"Beach Luxury and Family Amenities"
If you’re looking for the perfect balance of luxury and family-friendly, you’ll find it in the Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach. Just minutes away from historic downtown Wilmington, this beachfront resort offers everything you’d expect—beach access, beautiful pools, spacious rooms, a great restaurant and bar—along with plenty of extras that the kiddos will love. (There’s a live Macaw in the lobby…need I say more?)
Our family of four had a spacious Oceanfront room with two queen beds. We had a microwave, refrigerator, and pod coffee maker (great for saving a little time and money on food!), as well as a hairdryer, iron/ironing board, safe, and flatscreen TV. (Some suites also offer a sleeper sofa, wetbar, and/or whirlpool tub.) We slept great in the fluffy, comfy beds, and we had plenty of room to spread out. The furnishings seemed fairly modern and everything was clean and tidy. There was a large desk that allowed us to set up our computers and take advantage of the free wifi, and there were plenty of outlets to charge all our electronics. Our balcony had two chairs and a small table, and the view of the pool area and the beach was oh-so pleasant.
The beauty of the Holiday Inn Resort is that there are amenities to fit all styles of vacationers. If you simply want to relax and swim, you have the choice of the beach, a large outdoor pool, two hot tubs, an indoor pool, and a sundeck. If you’re up for more adventure, you can rent a bike onsite or fish at a nearby pier, or an Activities Coordinator can hook you up with other activities in the area, such as surf lessons, kayaking, sailing, deep sea fishing, or golf.
For parents who want a little alone time, the KidSpree Vacation Club offers a variety of activities during the day and in the evening. These programs are an additional charge, but very reasonably priced. For example, most evening activities run from 6-10 p.m. and include dinner, some sort of craft, a movie, and games for $12. That’s $3/hour! Where else can you get babysitting for that price!?! Two-hour craft and game sessions are as low as $5.
Aside from the KidSpree option kid-friendly amenities include a video arcade, sand volleyball court, and an outdoor playground. On specific nights, family-friendly Dive-In movies are offered by the pool, with free popcorn! (My daughter loved swimming while watching one of her favorites, Tangled.) And, while not exactly an amenity, no kid will be able to resist the draw of the beautiful caged Macaw that makes his appearance in the lobby. (Note: be sure to check his schedule, as he keeps rather shorts hours and you don’t want to miss him.)
There are several options for satisfying your hunger and thirst at the resort. The primary restaurant, Oceans, features a breakfast buffet (ample and reasonably-priced) and a full lunch and dinner menu of basic fare along with a few seafood additions. We ate breakfast and a lunch at Oceans and found both quite satisfying. Best part? Kids eat free here (one free kids meal per paying adult). The poolside Lazy Daze Bar & Grill, has more casual food and atmosphere—burgers, sandwiches, frozen novelties/ice cream, and tropical drinks. Gabby’s Lounge is a full-service bar for the adults. For grab-n-go snacks, visit the Trolley Shop, with items ranging from bottled beverages to boogie boards. And, of course, the resort offers room service.
Sea Breeze Fitness Center—with treadmills, bikes, free weights, clean towels, a water dispenser, and TV—has a great view of the pool and beach area, making any workout more exciting. The Holiday Inn Resort has a great covered parking structure that is free to guests. Other amenities include a guest laundry, a weekly manager’s reception, airport shuttle, and free wifi.
Typically, beach access here is an easy walk through the pool area. However, we visited during beach renourishment (a process of piping sand from the ocean and depositing it back on the beaches that happens every few years), so we had to walk just a bit out of our way to get to the beach. This resulted in an un-crowded beach—which I suspect isn’t the case in summer months. Still, we found the process kind of interesting (we’re homeschoolers, so we’re strange like that), and it didn’t hamper the enjoyment of our stay.
From our first encounter with the front desk staff to our final goodbyes, we had impeccable service throughout the Holiday Inn Resort. Particularly with the employees who are on the front line (the desk staff and restaurant staff), we sensed a very professional and friendly atmosphere. Our room was always clean and tidy, and the public areas of the resort were orderly and pleasant. We didn’t encounter any problems during our stay.
You really can’t beat a beachfront resort near one of the coolest old towns in North Carolina. Wrightsville Beach has a great vibe—not too “campy” and not a party beach, but very family-friendly and clean. Aside from the heavy equipment operating nearby, the area seemed rather quiet/calm. And yet there are plenty of restaurants, museums, and attractions just a short drive away.
I have to be honest: this resort is not cheap. During the slower season, rooms start as low as $189. But during the busy summer months, you’ll pay upwards of $300/night for a Harborside room, and closer to $400 for a suite. That said, there is definitely added value in what the resort offers in amenities and activities. Overall, I’d say it’s a fair value in the summer, but a better value in the off-season. If you can visit in late May like we did—when it’s warm enough to enjoy but summer pricing hasn’t kicked in—you’ll get your money’s worth.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.