I chose Beach Carousel for its price, which was very reasonable for late July, considering its proximity to the beach. But we were also charmed by a few of its retro touches... what appears to be the original raised lettering of the sign over the pool in hip 60's script , the neon carousel (which sadly wasn't lit while we were there... hope they just forgot to turn it on), the frosted glass panels in the railings, the glass globe lighting over the breezeways.
Don't expect it to be spic and span... after all, it's a budget option and gets hard use. Families are forever tramping to and from the beach, probably eating in-room as much as possible (we did), and generally getting their money's worth. But the staff tidies up everyday, vacuuming, changing out towels and cleaning up the bathrooms. I got the impression they don't change the beds daily (maybe if you request it?), but that's fine with us... we think it's wasteful to get clean sheets daily and generally opt out of the daily change at other hotels.
The staff is generally very friendly and accommodating... Winnie gave us clothespins to keep our beachtowels from blowing off the railings. Mrs. Ravel (hope I spelled her name right) runs the show and she was awesome... so warm and helpful. She let us keep a few delicate and heat-sensitive items in the office before check-in to prevent them from baking in the car, as well as allowing us to change in the office bathroom so we could hit the beach before check-in. She also let us to leave our car in the lot for the afternoon after check out, so we enjoyed another half-day of the beach before heading home.
We were early enough to request and receive a coffee maker (not your wimpy 4 cupper, but a full-size Mr Coffee complete with a stack of filters) and toaster, very useful and appreciated. Be sure to request early... limited supplies I think. Our minifridge was missing one shelf, which made it a little less useful, but we worked with it. Standard microwave. Finally, I loved the fact that our room had a programmable SAFE! It was large enough to hold a couple of laptops, as well as all of our ipods, cameras, phones, etc.
One unexpected plus of the hotel is its beach access... yes, you do need to walk 2 blocks, but you exit the lower breezeway to the south diectly onto the Legends Walk, and I mean directly... the brick work is done right to the edge of the BC's breezway. Turn left and you have a straight-arrow shot to the beach. Legends Walk is a pedestrian walk lined by columns inset with plaques commemorating a variety of famous Virginians. Nice diversion while you stroll the half block to Atlantic Ave, and safe too... no cars. Once across Atlantic, go between two megahotels to the boardwalk and then onto the sand. Conveniently, right there on the boardwalk at sand's edge is a public freshwater shower (not enclosed) for rinsing before heading back to the motel. Showers are found at every cross street on the Va Beach boardwalk, but it's nice to have that staight progression from beach, to shower, to motel that the Beach Carousel enjoys. If you miss the shower, BC has an outdoor one too, right at poolside. The pool is a little small, considering its popularity, but no smaller than your average hotel/motel pool.
Our beds were firm, the water pressure good, and the AC sufficient (if a little rattley). All rooms are smoking rooms (we are not smokers), so if you are concerned, get there early and give your room a sniff test. Our room had a heavy odor of some kind of masking freshener at check-in, but it dissipated quickly, and while never fresh-as-a-daisy, the room didn't smell unpleasant.
If you aren't too picky about your room, and can overlook the shortcomings while enjoying the savings and the good things it has to offer, I highly recommend the Beach Carousel as a budgeteers way to spend a few pleasant days at the beach.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small motel located one block off of the oceanfront strip. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Beach Carousel Hotel Virginia Beach