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Hilton Oceanfront Suites
Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at The Hilton Oceanfront Suites in Ocean City, Maryland.
We stayed in a king suite which was superb. Entering off the hall, you are in a living room with a sleeper sofa, stuffed chair, dining chair and 4 chairs, dresser, and 32” plasma flat screen TV. Since there were no windows in this room it was quite dark – really nothing can be done about that, although the lighting was dim at best.
We were very comfortable in our suite and found it to be one of the nicest we have ever stayed in when it comes to chain hotels – much nicer than expected. It seemed as if the suites were designed with the idea that they would be occupied by 4 or more people. Also available are suites with 2 queen size beds as well as specialty suites on the corners (and some with outdoor “hot tubs”) and a penthouse. The air conditioning worked great – in fact, almost too well. There was also a ceiling fan in the living room. We had plenty of room to spread out and were very comfortable. The kitchen was a nice option – we didn’t have to eat out every meal (we brought breakfast food, snacks, and beverages), and is helpful for those with children. We do need to warn you that the suites are expensive in high season (summer) but we felt we pretty much got what we paid for.
The resort is chock-full of amenities: fitness center (we did not use), high speed Internet access (we did not use), business center where 2 computers with Internet access are available to guests for free (we did use), indoor pool (we did not use). There were two outdoor pools: a children’s activity pool which looked like a lot of fun. It had a water slide and a smaller slide, fountains to run through, slowly graduated access for little tykes, a section with a whirlpool that pushed kids around in a circle. If we had children, we definitely would have used this pool! The kids looked like they were having a blast. There was also a large in-ground hot tub located next to this pool (we thought it made more sense to locate that next to the adult pool) with a sign forbidding entry to anyone under 15. The adult pool was large and square with a swim-up bar at one end. Our major beef was that although there was a great children’s pool, people still insisted on bringing their kids over the adult pool and allowing them to do things like throw balls that would actually hit other patrons. Let us stress it really wasn’t bad kids, but bad parents who were behaving in ways that parents shouldn’t behave in public.
In spite of the kids thwacking into people in the adult pool (at one point there were so many kids in the adult pool, we were thinking perhaps we should just go over to the kids’ pool!) we had a great time. There were plenty of lounge chairs – we think about 300 for both pools. There was an unfortunate employee who was tasked with going around to patrons at the pool and asking if they were hotel guests. She then gave them wristbands to identify them as guests. She also had a list of hotel rooms and guests names to look people up. There really were a good number of people who just walked up from the beach and jumped into the pool, and she did her best to evict them from the property. We think it may have made more sense for someone to be stationed at the gates outside the pools. The pools overlook the ocean and it’s apparent the hotel works hard at keeping these spaces in top shape. One thing to be aware of – from about 3 p.m. on, the pools are in shade (once the sun moves beyond the hotel).
The resort has 3 dining venues: 32 Palm (fine dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), Rumbas Lounge (a bar with lite fare), and Manana Mode Pool Bar (drinks and sandwiches and other lite fare). We only actually ate things from Manana, pool-side. One day we had mozzarella sticks (decidedly frozen which had been nuked in the microwave) and tortilla chips and queso dip – so-so. Another day we each had a hot dog and fries – much better. Be forewarned that the food and drinks are not cheap. Guests are not allowed to bring in outside alcohol to the pool area.
We bought several drinks throughout our stay pool-side and at the swim-up bar. The beer and wine were less expensive, but the mixed drinks average $7-$9 each. It is convenient, however, and the servers were all very friendly.
We had positive experiences with the Hilton employees – check-in was a breeze. The poolside personnel were friendly and our room was always cleaned promptly and thoroughly. No complaints – you get what you pay for.
Ocean City is a barrier island several miles long just south of the Delaware border. It is only a few blocks wide and the numbered streets go up to 142nd Street (with some other named streets). There is a boardwalk that goes up to 28th Street. Along the boardwalk are an amusement park, games, arcades, shops, and restaurants. There are also lots of restaurants located along the main drag – Philadelphia Avenue – which runs the length of the island. There are plenty of mini-golf courses and water parks. Besides the beach, the usual water activities are available along the bay. It is a very family-friendly destination. Note that Maryland is NOT a non-smoking state so if smoking bothers you, you may want to check whether or not the restaurant you are going to has a non-smoking area. Some restaurants have chosen to go completely non-smoking but that is not something that is legislated.
Fausto’s Ristorante Antipasti - 3101 Philadelphia Avenue 410-289-4588
Brass Balls Saloon - On the Boardwalk between 11th & 12th Streets 410-289-0069
Phillips by the Sea - 1301 Atlantic Avenue 410-489-9121
The Angler Restaurant - 310 Talbot Street 410-289-7424
Bayside Skillet - 77th Street & the Bay 410-524-7950
Fausto’s Bistro - 1109 Atlantic Avenue (On the Boardwalk at 12th Street)
OK, we aren’t getting any younger, and there was really only one night we stayed out to midnight (and that was our first night in Ocean City). We went to the Sand Bar Karaoke Nightclub, located at 3301 Coastal Highway, Ocean City 410-289-1558. We had been to this place years ago but it was called something else and then had lots of black lights. Other than that, it was pretty much the same. We found out karaoke starts at 10, so we played pool for a couple hours. We did both get up twice and sing, and there was a mix of good singers present. As far as we could tell, this place does not serve food – just drinks. And you probably wouldn’t want to eat there, because it was very smoky. At midnight it seemed the karaoke degenerated into rap (not our cup of tea) so we went back to our hotel.
There are plenty of bars and nightclubs with entertainment (and the afore-mentioned karaoke) available in Ocean City – just take your pick. And be sure to use public transportation!
We visited in late June. High season in Ocean City is really July 4 – Labor Day, but unofficially summer begins here Memorial Day Weekend. It was cool our first day (70s) but hot the rest of the time – low to high 80s and very humid. Because this is the beach, the temperature in the summer rarely reaches 90, but it can still feel hot. If you visit in the summer, make sure your accommodations have air conditioning – a must!
Take the bus. It’s a great way to get around. There is a bus stop about every block along the main drag and it only costs $2 a day. That way you can avoid the hassle of getting stuck in traffic and looking for a parking space (remember this is a coastal island and most of the valuable real estate is given over to hotels, restaurants, and attractions – not parking). Also this is handy if you are drinking. We just parked out car at the hotel and didn’t touch it the entire time we were there.
Make sure you use plenty of sun protection if you visit during the summer. A heated pool will always be warmer than the ocean – the ocean temperatures average in the low 70s in the summer.