Our prior stay in Ocean Isle Beach was three years ago, also at the Islander Inn. The reservation policy is one nights cost is your deposit, charged to your credit card when you make the reservation. The unusual thing is the entire balance (less deposit) for the 7 night stay was charged upon arrival. Further things charged to the room- IE Tiki Hut, was billed to the card the some day as the charge was posted to the room. Had we not been return guests with a very good idea of what we expecting, this might have taken us aback. We had called ahead to mention we were arriving early, they stated they could take our cell number and call us when the room was ready. When we arrived no offer was made to take a phone number, we were just reminded that check in was 3 PM. No worries, we hooked up with Scott, the gentlemen that rents umbrellas and chairs, got under our umbrella and with our cooler made do for the day. A little before 3 we went back to check on the room and it was ready. Though we were in the system from our previous stays, no mention was made of welcoming us back as returning guests. We were in a second floor ocean front room with 2 queen beds. For a seven night stay with 4 adults it is a tight fit, about 6 hangers in one closet, 3 drawers for clothes with a couple upright places to hang more clothes, but no hangers. There was a fairly large flat screen TV, we turned it on maybe twice in the week. It has a small fridge, a microwave across the room, but it frees up the limited counter space near the sink. With 90 plus days the AC worked fine, it blows heat onto the balcony, so if you prefer to be on the balcony, turn off the AC and you will be more comfortable. The balcony is adequate sized, it has a couple plastic chairs and a small plastic table. Later in the week it really cooled off and for the first time in a NC hotel room I had to turn the heat on, this also performed well. We were in building 1 which is right over the pool, noise was very tolerable, a concern we had when we made the reservation. The outdoor pool area was not lit, so it was mostly empty by dusk. The indoor pool is small, but handy if you have kids and it is a rainy day. Proximity to the ocean is the hotels best feature. At night, turn off the AC, open the balcony door and be put to sleep by the sound of the ocean. We returned this time as we knew we would be able to enjoy the ocean and get some rest, the Islander hit the spot. We shopped rates with the hotel next door, which in years past we have stayed at as well, this was less expensive, especially so if you have more than 2 adults in the room. Hotels at the ocean take a beating, all the sand that is tracked in, the rust on metal from the salt- the Islander does a good job of fighting that battle, the rooms are kept clean, they are a bit worn, but not unsatisfactory. There is a discount for staying beyond 5 nights, which due to the lengthy drive, we prefer to stay longer. We noticed very few people stayed more than a couple days with constant turn around. Breakfast has a lot of carbs, Belgium waffles were the big treat, 3 cereal choices, several types of oatmeal, bagels, some pastries, fruit was either a banana or an apple for the week we were there. I enjoyed the little sausage sandwiches on an English muffin. The breakfast changes little to none each day, with enough choices to get by. Almost everyday there was enough tables, always enough food, but earlier is always less crowded. Food is not to be taken from the breakfast area and removed from the breakfast area, it seemed to be mostly staff that ignored this policy, but what a nice employer to provide many of their staff members breakfast. The Tiki bar by the pool was cheap for non-alcoholic beverages, $3.00 for a 12 oz daiquiri, no clue on the prices of the alcohol drinks, did not see a lot of people getting drinks. The exercise room is 3 machines in a small room shared with the ice maker. There is coin laundry on premise, but we did not test it out. The hotel was quite full most of the time we were there in early to mid August. Beyond the one young lady that works in the breakfast area, not a lot of the staff seems to smile much. Housekeeping did a nice job, being in building one, they came on the early side, this was OK as we were up each day. Building 7 at the other end allows pets, not something I would want to deal with on vacation. The elevator is in building two, the path from the parking area to the lowest level to get on the elevator is usually a damp dingy mess, not the best first impression for first time guests. Smoking is prohibited in the rooms and balcony, but is allowed on the pool deck and a few other places. Only a couple times did I smell smoke from the balcony, supposedly there is a fee for smoking in the room, but given the obvious nature of the individual smoking on her balcony in building 2 over the pool, I doubt the staff looks to make waves on this. The gazebo is pleasant, it saw quite a bit of use the time we were there. The hotel next door is pet free and completely smoke free, which will make them a strong consideration for us next time. Final observation- the Wifi service was very sporadic and unfortunately the over night clerk had no clue how to reset the modem, which was very frustrating getting up early to get my work out of the way so I could enjoy most my time at the beach. They said they are reviewing internet service options and hope to have better service next year. there were no hidden resort fees and we were charged exactly as quoted.
Would we come back? Sure, we are very fond of Ocean Isle Beach, the width of the beach, the family friendly community, the proximity to a church service (beach side service just past the neighboring hotel), the ease of getting restaurants (we mostly took the short drive down to Calabash each evening for dinner), There are 42 ocean front rooms, I would highly recommend staying in one of them, the 'bay' side has no balconies, a view of the road mostly.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.