Prime downtown Wilmington location on the riverfront
Walk to Wilmington Convention Center plus restaurants and shops in under five minutes
Modern rooms with excellent beds, flat-screen TVs, and local artwork
Outdoor pool overlooking the river
Two on-site full-service restaurants and lobby lounge cafe
24-hour fitness and business centers
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Free airport shuttle
Extensive events space including large outdoor areas
Valet or self-parking (for a fee)
Rooms decor isn't the most stylish in the Hilton chain
Some rooms smell musty
Breakfast only included with some bookings
The 274-room, upper-middle-range Hotel Ballast Wilmington, Tapestry Collection by Hilton is a corporate hotel in downtown Wilmington located right on the Cape Fear River. Rooms, which include free Wi-Fi and excellent mattresses, aren't the freshest in the Hilton chain, and some accents like frilly bedskirts and heavy drapes look outdated. There are two on-site restaurants, a fitness center, and multiple meeting spaces, and the outdoor pool that overlooks the riverfront and is a popular spot for events. The Wilmington Convention Center and multiple businesses are within walking distance, as are historic sites, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, making it suitable for tourists as well.
The nine-story Hotel Ballast Wilmington stands tall along the Cape Fear riverfront. The back of the hotel abuts the Wilmington Riverwalk, and there are excellent views of the Cape Fear River from many spots in the hotel. The light-filled lobby is expansive and offers multiple seating areas suitable for small meetings and gatherings. There are light tile elements, shimmering mosaic tilework, and dark wood accents throughout. Guests also lounge in the lobby's cafe area and in the lower-level restaurant, Innovations. Carpeted hallways lead to extensive meeting spaces spread over three floors, and a curved staircase leads to the mezzanine. The property is designed to accommodate large groups, and the wear and tear from those crowds is visible in spots like the elevators. This hotel is primarily geared toward business travelers, although plenty of tourists find its location ideal.
Prime downtown Wilmington riverfront location within walking distance of most everything
Hotel Ballast Wilmington is in a prime downtown location on the Cape Fear riverfront within walking distance of the entire downtown area. In addition to the river, the hotel is surrounded by historic sites, businesses, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Guests can easily walk to most attractions or take a carriage ride. The historic Cotton Exchange shopping and dining area is essentially across the street, and the USS North Carolina Battleship is just across the river. The battleship memorial is a 10-minute drive or short boat ride away. Wrightsville Beach is 20 minutes away by car, while Carolina Beach takes 30 minutes to reach. Fort Fisher in Kure Beach is a 35-minute drive from the hotel and Airlie Gardens take 20 minutes to reach by road. The hotel is about 10 minutes from Wilmington International Airport by taxi or car, a two-hour drive from Raleigh Durham International Airport, and one and a half hours from the Myrtle Beach Jetport.
Classic Hilton rooms with excellent beds and free Wi-Fi
Rooms at the Hotel Ballast Wilmington embody most of the classic Hilton trademarks, with dark wood furnishings, brown striped carpeting, and crisp white duvets atop Hilton's excellent Serenity Beds. These aren't the most fresh rooms we've seen, with a bit of wear and tear visible on the furniture, and dated design elements like ruffled bedskirts and peach satin curtains. Amenities include armchairs with ottomans, iHome clock radios, ergonomic desk chairs, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and free copies of USA Today on weekdays. Contemporary art by local artists hangs on the off-white walls. Bathrooms are small, and have granite countertops and high-end bath amenities plus marble floors and stylish walk-in showers. Many rooms have nice views of the river or the historic downtown area, though this is not guaranteed in all rooms. Suites with sitting areas and sofa-sleepers provide more space. We did notice a slight musty smell in some of the rooms we visited, a complaint echoed by guests who have stayed here.
Two on-site restaurants, an outdoor pool, and 24-hour fitness and business centers
The hotel's own on-site restaurant, Innovations, serves traditional American and low-country fare for all meals in a casual indoor/outdoor setting. A breakfast buffet is offered each morning, though it's only included with some bookings. There's also a Ruth's Chris Steak House on-site, and Current's Riverside Cafe in the lobby, which serves Starbucks coffee and light fare for breakfast and lunch. At night, the cafe turns into a bar with cocktails, beer, and wine. The outdoor pool overlooks the river and has plenty of deck space for relaxing poolside or for outdoor events. The 24-hour modern fitness center offers a few cardio and weight options in front of large windows, while the large 24/7 business center has both Macs and PCs for guests to use, plus a printer and copier. Some 20,000 square feet of meeting space are available in a variety of configurations for events and meetings, and the hotel's Grand Ballroom can accommodate up to 1,000 guests and opens onto a large terrace and outdoor patio right on the river. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and the hotel provides a free shuttle to and from Wilmington Airport. There is a fee for self or valet parking, and laundry or dry cleaning services can be arranged.
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