Balconies dont' feel private as they look out at not only the ocean but also other balconies
There's a fee for beach chairs
Mini-fridges aren't available in standard rooms
The Island House is a three-pearl property with an upscale beach vibe and lots of fun features for this price point. Contemporary beach style rooms are spacious and each includes a balcony overlooking the public beach, which is accessible via a long wooden boardwalk. The swimming pool isn't huge, but the additional kiddie pool is a nice touch. Expect to pay extra for breakfast and beach chairs. Wi-Fi and parking are included and the on-site Island Grille gets high marks for lunch and breakfast -- but it does not offer dinner service.
The scene at The Island House is best described as family-friendly elegance on the beach. A full wall of windows lets sunshine into the bright and airy lobby. Wicker chairs and sofas topped with plump cushions sit near wooden bookshelves lined with beach themed curios and novels. Seashell decorated lamps and glass vases filled with seashells add interest to the space. Outdoors, the grounds are nicely landscaped with palm trees and well-swept paths. Natural seagrass separates the hotel grounds from the sandy public beach.
The Island House Hotel is located directly on the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in Orange Beach, Alabama. The front of the hotel is situated along a main highway in an area filled with condos, smaller hotels, and strip mall style businesses. Directly across the highway is a liquor store, bait shop, coffee shop, and a casual seafood restaurant. The kid-friendly Adventure Island theme park is less than a five-minute drive from the hotel. Parking is free.
Private balconies (that don't feel so private) overlook the beach
Each of the 160 rooms at The Island House Hotel overlook the Gulf of Mexico from a private balcony, though the balconies themselves aren't very private due to the crescent shape of the building. White plastic chairs aren't luxurious. Inside, rooms are carpeted and spacious and considerably more upscale. Wood shutter style headboards look nice with white bed linens topped with baby-blue throw pillows. Flat-screen TVs and coffeemakers are standard. You'll need an upgrade to get a mini-fridge. Some rooms include a vanity and sink outside of the bathroom, which is nice for families. Shower/tub combinations with fabric curtains make up the bathroom. The corner penthouse is a great choice for groups or families as it has the most square footage, a whirlpool style tub, and a kitchenette (which lacks a stovetop).
Beach access and the ocean-facing pool are highlights
Most guests are drawn to The Island House Hotel for its private access to a beautiful sandy beach, though there aren't any facilities there and beach chairs cost extra. Plastic sun loungers by the medium-size outdoor swimming pool are free and there's a smaller pool for little ones. Island Grille serves buffet or a la carte breakfast and lunch indoors. Sandbar Lounge offers cocktails and wine. Dinner isn't available at the hotel, though there are restaurants within walking distance. The tiny fitness center has five cardio machines in a windowless room. Strength-training equipment and amenities like towels aren't available. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. Meeting rooms are some of the nicest in the area, though there isn't a business center.