either the Main or the South Building where we are able to get above the dune line that does not have the 2 queens. These are full on oceanfront rooms. The landscaping around the North Inn has been completed now and additional storage has been built out for housekeeping. We are sorry these things were not complete prior to your visit. We hope you will give us another opportunity on a future visit to the Outer Banks.
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