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“Not a non-smoking place as advertised.”

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Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Ranked #37 of 109 Hotels in Virginia Beach
GreenLeadersBronze level
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not a non-smoking place as advertised.”
Reviewed July 18, 2013

As we’re searching for a smoke-free place to enjoy another vacation to VA Beach and see the listing for the Holiday Inn Express at Va Beach, it occurs to us that we never got a resolution from both local and top hotel management when we expressed concern about the smoking at this hotel during our last stay.

Yes, hotel advertisement claims to be “100% smoke-free”. Yes, there are signs throughout the hotel, including balcony doors, touting fines and prohibiting smoking. Such rules are good, but only if management is at least willing and able to enforce the rules. And here lies the problems we encountered at this hotel and reason why we feel the need to share our experience.

During our stay here, an individual on the balcony next to us was smoking, sending smoke into our room. We saw the smoker puffing away ourselves. We had to close our balcony door. We loss the fresh air we were enjoying. We loss use of our balcony. Our enjoyment of the ocean-front room we paid for was ruined and we cannot get that back.

When we asked the front desk to intervene (both on the phone and in person), hotel staff said repeatedly that they must see proof in the form of cigarette butts or smokers smoking! We said proof is the fact that the smoker's room/balcony smell like an ashtray because the source of the smoke is much more intense than anywhere else. Hotel staff said that is not enough. Really Holiday Inn? A smoke filled room is not proof of smoking? Since the inconsiderate smokers will stop smoking and hide the butts whenever staff knocks on their doors (if they’re still smoking), this insistence on finding butts or staff actually seeing puffing tells us that Holiday Inn can never enforce its no-smoking policy and customers can never be sure if our stay will be pleasant.

What good are the smoke-free claims if the hotel does not have a reasonable or even real way of enforcing the smoke-free policy?

Even if any butt is found, telling the idiots to stop or fining them are meaningless and ineffective because that is *after* the fact. Moreover, the fines go into the pocket of hotel management and do nothing for customers whose beach enjoyment is ruined and the smoke-free room that we paid for is not delivered.

Bottom line, the hotel did nothing to punish the violator (didn’t even go to her room!) and nothing to convince us to come back to Holiday Inn. Telling us that there was nothing they could do unless they find butts in a smoke-filled room is absurd.

Worse, when we contacted Holiday Inn corporate to express our disappointment, we were redirected back to local hotel management, who then blew us off completely. When top management at a business ignores customer concern by brushing us off back to lower management whose non-performance and non-cooperation started the problem in the first place, we need to ask ourselves why we should continue to support such business when there are so many competitors.

Based on our stay here, if being able to enjoy fresh ocean breeze and a smoke free room and balcony is important to you, this may not be the place if any of your neighbors decides to smoke because, as you saw, both local and corporate management have no real way to enforce the no-smoking policy, which sadly was their big marketing draw to us.

If you choose to pick this hotel anyway, when you make your reservation or prior to checking-in, just ask staff how they are going to enforce their no-smoking policy and what happens when you don’t get a smoke-free stay. Tell them that you’re paying for a smoke-free experience, not empty apologies after the fact.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank D T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 19, 2013
Dear Guest, thank you for staying with us, and thank you for posting your comments in a review. I am sorry that you were not satisfied with your stay, and I am very sorry if you think that the hotel did not take any action.

Assessing a $ 250.00 fee to a guest's credit card is a very serious matter, and one that I do not treat lightly. If a guest disputes that charge with their bank, we will lose the surcharge if we do not have hard evidence. We have collected many smoking charges in the last year, and once a guest hears that we have pictures, they stop disputing the charges.

In this case, we tried very hard to confirm that people were smoking in the room next to yours. Despite the fact that a member of my management team was in that room every day, I did not feel that we could justify leveling the charge. At no time was that room "filled with smoke."

If you will contact me at the hotel, I will be glad to discuss ways that we might satisfy you for your poor experience here. Again, I am very sorry that you did not enjoy your stay here, and I look forward to speaking with you. I welcome any ideas that you have that could improve the process here to get "ahead of the problem."

Sincerely

Doug
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (129)
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English first
Morgantown, West Virginia
1 review
Reviewed July 12, 2013 via mobile

Pros: Our two-room suite was large enough with spectacular views of the ocean, but also of the street facing Atlantic Drive. The hotel staff was very friendly and helpful. The location of the hotel, (right on the boardwalk), was excellent. My three kids enjoyed the complimentary breakfast.
Cons: One elevator was out of service for a day or so, which made traveling to and from our 6th floor suite very difficult. The pool isn't as large as it appears in photos. There were a few minor cleanliness issues that I noticed in the hotel. Some of the carpet either needed replaced or cleaned (ie in the hallways and elevators). The main parking lot, which was always full, appeared to be a frustration to other guests. We did not drive at all during our stay so that wasn't an issue for us. Thankfully, the hotel is situated near shops and restaurants and we walked everyday.
Overall, we had a wonderful first time experience at Virginia Beach. And, we would stay here again.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Lisa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 13, 2013
Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for the nice review. I am glad to hear that the Team here was friendly and able to accommodate your needs.

Yes, we did have an elevator down for 48 hours, the repairs took much longer than the service company expected. I am very sorry that happened, and I know that our guests were inconvenienced. We had planned to replace some carpeting this spring but are still waiting for the new carpet to arrive.

Thank you again, and I hope that you will come back and stay with us again soon.

Doug
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laurel
1 review
Reviewed July 8, 2013

The hotel was simply amazing. I checked in on July 4th (which is one of the busiest day of the year) and the service was just simply phenomenal from then on out. Arianna (spell check) was the nicest person I have ever met! She said everything with a smile, even when she was dealing with unruly guest. Also Anna and Bee were very helpful and sweethearts. This hotel has some of the best staff ever. They went the extra mile to make my stay that much better. My family and I had an amazing fourth. The views from the balcony are just great! We really enjoyed the fireworks that night as well. The free breakfast in the morning was a very big plus as well. The breakfast staff were so friendly as well. My overall stay was great.Kudos to the management for having amazing employees like that. I can not wait to come back next year

Room Tip: Middle floors are the best
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JayJay234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 10, 2013
Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for the terrific 5 Star review. I am thrilled to hear that so many of the Team here were able to make your stay special. We try to make that impression on every guest, and I always like to hear when we succeed.

The view of the beach and ocean can be magical at times, and a private balcony to watch the fireworks over the ocean can't be beat. I am so happy that your family was able to enjoy it.

Please come back and stay with us again, the fall can be a great time for a quick getaway, and generally the crowds are smaller, but the water is still warm.

Thank you again

Doug
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

The staff are wonderful & the oceanfront views are amazing. The last day we were there the elevator broke but stuff happens. Made for a lot of work carrying our stuff down the stairs from the 5th floor. This is probably because the hotel could use some major updating. It's very clean and very well kept but very dated. Breakfast was wonderful every morning!!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tera K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 9, 2013
Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for posting a 5 star review. I really appreciate that. The views of the beach and ocean from every private balcony are beautiful, and I am glad that you and your family enjoyed it. Our free breakfast is a treat, and the view from the dining room can't be beat.

I am sorry that the elevator was not working during your stay. It was down for about 24 hours when the braking system siezed. The repair crew was diligent, and got it working as soon as possible. Thanks for your understanding.

I hope to see you back here again soon, we are a great value in the fall when the water is still warm, but the crowds are smaller. Thank you again.

Doug
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
Reviewed July 7, 2013

I visited the hotel on fri 7/5- sun 7/7. The entire time our a/c was not working. Barely slept because of the heat. Maintenance looked at it and said nothing was wrong. Which there had to be a problem with it. We had piles of ants in the bathroom the entire time we stayed. Also had bugs under the blanket in the beds. The quality of our room was really not worth the price we paid. We planned on canceling when we first got there, but had to pay for one night and we were promised everything would be taken care of. The carpet was disgusting and had ants also. Very disappointed with the results of this hotel.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank twilson94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 9, 2013
Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for your review. I am sorry that you experienced these problems, and I would like to discuss this with you privately. Please contact me directly at the hotel, and I will be happy to try and satisfy you for the problems.

Please understand that you should have a clean room and air conditioning that works. If you did not have those, I would like to make it right for you.

Thank you for letting me know, and I look forward to speaking with you. Please accept my apologies.

Doug
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FWJgirl
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2013

The Holiday Inn Express in Virginia Beach is a good reminder for budget travelers - you truly do get what you pay for.

From the peeling paint on the ceiling (painted over more than once to hide the peeling) to the sand-filled, murky, indoor pool, you won't feel luxurious at all. Instead this hotel is what it is, a place with a nice view to spend the night.

There are two elevators but they were both out for several hours which meant folks had to carry luggage or beach gear up and down the stairs, some from the 10th floor. When the tiny elevators were running, they were hard to get into because of all the people from the upper floors. There's no service elevator so you also couldn't get on half the time because they were filled with housekeeping or utility carts.

We never sat down to eat the free breakfast buffet because we were so grossed out by the experience. Upon entering the dining room we noticed food everywhere like a food fight had just taken place. There was food all over the counters, floors and tables. Plus the patio, which could have been a nice place to sit and dine, was filled with flies thanks to the overflowing garbage and food all over the floor. We paid for our breakfast every single day.

The hallways are always filled with utility cards filled with dirty sheets, pillow cases and towels. In fact, maneuvering around the utility carts placed in the narrow hallways was a regular occurance.

Sleeping was ok. The mattress was a little lumpy, but it worked. Couldn't get the free WiFi that was offered and the balcony over looking the beach was the best part of the hotel. The indoor pool is small, filled with sand and murky water and very crowded. The halls are noisy. Kids screaming, hotel workers calling to each other, and adults bantering. Even late at night. Stay to save money, avoid it if you're looking for a luxurious, restful, ocean vacation..

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank FWJgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 9, 2013
Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for posting your comments in a review. While I am very concerned at the list of problems you detail, I think that your review indicates that you stayed with us almost a year ago.

We have made a number of improvements in a year, and I hope that you will come back and give us another chance. Certainly if you experience problems like this during your stay, please let the hotel know so that we can fix the problems while you are still here in the hotel.

Thank you, and I hope to hear from you regarding this stay.

Doug
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, PA
Level Contributor
85 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

The Good:
Location - could not be better, every room is oceanview with small balcony - two plastic chairs. Get a higher room to avoid roof of outdoor patio on boardwalk side of hotel.

Service - Acceptable. Responsive to requests for extra washcloths, toiletry items.

Breakfast area - Large, open area unlike so many HIE breakfast areas. Covered outdoor patio with seating in addition to indoor seating. Breakfast items were standard HIE fare, fresh fruit available. Staff was friendly, plenty of food available each day.

Indoor heated pool with Jacuzzi tub. Strong smell of chlorine, but what can you do, it is a pool. Boardwalk side shower and another right outside pool entrance to wash sand off.

Wifi connection was good. Exterior landscaping Oceanside is outstanding. Priority Club membership honored with a welcome bag and a late checkout time. Elevators worked just fine.

The Bad:

The parking situation is not good. Limited parking at the hotel and when it is full you must go to one of two other lots.
One is down the street a bit, catty-corner from the hotel, the other is a good block away and is not very well lighted at night.

There was no microwave in our room when we arrived. We requested one and were told one would be brought in "if available". And we did get one within about 2 hours. But why the need to request it?

Housekeeping staff is friendly but not paying attention to details. Vacuuming is not thorough. Moveable upholstered chair obviously not moved. Sliding door glass with obvious fingerprints not cleaned until we requested it be cleaned thoroughly each day. Screen on flatscreen TV smeared looking, again, had to request it be cleaned. When fogged with shower steam, bathroom mirror looked like it had been "swiped at" as opposed to thoroughly cleaned.

Coffee packets not replaced.

Several times the bottom fitted sheet apparently did not fit the mattress, meaning you wake up with bottom sheet totally loose and all over the place. (This sounds kind of dumb, but I would not tolerate it at home, so why on vacation? Sheets that fit mattress are pretty basic.)

Housekeeping is spraying some kind of misted liquid "carpet refresher" onto the already filthy carpeting each time they clean the room. I don't know if this is what has caused the carpeting to be so absolutely filthy, but when you put on a clean pair of white socks and walk around the room in them, in 5 minutes the bottom of the socks will be black!
I spilled a little liquid onto the floor one day and used a dampened white washcloth to clean it up - oh, Lord, the washcloth ended up black!

The Ugly:
This is an older facility. The lobby carpeting looks newer, but upholstered pieces are stained. I don't know how old the room carpeting is, or if management is planning to replace it, but surely it could be at least CLEANED. To me it was truly disgusting. Almost sticky with dirt. It needs to be cleaned immediately. It is so not up to HIE standards.

The one upholstered chair and ottoman in our room needed to be cleaned also.

The concrete floor of our balcony was filthy. Stains from spilled drinks and dead bugs were there when we came and there when we left. It does not appear that any attention is paid to this area, which is actually a part of the room.

We loved Virginia Beach. But would not stay here again for the above reasons. I cannot recommend it to anyone given the present condition of cleanliness. It is sad, really, to have a hotel in such a fantastic location and not to maintain cleanliness standards. It is EARLY in the season - this needs to be addressed.

Room Tip: Higher floors for better view and less noise from boardwalk.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BellaPittsburgh94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerHIExp, General Manager at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront, responded to this review, July 3, 2013
Thank you for staying with us, and thank you for your review. Obviously we did not satisfy you, and I am very sorry for that. I would like the chance to speak directly with you to get more details of your stay, and to attempt to satisfy you for all of the problems that you had.

Please contact me at the hotel as I would like to resolve the problems and show you that we care and are trying to provide a great experience for all of our guests.

Please accept my apologies, and I look forward to speaking with you

Doug
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Property: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Address: 2607 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3104
Location: United States > Virginia > Virginia Beach
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Green Hotel in Virginia Beach
#22 Family Hotel in Virginia Beach
#26 Romantic Hotel in Virginia Beach
#27 On the Beach Hotel in Virginia Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront 3*
Number of rooms: 144
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay with us at the new Holiday Inn Express and experience the same great service you have come to love when staying at the Oceanfront. Our upbeat decor and interior enhancements with remodeled guest rooms and public spaces will impress the whole family. We are now a 100% smoke-free hotel. The name may be Holiday Inn Express but your vacation will be at your own pace at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. At the Holiday Inn Express, we make your family vacation accommodations our number one priority with friendly customer service, direct beach and boardwalk access, and complimentary continental breakfast served to all of our guests. For fitness and relaxation, visit our year-round indoor swimming pool, whirlpool spa, and fitness room. All of our guest rooms include a complimentary continental breakfast and have a private balcony with a full oceanfront view of the beach and boardwalk, mini-refrigerator, hair dryers, coffee makers and free high-speed Internet access. Conveniently located in the center of the Virginia Beach resort area, there are many local attractions nearby such as the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, Virginia Beach Amphitheater, 11 golf courses, parasailing, bicycle and boat rentals, Virginia Aquarium, and the Virginia Beach Convention Center.Enjoy the service and experience of an oceanfront resort hotel with all of the amenities you expect from a Holiday Inn at Virginia Beach's Holiday Inn Express(R). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Holiday Inn Express Hotel And Suites
Holiday Inn Express Hotel Virginia Beach
Holiday Inn Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach Holiday Inn

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