I just got back from a road trip from NYC to VA Beach with my 5 year old son. We had spent 3 terrific nights at the Holiday Inn in spite of the rainy, overcast weather until our last day. I was planning to travel with another single mom and her son so that my son would have a playmate. She flaked at the last minute, but it didn't matter.
The kid-focused amenities that this hotel offers are the biggest selling point. My son actually asked to be dropped off at the Splash Kamp activity room! It is staffed by lovely young people, who keep the kids entertained with arts & crafts and every game & toy you can think of, including a Wii. Although we didn't utilize the movie theater, there were family focused films playing all day. 2 of the 3 pools on the property were perfect for my son, who is not yet a confident swimmer. The indoor pool and outdoor pool with water slides both have 3 feet depth areas for him to be able to stand up in the water and still have fun. The other vacationers were friendly, kids found playmates easily and played nicely together.
We went to the beach one overcast, but dry and warm day. The water in August wasn't freezing although the surf can be rough at times. We were able to see dolphins playing in the waves in the distance! I was quite cranky about having to pay $40 to rent for 2 beach chairs and an umbrella!!! More experienced domestic travelers were wise to bring there own and camp out for free... lesson learned. On the day that it rained off and on, we went to the Virginia Aquarium. It is just a 10 minute drive away from the hotel! It was very crowded but the exhibits were high quality and well worth the trip. We also took advantage of the boardwalk and were able to reach more than 1/2 way before turning around. There are interesting sights and activities along the beach side and shops and restaurants on the street side. My son brought his scooter which was a big help. There are several places to rent bikes, but unfortunately they were all gone by late afternoon. It is a nice walk with benches to rest along the way, but biking is probably better if you want to make it to the end and back.
Our room was a standard size with 2 queen beds and a nice balcony. Sinem, our housekeeper from Turkey kept the room clean, well stocked with towels and comfortable. I was thrilled with the dorm size fridge and microwave in the room. I was concerned that at a family hotel, we would be kept up at night with screaming kids running in the hallways, but our 4th floor room facing the front of the hotel was very quiet. I think that because there is so much to keep the kids busy during the day, they sleep well at night!
Kids eat free at Holiday Inn which is great for the little ones, who often waste most of their meal. I paid a slightly higher room rate to have breakfast included for me, and it was worth it. I recommend taking advantage of the breakfast buffet with a waffle and omelet station. Not the best food I've ever had, but the convenience of being able to eat onsite and start your day without having to drive to a restaurant saves time. I was not impressed with the free kids menu for the other meals- the selection was limited and you have to pay extra for anything remotely healthy. We drove to the local Subway sandwich shop for lunch and there are other options for dinner close by.
Because it was pouring on the day we arrived we went to the onsite Square Whale for dinner after checking in. Both the front desk and restaurant wait staff seemed to be overwhelmed by the volume of vacationers. We waited over an hour for our food, but were offered complementary dessert when we finally decided to leave and eat carryout in our room. We tried carryout from the restaurant again on another day for lunch. Overall, I wasn't impressed by the food or the service at the restaurant- especially during busy times of the day. Courtney, one of the valets, stood out as one of the lovely young staff, who went out of her way to provide us with excellent customer service.
We had a great time overall and will definitely consider returning in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Splash into 250,000 gallons of fun, enjoy a movie in our movie theater and relax on your private balcony. Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach guestrooms feature mini-refrigerator and microwave, flatscreen TV, iPod stations and free Internet. Splish Splash Lagoon features an outdoor lazy river & two 12-foot waterslides. Float down indoor Lay-Z-Rivah or lounge in the sun by the outdoor pool. For entertainment, enjoy activities for toddlers to tweens in seasonal kids Splash Kamp. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn And Suites North Beach
- Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach Hotel Virginia Beach
- Holiday Inn Virginia Beach
- Virginia Beach Holiday Inn