By Hope S. Philbrick
In Ocean City, miles of hotel options tower above Maryland’s beach. Choosing where to stay can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to: Hone in on what amenities are most important to you to help narrow the field.
Aloft Ocean City, which hosted its grand opening the second weekend in May 2019, aims to please a variety of guests, of course, but clearly has a thing for Millennials. From the bright décor accents to toys strewn across conference tables, from the funky open-air closets to the graffiti-like wall art, from the multi-function furnishings to the dog-friendly policy, the vibe here skews young. (My 50-something husband declared we must be Millennials at heart since we liked the place so much).
Stroll into the lobby at night and it can feel like you’ve entered some quiet disco in heaven. Sure, the deejay is on break but there are pink lights dancing about the lobby.
The angel at the front desk will help you check in with ease—and if you arrive totally stressed out by various travel hazards she’ll be sympathetic to your plight. She can even go above-and-beyond in helping secure the best deals for future bookings.
Lug your stuff up to your assigned room—using the absolute best luggage carts ever, easy to maneuver!—and open the door to a welcoming haven you’d wish you could enjoy every night.
“The hotel is one of the first examples of the refreshed design approach for Aloft Hotels globally,” boasts a recent press release, “with modern features such as check-in pods, light and airy loft-like guestrooms, public spaces designed for live music events, and the latest technology.” Similar to tech we spotted at Charlotte Marriott City Center, at various points throughout the hotel you can click happy- or sad-face buttons to instantly record your feedback.
The hotel backs up to the Bay, which offers spectacularly restful views. So sit by the pool and say ahhhh, Aloft Ocean City.
“As Blue Water’s first new construction in Ocean City, it’s been thrilling to watch the
Aloft come alive and reflect our vibrant coastal atmosphere,” said Todd Burbage, Blue
Water co-owner, in a press release. “The sleek design and energetic vibe can’t be found anywhere else in Ocean City, so we can’t wait for our guests to begin enjoying the Aloft lifestyle in this popular resort town.”
Our review of this brand new hotel seems the most fitting way for us to debut our new 21 point inspection process:
1. Adults Only? Odds of Encountering Children?—The hotel is clearly designed for adults, especially young active ones. Odds are you’ll see families here, at least occassionally: Ocean City bills itself as “America’s Greatest Family Resort.” We got lucky and neither heard nor saw any children during our visit.
2. Parking?—Free parking. No valet.
3. Clean?—The hotel was brand new on the night of our stay, so it was super clean. How it fares over time, especially since dogs are welcome, remains to be seen.
4. Space?—There were two obvious spots for suitcases. The bathroom counter was wide enough for toiletries. One table is designed to do double-duty as a work surface or dining table but isn’t large enough to serve both purposes at the same time. The room itself was huge, but table tops are limited.
5. Kitchen(ette)?—An in-room refrigerator is available but no microwave.
6. Coffee/Tea? —In-room maker plus available in the lobby.
7. Glassware? Ice?—Two black glass vessels plus paper cups are provided.
8. Tub/Shower?—Accessible King rooms have a shower and tub combo. Many rooms have a walk-in shower, no tub. Kudos to whoever ordered the showerheads here: Dual options with handhelds ensure that you can set things up however you like.
9. Temperature?—In-room thermostat.
10. Linens/Mattress? Brand new hotel = brand new linens. Nice! White sheets. Comfy pillows. Four sets of white towels were provided. Comfortable mattress!
11. Hooks?—Yes! There are plenty of hooks for multiple towels, washcloths, swimming suits, toiletry bags, whatever you want to hang.
12. Hair Dryer?—A brand new, bright yellow blow dryer was hanging on a hook in the bathroom against a black wall: Easy to find (even if you haven’t had your morning boost of caffeine).
13. Window Treatments?—Room darkening curtains.
14. Seating?—A comfy, stylish L-shaped sofa easily seats two adults and could probably fit up to four slender adults.
15. Work-Friendly?—Fast, free Wi-Fi. The table by the couch could certainly function as a work station for a laptop, but it’s not large enough to hold more than two laptops.
16. Accessible Outlets?—Convenient plug-ins abound, except not at the sink. So if you brought a Waterpik or other appliance you need to plug in near the sink, you’ll need a long cord.
17. Pet-Friendly?—A dog of up to 40 pounds can stay with you for no additional fee.
18. Service?—Friendly and genuinely helpful.
19. Pool/Hut Tub?—Indoor and outdoor pools. The inviting outdoor pool overlooks Wight Bay.
20. On-Site Amenities? Sip creative cocktails at WXYZ bar, shoot pool at the Re:mix Lounge, workout at the on-site state-of-the-art fitness center, stroll the beach, and tap into the social scene on the famous Ocean City Boardwalk located nearby. Some of the 120 guestrooms have private balconies overlooking Wight Bay. Event spaces are ready for business and social functions.
21. Accessibility?—Easy to use luggage carts. Elevator. Spacious hallways. ADA rooms available.
Aloft Ocean City
4501 Coastal Highway
Ocean City, Maryland 21842
– Photo Credits: Exterior courtesy Aloft Ocean City; remainder © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. In this case, however, my husband and I paid for our overnight stay.