“Our rooms are so clean, you would think your MOTHER works here!” claims the Cape Pines Motel. That sounded good to me; cleanliness is always at the top of my list when choosing accommodations. But though the Cape Pines more than lives up to its reputation for being immaculate, I soon discovered that this charming old brick motel had so much more to offer, not the least of which was its gracious owners, Bill and Angie Rapant.
The Rapants purchased the Cape Pines in July of 2006 after years of dreaming of owning their own motel. Both had worked in the hotel industry – Bill most recently as the controller at the Plaza Athenee on Manhattan Island in New York City, which is rated one of America’s finest hotels. With their backgrounds, Bill and Angie know what service and hospitality is all about, and they set out to provide guests with the most enjoyable vacation experience of their lives.
In order to achieve this goal, they gradually remodeled each of the motel’s 29 rooms, upgrading where appropriate, but restoring the original wood floors and classic tongue-in-groove knotty pine walls and ceilings wherever possible. With the addition of custom linens and modern amenities such as mini refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, cable TV, and free wireless internet, the Cape Pines has mixed vintage and cozy in a way that makes guests feel they have stepped into the living room of a favorite uncle.
Built in phases over a number of years, the motel’s 29 rooms are split between a two-story main building and a row of Courtyard cottages that overlook the pool. In addition to standard and deluxe rooms, one-room efficiencies have a fully equipped mini kitchen with stove, sink, and full size refrigerator; while suites are configured with a living room, full kitchen, and one or two bedrooms.
Unlike other hotels and motels on the Outer Banks, many of which focus on the beach, the Cape Pines is nestled in the heart Buxton, a sleepy traditional fishing village where everything is within walking distance. The local grocery store is just across the street and several good restaurants are close at hand. Nearby, fisherman still load crab pots on old fishing boats every morning and chug out to sea.
But even those who come to the Outer Banks for its exquisite beaches will not be disappointed; just a short stroll away is the entrance to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which is gateway to more than 100 miles of clean, white sand beach and home to the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Best of all, in addition to offering very affordable rates (standard rooms are priced at $49-69 off season and $99-119 in season, while suites are offered at $79-99 off season and $139-159 in season), all courtyard rooms at the Cape Pines Motel welcome pets for an additional, nominal additional fee.
Story and photos by Barbara Weibel of Hole In The Donut Travels