Beachfront Oasis

The Cavalier Beach Club brings a taste of Miami to Virginia Beach. 

Matthew Long

With its elegant Palladian windows and meticulously manicured grounds, the Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club could match any number of luxurious resorts around the world. But this legendary property, which opened nearly 100 years ago, is pure Virginia Beach.

It’s had quite an illustrious history, hosting 10 presidents, including Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy. 

Built during the country’s prosperous Roaring Twenties, and opened on the eve of the stock market crash in 1929, the Cavalier Beach Club, across the street on the oceanfront, was the place to see and be seen, showcasing big bands of the day—from Benny Goodman to Glen Miller and Cab Calloway—and hosting A-list performers and celebrities like Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and Elizabeth Taylor. The new resort was largely responsible for putting Virginia Beach on the map.

In subsequent years, the property was converted to a navy training center during World War II and continued to shape-shift its identity—from private club and back to a hotel again, though never quite achieving its former glory.

However, new owners, who purchased the property in 2013, had different plans. They began a five-year renovation and restoration and, after an investment of more than $80 million, the hotel opened again in 2018. The Grande Dame of Virginia Beach was back.

Today, stay at the Cavalier Hotel and you’ll have an enviable summertime perk: access to its reimagined and ultra-luxurious Cavalier Beach Club. This oceanfront retreat—the only one of its kind in the Commonwealth—is set on a 5,000-square-foot tropical courtyard featuring an infinity pool and hot tub. It’s available exclusively to hotel guests and owners of Cavalier Residences—the estate homes, cottages, and luxury condos on the grounds surrounding the hotel.

Feeling peckish? The hotel shares a beachside bar & grill with the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront and a new Embassy Suites (coming in 2023)—also owned by the Cavalier. And if you feel like a dip in the ocean, you’re steps away from your own cabana with beach club service.  

“The beach here has a semi-private energy, because this area is mostly residential,” explains Beach Club manager Sarah Kohart, adding that about 95 percent of the people enjoying this stretch of beach are guests of the hotel.

“We have showers, day lockers, towel service, and water coolers if guests are going down to the beach,” says Kohart. To get there, the hotel also provides golf cart shuttles—or you can pedal your way to the beach on one of the Cavalier’s complimentary bikes, located at the hotel’s entrance. “On the pool deck, we offer a high level of hospitality, with staff passing out amenities like fresh fruit or a cold towel,” she adds.

Kohart says that she’s always looking for ways to improve guest service. “I look up very high end hotel pools or beach clubs in Miami or the West Coast. A lot of our guests and members give me ideas, too,” she says. “We do little tricks that help us maintain exclusivity,” she adds. “When you check in you get a wristband, and I know most members by name and face.” Members can purchase guest passes for friends and family as well. The club also hosts private and corporate events—the only way for non-members to get access. 

Its exclusive feel and South Beach vibe make the Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club a perfect weekend getaway. “A lot of people that come here are within driving distance, not too far away, like New Jersey, or Pennsylvania,” Kohart says. “I think that there’s something about coming here and you have your own little private oasis while you’re on vacation that’s pretty special.”

This article originally appeared in the August 2022 issue.

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum