Modern, inviting overnight stays welcome you all year in Ocean City
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place to stay while visiting America’s Greatest Family Resort, you don’t need to look very far.
But if you’re looking for a stay that’s a little more specific – a historic bed and breakfast with modern flair, an oceanfront icon with rooms imbuing the sea, contemporary suites in a resort-like atmosphere – well, it turns out you don’t need to look very far for something like that, either.
“We always call it your home away from home,” Amy Glancey, chief marketing officer of Shorebreak Resorts, said of the company’s Ocean City properties: Impala Island Inn, Ebb Tide Suites, Wild Dunes Inn and – the newest addition – Impala Suites.
There’s history at Impala Island Inn, which has nurtured nearly six decades of memories in town since opening its doors in 1965. (“My parents and I actually stayed there when I was a little girl,” Amy said with a laugh.) Shorebreak Resorts partners Christopher Glancey, Frank Varallo and Bob Morris wanted to pay homage to that history when they built Impala Suites.
The hotel trio was purchased in 2018 from longtime owner Anthony J. Frank and his family, and the acquisition also came with a lot zoned for a new inn next door at 701 10th Street.
“It was kind of a package deal,” Amy explained. “The plans were approved to build. We renamed it Impala Suites. We wanted to expand and give guests a more modern version of an Ocean City hotel.”
Plans moved forward and, though hampered by a global pandemic, Impala Suites officially opened its doors in 2021 in time for Memorial Day weekend. The 15 casual, comfortable and beautiful family suites feature one- and two- bedroom apartments with private balconies, pool access and separate entrances. Inside doors connect the three-room suites, which each include a master bedroom with a full kitchen and living room.
“We were really happy to be open and have that full summer,” Amy said.
Not far from the brand new Impala Suites is another Ocean City mainstay steeped in history, the Port-O-Call Hotel, owned by the Scully Company. The cotton-candy- pink building plunging skyward at 1015 Boardwalk first opened its doors in 1966, and general manager of 17 years Glenn Losch credits much of the popular hotel’s success to its excellent customer service, friendly staff and “genuine desire to make our guests’ stay memorable.”
Last year was one of the hotel’s largest renovation endeavors, with a complete balcony renovation in all oceanfront rooms and upgrades to 66 guest rooms, which included new sliding doors with screens.
According to Losch, guests have been “amazed” by the new guest rooms, calling them not only beautiful and modern, but also peaceful and calm.
“Distinguished and inviting, the new room interiors feature gentle tone-on-tone color palettes reminiscent of the romantic hues of sunset over the vast Atlantic Ocean,” Losch said. “Subtle textures, shimmering finishes, custom carpets, and an elevated art collection lift the hotel’s beachfront ambiance and create an atmosphere as stylish as it is timeless.”
Timeless is an apt way to describe lodging at another Ocean City locale: the Scarborough Inn at 720 Ocean Avenue. The beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast was built in 1895, and innkeeper Sne Avichal kept the building’s historic roots in mind when upgrading its rooms and amenities last year.
The Ventnor native was an architect living in New York City’s East Village before he took the helm as innkeeper and became a managing partner of the property in June 2020. Sne said he had “no idea these Victorians existed” in Ocean City, and becoming acquainted with Scarborough Inn also introduced him to the town’s historic district.
“I just fell in love with the building,” Sne said, adding that historic buildings and the old Victorians are Ocean City’s “key to having year- round business.”
Last renovated in the 1980s, there was no question Scarborough Inn needed a facelift. Sne channeled the 1920s in upgrading the inn (guests will hear Big Band music floating from the porch when they arrive), with brass fittings in the bathrooms, mosaic tiles on the floors and built-in furniture in the rooms.
“I’m trying to do this thing where you step back in time. I’m selling nostalgia here,” Sne said.
When longtime guests see the renovations, their first instinct is to say the room looks modern. But Sne says everything in the rooms would have fit into a 1920s apartment.
“There are very few things in this renovation you wouldn’t have found 100 years ago during the early days of modernism,” Sne explained.
Many of the inn’s new guests say they haven’t seen anything like Scarborough Inn along the barrier islands, though Sne said the social atmosphere he’s cultivated with assistant innkeepers Monica Maxwell and Nicole Roberts is also a draw for visitors. They are big on “porch culture,” Sne explained, where guests, neighbors and passersby can gather and interact.
“There’s still a lot of people traveling for the first time post-COVID. I think they’re starved for meaningful contact with people,” Sne said. “They get that here.”
While the summer of 2020 was, understandably, a business flop, it was followed by what Sne was told was “the best summer in the past 25 years.” He expects more of the same for 2022.
Glenn echoed this sentiment, saying the coming summer was shaping up to be a record-breaking season. The Port-O-Call has more renovations planned for 2022, too, including coastline and bay view balconies and new flooring in the lower lobby common areas.
“We strive to provide our guests with a best-in-class experience, which means continually refreshing the hotel to exceed customer expectations and continuing to provide a high-quality product,” Losch said. “Our guests come back year after year, excited to see what surprises we will delight them with during their stay.”
As a brand new hotel, Impala Suites doesn’t have upgrades planned for 2022 (save for a heating element for the property’s salt water pool, which was backordered due to the pandemic), but Amy said she’s looking forward to continuing to give guests the same comfort they have at home – in a very modern, convenient way.
“I think we always listen to our guests, and that’s important,” Amy said. “They come to Ocean City because it’s family oriented. It has everything. We want them to enjoy their stay.”
701 10th Street, Ocean City
1510 Boardwalk, Ocean City
720 Ocean Avenue, Ocean City
Find this story on where to stay in OCNJ and more in the May issue of Ocean City Magazine