February 22nd, 2017
I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I’m a simple person, and I had no idea what a boutique hotel was or what it meant when I saw the term on the website of the Marina Bay Hotel and Suites. Did it mean they had a small and pricey clothing or accessory store inside of it? Did it mean the hotel was small? I wasn’t sure. So when I had the opportunity to stay overnight at the hotel in January 2017, I asked the very helpful staff “What is a Boutique Hotel”? They told me that in a boutique hotel you will find custom décor or amenities specific to that hotel or that location.
There are a lot of accommodations offered on Chincoteague, including other hotels on the water, motels, campgrounds, vacation rental homes and cottages. So, my objective during my stay was to find out what the Marina Bay Hotel & Suites offered that made it different, and what particular type of guests would appreciate what it could provide. It was the first time I’d ever stayed in a hotel on Chincoteague, frankly because I live here year round. Since I’d never stayed at another hotel on the island, I could in no way compare this to other hotels on the Island. There are many great hotels, I just want to give you information I think would be useful if you’re interested in staying at the Marina Bay Hotel and Suites. I’ll start with the hotel interior design, transition to the hotel amenities and then move on to the room amenities.
The front desk staff member told me that the hotel’s interior designer was inspired by the colors in this abstract painting, which reminded her of the colors of the sunset on Chincoteague. The sunsets on Chincoteague are spectacular. It was brilliant to mimic that beauty in the design of the hotel.
The staff member also told me that this gigantic wooden table in the Breakfast Dining Room was custom made by a craftsman in the U.S.A.
There were custom made hallway rugs that had a graphic representation of the east coast labeled with coastal tourist spots, including Chincoteague Island.
Here are some more pictures of the interior design of the hotel.
Trip Advisor gave the hotel their status of eco-friendly “green leader” hotel. One example of their energy saving technology is the key card that you use to get into your room. The key card opens your door but also activates the electricity in the room. Upon entering the room, there is a card reader on the wall near the door. If you do not have the card in the slot, the room electricity will go into a sleep mode, thus saving electricity. If your lights suddenly go off, just look to see if you haven’t put your key card in the slot. It is the only hotel on the island that has this new energy saving technology.
As its name implies, there is an-onsite Marina, with 32 Boat Slips and a Private Boat Ramp. The use of the marina is free for hotel guests with boats that are 25 feet or less in length. Guests with boats should book their reservation by phone and mention their boat at the time of booking.
The hotel’s private boat ramp is an exciting feature because if you are hauling your boat to the island, you will not need to purchase a separate town sticker to use the public ramps.
Boat Tours remain one of the top activities on a Chincoteague Island vacation, and one tour boat company operates right out of the marina. Spider’s Explorer is the exclusive boat tour company for the hotel. His boat conveniently operates out of the marina, so that guests can walk from the hotel right to the tour boat. The hotel staff will gladly book a cruise for you or you can contact Captain Spider directly with the information on his website.
The hotel lobby has plenty of light from the enormous windows, is beautifully decorated, and has plenty of space and seating to accommodate weddings and events.
The Seasonal Outdoor Heated Pool was still under construction during my stay. There will be a Tiki Bar in the pool area, as well as a Fire Pit and a Gazebo in the vicinity. Occasionally, they will have Live Musical Entertainment as well. The whole area overlooks the marina and is centrally located.
The hotel fitness room is available to guests 24/7 and can be accessed with your key card. It is equipped with an elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike, and free weights. I was pleasantly surprised that I could control the volume of the music and the room temperature.
There are two coin-operated guest laundry rooms. One on the 2nd floor and another on the 3rd. This may not seem like a big deal, but for families with children, there can sometimes be unexpected little emergencies that require a washing machine. And while there is a laundromat on the island, sadly, it has really odd business hours. A laundry room at the hotel could be very useful for some guests.
The elevators are large and located close to the lobby. The elevators and hallways are well lit and wide.
Entrances to the hotel and pool area are also very accessible to wheelchairs/scooters. And of course there are several handicap accessible rooms.
A Complimentary Hot Breakfast is served daily. My waffle was really good. Why didn’t I take a picture of it? I never think to take a picture of my food. I’m always too anxious to eat it. I need to have more self-control and start taking the picture beforehand. Here are some pictures of what the Breakfast Room looks like and what is offered in the free hot breakfast.
There is a spacious Dining Room for breakfast, wedding receptions and special events.
No table-service restaurant on site, but they have a hot breakfast included with your stay. They will also offer a seasonal poolside tiki bar that will sell beverages and some food. The hotel is also planning to offer complimentary “Taste of Chincoteague” evenings that feature bites from local restaurants and caterers. Lastly, there are several local restaurants within walking distance. From nearest to farthest from the hotel are -Ropewalk (formerly The Jackspot, opening Spring of 2017), Bill’s Restaurant, and Don’s Seafood. For more restaurant recommendations on Chincoteague, find them here on our website http://www.chincoteague.com/restaurants.html
There is a small conference room for business needs. It looked to be about 25’X15’ in area and had a TV that could be used for presentations.
My hotel room was modern, clean and very pretty. Some of the highlights were the ceramic wood-look tile floor in the entrance and bathroom, teal blue grass-cloth wallpaper, textured weave Berber carpet and neutral colored pull out sofa with chaise. In the bathroom, my favorites were the backlit mirror, rainshower fixture, quartz counter, solid wood pocket door and glass shower door. Everything had a custom, coastal feel that made me feel like I was staying in a high-end home instead of a hotel room.
Besides the beautiful look of the bathroom and hotel room, it has a well thought out practicality to it. For instance, the water pressure is great, the shower surround is an acrylic rather than a tile, which is a lot easier than grout to keep bright white and clean. The tile floor in the entryway is much better than carpet for slightly sandy beach goers.
All rooms were at least 450 sq feet in area.
The hotel’s website described their rooms as “designed with you in mind for comfort, mobility and are filled with amenities”. I would agree with that statement. You can find a picture and description of each room at this link. I had a King Room. It would accommodate up to 4 people with the pull out sofa. I think it would be perfect for a family of four. It definitely has the room, but may lack the privacy that four adults would desire. I would say the same thing for the Queen Room, but instead of a pull out sofa for the kids, there would be two queen beds for all four occupants.
For a group of four adults or families with teens, I think the King Suite or Queen Suite would be better. You’re not going to get two separate bedrooms, but there is a wall division and additional square footage. *Note: The Accessible King and Queen Suites have a maximum occupancy of only 2 people.
The largest options are the Two bedroom Suites in the hotel. These suites accommodate 6 guests, and have two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living room with pull-out sofa. Another special touch is the wrap-around balcony.
To experience a virtual 360 degree tour of the different room options, click here.
No, they offer more space, more privacy but the suites do not offer any additional kitchen appliances than the King or Queen rooms. I don’t think you’d stay here if you intended on cooking all of your meals. Their sister hotel, The Anchor Inn, has an efficiency room that includes a small cooktop. For places that offer full kitchens, we’d recommend the Villas, Cottages and Vacation Rental Homes that we have listed on our travel guide website at this link http://www.chincoteague.com/accommodations.html
Rooms have either a view of the waterfront/pool/marina area or a historic view, which is a view of Main St.
In my room, were two complimentary water bottles, travel size soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion along with a full size ironing board, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge.
I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the microwave and mini-refrigerator. The microwave was full-size. Which really comes in handy when reheating those crab cakes you couldn’t finish at the restaurant. Unless the restaurant puts it in those unfortunate foamy containers that just disintegrate when reheated.
Also, the refrigerator is large enough for a family’s leftovers, cans of soda, water bottles, etc. Theoretically, you could eat your breakfast at the hotel, put some yogurt, or deli meats in the fridge for packing a lunch to the beach and only have to worry about eating out at a restaurant for dinner. I’m a frugal person and have a family of five, so my mind just goes there. I applaud the Marina Bay Hotel for providing a mini-fridge that is in actuality not so mini.
My fellow coffee drinker may be happy to find out about the free Starbucks coffee packets in the room. My in-room morning brew was delicious. Marina Bay Hotel & Suites is the only business on Chincoteague that is licensed to use Starbucks brand coffee.
It would be perfect for people who tend to spend more time relaxing at their hotel. I really felt like it was a hotel that was meant to give you a home away from home feeling. It felt comfortable and luxurious at the same time. Even though Chincoteague activities and the beach should definitely be experienced, it’s also nice to stay somewhere that has a great pool, and a soothing environment that can give you the downtime you need on a vacation. I think that it would be perfect for wedding parties, boat owners, families with older children or teens, business travelers, eco-conscious, and couples looking for a romantic getaway. This is not the hotel for people who need a kitchen. I also didn’t think they are the best choice for families with young children, because the bathrooms had showers and not bathtubs. At the Marina Bay Hotel & Suites, I have no idea how you would bathe a baby, toddler or child who is not used to taking a shower. Their sister hotel next door, The Anchor Inn, has rooms with bathtubs.
If you book your room soon, you can stay without paying a hefty price tag at least in 2017. Their rates are sure to increase but during their first year they are offering very competitive introductory rates and occasional discounts. To visit their website go to staymarinabay.com.
There are a lot of places to stay on Chincoteague Island. I hope this helps to narrow your choices down a little.
By Sara Daisey
~Sara and her husband Ted are the owners of Chincoteague.com. They are full-time residents of Chincoteague. They hope that their love of Chincoteague inspires everyone who visits their website to also visit their special island. Remember to visit www.chincoteague.com for everything you need to plan your next visit to Chincoteague Island.
Sara Daisey authors the Chincoteague.com Blog. She resides on Chincoteague Island with her husband Ted and three children, Garrett, Morgan, and Jenna.