The Traveling Steve's

A couple days in VA Beach

After our overnight stay at the Richmond Westin, Steve (DOS) and I headed to Virginia Beach for our next hotel stay in our Marriott Platinum challenge. We had originally booked four nights at the Marriott Courtyard oceanfront at 37th avenue based on favorable recommendations of their corner suites, however we ended up staying only two nights here, but adding on two nights to our next stop of Williamsburg VA.

Although I had grown up in Virginia, I never really cared for Virginia Beach. In my humble opinion, it has lots of high-rises lumped together, without much character or charm, mixed in with old and dilapidated properties, and overall feels blah. The traffic to get to Virginia Beach can be a bit hectic going thru the tunnels or oner the bridges, but we didn’t have any trouble in the early afternoon.

Virginia Beach, however, has been revitalized a bit over the years beginning with the addition of the large and oceanfront Hilton and Conference Center, which subsequently created the add-on of nice hotels and additional commerce to the beach boardwalk area.

Upon arrival to the Marriott Courtyard, we checked in quickly and commented to ourselves the front desk was better staffed and a bit more efficient there than the Westin had been. One of the front desk ladies even gave us a chocolate bar with my name custom labeled on it!

The lobby area, in contrast to the guest-rooms, must have been remodeled at some point recently as it looked much fresher and more modern than the guest-rooms which were a bit weathered.

We had an oceanfront corner room with two queen beds on the 4th floor, which had a living room area and a separate bedroom and bath area further back in the long rectangular room. There was a small balcony overlooking the ocean, wide beach, and boardwalk below. The fourth floor view was actually quite nice as it was high enough to see out, but close enough to the ground to people watch on the boardwalk below. We didn’t like the lack of privacy on the balcony, however, as the next room’s balcony was just inches from ours without a privacy wall. It was a bit rainy the day we arrived, but would clear up by the next day.

One disappointment with our corner room that we had not anticipated, was the lack of a side-view window. This made the room dark, and our end-room view was just like any other oceanfront room. (I think we were expecting a wrap around corner room similar to the Hyatt Orlando Conference Center which offer views in front and also on the side making it a well lit room with a wide ange of views.)

DOS actually went outside to look at the other end of the Courtyard hotel, and they did have side view windows for viewing. We asked about this at the front desk, but that side of the hotel only had King-bedded rooms, and they were all sold out, so we stuck with our original room.

Opposite side of Courtyard Hotel with side windows on their corner oceanfront rooms.
Our end-room side of the Courtyard Hotel which has no side windows at all.

It was a bit odd as the building was shaped the same on both ends, with our side of the building missing the side windows, but the hotel could have been built and expanded in sections, with ours the windowless original building, as viewed from the front of the hotel. In any event, if staying at this hotel, a King oceanfront corner room room has side-view windows while the Queen (2 queens) oceanfront corner room does not.

We did have a nice stay at Viginia Beach, especially on the second day when the weather was better. Virginia Beach does have a nice boardwalk area that stretches for blocks, and is nice to walk on both day and evening.

We didn’t swim in the ocean or walk on the actual beach (preferring the walks along the boardwalk instead), but the beach was very wide, and had mostly families on it, enjoying the delightful weather of mid September.

DOS and I walked along the boardwalk for blocks, taking a couple photos along the way of Neptune statue, sidewalk area restaurants, trolley bikes etc.

On a more solemn note, we also stopped by the VA Beach Public Safety officer memorial, as well as the Navy Seal Memorial, the latter one right by our hotel.

Thank you men, women, and canines (they were memorized as well) for your honor, service, and the ultimate sacrifice you made for our nation and freedoms.

At Christmas time the boardwalk area is also decorated with Christmas and holiday lights. I was here a few years ago on business during December and the boardwalk was decorated with the twelve days of Christmas and other scenes, all lit up as supersized animated displays. For our off season stay we saw small crowds of people, mostly families, and heard many a Navy fighter jet roar above us as the base was so close. I never could get a good photo of the jets as they roared by so fast, but use your imagination and picture one or two in the sky below if you can’ see them clearly! LOL!

For dinners we keep it pretty simple; one night we ordered a pizza, and the other night we drove a short distance to Outback Steakhouse.

The parking lot was vey small at the hotel, and although they had remote parking across the street, it too was surprisingly quite full being the off season. We didn’t like leaving the car that far away with things we were bringing back home from Roanoke visible in the car (although we did cover them up with a blanket.) There weren’t that many restaurants open within walking distance due to COVID, (or at least we felt comfortable walking to at night), and with the parking situation, it made it less relaxing having to go out for dinner and then find parking upon returning. And for those who know us well, we never pack light! LOL!

Still we stayed two nights instead of our original four , got our Marriott credit, and checked in and out with no issues. Next stop on our Platinum Challenge tour: Williamsbug VA!

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