The essentials about our stay
Rate: $105/night (advanced pre-payment rate)
Room type: 2 Queen beds, non-smoking
When: September 2012
Booked: on Hilton’s website
Breakfast: Free breakfast buffet
Rewards program: Hilton HHonors
Address: 4301 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, MD
The hotel was brand new – it opened something like 2 months before we stayed there – so around June of 2012. They even still had their professional photographer at the hotel while we were there to take pictures of the hotel to put on their website & stuff. Clearly, everything was brand new and in great condition, so two Chitalian points for that (though that seems a bit like a gimme as the hotel WAS brand spankin’ new!)
The staff was really friendly (+1 point), and we learned that if you stay in Ocean City even a day past Labor Day, the whole place clears out completely. The hotel was down to 30% occupancy the day after Labor Day after being completely sold out the week before. For us, that was great! Not only did we get a good rate, but it was almost like having a private pool! Very nice.
On the subject of the pool, it was a really nice pool!! +2 for the pool. The hotel is on the bay side of Ocean City, facing the Isle of Wight Bay, and the pool and patio area is on the bay side. It was a little cool getting out of the pool with the wind, but it was about perfect for sitting next to, with your feet dangling in so you didn’t come out totally wet & feel cold in the wind! Also, the outdoor pool is kept at 84 degrees Fahrenheit, making it feel lovely to get in & out of if the wind isn’t cooling the air down. If you wanted it, there was also a hot tub, if that’s your thing. And, though we didn’t use it, the hotel also has an indoor pool that looked quite lovely. Another point for having pool options! And another point for having comfortable lounge chairs, pool-side, which we had a broad selection to choose from with few other guests at the hotel!
One thing that I was particularly impressed by at the pool was the handicapped accessibility of the pool itself and the hot tub. I have a family member who is developing mobility issues with age, so I tend to take note of when places are particularly wheelchair-accessible. This pool has a handy chair on an arm that would allow someone to be lifted in to the pool from a wheelchair. There’s another one next to the hot tub too (pictured above – just to the right of the hot tub). I think that more hotels should be this proactive about making their facilities more accessible, so I’m going to give the hotel +4 for this one!
The only drawback to having so few people at the hotel was that the service at the Tiki Bar by the pool was slow, as the bartender was also the cook for the day, so orders took a while to be filled. But we weren’t really in any kind of a rush, so I won’t take any points away for that, especially since the food was actually pretty decent. The Tiki Bar by the pool was cute and between that and the fire pit, the evening atmosphere by the pool was nice. Though being totally deserted, we went elsewhere. But I imagine, when the hotel is full, this could be a nice place to spend an evening hanging out! +3 points – one for the tiki bar, one for the fire pit, and one for the general evening atmosphere!
Now, let’s talk a bit about the rooms. The rooms are nice, and the rooms facing the road have spacious balconies, with chairs – a perfect place to lay out towels & bathing suits to dry….. though with the windy weather while we were there, I felt the need to tie my bathing suit to the chair! +1 point for the rooms. The bathrooms are also a good size, though they don’t have a fan so they get really humid, especially when you have 3 girls sharing a room, and taking showers back-to-back. -1 for the lack of fan, because it felt like it never really got dry in there, despite the size. The beds are comfortable, but the appliances (the air conditioning and the fridge at least) are very loud, and we had trouble working the A/C so the room was on the cold side. So plus and minus a point here – a wash!
Another nice feature of the hotel is that there’s a great free breakfast buffet (+1 point for the buffet), and though there is no full restaurant here, the light fare at the tiki bar is good, and there are several good restaurants within walking distance or a short drive away. This hotel is well-located, being close to plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as being just 2 blocks from the beach. +2 points for the location. The boardwalk is a short drive away (Note: we visited before Hurricane Sandy, and my understanding is that the boardwalk sustained serious damage and parts of it were totally destroyed in the hurricane. I don’t know what condition it is in now, though I imagine it has been rebuilt since the storm). Be forewarned, many are closed or on limited menus after labor day, so if you’re like us and the post-season quiet appeals to you, be ready for the negatives that the quiet can bring. We never did find a very busy nightlife scene, though we had a great time at Skye Bar, where the staff was friendly and fun, and we had a great time chatting and dancing there. They actually let me plug in my iPhone when the staff member whose iPod had been plugged in left for the night, so I thought the music was great! 😉
So the final tally? 18 Chitalian points! A very good score! Solid performance on my flexible & hard to define Chitalian scale! The scale may be a work in progress, but this review is complete, so with that, I’ll sign off for now.
Until the next post,
I’ll just leave you with a few more pictures.