As Maryland's main beach resort, Ocean City is primarily a tourist town and offers a wide selection of hotels. That very supply makes sorting out the diamonds from the rough a serious chore, as Ocean City is a thoroughly mid-range destination. Amid the oversupply of motels and lower-end chain hotels, however, are the resort community's top lodgings.
Prices and Seasons
As a tourist destination, Ocean City does most of its business during the summer high season, specifically between early July and early August. During this period, visitors should expect inflated prices, minimum stays of two or three nights and booked-out hotels. In September, however, the weather is still warm and pleasant, while prices are lower and crowds virtually nonexistent during the week. Early June is almost as favorable a time period, although it is marred by "June Bugs," or partying teenagers freshly graduated from high school.
Hilton Suites Oceanfront
One of two Ocean City hotels that have earned an "Exceptional" rating from Frommer's, this all-suites Hilton with its 12-story high-rise is the dominant feature of both Ocean City's skyline and its beachfront. The spacious rooms, which have sitting spaces and kitchenettes, are appointed in a contemporary fashion with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and i-Pod docks. Every suite also has a balcony offering a view of the Atlantic, with a dining table and four chairs.
Holiday Inn Oceanfront
This outpost of the Holiday Inn comes with a two-star rating from Forbes Travel and a "Highly Recommended" endorsement from Frommer's. The hotel enjoys direct access to the beach, with all rooms except those on the ground floor around the pool and garden commanding a view of the ocean. The guestrooms are furnished in a mid-range, contemporary style but are arranged in a long, narrow "shotgun shack" style with a sitting area by the door, sleeping area in the middle and the balcony on the end.
Lighthouse Club Hotel
The other top-rated hotel in Ocean City according to Frommer's, the Lighthouse Club Hotel is a boutique hotel set in a three-story octagonal building. The location faces the Isle of Wight Bay rather than the Atlantic, so visitors who place a premium on being right next to the beach should look elsewhere. However, if you desire elegant luxury and interesting surroundings, you might find this hotel, with its white-cushioned rattan furniture and quirky sense of design, the best place to stay in Ocean City.
- Ocean City Sunset image by MIchelle Chrin from Fotolia.com