Breakfast buffet with hot and cold options including omelets
Free covered parking and Wi-Fi
On-site laundry facilities
Some units need a style update
Meeting rooms smelled musty
Breakfast is not included with bookings
Fee for beach chairs and umbrellas
The mid-range Shell Island Resort is situated in a quiet spot at the north end of Wrightsville Beach, offering excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean from all accommodations. All rooms are individually owned Suites and have a bedroom, great room with kitchen and dining, and one-and-a-half bathrooms. Because proprietors vary from unit to unit, decor is uneven -- some Suites are fresh and contemporary, while others could use an update. An oceanfront restaurant offers indoor and al fresco dining, while indoor and outdoor pools supplement the wide, sandy beach. This condo-style hotel is well-suited for families and couples looking for a relaxing beach vacation in a semi-secluded corner of the Carolina coast.
Condo-style hotel with great views of quiet, uncrowded beach
The entrance to the hotel is expansive, and palm trees line the front of the nine-story building. As the only high-rise in the area, it stands out among the beach cottages and the neighboring marsh. Contemporary coastal sculptures flank the main sliding-glass-door entrance and once inside, the long, narrow lobby has groups of contemporary chairs in sober earth tones set near large windows overlooking the indoor pool. Attractive wood desks stand near mosaic-tile elevator banks to the upper floors. The space is airy and bright, and vacationers -- including families and couples -- are constantly coming and going. The two pools are a fine place to cool off, but don't expect any wild parties here, though the indoor/outdoor restaurant is a casual space with a bar and a wood wall displaying pottery, fish sculptures, and other curios. The ambiance throughout is a mix between classy and casual.
Quiet oceanfront spot at the north end of Wrightsville Beach
The nine-story hotel is at the northern end of Wrightsville Beach. Surrounded by a few homes, it's one of the only landmarks in the immediate area besides the beach, sand dunes, and marshes. Due to its remote location there's little traffic, and the property offers excellent views of the Atlantic Ocean. There's not much nearby, so guests will need a car if they want to explore or eat outside of the hotel, though bikes can also be rented. Johnny Mercer's Pier, a great spot for photo ops near a few restaurants, takes six minutes to reach by car. Wilmington International Airport, historic downtown Wilmington, and the USS North Carolina Battleship are a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
Multi-room Suites with full kitchens and ocean views, though decor varies
Every Suite here is individually owned and decorated, so interiors vary from rental to rental. Some are stylish, like the Premium King Corner Suite we visited, which had tan tile floors with handsome patterned throw rugs, attractive dark wood and white contemporary furniture, and eye-catching accents like embroidered bed runners and accent pillows. Other rooms are far more dated and homey, like the Premium Double Full Kitchen Suite we saw, which had old-school plaid window dressings, chain-hotel style carpets, and framed posters for wall art. All have one bedroom with a king or two queen-size beds, a great room with a sofa bed, a kitchenette and dining area, one-and-a-half bathrooms, and a balcony. Amenities include a refrigerator, microwave, stovetop, cooking utensils, dishes, coffeemaker, blender, two flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have full kitchens with a dishwasher. Views from the sliding glass doors and balconies are gorgeous, and are even better along with the sound of crashing waves and the ocean breeze.
Wide, sandy beach, indoor and outdoor pools, oceanfront restaurant, and more
The hotel's most outstanding feature is its 3,000 feet of wide sandy beach and the ocean. A volleyball net is set up for the active, and there are chairs and umbrellas to rent for those who prefer to relax. A lifeguard keeps an eye on the water. The tiki hut provides watersports rentals including surfboards, skim boards, boogie boards, paddle boards, and kayaks. The Shell Island Restaurant and Oceanfront Lounge serves American fare for all meals with views of the sand dunes. The setting is casual and beachy, and guests can dine inside or out on the patio, though no meals are included with room rates. The outdoor pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and side tables, but no umbrellas. There's also a small hot tub. An adjacent rectangular indoor pool allows swimming year-round. The hotel's tiny fitness room has cardio machines in front of a flat-screen TV and some free weights. There are also two computers, a copier, and a printer for guests to use. The hotel has 6,000 square feet of event space suitable for meetings or social gatherings, though they aren't the most inviting, and the ballroom is oceanfront and has views of the dunes from large windows. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and covered parking is free. There is also a small gift shop in the lobby and laundry facilities on site.
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