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Can Moxy work for families? Our stay at the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront

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One of my small achievements in life is that I’ve stayed at every Moxy Hotel in Manhattan. From the Times Square location (creepy dioramas in the rooms and airshaft views) and Chelsea (interesting sayings in the shower tiles, easy walk to amazing Korean food) to the East Village (my favorite) and others, the Moxy is my go-to stay whenever I’m in New York.

It’s no surprise to me that TPG named Moxy as the Best Affordable Hotel Brand for 2024. I’ve always found the staff friendly, the rooms quiet, the beds comfortable, and the lobbies filled with … children?

The volume of families I’ve encountered in the various New York Moxy hotels has always surprised me, given Moxy’s image as a spot for hip twenty- and thirty-somethings looking for a place to crash as they explore their destination. So, this summer, when a new Moxy opened in Virginia Beach, a favorite getaway spot for my family, I saw an opportunity to not only check out a new location but also bring my husband and two kids along to see just how these Moxy families were making their stays work.

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What is the Moxy Hotel Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Moxy is a brand of hotels that seeks to balance efficiency and style. Moxy rooms tend to be compact and a little boat-like in how they use every inch of space. They’re also stylish, often with a minimalist, boho feel, and tend to be priced fairly affordable.

The Moxy Virginia Beach is a large, oceanfront hotel that sits right along the boardwalk near the south end of the beach. It’s an easy walk to several minigolf courses and the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. As far as location goes, it’s a good spot for exploring what Virginia Beach has to offer. For people who are maybe more in Moxy’s target demographic (that is, people who aren’t traveling with elementary schoolers), there are also plenty of bars and clubs nearby.

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How to book the Moxy Hotel Virginia Beach Oceanfront

My husband, who has Titanium Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy, booked our one-night stay at the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront because we wanted to take advantage of his benefits, which included free bottled water and a potential room upgrade.

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He booked a four-queen bunk room because it looked the most family-friendly. With four beds, we wouldn’t have to listen to our kids complain about sharing one. Heck, he and I could each have our own bed as well. Unfortunately, connecting rooms at Moxy properties are rare, and most won’t have them. If you want to keep your kids close, a four-bunk room at a Moxy is your best option.

The rate for our oceanfront room in late August was $464 per night, before taxes. I found rates as low as $97 per night for later in the year. Paying with Marriott Bonvoy points runs about 41,000 points per night in the winter and 54,000 points per night in the summer.

With the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, you could potentially snag a few free nights here by earning three Free Night Awards, each valued up to 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

A sweet arrival at the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront

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Checking into the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront is literally a sweet experience. It’s not just that the valet parking is $11 per day (most Virginia Beach properties charge upward of $20 per day for parking), but the friendly reception team greets you with both a smile and a huge jar of Skittles. My kids each took a cup full of Skittles, while my husband and I each received a voucher for a drink at the relaxed lobby bar, which doubles as the reception desk.

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Around the lobby were beach chairs, TVs and games. There was also a pay snack pantry that included wine, beer and some canned cocktails. The entire area was almost completely glassed in, allowing for great views of the boardwalk and beach, as well as easy access to the hotel’s pool — a rarity for a Moxy. There was also a small outdoor terrace with seating and lawn games.

Bunking together

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The real test of the Moxy’s family friendliness was the room. Ours was long and thin, with a balcony that overlooked the beach. One side of the room was taken up by the bathroom, sink and beds, while the other had Moxy’s signature peg rail with a folding table and chair, and a TV. My kids were enthralled by the room’s rotary-style telephone. They referred to it as being “from the 1900s,” which, as a product of the 1900s myself, did not make me feel ancient at all.

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The room’s design took Moxy’s typically minimalist style and gave it a beachy flair. Compared to more typical Moxy properties, the room was lighter and airier. Most Moxy beds have a white duvet and a few other soft goods in the room. This room had beds with white duvets but also striped coverlets and a white-and-blue striped rug. Throw pillows with beach-themed sayings and a hanging lamp with a wicker-style shade contributed to the coastal vibe.

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While everyone had plenty of room to sleep, space to store our stuff quickly became an issue. I have no trouble putting my clothes away when I’m staying by myself for two or three nights at a Moxy for work, but the shortcomings of storage in the room quickly became clear with four people — and we were only staying one night.

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Below the bunks were two open storage cubbies, and while they were deep enough for two carry-on suitcases, getting them out was a pain. There were also two drawers, one of which was almost entirely taken up by the room’s safe. The peg rail had three coat hangers, but that was it for hanging clothes. A small shelf also hung from the peg rail, and it was deep enough for a smartphone but not useful for holding much else.

The storage and narrowness of the room really became an issue when it was time to get ready for bed and when everyone needed to get dressed the next morning. Because we really couldn’t have everyone’s stuff out at once, we ended up dressing in shifts, which wasn’t fun.

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A high point of the room was the balcony, which was big enough for two comfortable chairs and overlooked the boardwalk and beach. It was also sheltered enough to sit on it and stay dry when rain came through, giving us the rare treat of watching a rainstorm hit the beach.

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Like rooms in most Moxy hotels, the sink was in the sleeping area, while the toilet and shower were separated from the main room by a sliding door. This was another feature that is fine when I’m alone, but the sliding door did nothing to dampen sounds and smells from the toilet area. Maybe your family is more mature than mine, but hearing everyone’s nighttime business made it tough to settle in at bedtime for mine.

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The kids claimed the top bunks and, again, as a relic of the 1900s, I appreciated not having to make the climb up. The ladder to the top bunks and safety rails all felt very secure, but I feel for the housekeeping staff who have to make those beds. If you stay in a bunk room, please leave a sizable tip for their troubles.

Once we were in bed, everyone reported being comfortable. After a few hours, however, my husband and I realized the benefit of having four beds instead of three. We started out sharing, with me on the side of the bed that abutted the wall. With two people in a bottom bunk, the air quickly became hot and stuffy for me, so I moved to the other bottom bunk to finish the night. The move had the added benefit of not having to navigate crawling over my husband while not hitting my head on the top bunk when I needed to get up in the night.

Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront amenities

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Though the room itself was tight for my family, the Moxy has a number of amenities that make staying out of the room fun. The pool was small but offered enough space for both lounging and swimming. The lobby also included a shuffleboard table and a hang-out space on the second floor featured a massive foosball table. The mix of seating in the lobby and outdoor terrace made both spaces a comfortable and fun place to spend time.

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The only misstep I saw in terms of amenities was the gym. It included plenty of high-quality Technogym equipment and overlooked the lobby. However, it was also fully glassed in, which made it get very hot when the afternoon sun beat down on it. The true failure, though, was a sign in the gym that read “sweat is fat crying” — a fat-shaming sentiment that was surprising, given Moxy’s overall inclusive and accepting brand positioning.

Food at the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront

My biggest letdown at the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront was the attached restaurant, the Belvedere South Coffee Shop and Diner. The Belvedere pays homage to a historic Virginia Beach diner of the same name, but the similarities end there.

We grabbed breakfast there one morning. The staff was clearly working hard, but they were completely overwhelmed. Multiple items and requests were missed or forgotten, and we overheard similar issues from other tables. The food was also lacking, with flavors and textures that left much to be desired.

Bar Moxy had some grab-and-go breakfast pastries in the morning, and snacks available during the day. We didn’t try any of their offerings, but after eating at the Belvedere, we wished we had.

Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront accessibility

In addition to accessible rooms, the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront has an accessible pool. Some of the games and lounge chairs in the lobby might make maneuvering more challenging if other guests don’t pick up after themselves. I also found some of the hallways to be quite dim, which might be an issue for visually impaired travelers.

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Why the Moxy Virginia Beach may not be for you

  • A family of four can easily fit into the hotel’s four-bunk room, but everyone needs to pack very light.
  • The location is close to great family activities but also a lot of bars and clubs.
  • The bathroom door is neither soundproof nor scentproof, which may not be ideal for a group stay.
  • The rooms are small, even if only two people are in them.
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Checking out

Overall, staying with my family in the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for the brand (I’m even staying in a Moxy as I put the final polish on this review). However, while everyone could sleep comfortably in a Moxy four-bunk room, stowing all of our stuff and not getting on top of one another while doing anything but sleeping was another story.

For my family, a one-night stay was plenty. I have to assume that all the families I see in various Moxy Hotels around Manhattan are just much, much closer than my family is. That said, if I was going on a solo trip to the beach or headed down with just my husband, the Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront would be near the top of our list of places to stay.

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