Tucked between Cape Fear River and the North Atlantic Ocean on coastal southeastern North Carolina is the port city of Wilmington. This seaside charmer is eastern North Carolina’s largest city and is home to lots of cute cafes, blossoming gardens full of azaleas, a ritzy downtown by night, and excellent historic neighborhoods. In fact, the town is famously called ‘Wilmywood” because of the many movie studios here. Add to all these the best hotels in Wilmington North Carolina with great prices, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a destination. Whether you’re staying smack dab in the heart of downtown or by Wilmington Beach, this North Carolina town has all sorts of hotels in all sorts of budgets. From big-brand names to historic B&Bs to quirky beachfront motels, Wilmington’s holes are comfortable, varied, and, most importantly, affordable.
That said, Wilmington is well-placed to discover the delights of North Carolina. For instance, the famous North Carolina Zoo, one of the World’s Largest Zoos lies less than a 3-hour drive away. What’s more, Charlotte, the capital of North Carolina, is just 3 hours away. Even the delights of the coastal city of Charleston are a charming 3-hour drive along the eastern coast. Clearly, you can discover a lot while visiting and staying in Wilmington. To that end, here are the 11 best hotels in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Where to Stay in Wilmington?
Wilmington might not be as large as Raleigh or even Fayetteville, but you still have a number of neighborhoods to choose from to stay at. First up is the historic downtown, a.k.a. the historic district. The “living history” of a place is home to some of the most stunning 18th and 19th-century architecture and the wonderful Riverwalk. What’s more, it’s also home to lots of green spaces and sidewalks with scenic views. So, it’s no surprise that hotels in downtown Wilmington North Carolina are amongst the most popular ones in town. Next up isHarbor Oaks, which includes the areas of Carolina Beach and Wilmington Beach. Radiating a luxurious and laidback atmosphere, this is a great place to get away from the bustle, and yet stay close enough to the town. Hotels in Wilmington Beach North Carolina are also expensive, especially since they boast superb sea views.
Those who love the suburbs will love Rivers Edge, which lies towards Myrtle Grove along the Cape Fear River south of the city. This idyllic community has elegant homes and many bed and breakfasts with unending charm for travelers. Finally, you have neighborhoods of Monks Corner, Village Square Townhomes, etc. broadly called as New Center. They lie along Market Street which leads on to Wrightsville Beach and is home to a huge cluster of hotels. It’s perfect for those who want to live midway between Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach.
Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach Oceanfront
The Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach Oceanfront is one of the best hotels in Wilmington Beach North Carolina. Located right in the heart of Carolina Beach, the hotel is, in fact, the sole oceanfront Marriott in the entire state of North Carolina! Now, isn’t that a surprise! The best rooms and suites, obviously are the ones that face the ocean. In fact, they even come with huge private balconies that enjoy sweeping views of the azure blue waters off the Atlantic coast. Besides work desks and flatscreen TVs, all rooms come with coffeemakers and small fridges, and some rooms even have microwaves.
The star of the amenities here is the massive outdoor pool, which offers superb views of the beach and the ocean. With palm trees and white sunbeds, it’s the perfect place to relax on the property. During colder months, soak off your stress by diving into the heated indoor pool, followed by a dip in the hot tub. The Bistro restaurant is open for all meals, and there’s even a Starbucks where you can sip coffee to your heart’s content.
Arrive Wilmington is one of the best hotels in Wilmington North Carolina. The boutique hotel sits on a tree-lined lane at one end of Wilmington’s. In fact, the hotel is spread across three structures from three different eras. The latest is the 1994-built Cinema House, preceded by the 1950s-built Maritime House, and the earliest being the 1904-built Dram House, which was once a dye factory. Sitting just a stone’s throw from downtown attractions, the hotel features a wonderful onsite restaurant that’s one of the most romantic in town. Begin your evening with a drink on the terrace and either head to the restaurant or gather around the fire pit for an alfresco dinner.
Even the rooms at this all-suite hotel are as fashion-forward as it gets and boasts design-led touches such as hardwood floors, retro furniture, and vintage wallpapers. They also have huge flatscreen TVs and chic bathrooms with bespoke complimentary toiletries.
Drifters Reef Hotel
The Drifters Reef Hotel is one of the most charming family-owned hotels in Wilmington Beach North Carolina. Featuring just 61 rooms and suites, the hotel lies just two blocks from the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. So, it’s a stone’s throw from all the beach fun, entertainment, and dining fun around. What’s best about the motel is the divine outdoor pool, which sits in a fenced-in area and even has a pool house by the side. The deck is peppered with comfy loungers and chairs for relaxing for a bit before or after your swim. The on-site restaurant and sports grill, The Lazy Pirate is very popular and a darling of both locals and travelers. That’s because besides serving delicious food, it’s packed with year-round activities, right from beach volleyball to cornhole. If you’re staying here, you even get 10 percent off food here!
Rooms and suites here might be on the small side, but they’re comfortable and immaculate. Moreover, all rooms come with cable TVs, microwaves, and small fridges for storing leftovers. Finally, some rooms even come with coffee-making facilities.
Hotel Ballast Wilmington
Hotel Ballast Wilmington boasts spectacular views of the Cape Fear River thanks to its front-row spot on the Wilmington Riverwalk. Meanwhile, it’s also just a short walk to Downtown Wilmington and its restaurants, shopping, and historic sites. There’s a lot to love about this hotel, especially the incredible outdoor swimming pool with views of the river. It’s surrounded by NC foliage and sunbeds, making it a great spot to unwind any time during the day. Fitness freaks can hit the onsite gym. Later on, choose one of the three amazing restaurants at the property to dine at. The best of them all is the Board and Barrel Coastal Kitchen with outdoor dining right on the waterfront.
Rooms and suites, which either have city or river views, are spacious, crisp, and clean with plush beds and large seating areas. Swanky mod-cons such as docking stations and flat-screen TVs exist in all rooms, while all have marble bathrooms with swish granite vanities.
Dreamers Welcome is not only one of the best hotels in Downtown Wilmington North Carolina, but it’s also amongst the Top Pet-Friendly Hotels In Wilmington NC! For a fee, you can bring not one but two dogs with you at this design-focused boutique inn, thus allowing you to stay in a place that’s not run-of-the-mill. Nestled in Wilmington’s historic Downtown, this bespoke inn offers curated experiences with luxurious amenities. It sits in a stunning Victorian home with five individually designed suites, all of which are light-filled and spacious. Plush beds, potted plants, and French doors leading out to patios are what make this place so unique. Instagrammers are sure to have the time of their lives at this place, which is filled with antique and vintage showpieces.
The rest of the property is equally dreamy. A huge patio with alfresco furniture, a porch swing, and a hammock welcomes you within this house, which is ensconced by lush foliage. If that wasn’t enough, you’re treated to lip-smacking vegan and vegetarian breakfast options every morning.
Beach House Inn and Suites
The family-owned Beach House Inn and Suites is one of the best hotels in Wilmington Beach North Carolina with five-star ocean views. Choose from 22 basic but elegant and immaculate rooms and suites, all of which boast sweeping views of the Carolina coastline. What’s excellent about these rooms is that all of them come with kitchens, making it the perfect base for long-term stays and families as well. The crowning glory of the simple motel is the wooden walkway that leads directly from the motel leads onto the beach!
Despite being a small and basic resort, the Beach House inn features a heavenly fenced-in outdoor pool with sun chairs and umbrellas on the deck. On a warm day in Wilmington, cooling off in the refreshing waters is the best way to unwind. There’s even a sprawling sun terrace with sunbeds and umbrellas and views of the beach, where you can curl up with some music and a good book, cocktail in hand.
The Hive is, without doubt, one of the coolest hotels in Wilmington North Carolina. Located within walking distance of downtown, The Hive is all about eclectic and boutique style. Think pops of color, woven textiles, mismatched furniture, exposed brick, and wonderful artwork throughout. The pet-friendly hotel opens to a welcoming guest lounge where you can enjoy a cuppa or lead through a magazine waiting for your tour guide for the day. There’s even an outdoor terrace to enjoy a sundowner, after which you can tuck into delicious meals at the on-site restaurant. Do you not want to miss your workout regimen? There’s a fitness center too.
The rooms and suites at this hotel are no less stylish. All of them enjoy views of the city, free Wi-Fi, and even kitchens for whipping up meals. You’ll also find cushy couches, large, chic bathrooms, and coffee machines which are a blessing in the morning.
C. W. Worth House Bed and Breakfast
If you’re looking for bed and breakfast-like hotels in downtown Wilmington North Carolina, look no further than C. W. Worth House Bed and Breakfast. If you love stays with character, then you’ll adore this historic bed and breakfast with oodles of charm. With just seven rooms to choose from, staying here is as intimate and exclusive as it gets in downtown Wilmington. Besides private bathrooms, they all feature quaint decors such as brick fireplaces, dark wood furniture, and vintage decorative showpieces for an authentic feel. Some rooms are much, much larger, and come with separate seating places with a cushy sofa. Since the focus is on authentic living, there are no TVs in the rooms, and that’s a good thing!
The rest of the hotel also has period features such as corniced ceilings and a roaring fireplace in the living room/lounge. Valance curtains, gilded and antique showpieces, and velvet chairs add to the historic look and feel. begin your day with a full American, Irish, or English breakfast, which you can enjoy in the sunroom. There’s even a pretty garden to relax in, especially after a long day of exploration.
Homewood Suites Wilmington
Homewood Suites Wilmington is one of the best all-suite hotels in Wilmington North Carolina. If you’re traveling to Wilmington with your family, then Homewood Suites is where you should be. The rooms and suites on offer here are spacious and elegant and combine a classic design with great mod-cons. Aspects such as modern bathrooms, work desks, lounge or seating area, dining space, and kitchens make them a comfortable home away from home.
The hospitality is top-notch here, all thanks to a friendly staff, but there’s a lot more on offer too. For instance, there’s nothing better than a refreshing dip in the cool waters of the outdoor swimming pool on a hot day. What’s more, the pool is surrounded by a huge deck with lounge chairs and with views of palm trees and even a putting green. After a swim, you can even enjoy a soak in the steaming waters of the hot tub or relax on the patio beneath the gazebo. Rounding up the amenities here is the business center and free Wi-Fi.
Staybridge Suites Wilmington East
There’s no better all-suite hotel in Wilmington North Carolina than Staybridge Suites Wilmington East. Since it’s an all-suite hotel, all rooms have lots of space for you and your entire family to stay comfortably without running into each other. All suites feature kitchenettes with full-size fridges, microwaves, stovetops, and what-not so that you can whip up quick meals for yourself or your family without breaking a sweat. You’ll also find flatscreen TVs, DVD players, and swish bathrooms with bathtubs for your comfort and convenience. It’s what makes the hotel great for long-term stays too.
There’s a lot more to like about the hotel, such as the hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, gravy, and biscuits that it serves. The indoor saltwater pool is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring the city, as it soaks away your exhaustion. The highlight here is the social evening hour between Mondays and Thursdays when you can relish a delicious dinner with beer and wine.
Courtyard by Marriott Wilmington Downtown/Historic District
Topping the list of best hotels in Wilmington North Carolina is the Courtyard by Marriott Wilmington Downtown/Historic District. Located right in the center of the city, the hotel is less than 2 minutes from the Riverwalk District along the Cape Fear River. This comfortable gem of a hotel features a fashionable and lively color scheme going on all around, complete with shades of raspberry, browns, and teals. The hotel offers tons of common outdoor places to relax, such as the outdoor fire pit where you can enjoy an alfresco dinner under the stars. The indoor swimming pool feels like it’s outside since the place is so huge and spacious. Grab a sundowner or a nightcap at the cool onsite bar before heading to bed.
Even the rooms here are no less stylish and suitably on-trend, complete with contemporary furnishings and bright pops of color. What’s more, they come with cloud-like comfortable beds, spacious and immaculate bathrooms, as well as tea and coffee-making facilities. The best bit is that the bathrooms even come with bathtubs for you to enjoy a soak at the end of the day in the comfort of your own room.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Wilmington:
- Savorez: Helmed by a Wilmington native, this downtown restaurant offers what it famously calls “local fare with Latin flair!” Dig into shareable plates such as chicken empanadas and BLT arepas with salsas on the side, before moving on to the big-hitters such as Caliente tuna with pickled shallots, oven-dried tomatoes, and cilantro-lime quinoa.
- Catch Wilmington: Catch is an ode to Cape Fear coast’s seafood, and each one of its dishes, whether it’s the Ahi tuna or the Cajun-crusted North Carolina oysters, are as beloved as they’re famous. Do not miss the fried seafood platter, which includes the catch of the day. Even the shrimp and grits with Benton’s bacon are hard to pass over. That said, if you’re piscine-averse, then there are land choices too.
Recommended Activities in Wilmington:
- Sunset Sail Tour: What’s a visit to Wilmington without sailing the glorious waters of the Atlantic Ocean? Hop on board this classic sailing yacht and go on a thrilling 2-hour cruise off the waters of Wrightsville Beach. It’s a perfectly spectacular way to see the marine life, barrier islands, and unique waterways that surround Wilmington.
- Fun City Scavenger Hunt in Wilmington: There’s no more different or fun way to discover a city than a scavenger hunt, and this Wilmington Operation City Quest has the same objective. You need to find a gamut of items that are spread across downtown, and you get points for every item that you find. Besides racking up points, you get to discover the delights and sights of Wilmington in the most unique way, especially with the live remote host telling snippets of the town all along with the hunt.