The Best Western Holiday Sands Inn may not be for everyone. Those who expect the newest furnishings, the most immaculate accomodations, and a developed, activity-filled location with lots for the kids to do may well be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a relaxing, uncrowded place by the beach with the flexibility to accomodate a couple or a small family, then the Holiday Sands Inn may be just the place you are looking for.
If I were to guess, I'd think the Holiday Sands Inn was built in the 50's or 60's...it just has that kind of look to it. I stayed there for the ridiculously low price of $59 a night as a Best Western employee, but a similar room can be had from Best Western's website in the neighborhood of $115-130 per night. We had a "suite" with a full kitchen, king bed, sofabed and balcony in the five story tower. Almost (but not all) of the rooms in this hotel have bayfront balconies...make sure you ask for/get one! The room was not particularly large, but was certainly adequate for two people, and with the sofabed I'd think accomodating a small child or two would be no problem. The tiny but full kitchen featured a sink, mini-fridge, a microwave, a stove with four(!) top electric burners and a small oven, as well as enough dishes and silverware/cookware for four people. The oven had a broiler pan and baking sheet inside it; we actually baked cookies in our room! The small freezer area in the mini-fridge was in serious need of a defrosting, but otherwise worked fine (the door even had the little compartment for eggs). A single-cup coffee maker (the little pod packs) was also there....very handy and fast. For the couple/family on a budget who wants to save some money on eating out, you could definitely get by with this kitchen. The room also had another comfy chair in the sitting area and one at the writing desk. Free in-room high speed (but not wireless) internet access was provided, and the front desk happily loaned me a ethernet cable to connect my laptop to the internet port. They also had two computers in the lobby for guests to access the net. The king sized bed was very comfortable; my 8 months pregnant wife has had trouble sleeping recently but had no such trouble in this bed.
Now for some of the "bad"...the property shows it age in places. While the lobby and the continental breakfast room were new and modern, the decor inside the rooms and outside the property looks somewhat dated and in some cases, well worn. There is some corrosion (rust) evident on some of the outside painted metal surfaces...but this is a beachfront, salt water/air environment, so what do you expect? In our suite, there was some mold on the caulk around the tub, but otherwise the tub looked great. The linoleum tiles on the bathroom floor were beginning to crack. The carpet in the room was not the newest, nor was it completely spotless. Despite these minor things, my wife and I felt the room was "clean" and had no reservations about staying there. Some "neat freaks" I have seen posting reviews here would have probably been horrified, but I think these minor issues would be easily overlooked by many travelers. The property is located right on Ocean View Boulevard in Norfolk. The immediate local area isn't exactly hopping with restaurants, shops, clubs or recreational opportunities (except for the beach/ocean itself), but if you have a car then you aren't far from any of that stuff. If you want to be able to walk to these things, then this property won't be to your liking. In fact, the hotel is practically located in a residential neighborhood, and some of that neighborhood is in decline. Then again, the Ocean View area is beginning to see the effects of redevelopment and the quaint and worn will soon be displaced by the new and affluent.
What really made this property stand out is the view, the balcony, and its' location right on the Chesapeake Bay! When you walked out onto the balcony, you were literally less than 100 yards from the edge of the water! The view was spectacular! The wife made a point of getting up early to watch the sun rise over the eastern horizon. The balcony overlooked a beautiful beach that was amazingly pristine (at least, devoid of cigarette butts, pop cans, and the other garbage that most tourists leave behind). From the shelter of the Bay, the waves were extremely gentle. They still lapped the shore, but wouldn't knock down a one-year old. We saw very few people on the beach itself, it was far less crowded than Virginia Beach would be at this time of year (mid June). We took a stroll on the beach one evening around 10 PM and only passed one other person. The hotel also has a very nice pool just behind the hotel, between the buildings and the beach itself. They will also provide beach chairs upon request. There were two nice deck chairs on our balcony, where we sat and relaxed and listened to the gentle surf. The large window in front of the balcony offered the same great view. The hotel was having a free cookout on Sunday (the day we checked out). The outdoor charcoal grills are available for guests use as well.
A free continental breakfast is included, fairly standard but unremarkable offerings of breads/cereals/juices etc. except for the nice inclusion of country biscuits and sausage gravy...a real southern touch (instant grits were also available...yum). The lobby was also well stocked with snacks and drinks available for purchase.
To sum up, if you are looking for a nice place on the Bay/Ocean to relax, get away from the crowds, with a great little beach and spectacular views, have a car to do any necessary travel to restaurants/activities, and don't mind a few small "age spots", the Holiday Sands Inn may be just the little hidden gem you've been looking for.
- Also Known As:
- Best Western Holiday Sands Hotel
- Best Western Holiday Sands Hotel Norfolk
- Best Western Norfolk
- Norfolk Best Western
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