My husband and I recently spent two days at the Clarion Fontainebleau at 101st and Coastal Highway. I have to say that the location was great, everything you could possibly need was within either walking distance or just a short drive away. We checked in on Saturday, August 20, arriving at about 3:30 pm. Check in time wasn’t until 4:00 pm, but the line in the lobby to check in was quite long already. It was quite a chaotic scene with all of the cars pulling in and out, but Carla greeted us cheerfully when we arrived. Observing that my husband was having trouble getting around (he’s going through two total hip replacement surgeries) she suggested that he and our dog, Billy, go inside to sit and wait while I got unloaded and parked. She even “held” a handicapped spot for me! What a gem. Check-in at the front desk with Jim was swift, if a bit impersonal. I mentioned that it was our 6th wedding anniversary, but instead of getting congratulations, I got a blank look...oh well! There’s also something going on with the luggage racks. Although I truly appreciated Russell’s help, I could have easily managed our stuff and the rack myself, but I was told that all the ones available for guest use were “taken” and that unless I wanted to wait indefinitely, I would need to utilize a bellman. Same thing when we checked out. Frankly, since there aren’t enough elevators at the hotel, it seems that being forced to use a bell person’s services just adds to the already problematic and over-crowded elevator situation. I overheard at least two families planning to hit the beach earlier the next day because of the crowds trying to get down on the elevators at the same time everyday.
Then we got to our room. On the fifth floor (the pet/smoking floor, apparently), it was right next to the elevators, but fortunately, we didn’t notice much noise during our two-day stay. We did have an ocean view, to the left of the balcony. We actually saw dolphins frolicking offshore a couple of times! I figured that the rooms that are maintained for pet accommodations probably wouldn’t be plush, but the condition of our room was very disappointing. The carpet was visibly dirty and recently stained in many places. The footstool for the chair had a large brown smear on the side of it - care to speculate? The screen door on the balcony was broken. There was water/condensation dripping from somewhere higher on the hotel, and you would get wet if you stepped onto the balcony – the first time it happened, I thought it had started raining! Probably the worst thing about the room was the shower. Imagine coming in from spending the day on the beach, all hot and sticky, and you get in the shower and -- all you can get is scalding hot water! Not fun at all, and it actually prevented us from taking a dip the next morning before checking out. It seems that for the extra $30 a night charged to keep our dog with us, the least the hotel could have done was provided a clean, usable room. Also, the pet area is rather far away from the hotel’s front entrance; Billy didn’t make it a couple of times, and had to pee on in the parking lot :) Dogs are not allowed in the dining or pool areas, and not on the beach at all during the season; however, there was a group of people at the pool bar area who had their poodle with them, and no one seemed to mind. In our opinion, Billy had to spend too much time in the room to make it worth bringing him again during regular season (although he really enjoyed the small balcony, but watching him stretch his nose well beyond the railing made us quite nervous.)
Now the good things. Overall, the staff at the hotel were just outstanding. They were unfailingly cheerful and helpful. We dined at Horizons for our anniversary dinner, instead of going to the all-you-can-eat buffet being served in a conference room. Horizons was relatively empty, and we were able to enjoy our meal at an oceanfront table. The prime rib was very good (plus you get 20% off all entrees before 7:00 pm, which was a nice surprise) and the service was attentive, if a little overly familiar. After dinner, we hung out at the pool bar, right above Lenny’s beach bar, and enjoyed the live music and an after dinner cocktail. We hit the beach around noon on Sunday, and my limping hubby went down early and was able to get the pleasant young man who rented the beach chairs and umbrellas to set us up. The food and drink service on the beach was great – Jana was very cheerful and provided speedy service too. The pool bar makes a mean pina colada (just ask for a little extra rum!!!)
Overall, the hotel staff get a 9 and the hotel itself gets a 5. I’d go back, but probably only off-season. I will post some photos of the room and views a bit later.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel is the finest all non-smoking hotel in Ocean City, Maryland, featuring luxurious hotel rooms and a 40,000 square foot Conference Center. Located directly on the beach and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, you'll get the best in Ocean City resorts with unmatched comfort and convenience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clarion Resort Fontainebleau
- Clarion Ocean City
- Ocean City Clarion