I've noted in other reviews that my usual travel style is Road Warrior and that a hotel is, for me, generally little more than home base, a place to hold my change of clothes and get a shower and some sleep. This hotel fits that bill pretty well.
This review is based on two off-season visits about a year apart.
Here's the good stuff:
--the rooms are comfortable and appear to be recently renovated.
--the desk staff was friendly for the most part; at least, nobody was outright surly but there was one person who was pretty deep into her book and needed a nudge that I was talking to her.
--the location is really good. You're on the boardwalk and close to the action but not so close that you're in the middle of all the madness. If you want to go to the amusement pier, the inlet and all the stuff down at that end, you're in a pretty good place (although it's still a long-ish walk).
From a strict numbers standpoint, the bad outnumbers the good, but you have to decide for yourself whether any of it is a dealbreaker for you. For instance:
--the rooms are rather small. if there's more than one person in the room, there *will* be some traffic issues at some point. But if it's just in the morning/evening when you're changing clothes, maybe that won't bug you.
--the rooms have a nicely-sized (32", I'm guessing) flatscreen TV on the wall, but the TV service is NOT high-definition. Low-def images on a hi-def TV look rather poor. Also, you don't get a channel guide so you wind up surfing through the entire range of channels to see what's happening. This, unfortunately, also means dealing with some digitally-numbered channels that have no content at all.
--the walls are a little on the thin side; our first night on my most recent visit had some rather rowdy people in the room next door. We could hear them pretty clearly, especially through the (closed) double door that connects the two rooms.
--there is free wi-fi internet, but it's EXTRAORDINARILY wonky, working well for a while and then very slowly or not at all. Occasionally I got thrown back to the guest login screen. This happened during both my visits, so it's definitely not a fluke. When you're researching activities in the area, it's annoying. Streaming audio/video? Forget it.
--although coffee appears to be available all day, they do not offer any other form of breakfast. Not a big deal for me, however I drink tea and that's not available either. (I usually bring my own, since tea drinkers are so often second-class citizens anyway.) You can go into the Brothers Bistro on the same property if you're hungry. Lots of reviews here at TA and elsewhere seem to lump the restaurant with the hotel because of this, but they're really separate entities within the same location.
--When you enter the hotel from the garage, you're entering on the Ground Level rather than the First Floor. Consequently you have to get your luggage, etc. into the elevator and up to the first floor to check in, then get back in the elevator to get to your room. Also on the ground floor are the indoor pool and the jacuzzi. They're both fine, I guess. It may take you a few minutes to find the timer switch for the jacuzzi, unless they've moved it.
--Speaking of elevators: on both trips I had a room adjacent to the elevator. This wasn't a problem from a noise standpoint; I rarely heard it. However, the elevators aren't especially fast and if it's a high-traffic time of day, you may end up waiting awhile.
--The bathroom was nicely apportioned, but most, if not all, of the bathrooms have showers only in them. The shower is big; big enough that, if they'd chosen, they could have put bathtubs in instead. However, they chose to install bathtub-length showers. The good news is that you don't have to step high to get in and you have plenty of room; the bad news is that after a long day of walking the boardwalk, you can't just hit the room and soak your bones in a hot bath. (go hit the jacuzzi, I suppose.) I think this is part of a "green" initiative.
The hotel can run as low as $60/night in the off-season and over $200 in the summer. Given what I've listed, you can decide whether it's a good value for you. For us, it was okay but we may look for another, comparably-priced location next time around. This is strictly my opinion, but for me, a lot of those little irritations in the moment piled up into a broader dissatisfaction in retrospect.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a 90 room hotel located in the middle of the famous Ocean City Boardwalk. We are in close proximity of any amenity you could want. Walk right out our front door to the beautiful Ocean City beach! You’re not just a guest with us, your family! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel
- Howard Johnson Plaza Ocean City Md
- Howard Johnson Ocean City
- Ocean City Howard Johnson