My wife and I took our three children (ages 3-12) to the Oceanana for a spur-of-the-moment weekend beach trip in late May. On a Thursday I was able to reserve a Standard Room for the next two nights (Fri. and Sat.). I'm glad that I called ahead, as there was no vacancy on Saturday by the time we arrived.
The property is clearly quite aged, and is overdue for a restoration. That being said, management clearly takes pride in maintaining the property, dated as it is. Everything seemed to be freshly painted and in working order during our stay. For example, there are at least a few hundred light bulbs illuminating the various walkways and balconies on the property, and every single one appeared to be working while we were there.
Our room was austere, but clean and free of any unpleasant odors. The bright white cinder block walls were devoid of any decoration whatsoever. The view from the window was that of the shared balcony and the building across the parking lot, which I believe to be similar to the view that most of the rooms at the Oceanana have. Our room lacked a thermostat or A/C fan, and was cooled by a semi-passive system which used a radiator mounted at ceiling level. It was effective, however, and there were a couple of times during our stay when I needed to reduce the cooling effect in the room. I soon discovered that I could stand on one of the beds and close the valve that provided coolant to the radiator if I needed to reduce the chill a bit. There was a small television in the room that received about seven broadcast channels, but no cable or satellite programming. The room was also outfitted with a small refrigerator and a telephone, but no coffee maker, microwave, hair dryer, clothes iron, or other common amenities. The bathroom featured a shower, but no tub. The beds were worn and the linens minimal, but not so much so that we were unable to sleep. My wife accurately described the overall feeling of the room as that of an unusually large and comfortable prison cell.
The grounds beyond the room were more appealing. A large and creative playground in good repair is on the premises, along with other classic children's entertainment activities such as tetherball and a hopscotch court. Several Little Tikes-type toys are also on the grounds, and our younger children were delighted by the assortment of things to do. The pool was clean and in good repair. For those of you who (like me) dislike carrying your family's chairs, umbrellas, etc. down to the beach and back, there are cabana boys on staff who will gladly set up some of the resort's loungers and a large umbrella on the beach for you. Don't forget to bring a few bucks with you to tip these guys - the service is well worth it.
The Oceanana did charge an extra person fee of about $11.50 for each person in the room who was over the age of two. While I was a bit taken aback by this practice, the hotel staff was very upfront about it during the reservation process, and the total room rate that we paid was comparable to other oceanfront properties in the area.
All in all, if you have young children, want to stay in an oceanfront location, and will not be spending much time in the room, then I recommend the Oceanana. Those seeking a romantic vacation, a relaxing retreat, or a great ocean view would do better elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Oceanana Motel is a unique family destination on North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks. Featuring one of the widest private beaches on the coast, a 1,000 foot long fishing pier and a large children's playground, there is plenty to do for everyone in the family. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Oceanana Hotel Atlantic Beach
- Oceanana Resort Atlantic Beach