Aug 29, 2023
Virginia Beach Marriott hotel review
Whether you live on the East Coast or regularly visit its beaches, chances are you're aware of this area's lack of beachfront hotels. Barring a trip to South Carolina or Florida, your best bet will
Whether you live on the East Coast or regularly visit its beaches, chances are you're aware of this area's lack of beachfront hotels. Barring a trip to South Carolina or Florida, your best bet will likely be a vacation rental or run-down boardwalk motel better suited for spring breakers. That is, unless you visit Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Within easy driving distance of major cities like Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and Raleigh, North Carolina, Virginia Beach draws travelers who want a serene, sandy setting with a family-friendly atmosphere and an action-packed boardwalk.
Although its beachfront was once void of brand-name hotels, the opening of the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront in 2020 provided savvy travelers looking to earn or redeem hotel points with a place to stay steps from the shore in this coastal city.
This breezy and stylish beachfront hotel has everything you need for an enjoyable getaway, though there are a few things to consider before you book. Here's what you need to know about the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
The Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront is part of the Cavalier Resort, a multiproperty complex at the north end of the Virginia Beach boardwalk that also includes the Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club and the Embassy Suites by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort.
The three properties share a beachfront and provide plenty of dining and entertainment options that guests of any of the hotels can access (with the exception of the Cavalier's beach club), though you can only charge expenses from venues at your specific hotel back to your room.
Of the three hotels, the Marriott is the most balanced of the bunch, blending a moderate price point with fresh design and luxury touches. It's a bit more relaxed than the swanky Cavalier but not as basic with its amenities as the more affordable Embassy Suites.
The Marriott offers a coastal, casual vibe and sweeping views of the Atlantic and marine wildlife. By contrast, the Cavalier leans into its 1920s heyday as a destination for big bands, with a historic and more luxurious feel to it. The Embassy Suites, like most other chain hotels in Virginia Beach, doesn't lean into the location much at all, with a design that could work at any Embassy Suites.
The easiest way to book this Marriott resort is directly through the Marriott website.
Cash rates for our three-day weekend stay in July ranged from $486 per night for an ocean-view room to $625 per night for an oceanfront corner room. However, rates for an entry-level room with an ocean view drop to as low as $157 per night starting in October and continuing into May.
If you want to redeem hotel points for a stay, you're in luck, as this property participates in the Marriott Bonvoy program. During our July visit, a standard ocean-view room required more than 61,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night (or 185,000 points for the entire stay). For a better award rate, aim to arrive in fall or winter when the price drops to 44,000 points per night on select dates.
Since we're a family of four, we reserved two rooms for our two-night stay at a rate of $645 per night. We paid for the trip in cash, both because we're saving Bonvoy points for another trip later this year and because cash saved us roughly $608 over the value of the points, according to the TPG cash versus points calculator.
The biggest appeal of the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront's location is that it is right on the beach. Most hotels in the area are separated from the sand by the Virginia Beach boardwalk, which makes them great for people-watching but terrible for noise. Because the Marriott doesn't overlook the boardwalk, it's generally much quieter than its competitors.
Turn your back on the beach and walk west and you'll almost immediately be on the grand lawn of the hotel's sister property, the Historic Cavalier Hotel, providing easy access to additional restaurants and bars, plus frequent live music. The Marriott's location at the very end of the city's hotel zone means you can also walk to most of the attractions along the Virginia Beach boardwalk, including Neptune's Park (which often hosts live music in the summer) and the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier.
You'll need to drive to attractions farther away from the boardwalk, such as the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and to boat tours departing from Rudee Inlet Station Marina. You'll also want a car to get to the resort from pretty much anywhere, so expect to pay an extra $20 to $30 per night for on-site parking (we were charged $20 per night for our stay, but the resort's website lists $30 per night).
Almost every room at the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront has a balcony, and all have at least a partial ocean view.
For the best vistas, request to stay on the north side of the building, as the Embassy Suites on the south side blocks part of the view, especially on lower floors.
Since I was traveling with my family of four, I reserved two connecting rooms: a standard ocean-view room with a king-size bed and an ocean-view room with two queen-size beds. Both rooms were large and modern, featuring casual light wood furniture and subtle beach-inspired decor with sandy-hued fabric on the chairs, blue rugs and blue detailing behind the beds.
Plenty of outlets and USB charging ports were distributed on the desk and both nightstands, making it easy to charge multiple devices (my husband and I had no issue charging both of our laptops, iPads, phones and Apple Watches, and there were even enough plugs and chargers for me to give my Kindle a little extra juice).
Each accommodation also had a large desk and a chair for lounging in addition to a closet that, while spacious, only had a couple of drawers. The furnished balconies were wide and comfortable, but with only railings separating the balcony of one room from another, they were not particularly private.
Both of our bathrooms complemented the beach-inspired feel of the rooms, with white tiling, light wood floating vanities and excellent lighting, especially helpful for applying makeup. Toiletries were from This Works! and included thoughtful touches like makeup remover wipes and disinfecting wipes. However, these two amenities weren't replaced as part of regular housekeeping.
On both days of our stay, housekeeping was prompt, thorough and friendly, taking extra time to put our kids' stuffed animals in cute poses.
At the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront, there are three restaurants: Tulu Seaside Bar & Grill, Orion's Roof and the Beach Bar and Grill. Additionally, guests can grab a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon sweet treat at We Scream Ice Cream and Coffee Shop.
The hotel's take on an elevated beachfront grill, Tulu is the spot to go for American fare throughout the day. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the restaurant serves patrons in an open space decorated with hanging baskets that evoke the crab pots that are so central to Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay cuisine.
The east walls of the restaurant open up, giving diners a view of the hotel's tiered lawn and beach.
We sampled breakfast here twice during our stay and found the food was decent overall, though the focus on upmarket, healthy dishes instead of typical beach bites may not appeal to picky eaters. The items we ordered — including eggs Benedict ($16), pancakes ($12) and waffles ($13) — filled us up for the day, despite lacking the Virginia Beach twist we'd hoped to enjoy. Instead of regular eggs Benedict, why not offer a crabcake version or one highlighting Virginia ham?
Orion's Roof, an Asian-fusion restaurant located on the 23rd-floor rooftop, was the resort's standout eatery.
Welcoming guests for lunch and dinner, Orion's Roof is more upscale than Tulu and takes full advantage of its location, providing spectacular views — especially during the day. Over the course of lunch one day, we spotted five ospreys passing by with the lunch they had just pulled from the ocean and we sat eye-level with pelicans gliding by. We also had an excellent view of naval aircraft completing training missions.
Unfortunately, the food didn't soar to the same heights as the views, but it wasn't bad by any means. The wine and beer list was interesting though limited, and the menu focused on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, but not much about it represented what I might have expected to find at a Virginia restaurant.
Many Virginia ingredients (think: local peanuts) pair well with Asian flavors, so it felt like a missed opportunity not to incorporate more regional items into the dishes. My husband wished his bulgogi steak sandwich ($16) had more spice, while my kids gave their California rolls ($12) their seal of approval. My crabcake sandwich ($21) was tasty but nothing special.
Fitness buffs will appreciate that the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront has a 24-hour fitness center with everything needed to stay in shape while on vacation. There are treadmills, bikes and a decent selection of weight machines, though you may prefer to break a sweat outside since the property is so close to the boardwalk.
In addition to the gym, the resort has a bocce court that guests can use for free. Bicycles are available for rent as well.
There are two pools at the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront: an outdoor pool facing the beach, and an indoor pool that features a beach entry and a wall that opens to the outdoor pool when the weather is nice.
The indoor pool is great for when it's chilly out or you're trying to avoid a sunburn, and the beach entry makes it a good splashing area for smaller kids. Know, though, that when there are a lot of kids in the pool, it can get loud and echoey. There isn't much seating around this pool — just some couches and armchairs — so don't expect to lounge around.
Unlike the indoor option, the outdoor pool has plenty of lounge chairs and even a few daybeds. There are also in-pool loungers on a sun shelf, as well as an in-pool bench around the pool for sitting and cooling off.
Beyond the pools, you'll find a wide stretch of sand with plenty of space, even at high tide. It's a quieter section of beach compared to areas farther south and along the boardwalk, with most people focused on lounging, building sandcastles and swimming instead of partying.
Your resort fee (more on that below) gets you two beach chairs, but an umbrella costs an extra $25 per day to rent. Daybeds and shaded clamshells go for $130 per day. To use the facilities, you check in at a kiosk, then an attendant will take you to your chairs (and carry some of your stuff), set up your umbrella and come back periodically to see if you'd like it moved for more shade.
Though there's no drink service on the sand, the beach isn't far from Tulu, so you can easily get something yourself if you don't bring your own cooler. (Just know that public consumption of alcohol is illegal in Virginia Beach.) The hotel has a shower and foot wash area near the pool deck, so you don't have to track sand back to your room.
One major downside of the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront is the daily resort fee. This charge adds an extra $30 per room, per day, to your total and applies to all stays, whether you pay with cash or points.
On the plus side, the resort fee covers several amenities, including:
During our stay, resort activities ranged from cornhole to evening s'mores to meet-and-greets with a mermaid at the pool — let's hope they carried her in instead of making her wiggle her way up from the beach. The resort fee does not cover parking, which is a separate charge.
The Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront offers accessible rooms for wheelchair users, as well as those with vision and hearing impairments. The hallways are well-lit and wide, and Braille signage is abundant.
Each pool has a lift to help wheelchair users in and out, and there is a ramp down to the beach. However, the hotel does not have beach wheelchairs and there's no mat on the beach, so it's not fully accessible.
Despite being close to some major metro areas, Virginia Beach tends to be overlooked as a destination, in part because hotel options have been limited to more budget-minded properties until recently. With the addition of the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront, travelers have an upscale, but still casual, place to stay with incredible beach access, decent food and an excellent location. My family and I will definitely be back.