Ashore Resort and Beach Club Review: Ocean City MD’s Renewed Luxury Hotel

An East-Coast-ocean resort town, Ocean City Maryland features countless hi-rise lodgings and condos that line its main beach road for miles. But once you walk through the doors of the newly renovated Ashore Resort and Beach Club, it stands out among its neighbors: not for its size, or even the view, but for its new cool interior design and stylish guest rooms. Ashore is now, many say, the highest-end place to stay in Ocean City MD.

(Ashore Resort is on the Getaway Mavens list of the Most Romantic Hotels in Maryland).

And Ocean City is also listed on our Best Romantic Getaways in MD.

Shore Deck at Ashore Resort and Beach Club Ocean City MD

Ashore Resort and Beach Club Review

Couples who obsess about finding cool luxury and trendy lodging in the unlikeliest places will love the newly revamped Ashore. Surprisingly sophisticated, this former Sheraton, and then Clarion Hotel, has upped its cachet.

Ocean view from room at Ashore Resort and Beach Club hotel

Several miles north of the Ocean City Boardwalk, just over the Delaware/Maryland state line, come to this striking hotel in early Spring, and you’ll have the place – mostly – to yourself. On a late April Monday, it was 85 degrees and sunny: With just two couples claiming a large swath of the wide ocean beach.

A little bit Atlantic City, a little bit Miami Beach, Ocean City MD is that Mid-Atlantic amalgamation of boardwalk family town, freewheeling frat-boy fun-house, and sand-in-your-toes wedding venue.

Of course, one of the best, and well-suited spots for tying the knot is at Ashore Resort and Beach Club. That’s because Ashore is one of only two hotels permitted to serve alcohol on the beach.

Shore Deck With Garage Door windows that open and close at Ashore Resort Ocean City MD

First Impressions of Ashore Resort and Beach Club

So, the reception area will not exactly bowl you over. In fact, while checking in, there are no indications that this is even a beachfront hotel.

But fear not. Take the elevator to the 3rd floor (T), and it’s another world: of ocean breezes, comfortable seating, dining, drinking, patios, views of cotton-ball clouds in deep blue skies and rolling Atlantic Ocean waves.

The former indoor pool is now the “Shore Deck,” decked out with couches, picnic tables, upholstered chairs, and enough room for hundreds of people. (A perk for wedding parties if the sand-set event gets rained out last minute).

Open to the elements on the beachfront end in warm and sunny weather: garage-door style windows can swing down to completely enclose the area during storms and in the coldest days of winter.

Entrance to Ocean City Beach from Ashore Resort and Beach Club MD

The Beach

Ashore has four entrances to the clean Ocean City beach from its backyard and event space. As mentioned previously, it’s one of only two hotels in Ocean City with a permit to serve food AND alcoholic beverages on the sand. Ashore also provides beach chairs, and playthings for both adults (boogie boards) and kids.

Dining At Ashore

Tap Room at Ashore Resort Ocean City MD

Tap Room

If you’re just in the mood for a crab cake, beer, and Truffle Fries with tantalizing views, spend some time in the Tap Room – with seating on an outdoor deck overlooking the pounding surf. A pared-down menu comes from the upscale restaurant that shares a wall (read – same views, different vibe), so the food is surprisingly good.

Tide Room at Ashore Resort and Beach Club Ocean City MD

Tide Room

Even if you don’t elect to eat dinner here, at least plan to have breakfast in this elegant, airy room. Nothing beats a morning meal with Sinatra in your ears and a calm ocean breeze caressing your shoulders.  

As with its next door Tap Room – there are tables outside on a small deck overlooking the shoreline, from which you can enjoy your lox & bagels, eggs and home fries, or sweet-from-the oven “Monkey Bread”.

At dinner, choose from a several page long wine list – with most bottles under $100, and some even under $50. Of course, this being Maryland, you can get crab meat any which way, including dips, cakes, and soup. When I dined, there was even a Blue Crab Truffle Carbonara with Fettuccini on the menu. Of course, you can get chicken, steak, and fish – along with something for the vegan in your life.

Ashore Resort and Beach Club Guest Suite Ocean City MD

Guest Rooms at Ashore Resort and Beach Club

All 250 suites and guest rooms are spacious – featuring views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the more sedate (and residential) Bay side: particularly resplendent during sunrise and sunset. 

Bay side sunset from Ashore Resort and Beach Club guest room OC MD

Done up in greys and navy, with shiplap wainscoted walls, wicker basket lamps, bright-white comfy bedding, an oversized armchair with ottoman, small table and three chairs, and brand new, brightly lit, gleaming white tiled bathrooms, and good facsimile hardwood floors (real hardwood would get ruined in a minute with all the sand traipsing in) – there’s plenty of room to spread out and just enjoy THOSE VIEWS.

Best Restaurants and Dive Bars in Ocean City MD Per Locals

Seacrets palm room Ocean City MD

Seacrets (on the Bay)

It’s said that from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Ocean City Boardwalk is “family time,” while Seacrets is “party time.” It’s got live music, fun food, and a zany ambiance.

Seacrets Ocean City bay-seating

Walk through a warren of rooms – one with a jungle theme – to the beach. Wade towards the pier, out to a private table, and gulp down your favorite high-octane drinks with feet in the water at this frenzied, popular, beach-set bar with a Jamaican vibe. In high season, you’ll be vying with 5,000 other patrons – so stake your claim early.

(Just FYI – the former rafts and floats in the bay have been discontinued as of 2020, but you still might score one of many moorings offshore, if you arrive by watercraft).

Legendary Dive Bars

If you want to bump up against locals in the lowbrow-ist of joints, try the Bearded Clam, Cork Bar, or, for karaoke – Sand Bar.

Best Fine Dining

Locals recommend The Hobbit on 82nd and Embers on 24th (which was a casual buffet spot, but is now reimagined as a fine restaurant). And, lately, the Tide Room at Ashore Hotel and Beach Club – is consistently winning raves.

Things to Do in Ocean City MD

Ocean City Maryland Boardwalk

Walk the Three-Mile Long Boardwalk

Naturally, like all good beach resorts, the Ocean City Boardwalk is the centerpiece of the town, with its honky-tonk sections, souvenir shops, fries and custard ice cream stands. 

Couple holding hands on the Ocean City MD boardwalk

Off Season Romantic Boardwalk

Come in late April/Early May or in late September/October, and things quiet down significantly in Ocean City. This is when you can take a stroll on the Boardwalk with your beloved, to take in the Ocean City air, without being jostled by packs of teens and sugar-crazed toddlers. 

Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum on the Boardwalk

Boat wrecks, swimmers in dire straits: the OC Lifesavers were on the ball – and you can learn all about their heroism at the small but informative Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum. 

Mini Golf Courses

What’s a beach vacation without a round or two of mini golf? Ocean City has 12 of those mini-courses  – indoor, outdoor, with various themes. Choose one or do a miniature golf crawl. No judgement.

Amusement parks on the Ocean City MD boardwalk

Rides and Amusement Parks

Care to take your hon on a thrill ride? Or do you prefer a smooth, romantic, glide to the top of a Ferris Wheel? If the latter – you’re in luck. Ocean City has two of them. But, there are plenty of rides – both calm and scary – to choose from as well.

Jolly Roger has two Park locations: one on the Boardwalk at 30th St. – the other on the inlet Pier. And Trimper has rides and treats for even the youngest of fans.

Water Sports

If it’s unbearably hot on the sand, get out on the water. All of the boat tour and boat rental companies  – including jet skis – are on the inlet or bayside of Ocean City.

Catch A Star at the Convention Center

The 2024 season brings Jay Leno to the Ocean City Convention Center. Although the lineup there is generally great tribute bands, you’ll find bold-faced names performing there as well. 

Ashore Resort and Beach Club review Ocean City MD

Author

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  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine, Shape.com, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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