A bi-weekly staff review of East Coast and regional lodgings.
I’d set the bar low for Hotel Cape Charles. After several scorching days with no electricity at home following Washington’s freak derecho, the only amenity I really wanted — needed — was air conditioning.
The new 16-room property on Virginia’s Eastern Shore delivered on that count — and more.
When I arrived, Hotel Cape Charles had been open for slightly more than a month. The similarly named Cape Charles Hotel had closed in 2009, and in the intervening years, the turn-of-the-20th-century building had undergone a total facelift to bring it into the new millennium.
The whole place felt very zen. An unobtrusive front desk sits off to the side of the open, light-filled lobby. The second floor is equally airy. Rooms branch off what management calls the hotel gallery, where guests can hang out and make use of a pair of wet bars.
The untrained interior designer in my head labeled the theme eco beach chic. In my room, not a single cliched pastel shore print hung on the walls. Vaguely nautical blue-and-white blankets graced the feet of the two simply dressed white beds. High ceilings helped make up for the room’s long, narrow feel, as did the sliding-glass doors that led to my harbor-view balcony.
I liked the smaller touches, too. Small lamps, perfect for nighttime reading, folded out from the wall next to the headboards. A Carrara marble-topped “dry bar” with plenty of snack storage also discreetly hid a miniature refrigerator.
Carrara marble carried over into the bathroom as well. Kudos to the architects who thought of installing windows just below the ceiling to let in some natural light from the rest of the room. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to illuminate the bathroom for my underachieving eyes. A ceiling fixture consisting of a series of wood slats obscured the main overhead bulb.
Oh, and the AC. Did I mention the AC? In keeping with the hotel’s up-to-the-minute technology (room key cards that you touch rather than slide, a la subway card readers), a remote control lets guests manage the room temperature with a mere point and click. Sitting under the whirring ceiling fan, I embraced the chill.
And the chill stuck with me for a little while, anyway, as I strolled through Cape Charles, peeking into shop windows and hanging out at the town pier.
When I popped back into the hotel for a break, I met a dog trotting around the lobby. Nothing makes me feel more at home at a hotel than a four-legged friend. (You can even bring your own dog, as several rooms are pet-friendly.) Roxie, a beagle-cockapoo mashup belonging to the personable general manager, Ned Brinkley, gave me a few minutes of her time before walking away to greet the next people to come through the door. I hoped that she’d be just as interested in me again when I got back from dinner.
As if to further revel in the joys of functioning climate control, I laughed in the face of the warm summer day and ordered a bowl of soup at the pub down the street from the hotel. As things cooled down in the evening, however, even I had to concede that my room had gotten a bit too nippy. I slowed the fan down, knocked the thermostat up a few degrees and settled into a snowy white cocoon of bliss.
Hotel Cape Charles
235 Mason Ave.
Cape Charles, Va.
Rooms from $160.