Sunday, May 13, 2018

Marina Review – Isle of Hope (2018) Brand New!

Welcome to another marina review on the On Board Life. Using the N D S, A A, P P marina analysis model, I'll break down what you can expect when you make the marinas I'll be reviewing this season your destinations also. The views expressed are strictly my own.

Isle of Hope Marina is the epitome of the phrase “Location, location, location!” Just a short distance from Savannah, Georgia, it is smack dab on the ICW. It's a bit out of the way, but they have a couple of assets that make them a very good stay: TWO FREE LOANER CARS!

N: Navigability – On the ICW. Ya' can't miss it. Watch the tides and currents.

D: Dockage Big, long facing dock for transients. Very capable dock hands to help. Good power. Some of the tide swings are almost comical to watch.

S: Services – Gasoline, diesel, pump-out. Local technicians and divers available for repairs. If you need a boatyard, you'd probably want to go to Thunderbolt a little way further north.

A: Amenities – It's rustic but maintained. As my father would have said, “It needs a bucket of paint.” The gravel parking lot is dusty. There are two shower/toilets open 24 hours with a pass card. This same pass card is also used for dock gate security. It's all clean, as well as it can be. The entire facility is aged but hasn't quite reached that tipping point where you would say it's “old”. There's one clothes washer and dryer: cost is $2.00 each. There is a laundromat, drug store, coffee shop, and convenience store 1.25 miles away. The wifi is so-so at best, at least where we were at the north end of the dock. There's a covered, outdoor pavilion. The marina staff is young, enthusiastic, and very helpful. You have to go to downtown Savannah at least once while you're there. There are also some decent restaurants nearby; try Driftaways seafood restaurant especially. Jalapenos is good too. About the cars: They are older Hondas, but they work, that's all; don't expect anything fancy. No pool or lounge. If you like to take walks, Isle of Hope (the community) is a lovely area to see with beautiful homes and vistas. Wormsloe Plantation is a bike ride away.

A: Accessibility – Other than the above mentioned lovely walks around Isle of Hope you need a car. TWO FREE LOANER CARS available for 2-hours at a time. Enterprise may or may not pick you up here. It depends on how busy they are at their office at the time. There are Uber and Lyft. No public transportation to the marina.

P: Provisioning – There are several grocery stores in the area. There's also a Walmart Super Center 2.0 miles away (the closest grocery store to the marina). Plenty of choices. And with you being able to borrow one of the TWO FREE LOANER CARS for up to two hours, you can go grocery shopping and run errands without feeling under pressure. As with any borrowed loaner car from anywhere, always get it back on time. There is always a waiting list. There is also a West Marine in Savannah 4.8-ish miles away. All the big box stores are there also. Savannah is a “city”, not a “town”, and you can likely find what you need. The road system is confusing; have your driving navigator app on and warmed up. Skidaway Road is the large road that goes to and from the marina and connects with just about every other main road.

P: Price – Their published transient price is $1.98 per foot. They also have weekly and monthly rates. Is that high? Hard to say. I think what you're paying for at IOH is access to their location, location, location and the two free loaner cars. Seriously, they're that good of a feature.

The bottom line is that you stop at Isle of Hope Marina because you very likely have to. It's 95-ish miles or so from Brunswick, St. Simons Island, or Jekyll Island south, and things get fairly scarce north of there until Charleston. Savannah is cool, but the marina is hardly a destination unto itself other than as a pit stop. You probably need a break, need to pump out, and probably need to provision. Isle of Hope is at the right place at the right time for that. It's like a handful of other marinas on the AICW (Coinjock and Barefoot come to mind off the top of my head.) that are in a perfect location. Isle of Hope is not a 5-star marina, or even a 4-star. It's a good, reliable, perfectly located 3-star marina. I'm going to resist the temptation of using the TWO FREE LOANER CARS to push it to a 4-star, though the case could be made to do so. It's such a unique feature and benefit that it kind of exists on its own. 

By the way, did I mention they have TWO FREE LOANER CARS!?

Isle of Hope Marina gets three out of five stars.

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