By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Christopher Glancey stepped out on the pool deck of what will be the first new hotel built in Ocean City in more than 20 years and admired the panoramic views that his guests will enjoy, too.
“There’s the Boardwalk, there’s the roller-coaster and there’s the Ferris wheel,” he said while pointing to some of the popular Boardwalk amusements looming over the city’s skyline.
After pausing for a moment, Glancey added one more very big attraction that unfolds all the way to the horizon.
“You also have a view of the ocean,” he said.
Glancey and his development partner Bob Morris are planning to open the Impala Suites boutique hotel in August, giving Ocean City a new lodging option for families that vacation in the resort town.
“It gives them that flexibility that they need to come and enjoy their vacations,” Glancey noted.
After encountering some construction delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the project is back on track and heading for a grand opening next month. Glancey does not yet have a firm date, but believes it will be in mid-August.
“COVID shut down the world and interrupted the supply chain. But we’re moving along now,” he said.
The project is taking shape on the highly visible corner of 10th Street and Ocean Avenue, just a block from the beach and the Boardwalk’s amusements, eateries and retail shops. Hotel guests will have an easy walk to the Boardwalk attractions.
Featuring a beach-themed design, the Impala Suites will position itself as a mid-market property to make the suites affordable to Ocean City’s typical family vacationers. Pricing will be announced at https://www.shorebreakresorts.com.
The hotel will offer a combination of one, two or three-bedroom suites, giving families the flexibility to pick and choose the type of lodging they need, depending on the size of their group.
“Right now, you either rent a hotel room or a house. Now, you’ll have a third option,” Glancey said of the modern, all-suites accommodation for vacationers.
Although there will be 15 suites in the hotel, the number of bedrooms will raise the total amount of lodging to 45 rooms.
The suites will include a kitchenette, dining room and living room, creating a type of home-away-from-home atmosphere that should be popular with families.
Glancey said it has been more than 20 years since a new hotel was built in Ocean City. Although the words “boutique hotel” normally conjure up a certain amount of cachet and exclusively, he stressed that the rates will remain within reach of Ocean City’s family vacationers.
Originally, the boutique hotel was supposed to be called the North Island Inn, but Glancey and Morris changed the name to Impala Suites to capitalize on the brand recognition of its sister property, the Impala Island Inn.
“Mainly, it’s because the Impala is such an iconic name. It’s been here for so long that everyone is familiar with it,” Glancey said. “It’s got a great name and reputation. Why would I change it?”
The 78-room Impala Island Inn is located across the street from the Impala Suites on Ocean Avenue. Glancey and Morris bought the Impala Island Inn motel from the former longtime owners, Anthony J. Frank and his family.
When they bought the Impala, they also inherited the Franks’ plans for the all-suites boutique hotel, a project that had languished on the drawing board for years.
Glancey said there will be a seamless transition between the Impala Suites and Impala Island Inn. For instance, guests at the Impala Suites will use the same check-in desk at the Impala Island Inn.
The Impala also manages the adjacent Ebb Tide Suites and Wild Dunes Inn to offer a variety of lodging for guests within the same block of Ocean Avenue.
Unlike the seasonal motels in town, the Impala Island Inn is open year-round. Glancey also plans to operate the Impala Suites year-round. During the off-season months, the plan is to offer specials to attract overnight guests who visit Ocean City for the holidays, conventions, special events and the highly popular fall and spring block parties that draw tens of thousands of people to town.
Impala Suites will have three stories of hotel space built over a ground-level parking garage with 45 spaces. Hotel guests will be given one parking space for every room they rent. If they rent a full three-bedroom suite, for example, they’ll get three parking spaces.
With Impala Suites opening in time for the latter part of the summer season, Glancey is eager to show off the hotel’s amenities, including a large pool deck on the second level.
“The pool deck is something neat. It’s so big,” he said.
While standing out on the pool deck during a photo shoot Saturday, Glancey soaked up the views of the ocean, the Boardwalk, the nearby amusements and the historic Flanders Hotel just two blocks down. He predicted that the pool deck will be immensely popular with guests.
“This is the view,” he said, smiling. “It’s really something special. If you wanted a postcard of Ocean City, that’s what your view is.”