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Hampton Inn and Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront
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Reviewed August 27, 2012

The hotel itself isn’t any better or worse than other Hampton properties except for the better than average location on the Bay which they charge a premium for. However, if you don’t have a water front room to enjoy the view, you are better off opting for one of the other highly rated hotels on the island than paying a premium price for a subpar view. This review is not to discredit the other positive reviews of the Hampton Inn here on TripAdvisor, it is to reflect my opinion based on my stay at the Hampton Inn overlooking the “fishery."

I’ll start off with the good points: the staff is friendly and courteous; the hotel is well maintained and very clean; and the water front rooms have a great view of the bay with beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately, the views from the other rooms leave a lot to be desired even though they are priced at a premium to comparable hotels in the area. If you are able to book one of the water front rooms, then I am sure you will have a nice stay as can be seen by the many favorable reviews on Trip Advisor. However, if no water front rooms are available then you are probably better off staying at the Comfort Suites right next door which shares the same Bay View (obviously, since it is right next door) but is cheaper - especially if you are an AARP or AAA member.

The Hampton Inn is basically a U-shaped hotel on the bay side of Chincoteague with three floors: rooms 01-05 face the side (literally) of the Comfort Suites located just steps away to the right; rooms 06-17 face the bay and are noted as water front rooms; and rooms 18-21 face what the staff affectionately refers to as the “fishery” although in my opinion it more closely resembles an “industrial wasteland” - which is just steps away to the left of the hotel. To get the full room number, just add the floor level in front of the room numbers listed above. Our room was 118 which meant we had a King Suite Part Bayview w/balcony on the first floor facing the “fishery”. Now, if you happen to book one of these undesirable rooms online (through one of the many on-line booking sites), you are afforded the opportunity to pay extra and be upgraded if there is availability. However, if you are a loyal Hilton Honors customer (or American Express CardMember) using and/or transferring points to book a room, then you are completely out of luck and will more than likely be assigned a first floor room with a direct view of the “fishery” without any options - even if there are other rooms available as in our case.

Not knowing the set-up, I unfortunately transferred about $500 worth of American Express Membership Rewards points to our Hilton Honors account (80,000 points after conversion) to book a room overlooking the industrial wasteland without any recourse. Granted, I may be overly critical in my description given that neither the Hilton nor the Hampton Inn management was willing to help (which I will explain later) even though I was willing to pay extra to upgrade my room to a water front room. I am attaching photos from my room so that you can draw your own opinions/conclusions. The first few photos show the room number and the views of the balcony sliding door (from inside the room) to prove that the pictures were actually taken from the hotel room. The next three pictures are from the balcony in which one is the view straight ahead, the second is the view slightly to the left and the third is the view slightly to the right. I tried to keep the balcony railing in view to demonstrate that I was, in fact, on the balcony while taking the pictures and to demonstrate how close everything was.

The rest of the review pertains to my dealings with Hilton and Hampton Inn management to work out an agreement that would allow me to pay for an upgraded room (without having to pay the full room price since I had already transferred $500 of American Express points to Hilton). Unfortunately, I was highly unsuccessful.

As background, we decided to take a trip through Virginia this past week in which one of the stops would be in Chincoteague. Like many here, I chose to stay at the Hampton Inn based on all the incredible reviews on Trip Advisor. To save money, we decided to use some American Express Rewards points to offset some of the costs on our trip. We basically had about $500 worth of American Express points that we wanted to use towards the room rate. As such, we had the choice of either booking through American Express using “Pay with Points” (in which $500 would be credited towards the total room cost by Amex) or we could simply transfer the points to Hilton Honors to book the room. Typically we choose the method that provides the most value and in this case it was slightly more beneficial to transfer the points to our Hilton Honors membership to book the room. Therefore, I transferred 80,000 points to Hilton and booked the room which was labeled as a King Suite with a Part Bay View.

Now, I have travelled enough in my life to realize that a partial bay view means that if you stand on the balcony and turn you head completely to the left (or right) you may see some water. Although that did hold true here, I didn’t expect the awful view directly from the room which as I mentioned before resembles an industrial wasteland (and I should know - I’m from New Jersey). The view from the second or third floor may have been slightly better since you probably wouldn’t see the dilapidating structures head on from the living area.

After laughing about the view when we first checked in, I went to the front desk and politely asked if we could be upgraded and that I would be more than willing to pay the upgrade price. I was then politely told that there was a water front room available for $279 per night (whereas my room is typically $239 per night). I was all prepared to upgrade (thinking that the upgrade price would be approximately $40 per night) when I was politely told that I would have to pay the full $279 per night since my room was booked using Hilton Honors points and the new room isn’t designated as a room for points. When I asked what would happen to the points, I was very courteously told that I would have to deal with Hilton regarding that because they (the Hampton Inn) do not have anything to do with that. I was even told that if I called Hilton Honors, they could possibly work out a deal for the water front room even though it wasn’t designated for points.

When I contacted Hilton Honors about the situation, the rep at Hilton Honors proceeded to call and speak directly with the hotel management to see what could be done. A few minutes later I was informed that there was nothing that could be done. I then asked if there were any other properties in the area that they could transfer me to but I kept getting the same response: “yes there are rooms available but none that can be booked with points.” I then asked if it was possible to transfer the points back to Amex so that I could check out of the Hampton Inn and use the points to book the Comfort Suites next door, but you can guess the answer to that. I then reiterated my feeling that I had completely wasted about $500 worth of Amex points for a hotel room with a view of an “industrial wasteland” because, unlike Hilton Honors points, American Express Rewards actually have a real value. I could have used the points to book a room at the Comfort Suites next door or to purchase $500 of merchandise from Amazon. To which one Hilton Honors representative replied: “well have you tried filing a complaint yet?” I then laughed and said: “I thought that is what I have been doing for the last hour and a half.”

After being transferred to the complaint department to file an official complaint, I was offered 40,000 points for my inconvenience. I politely told her that I didn’t want the 40,000 points if it was in lieu of filing the complaint because I’m really not sure that I would ever be staying at another Hilton property again which would make the points worthless to me. However she assured me that my complaint would go through regardless and that I would still receive the 40,000 points. I was then told that they could hold off on filing the complaint if I wanted to speak to the manager of the Hampton Inn one last time to see if there was something he would be willing to do in light of the complaint. I responded that the manager had a chance to do something and he chose not to. More importantly, I told her that I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else (especially American Express Cardholders who are considering transferring their points to Hilton) and if filing a complaint is the only method, then so be it.

The sad part is that a couple of hours later (while we were out) the manager left a message for us in which he apologized for the situation and that HE would be crediting my Hilton Honors account with 40,000 points and that he would work with us to upgrade the room if we were still interested. However, when my wife returned his call, he stated that he didn't believe that there were any rooms available for upgrade now but he would check. Later when he called back, I spoke to him and not only were there not any rooms available to upgrade to (even though there were rooms earlier) but it turns out that the 40,000 points that he was supposedly crediting to our Hilton Honors account was the same 40,000 points credited to us by Hilton. As it turns out, Hilton sent him the official complaint that stated that THEY (Hilton) were crediting my account 40,000 points because of the situation. I guess the manager figured he could take credit for it not realizing that Hilton had already communicated the 40,000 point credit to me earlier in the day. When I asked him if his 40,000 credit was in addition to the 40,000 point credit that Hilton had already credited my account, he sheepishly said no and mentioned that he was still getting used to the new system. Whatever that means.

Don’t get me wrong, throughout the whole ordeal, the management and staff of the Hampton Inn and the representatives from Hilton remained professional, courteous and polite. They just couldn’t/wouldn't do anything to help. I’m assuming that there is some sort of marketing agreement between Hilton and the independently owned hotels in which the franchised hotel has to allocate a certain number of rooms for points in exchange for branding and marketing. That would explain the Hampton Inn’s perspective of not allowing people to upgrade their rooms with cash (as I had offered) if it was originally booked with points because in essence they would be giving a $279 room away for only $40 per night if they weren’t actually compensated for the room in the first place. However, this is pure speculation.

Lesson learned. Do not transfer American Express Rewards points to any Hilton Honors account. Never use Hilton Honors reward points to book a room at anything but a Hilton Hotel.

Room Tip: Only book water front rooms.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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20  Thank Alan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2012

We recenty stayed a night at the Hampton on Chincoteague. Clearly this is an excellent facility for three main reasons, Location, Location, Location (the old real estate saying). Don't get me wrong. The staff was wonderful, room great, property well maintained. What makes this Hampton special its location next to the water and the serene atmosphere. Relax for the picturesque sunset. Enjoy breakfast looking over the channel. The location and atmosphere make this Hampton excel over others with equal rooms, breakfasts and staff. And keep in mind it all comes at a cost. Nightly rates reflect it is special.

Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Mje12518
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2012

We had to stop over in Chincoteague for a night on the way to North Carolina and were really happy we chose this hotel. We didn't have any problems with our stay and the staff was very helpful, friendly and accommodating. Our room had a view of the water and watching the sunset on our terrace was great. Breakfast the next morning included many options and the staff was constantly cleaning, replenishing food and checking that everything was perfectly in place. There is also a large terrace with tables where you can sit outside and eat.

In the interest of full disclosure I will say that the pool and fitness area were small- and no locker rooms/ close by bathrooms (have to go to your room). This really didn't bother us since we didn't use either but thought it might be of use to fellow trip advisors :)

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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Thank onlyhearts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

As soon as we walked in the door we knew we had made the right decision. Everyone here has been so nice and hospitable. The rooms are extremely clean and comfortable. We had asked for a quiet room, and that's exactly what we got. It's great! The breakfast is great, and my daughter loves the homemade waffles. We'd recommend this hotel to all! Keep up the good work!

  • Stayed: August 2012
    • Value
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Thank Familytravelguy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2012

My wife and I stayed here during early May 2012. We paid the extra money to have the waterfront room and it was amazing. I highly suggest the upgrade. It's very easy to bike or walk from the hotel to various shops and restaurants. In the summer this place is probably busier but in the Spring it's low traffic/crowds. The included breakfast was excellent with plenty of choices of cereal, fruit, muffins, eggs, fresh made waffles, juice, coffee, etc. We also did a boat tour which I highly recommend.

Room Tip: - Pay the extra money for the waterfront room. - Bring your bike.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank z1lawdogg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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