Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
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Today has been a significantly better day. We had a relatively easy load in, with a dock that supported eight trucks. There was little use for a forklift because everything could be pushed off the trucks. The main LED screen went in in almost record time, so there was plenty of time for me to build and place my side screens.
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Historical Traveler Reviews Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Very Nice - But Not Very Kid Friendly
We just returned from 5 nights at the Hilton Oceanfront, our feeling is a bit mixed, so let me just list the pros and cons. We went with our two boys, ages 2 and 4. Let me first say that it becomes obvious when you arrive that the main focus on this hotel is conferences and meetings, there were two big events going on when we were there, and most of the guests seemed to be there for those events, rather than families on vacation like we were. We didn't see very many kids at the hotel.
- Staff was excellent, extremely responsive, very nice, and that includes just about everyone we came into contact with including valets, bellmen, activities desk staff, pool workers, restaurant staff, etc. (with a notable exception about an issue with a port-a-crib described below).
- The surroundings are in a word; incredible. From a purely asthetic point of view it is the class of Virginia Beach. Even if you don't stay here come to the hotel just to see the place (especially at night). The bathrooms at Catch 31 are a work of art. The rooftop pool is amazing, though small (and cold). Catch 31 itself is an architecural masterpiece, even the coffee pots match the room theme.
- As others have posted, the rooms are wonderful. The beds are very comfortable with nice sheets and comfy pillows and comforters. The bathroom was a bit small, but had nice fixtures. The towels were the best I'd ever seen at a hotel.
- The radio has a plug for your MP3 player. The kids loved being able to listen to our iPod while we were in our room.
- The TV had the standard suite of 20 or so channels, but also had an extensive collection of television shows on demand, which had a nice choice of disney channel shows for the kids. However, it was $2.95 per show to view.
- We really liked the location, it was in the quieter northern part of the strip, and was within easy walking distance to a good deal of restaurants (including Pi Pizzeria, which we visited several times). The beach area near the hotel was nice, and not very crowded.
- We ate breakfast every morning at Catch 31, the menu was limited, and the buffet had no pancakes or french toast. Service was pleasant but very slow. At one point it took about 20 minutes to get a bowl of oatmeal.
- As others have mentioned, the elevators were slow. On Saturday afternoon one of the elevators went out of service and it was roughly a 25 minute wait to get to our room. At busy times the wait was usually at least 5-10 minutes to get an elevator. They really should have had four elevators instead of three.
- The outdoor pool on the roof, while beautiful, was extremely small, and the winds off the beach make it very cold. It isn't heated, and in fact it was closed the first two days we arrived due to a lighting problem. The hot tub next to it wasn't very hot either, and the Sky Bar, as someone else mentioned, is about six stools. The indoor pool isn't bad, but it is a bit small as well. From a kid/family point of view, the pools at the Holiday Inn Sunspree and the Courtyard North seemed much more lively and more fun. One other note, they do post a sign saying that the pool and Sky Bar are only for hotel guests, but they don't enforce access controls. One time when we were there several individuals who obviously weren't staying at the hotel were escorted out.
- We requested a refrigerator when we made our reservations, though when we checked in none were available. We were told we'd be put at the top of the wait list, but throughout our stay there were no refrigerators available.
- The shower had no tub, this was a major problem for our two year old, who screamed when we tried to wash him in the shower, we resorted to having him stand in the back of the shower (which fortunately was huge), and douse him with cups from the shower head. Our room was a corner room on the 9th floor, I'm not sure if all the rooms were like this.
- We requested a crib and it was promptly delivered after we checked in, though the hotel supplied a plain queen-size bed sheet instead of a fitted crib sheet. When we called the front desk we were told that fitted sheets had been ordered but hadn't arrived and there was nothing they could do. We ended up having to fold the bed sheet around the crib pad and then stuff it into the crib, which was uncomfortable, and unsafe, for a baby. Our two-year old ended up staying with us in our bed. I don't understand why the hotel couldn't send someone to the local WalMart and buy a bunch of sheets. If a child gets tangled up it could be extremely dangerous.
- There is nowhere to shower off when returning from the beach. There is a foot-wash near Catch 31, which we used, but the strategy we employed most days was to go up to the indoor pool and use the shower there, but unfortunately that was WAY too hot for small kids, so we did what it seems everyone else did judging by the amount of sand in the indoor pool, just put the kids in there and let them get washed off in the pool.
- Even though the hotel information book in the room said that there were life vests available for kids there weren't any when we checked at the pool, good thing we brought our own.
- There was no place to get towels for going to the beach, so we did what most others seemed to do, go to the roof-top pool and take some from there.
- There are no towel racks save for the one in the shower, so we were scrambling for places to hang wet bathing suits and wet towels.
- Catch-31 seems to be a very popular night-spot, it gets pretty crowded (and noisy) at night
- There is no sundry store in the hotel. We tried to find milk for the kids and had to walk across the street to the BP gas station as there was absolutely no place to buy milk in the place.
- They are building a bunch of shops across the street, which will be connected by a covered walk-way, a few are open already and a Starbucks is coming.
Overall, if I were just going to Va. Beach with my wife, or going by myself on a business trip, the Hilton would be my first choice. However, with young kids, we'll look elsewhere next time, probably the Courtyard By Marriott which looked a lot more kid friendly.
Catch 31 - Terrible
Just got back from breakfast at Catch 31 - service was poor - the breakfast Buffet even worse. I ordered an omelette and it took almost 30 minutes to get to our table - (I had to ask for it) come to find out it was ready for almost 20 minutes and ice cold when I got it - the buffet food was just as cold. Will most definitely not go back - and we are locals. You will get better food at IHOP - trust me.
Well, the hotel is still workingout the kinks, but there were no real problems with the hotel. The service was excellent, from teh front desk, housekeeping, room service, restaurant service, engineering (plumbing snafu!), etc. The AC was a bit loud in my room and some others, they are bring back the HVAC contractors to balance the systems.
Lobby was beautiful, roomy. OCuld perhaps have used one more than the three elevators. Restaurant/bar was very swanky.... GREAT drinks, excellent bartenders. Very nice mood lighting, music. Seemed a date place thurs night, party place fri. night. Bathroom in restaurant very nice.
Convention/meeting facilities were excellent. Rooftop pool was also very nice, if a little small. THe bar, "SkyBar" was just a 10 foot bar with five bar stools... nothing to write home about. THe view, however, was excellent.
Rooms were also well above par. Excellent mattress, feather pillows (and plenty of them), WONDERFUL sheets. Also nice towels. Dual Head Speakman Showerheads... dreamy (Speakman makes the best showerheads in the business. I know, because thats my business!). Also, plenty of pressure. No beachy taste to the water. Beautiful bathroom, though I wonder if the suites have a tub as well, or just the shower like in my room?
LCD TV was nice, but the On Demand features did not work, and the network tv was not in HD, so..... it was just a big tv. Nice sound, though. Also, nice little clock radio by the bedside. Also liked that there were plenty of lamps... Best feature of the room was the view--I was in room 1711--top floor befor ethe club floors, and ocean front. Great little balcony, perfect place for a couple of drinks at sunset.
Anyway, a few minor kinks here and there, but given that they just opened... Also, nothing that would interfere with a good stay. I gave it two thumbs up.
Beautiful View But
Again as stated previously this is my experience at the new Hilton Ocean Front with an arrival date of May 26th. Upon arrival we were downgraded to a lower status than orginal booked. That should have been a clue to us as what was to come. We orginally booked our room back in Feburary before the hotel opened for the club level using our Hilton Honors membership. Never have I been down graded in a hotel. When checking in and we were informed that we were moved to a lower floor no explanation could be given except sorry we don't have a room for you on the level you booked. No refund was offered till I asked if we would be charged the same price and they agreed after a consult to lower our rate $30 a day. It still was not what we had expeceted and though they did try to make amends I would be very hesitant booking here again for the club level. They did give us access to the club level but when you have to go from the 8th to the 20th floor everytime you want coffee or snacks it sure dosen't make the trip worth it since there is only three elevators and a full hotel making it hard to get an elevator.
We found the restruant to be very over priced for a family. The average diner with no drinks and desert ran us $70 without tips and that was for trout and tuna the two cheapest fish on the menu. Breakfast buffets were $30 for two and we found that daily the eggs and meat were cold.
As a previous poster posted we waited over an hour almost daily to get a table for diner and on the 30 tried our special privelage key and it still resulted in a wait of over a half hour.
On a positive note the view from our ocean front room was beautiful and the balcony on the cornor rooms have a nice large balcony. We never did go to the pool since it was crowded with people hanging out at the bar which was almost untop of the pool and was blasting with loud music. We found most of the staff very unfriendly and very hurried. We will not be returning to this hotel in the future due to all the problems we encountered.
New Hilton - nice, but NOT perfect
My family and I stayed in the new Hilton Oceanfront for the week before Memorial Day. I had done a great deal of research when selecting this hotel, because it was our first trip to Va. Beach, and I had heard that the hotels were not that great. I selected this one because it was new, and because I generally stay Hilton or Marriott when travelling for work and have typically had consistently good results with both. I would echo the statements in other reviews about the magnificence of the facility. It really is a beautiful hotel. From the lobby, to the rooftop, everything is immaculate--asthetically. The service -- for the most part -- was great as well. When we checked in, we were made to feel welcome right away, and all of my requests (oceanfront, balcony, refrigerator, etc.) were fulfilled. In fact, when we got to the room, they were pulling a brand new stainless refrigerator from the box to install in the room for us. The room was beautiful, and very clean. Bedding, bathroom, furnishings, TV, etc. were all topnotch.--although, I'm not real sure why they bothered with installing large flat panel HDTVs in standard rooms when the selection and picture quality of the cable was so poor, but still...the tv was really cool. The rooftop was really the most awesome feature of the place for us. The view was great, and once the weather gets warmer, the zero edge pool will be hard to leave--it really is nice. For the most part, our experience was good,
but this place is not perfect. The biggest negative we experienced was the air conditioner in our room. Literally, it sounded like you were riding in a bus all night long. A very noisy bus. We complained 3 different times, and on all occasions, an engineer was sent to the room...but to no avail. The problem could not be corrected. The front desk did offer us a different room with an even better view, but when we went to check it out, the AC unit in it was even worse than ours, so we just stayed put. So, although the bedding is very plush (extremely good bedding for a standard room--6 feather pillows, feather comforter, top of the line sheets, etc.) its hard to feel rested when you lie awake listening to the AC most of the night--a real nuisance. We were told, however, that engineering is aware and are working to correct the problem throughout the hotel. Also, we had a little bit of a run in with the pool attendant but 90% of our staff interaction was good. Some was great, but one or two could use some customer service training...I'll leave that at that--because overall, that was not a problem. I was not impressed with Catch 31--the hotel restaurant. Breakfast was typical hotel breakfast- nothing special. We ate dinner a couple of times, and both left me feeling unsatisfied. It also is very nice to look at, and it has a very upscale feel to it for a beachfront restaurant, but service and food are mediocre--at best...especially for the price. All in all, our stay was good. We had a great vacation, and because we stayed just before the rate change, I feel good about the value we got in this hotel.----but its not perfect, and if you check out the prices they're asking during the summer months...you might want to take that into consideration if you're looking for overall value. I'd rate it a A- overall.
Will be nice, once construction is complete
We booked our anniversary vacation at this hotel after much research online, none of which indicated that the hotel had just opened weeks before we were there (instead of Feb. 2005, as advertised). We were looking forward to enjoying a swim in the rooftop pool, but were disappointed to find that the pool wasn't heated. Maybe drinks at the Sky Bar adjacent to the pool? No, the bar was still under construction. In fact, visitors who wanted a refreshment had to go to the restaurant in the lobby to get a drink in a plastic glass then bring it up to the pool area. We also chose this location because of the three great bar/restaurants, but were disappointed (again) to find that only one was open for business. Of the five days we were there, at least one elevator was not operating properly. While our room was comfortable, the air conditioner was extremely noisy. As the title of this review says, this will be a nice hotel, once it's done.
Wonderful facility, but horrible service
This is probably one of the worst Hotel experience I've had from ANY hotel chain at ANY price point; from the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Sheraton, other Hiltons, down to the Choice Hotels. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Before going to the hotel restaurant Catch 31, My guest and I called the restaurant to make the reservation, but nobody answered the phone after 3 minutes. Knowing that they could be busy so We headed down to the restaurant to make the reservation. We were told that the restaurant doesn't take reservation and we'd have to wait. That's fine and reasonable until the following events happened. We patiently waited for an hour without asking how much longer it'd take. We then asked the staff how much longer the wait was going to be. We were told repetitively twenty min. by the staff even when fourty minutes have elapsed. Finally after two hours elapsed, we spoke to a manager to inquire about the reason why four other group of people got seated before us when they obviously came in after us. We were told that they all have VIP status with Hilton Hotels. We then ask why there are so many empty tables when they could be seating some of us (including other groups of people who were waiting for two hours or more). We got totally ignored.
2. When I picked up the car from the valet, I was left a note saying that the staff saw another valet person who drove a red truck hit the back of my car. The note said they didn't notice the license plate of red truck, but if it were one of their personel, would it be difficult to find out who that person was or find out which car it was? It happened the night before but I wasn't informed immediately. I understand cars can get damaged in valet but the cover-up just totally infuriated me.
The hotel facility itself is brand new and modern, as one can tell from the hotel's age (couple of month) However, the service provided by this hotel can certainly put the entire Hilton family of hotels into shame. Of course your experience may vary, but this review is an honest representation of my experience at this Hilton hotel.
School trip to the Hilton
Last month I went to Virginia Beach with my high school's Orchestra & Band. While we were there we stayed at the newly opened Hilton Oceanfront. This hotel is beautiful. The day we got there, they just opened up the zero edge pool on the roof. This pool is amazing; it looked as though it just drops off into the ocean below. My room had a balcony up on the 10th floor that overlooked the ocean and the street below, it was beautiful. The rooms come with HD TVs and stereos. The alarm on the phone can be set every day so some that just checked out can't have it set to wake you up every day. The only problem was, there wasn't enough elevators. (Only 3) Although there were 300 of us traveling. We found our selves taking the stairs frequently. Other than the elevators, this hotel is great and the staff is wonderful. If I were ever in Virginia Beach again I would definitely stay at the Hilton again.
Fabulous place. Not enough superlatives to describe it. The entry portico reminded us of the historic mansions in Florida...or a mini version of The Breakers...columns and palms. Josh Groban songs pumped outdoors and in the lobby. We were greeted quickly and used valet parking. We were charged $5 totally...don't know how they charge exactly...you might check if that's a concern. We were there two nights and took the car out shopping one morning. The lobby is very cool and sleek...serenely simple like a restful spa but high tech and creatively done. Decor is 40s/Arts and Crafts and top-of-the-creative-line...glass mosaic work in the restaurant and lobby restrooms; lighting fixtures in the restaurant that were like sculptures...one style is tiny color bulbs at the end of intertwined copper wire; wood and silver torchiere sconces in the halls. Amazing, intriguing carpet design in the halls throughout. And I can't forget the restaurant/lobby restroom sinks. Even they made an impression...the new kind where water pours out softly onto a flat stone surface and then to the ridge along the border...I didn't look further to see where it goes from there...I just admired the sink...like that little alter boy looking for water in the sink commercial.
On the top floor is where the infinity pool is...blue that does on forever from pool through clear wall around the rooftop seemingly out into the ocean beyond. The indoor pool is up on the rooftop too with a view of beautiful sunsets. Lots of thick towels in that area for guest use. There is a grill area outdoors on the rooftop also...wasn't in use yet since the wind made it cold up there in the spring. In the rooms are a wide array of toiletries, extra thick Martex towels, campaign style desk, deeeep drawers that are also longer back to front that any we've seen; built-in flat screen tv; great deep comfortable mattress and several actual soft pillows and white on white striped linens.
Our room had a double shower head plus a hand held; beautiful tile in the bathroom. Hairdryer, iron, etc. provided so we didn't have to pack much. The toiletries are Neutrogena. The desk chair is one of the antique styles with legs that have wheels on them; lots of electrical outlets, including two in the desk lamp. The sliding glass door has Arts and Crafts mullions, adding to the 'at home' look and has the usual handle lock as well as a very tight security bolt...and the balconies are not connected to each other, another good security measure. How often does someone come from another balcony? We've had it happen...a few years ago. I noticed that the space between balconies is just far enough that I don't think even someone with long legs could make it.
When we arrived in our room and saw the VIEW...the view...and realized we had forgotten our camera the bellman immediately offered to go across the street and get us a camera...get us ice...whatever we needed. The ocean view rooms are ideal. You get the full length view of the beach and ocean. The oceanfront is also a beautiful view of the ocean. The rooms on the two sides and the oceanfront have balconies. Those on the front/street side don't....but they do have a great full sunset view over a small lake across the street. The rooms on the sides also afford some sunset view. We stayed on the southern side. That allowed us to sit on the nice clean balcony with a cooling breeze, sip our coffee, read the TWO papers delivered to us...the local one and the USA Today....and sunbathe any time of the day. The northern exposure wouldn't allow for all day sunning on the balconies (not a consideration in the summer when you would rather go to the beach or rooftop pool). That side overlooks the soon-to-come Neptune Park. That will be a lovely park for concerts and shows, they say, 150 performances a year. They say it will be completed mid May.
The restaurant has wonderful food, lots of fish items, beautifully presented. We were told it is run by the Mahi-Mah people, and that is a very good restaurant too. This being a resort and the restaurant more elegant, even the 'casual' dining room was very elegant yet a convivial atmosphere. The even more elegant one had not yet opened last week but it would soon, they told us. Prices are good and in line with the general quality of the hotel....appetizers around $7-$9 and entrees around $15 - $32...but lots in the low to mid 20s. Desserts were delicious...bread pudding with a raspberry sauce swirled on the plate and chocolate caramel sauce on the side in a cute little glass, key lime pie, etc. ...home cookin' gone gourmet in some instances. Outside the restaurant are dining patios.
The concrete boardwalk goes right by the hotel of course. Across the street north and south are stores for stocking up some supplies - the ol' camera, lotion, quickie type food, sodas - and other dining choices like Subway and Blimpies and pizza, if the hotel doesn't do every night for the little ones....or bigger ones. There are also some nearby hotel restaurant choices as well so you don't feel you have to have every meal all week at one place. Soon to come are upscale shops directly across the street on what appears to be the ground level of the parking garage. A short walk away is a great grocer, Harris Teeter. For those who know it, it is a very nice one. We stopped by on the way out to get special cookies and chocolates to send to family for mom's day before it got too hot to send such items. I can't believe we forgot to check out the fitness center....but we were only there two nights and did a lot of walking.
Now, here's a great part. There was a problem in a finishing touch with our room so they moved us right away to another room. The hotel was full so all they had was a Club Level room:) Needless, to say that was okay with us. We were told the owner has the same bedding in his home as those rooms. The comforter was heavy and the bed was triple sheeted! Since we didn't get to pull down the comforter in our other room I don't know if all rooms are triple sheeted or just the Club Level rooms. In between the top two sheets on triple sheeted beds is usually a blanket...not here. Here, there is a feather blanket or thin comforter between the top two sheets. On the bed under the sheet is a wonderful thickly padded mattress topper. In the bathroom is a second plasma tv. On these floors there is a Club Room...free expanded continental breakfast...muffins, juice, lots of great fresh fruit, eggs, etc., coffee all day and cookies at night and special events on Tuesdays. There are lots of different newspapers -NY Times, Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, etc. and sofas around an extra large plasma tv. I believe there are three floors of Club Level rooms. Front desk...even with only us checking in at that point the woman was pre-occupied...same when we left and I stopped by the desk to ask for brochures for friends. The woman said "We did have some...they're all gone". It's almost as if front desk people in many many hotels have their minds on other jobs to do. We weren't greeted warmly, no have a nice time, etc. But we have discovered it is so often like that that as long as the front desk people are pretty decent we don't mind it...so as long as they do the job, don't worry about the front desk if they're pre-occupied. The rest of the hotel is fantastic.
New Hilton Excellent
We have tried the other hotels on the oceanfront for a while. This was the first time we have tried to Hilton. We loved this place. There was a parking garage across the stret for us to park our car. When we arrived, a Bellman was waiting to take the luggage to our room. The room was large and spacious. We were on the 10th floor so we got the standard view of a regular hotel. The restaurants were excellent. We really enjoyed Catch 31, with their specials to save us money during our stay. The only minor thing ws the price. When we checked out we found our total to be for 3 nights to be really expensive. Overall a great experience.