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The Tides Inn in Coastal Virginia [In-depth Hotel Review]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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Settled on the Chesapeake Bay in the small town of Irvington, Virginia, you’ll find the Tides Inn, a quaint, luxury hotel in an area you would never expect such a hotel.

Offering 5-star amenities, comfortable rooms, and a picturesque view of the bay, the Tides Inn is a great getaway for those in Washington, D.C., or Richmond, Virginia who want a few nights completely away from the hustle and bustle.

I recently had the chance to stay at this unique property — read on to see what it was like!

The Tides Inn Location

The Tides Inn is in a remote location in Irvington, Virginia. The nearest “major town,” Kilmarnock, Virginia, is about a 10-minute drive from the hotel.

It’s about a 3-hour drive from Washington, D.C., or about 2 hours from Richmond. The nearest airport, Norfolk (ORF), is about 90 minutes away by car.

While Kilmarnock is the largest town nearby, it’s still very small and only offers a handful of restaurants, some small boutique shops, and essential services.

There are hardly any hotel accommodations in this region (more on that later), and you’ll need to have a car with you. The area is not accessible by public transit of any sort, and just about everything you’d want to see or do requires driving.

Irvington, where the hotel is located, is a small (and admittedly adorable) village with a couple of places to eat, a few small offices, a bank, a gas station, and a town hall. The village itself is only about a 10-minute walk from the hotel, but you’ll need a car to get anywhere beyond.

Tides Inn Main Entrance
The main entrance of The Tides Inn.

Booking The Tides Inn

Let me first start off with how I stumbled on this hotel, as I think that’s important to highlight.

I’m a member of my local Rotary Club outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and there was a regional conference being held at a country club in Kilmarnock. When the conference was announced, I did my research about hotels in the area, and came up empty-handed:

  • There was the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tappahannock, but it was located an hour’s drive away, which was not ideal.
  • There were a few very small bed-and-breakfast-type options in town, but most were sold out, and I don’t prefer these types of accommodations.
  • There was the Best Western Kilmarnock Hotel where a majority of the conference participants were staying, but the property had very mixed reviews.
  • Finally, there was the Tides Inn, considered a 4- to 5-star luxury hotel about a 10-minute drive from where I needed to be.

Earlier in the year, I had looked into staying at the Tides Inn, but was dissuaded by the rates, so I instead booked the nearby Best Western, which was very inexpensive and where most of the conference attendees would be staying.

However, something told me to look up reviews of the Best Western Kilmarnock Hotel on Tripadvisor a night before I was due to check-in. And am I ever glad that I did. A majority of the reviews mentioned roaches and bed bugs in the rooms — as soon as I read this, I called Best Western to cancel my reservation immediately.

As I noted before, there were hardly any other options in the area, and most of them had already been booked up by other conference attendees. I tried to see what other chain hotels there were, but there were none.

That’s when I realized I still had my annual travel credit of $300 on my Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, and I hadn’t used it so far this year. I went to the Capital One Travel portal and, surprisingly, found availability at the Tides Inn for around $350 a night. Subtracting out the $300 travel credit, I’d only spend about $400 out of pocket for 2 nights, something I was perfectly content with seeing as I was staying at a luxury hotel — without the worry of cockroaches or bed bugs.

I quickly made my reservation through Capital One Travel and selected the only remaining room available: a Deluxe Queen room. Unfortunately, the hotel has a $45 per-night resort fee, and I was told this would be collected once I arrived.

Hot Tip:

Since this hotel doesn’t participate in any major loyalty programs, the best way to book is through your credit card’s travel portal (such as AmexTravel.com, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi Travel With Booking.com), where you may be able to earn extra points. Alternatively, you could use one of our recommended best credit cards for earning rewards at any hotel.

Checking In

To start, this hotel does not participate in any major chain or loyalty program. This meant I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of perks like free breakfast, a room upgrade, or late checkout.

Tides Inn Driveway by Front
A long driveway takes you past the golf course and parking lots to the front of the hotel.

I had rented a car for this trip, so once I arrived, I found the self-parking area which was just a couple of hundred feet from the main lobby.

After getting my bags out of the car, I walked towards the entrance, where I found 2 helpful bellmen who opened the door for me and helped with my bags.

Tides Inn Front Sign
The front entrance is charming.

After heading inside, I proceeded to the front desk where I was warmly greeted by a lady with a strong Southern accent and the most “Southern Virginia charm” that you could find in a person.

She truly made me feel at home, and she explained all of the services and amenities that were available. I had to provide my credit card to pay for the resort fee, and I was given 2 electronic key cards to access the room. Shortly after leaving the front desk, I got a text message from the hotel asking how my stay was — so far, so good!

Tides Inn Front Desk
The front desk was managed by a very sweet woman who helped me check in.

Lobby

The lobby at this hotel was cute and charming. There was a small seating area on a landing area where the concierge desk was located, and then a larger lobby to the right, which led right into one of the banquet rooms and the outdoor patio area.

There were multiple places to sit and gather, and the entire area had a certain coastal, nautical feel to it.

Tides Inn Lobby
There’s a large lobby adjacent to where the front desk is located.

There was also a bar located in the lobby where you could grab a beverage.

Tides Inn Bar
There was a small bar located in the lobby.

Amenities

The Tides Inn offers a number of amenities, but there is a $45 per-night night resort fee, which is rather steep. The fee includes:

  • Access to Shoreline Trail and Oyster Reef
  • Business center
  • Car service within 5 miles (subject to availability)
  • Clay tennis courts and pickleball
  • Complimentary valet parking
  • Cruiser bikes and tricycles
  • Domestic phone calls
  • Filtered water-refill stations
  • Fitness center and yoga/movement studio
  • Forest trail and bee meadow
  • High-speed internet access
  • In-room Nespresso and snacks
  • In-room bottled water
  • Laundry and valet services (fees apply)
  • Lawn croquet, bocce and corn hole
  • Morning coffee in View Room
  • Mountain bikes and trail riding
  • Paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes
  • Par 3 golf course
  • Pool, beach, and grounds access
  • Self-parking
  • Sunrise stretch classes
Tides Inn Boardwalk
There were lots of walking paths surrounding the hotel.

Here’s a closer look at some of the top amenities on offer:

Parking

Valet parking was complimentary and included in the resort fee, and there was also a self-parking lot just a couple of hundred feet from the main entrance.

Pool

An outdoor pool was located down by the water, just up from the beach. There were a number of deck chairs surrounding the pool for relaxation.

Tides Inn Pool
A large swimming pool was located right above the beach.

Fitness Center

The Tides’ fitness center was located in a separate building right across the parking lot. It was a relatively small room with basic equipment, though everything was modern and well-kept.

Tides Inn Gym
The gym was open 24/7 and was in its own building, separate from the guest rooms.

Tennis Courts

There were several tennis courts next to the main driveway into the property. They operated on a first-come, first-served basis (pickleball courts are pictured).

Tides Inn Tennis Courts
If you play tennis or pickleball, there were several courts to enjoy.

Beach

The Tides Inn even had a small beach area on the Chesapeake Bay. You could relax here on one of many chairs with umbrellas, and there were several beach games scattered throughout the area.

Tides Inn Beach
Along the beach were plenty of chairs and several fire pits for cool evenings.

Equipment Rental

Bicycles, paddleboards, canoes, and other outdoor equipment that you could use around the property were available for rent.

Tides Inn Surfboards
Paddleboards were available for rent down at the beach.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is included with the resort fee, and I had no trouble accessing the internet, downloading television shows to my iPad, or doing other data-intensive tasks.

Daily Classes

Each week, the hotel publishes a daily schedule with fitness classes for each day. These included meditation classes, bird watching, and more. However, it appeared as if each required an additional charge above and beyond the nightly resort fee.

Tides Inn Welcome Letter
Each day a newsletter was left by the bed, and it listed available classes along with their prices.

The Room

I was assigned a Resort View Double room for my stay. The hotel was completely sold out, so I couldn’t adjust my room type. However, it was just me, so I was fine with my room.

Tides Inn 2 Beds Side by Side
This Deluxe 2 Queen room was lovely for the few nights I was here.

The room itself was beautifully kept — it felt like a room I’d encounter at a 5-star city-center hotel!

After entering the room, there was a generously-sized desk area, perfect for getting some work done.

Tides Inn Water Bottles
On the desk were 2 reusable water bottles.

Immediately next to that was cabinetry housing the coffee maker, complimentary water bottles, and other related supplies.

Tides Inn Coffee Maker
Water and coffee were replaced daily.

In front of the window were 2 comfortable chairs for sitting and relaxing.

Tides Inn Chairs with Dresser
There were 2 chairs in the room next to the dresser and television.

Moving further into the room, there was a long counter housing the television and a minifridge that was stocked with complimentary sodas and sparkling and still waters. I loved that these items were complimentary — it was a really nice touch that made the property feel luxurious.

Tides Inn Minibar Sodas
Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks were replaced daily.

There were 2 queen beds across from the TV, and a single nightstand separated them. Unfortunately, the power outlets weren’t quite readily accessible, though I pulled out the nightstand a bit and shimmied my phone charger into an outlet on the wall.

Tides Inn Bedstand
A single nightstand separated the 2 beds. Unfortunately, it didn’t have many options to plug in devices.

Inside of the bathroom was a closet area with a luggage storage rack, robes, an ironing board, and an iron. The bathroom itself was very large, with 2 sinks, a separate soaking tub, a stand-up shower, and a toilet.

Tides Inn Bathroom Overview
The bathroom was enormous for a room of this size.

I especially liked how this hotel had its own branded toiletries.

Tides Inn Toiletries
Toiletries were in reusable pumps in the shower.

Food and Beverage

This hotel offers several dining outlets on-site. Due to the hotel’s location, it’s actually quite a hub of activity during the evenings when local residents dine out, as it’s one of the nicest places to eat within a few hours’ drive.

Hot Tip:

You’ll likely want to make reservations if you’re planning to eat at the hotel, as the Tides Inn hosts some of the best restaurants in the area and it can be hard to get a table.

Chesapeake Restaurant and Terrace

Chesapeake Restaurant and Terrace is the property’s main restaurant. It features an inside dining room and an outdoor terrace that is open when the weather is nice out.

While I didn’t eat breakfast at the hotel, if you were going to order breakfast, this is your only option at the property. Here’s a look at the operating hours:

  • Breakfast: Daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Brunch: Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Lunch: Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dinner: Daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

I had the chance to dine here 1 evening with several other people. We all found the food and service to be terrific. I had a soup that cost around $10 and a salad that was around $15, all decent portions and not too pricey for the area.

Tides Inn Restaurant
The restaurant featured both indoor and outdoor seating.

Fish Hawk Oyster Bar

Fish Hawk Oyster Bar is the more casual dining option at the hotel, featuring both an indoor area and picnic tables overlooking the beach. It offers fresh seafood and other local specialties.

Fish Hawk is open during the following times:

  • Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

I tried a crab cake sandwich, which ran around $20, which I thought was very reasonable for the portion.

Crab cake sandwich
The oyster bar served up a great crab cake sandwich.

Chef’s Kitchen

Chef’s Kitchen is a private dining room that can be rented out for private dinners, group functions, or small gatherings.

View Room

View Room is the lobby bar at the hotel, featuring cocktails, beer, and wine along with some light bites. I never saw anyone in the View Room dining area during my stay, and it appeared that you’d have to get the attention of a nearby server working in the Chesapeake Restaurant if you wanted to order anything.

Service

I found the service at this hotel to be incredibly friendly and very in line with the “Southern charm” you’d expect in this part of Virginia. The front desk agent who checked me in was particularly friendly, offering a level of attentiveness I frankly wasn’t prepared for! Similarly, the server at dinner was humorous and on top of things, all while handling multiple tables.

Tides Inn Bikes
The service was fabulous at this hotel, from the bellmen at the front who could assist with a bike rental to the front desk and wait staff.

Housekeeping was a high point, as well. They did a great job cleaning the room, and they offered thoughtful, elevated touches, such as placing sunscreen by the bed for use in the morning and folding any laundry that may have been left out.

Final Thoughts

I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Tides Inn again. However, it is very out of the way, with not much to do around the property.

However, if you’re simply looking for a quiet, relaxing getaway from major cities like Washington, D.C., and Richmond, this could be the perfect option.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to stay at the Tides Inn?

This hotel is considered a luxury property, and it commands a hefty price per night. You’ll pay well over $200 per night on the low end, though nightly rates can easily exceed $500.

What kind of accommodations does the the Tides Inn have?

The Tides Inn has a range of accommodations, from water-facing deluxe rooms all the way up to large suites. The hotel is used for weddings and functions throughout the year, so there are different room sizes and views to accommodate any guest.

What is included with the resort fee at the Tides Inn?

Included in the resort fee is access to water toys, the pool, the fitness center, and many other on-property amenities.

Where is the Tides Inn located?

The Tides Inn is located near Kilmarnock, Virginia, about a 3-hour drive from Washington, D.C., and a 2-hour drive from Richmond, Virginia.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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