Holiday Inn Sunspree in Wrightsville Beach renovates and becomes Lumina

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A longtime hotel in Wrightsville Beach has a new name and a new look.

When South Carolina-based OTO Development, part of the Johnson Group, bought the former Holiday Inn Sunspree in late 2020, it became one of 65 hotels they operate – many of which are reassigned from existing properties.

They have now unveiled Lumina on Wrightsville Beach, a Holiday Inn Resort at 1706 N. Lumina Ave. named after the island’s iconic turn-of-the-century pavilion.

A soft Solstice opening

The OTO announced the change on June 21, the summer solstice. This also happens to the name of the renovated restaurant. But general manager Brian Elliott said the hotel was still in a soft opening phase.

Although they have already completed many renovations (including updating the mechanical and HVAC systems) and a complete interior overhaul, there are still a few details to put in place, such as interior and exterior seating, more lighting and extras like TVs in the lounge areas.

Those who check it out now may already get a feel for the modern ocean-inspired look.

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Equinox Cocktail and Crab Cake Appetizer at Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen + Cocktails Restaurant, at the newly renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach Holiday Inn Resort at 1706 N. Lumina Ave.  in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on June 23, 2022. ALLISON BALLARD/STARNEWS

New food options

Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen + Cocktails is one of Lumina’s three new dining venues. (And another one, a sports bar, is also on the way.) One reason is that they want to provide enough options that vacationers (or staycationers) don’t necessarily need to go elsewhere.

“Every night they can have something different,” Elliott said.

Sesame Tuna Aperitif at Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant at the newly renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach Holiday Inn Resort at 1706 N. Lumina Ave.  in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on June 23, 2022. ALLISON BALLARD/STARNEWS

Solstice serves American coastal cuisine and signature drinks. Previously, a long hallway led to the on-site Oceans Restaurant. Now the space is lighter, brighter and has an open floor plan with a large U-shaped bar in the center.

In addition to indoor tables with views of the Atlantic Ocean, the restaurant will feature 20 outdoor patio tables that overlook the pool and hot tub complex below.

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By the pool, they opened the Surfside Beach Bar & Grille, offering tropical drinks and bar bites, this weekend. Near the front desk, there’s Longboard Coffee & Market, which offers coffee, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, sliced ​​fruit, and takeout.

Longboard Coffee + Market, a new cafe at the newly renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach Holiday Inn Resort at 1706 N. Lumina Ave.  in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on June 23, 2022. ALLISON BALLARD/STARNEWS

local tastes

Food and Beverage Manager Wes Berry said they were offering a taste of what the area has to offer with the help of local beverage companies such as Wrightsville Beach Brewery and Blue Shark Vodka.

“And the crew here did a great job with the cocktails and the menu,” he said.

The new cocktail menu includes the Summer Fashioned, made with bourbon with a homemade blueberry bush and ginger syrup. There’s also the Equinox with tequila and pineapple and the summery blue mermaid water with spiced and coconut rums.

The Summer Fashioned cocktail at the Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant on June 23, 2022. ALLISON BALLARD/STARNEWS

Chef William Roberts, who has worked at the hotel for more than four years, is revamping the menu. Look for a wide variety of selections from a crab cake appetizer, served with a slice of fried green tomato and house-made chili cheese, to pork belly and sesame tuna.

Appetizers range from hearty salads and sandwiches to entrees like shrimp, grits, and tenderloin. Roberts also offers chef’s daily specials.

A recent daily chef's specialty, corvina fish with a summer herb salad and coconut sauce, at the Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant in the newly renovated Lumina on Wrightsville Beach Holiday Inn Resort at 1706 N. Lumina Ave.  in Wrightsville Beach, NC on June 23, 2022. ALLISON BALLARD/STARNEWS

Elsewhere at Lumina

Beyond food and drink options, room renovations included the addition of bunk beds in some rooms to better accommodate families. A fitness center offers views of the beach. And a new hammock garden and event lawn provide more ways to relax.

While locals (and visitors) can now enjoy Solstice and other food and drink options, a grand opening will also take place later this year when renovations are complete and the look is finalized.

When the renovation of the Lumina on Wrightsville Beach and its Solstice Oceanfront Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant is complete, it will have an updated outdoor seating area.

Allison Ballard is the food and restaurant reporter at StarNews. You can reach her at [email protected]



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