by Andrea Guthmann
The coast is clear. That’s what Alabama tourism officials want potential visitors to know. Hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, then devastated by the BP oil spill in 2010, many would-be visitors were right to shy away from these shores. But it is years later, and Alabama’s beaches are clean, in fact, pristine. Although Alabama’s beaches are an undiscovered gem for many Americans, that’s not the case for generations of Southerners, who’ve loaded up the family wagon to come here each summer. Ninety-percent of the visitors to Alabama’s Gulf Shores drive here, mainly from the surrounding southeast states and eastern Texas. If you’re looking for a laid-back beach vacation, where miles of shoreline are your own personal sand box and calm, clear waters are just steps from your room, then the Hampton Inn & Suites Orange Beach/Gulf Front is a perfect choice.
The nine-story hotel has one of the nicest swaths of shore along this stretch of America’s Gulf Coast. It makes the most of its location, diving into the beach theme with its dÃƒ©cor, too. Natural materials combine with hip modern hues in the lobby, giving the place a good vibration. Weathered driftwood art honors the sand dune beaches, while a playful palette of aqua and orange in the lobby celebrates the water and sun, and of course, the town’s name, Orange Beach. The lobby’s decor is modern and fun, serving as a perfect great room for guests to enjoy their complimentary hot buffet breakfast.
Children are warmly welcomed at the 160-room Hampton Inn Orange Beach, too. Playful black and white photos of kids enjoying the beach are hung in the entryway, and a large TV monitor plays cartoons by the front desk, keeping kids occupied during check-in. If you’ve ever tussled with a toddler during the 10 to 15 minutes it can take to check in to a hotel, you know just how priceless that cartoon distraction is.
Our Editor Loves
- Steps to beautiful beach
- Complimentary hot breakfast buffet
- Heated indoor/outdoor pool and Jacuzzi
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Standard rooms come with either one king bed or two queen beds. Rooms are decorated in beach chic themes, with soothing ocean palettes of light blue and green. Request a beach view, so you don't end up with a view of the street and the roof of the hotel's parking garage. All of the beachfront rooms come with walk-out balconies, with two chairs.
Studios are larger, and come with a pull-out sofa bed, in addition to the two queen beds. Studios fit up to six people. The hotel has connecting rooms, a great option for larger families, or families traveling together. Studios have a microwave and refrigerator, as well as a sink area by the entrance to the room. The standard size rooms don't have the sink area. None of the hotel's rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes.
Every room in the hotel comes with a full desk, 32-inch flat-screen TV, coffee maker, iron/ironing board and hair dryer. The modern bathrooms have a bathtub with a shower, marble countertops on the vanities and Neutrogena bath amenities.
The hotel provides complimentary rollaway beds, but does not have cribs.
Very nice facility. Enjoyed our beach view room. Liz at the front desk was particularly helpful upon check in, immediately changing my room assignment to one that was ready for early check in and notifying someone to move a gift bag to this room. Shericka (I believe I have her name correct) went out of her way to find a large luggage rack for me when I was checking out. One of your staff (I didn't get her name) was kind enough to provide a certain type of tea I requested that was out at the coffee/tea station. All staff interactions were friendly and courteous. Highly recommend this facility.
by April K
We stayed the week to celebrate our wedding anniversary and to check the surrounding area for potential retirement location. We loved it! Rooms were spacious and clean. All the hotel team members we encountered were very professional and friendly. Included breakfast was by far the best we’ve had ( and we travel frequently). A lot of variety and they changed it up from day to day. Only critique I would have is that the hot tub was pretty cold the one night we tried to use it. Other than that, was a fantastic stay!
The best seat in the house is from the hotel's pool deck, overlooking the beach. Chaise lounges are set around the pool, as well as shaded tables where you can enjoy a snack, drink or your breakfast. It's a serene setting for parents, should the kids want to spend the day splashing in the pool.
The pool is heated and the zero-depth entry makes it easy for the little ones, as well. A large portion of the pool is in a covered area, making pool activities possible even on a rainy day. The shaded swim area is also a nice break from the sun. There's also a hot tub, and no need to bring towels down from your room -- stacks of towels are available poolside.
Miles of white, powder soft sand beaches are steps from your room. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas for a few dollars or bring your own. You can also book the hotel's Sit and Sip Package, giving you two complimentary beach chairs, an umbrella and a souvenir tumbler with one free drink each day.
For fun outside of the hotel, Alabama's Ocean Beach and the neighboring town of Gulf Shores have plenty of kiddie amusement parks and indoor arcades, including Adventure Island, which features mini golf, go-karts and bumper boats.
Although the hotel doesn't have a restaurant, it does serve a bountiful hot breakfast buffet each morning in the lobby, between 6 and 10 a.m. Snag an outdoor table overlooking the beach and pool to enjoy breakfast al fresco. The hot breakfast buffet includes eggs and bacon or sausage, a waffle station, cereal, yogurt, danishes/bagels, fresh fruit, coffee and juice. The hot menu items change daily and will sometimes include items like a breakfast sandwich. Complimentary coffee and tea are provided in the lobby.
If you don't have time to make the breakfast buffet, grab an On the Run breakfast bag, which includes a water bottle, breakfast bar and other items to fuel up on. It's offered Mondays through Fridays.
There are grocery stores, drug stores and several restaurants, as well as fast food restaurants, directly across the street.
The outdoor tiki-bar is located on the pool deck, with a telescope to entertain the kids.
A 24-hour gift shop in the lobby sells snacks, frozen microwavable entrees and ice creams, as well as things you may have forgotten like toothpaste, contact lens solution and aspirin.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel and in the rooms. The 24-hour business center has complimentary computers and a printer. The front desk will gladly fax or make complimentary copies for you. Local calls are free from the rooms. Complimentary USA Today newspapers are available in the lobby on weekdays.
Floor-to-ceiling windows provide breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico in the 24-hour exercise rom. What a great incentive to get on that treadmill!
Coin-operated washers and dryers make doing laundry easy. Detergent can be purchased in the lobby gift shop.
The Art of Smart Timing
Summer and spring break are high season along Alabama's Gulf Coast beaches. Be aware that spring break brings carloads of college kids. Also note that water temperatures in the Gulf are just starting to warm up by the end of April or beginning of May.
Mild temperatures throughout the winter bring plenty of older snowbirds down south to play golf on the area's many courses, when highs are usually in the 50's and low 60's. Autumn is a lovely time to visit, as the coastal waters are still warm and there are far fewer tourists. The only thing to keep on your planning radar in autumn is that there is the risk of hurricanes.
About 90 percent of the visitors to Orange Beach, Ala., drive here. Most visitors come from the Southeast of the U.S. and East Texas. For those coming from further away, two smaller size airports are each about one hour away. Pensacola International Airport is one hour east of Gulf Shores in Florida and Mobile Regional Airport is a little more than one hour northwest.
A car is a necessity when you're ready to take a break from the beach. Families can choose from an abundance of nearby kiddie amusement parks, indoor arcades and natural attractions. Parking at the hotel is complimentary.
For Mom and Dad
When it's time for a margarita, head over to where Mr. Margaritaville himself, Jimmy Buffett, an Alabama native, goes when he's in town -- his sister Lucy Buffett's restaurant and bar. Lulu's Burgers and Seafood offers casual coastal dining and nightly live music. Next door is Lucy B. Goode, a restaurant offering more upscale dining.