VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Trying to book a hotel room in Virginia Beach for the 2023 Something in the Water Festival? You might not want to wait, as some hotels are already showing they’re booked.
Just hours after Pharrell Williams announced the festival’s return on Wednesday morning, booking data shows several hotels near the festival site from 4th Street to 15th Street had no capacity for a Friday to Monday stay, including the Hampton Inn at 10th and Pacific and the SpringHill Suites at 9th and Atlantic.
Now those are properties right on the beach near the venue, but several hotels further north are also showing no vacancy, including the Comfort Suites Beachfront and Oceanfront Front Inn on 29th and Atlantic. The Holiday Inn Express at 26th and Atlantic meanwhile was showing rates more than double of the next weekend, about $500 per night. That’s more expensive than current rates for the Fourth of July weekend.
Data from an ODU study showed hotel occupancy for the 2019 festival was 90% or higher for the whole city and about 94-96% for the Resort Area.
John Zirkle, the president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, said some hotels may already be officially booked and others may have closed their booking to take inventory and make sure they can accommodate larger groups also expected in the area that weekend for non-festival events.
However, there don’t appear to be any major concurrent events in the region like there were in 2019, when about 40-50% of rooms were already taken before the festival was announced. Norfolk’s Festevents, which coordinates with other local event organizers to reduce overlap, says it has no major events in the city this upcoming April 28 weekend.
And with the uncertainty of the festival’s return until Wednesday, festivalgoers weren’t able to book out rooms a year in advance as people did for the canceled 2020 event.
After tickets for Something in the Water go on sale to the public starting Saturday, November 5, Zirkle expects a good amount of hotels near the festival site and other prime locations to be full by the middle of next week.
He says the best advice is to book early and shop around, with the idea of this weekend being on par with a Fourth of July type weekend in the resort city. While there are roughly 8,000 or so hotel rooms in resort area, the 2023 festival event is expected to bring in more than 30,000 guests. That means festivalgoers may need to venture outside the city for availability and deals.
“Do your shopping. There’s hotels that are going to have rates really high, some priced moderate,” Zirkle said.
Speaking of higher rates, a weekend in a regular room with 1 king-sized bed at the Cavalier Hotel at 42nd and Atlantic, one of the swankiest stays in the region, was showing a price of roughly $1,359 per night that weekend. In total with fees, you’re looking at about $5,000 for a room from Friday to Monday.
That top-dollar stay though brings the possibility of a celebrity sighting. The Cavalier was the site of Pusha T’s star-studded wedding back in 2018 and many celebs were believed to have stayed there for the 2019 festival.
The Cavalier Beach Club across the street still had availability as of Wednesday afternoon, at roughly $1,400 per night. The next weekend’s rate is about half the price.
If you don’t mind a commute, you can stay at the Hilton Norfolk The Main Hotel for about $400 per night. That’s about double what you’ll pay the following weekend at the downtown Norfolk hotel.
Local hotels outside of Virginia Beach and Norfolk didn’t seem to have as big as a jump, or really any at all, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Whether guests are bigger spenders or looking for something more economical, Zirkle says local hotels are just thrilled that Something in the Water is returning.
“The hotel community is just ecstatic … it’s a wonderful thing for the region.”
The 2019 festival had an economic impact of more than $24 million, with hotel revenue of $2.2 million for Virginia Beach hotels and $4.85 million for Hampton Roads overall, an ODU analysis showed.