The Beach Plaza Hotel announced that it is closing its doors permanently, marking the end of an era in the Ocean City hospitality scene. The local staple welcomed tourists for almost five decades and provided an experience unlike any other.
In a press release, the Phillips family cited the necessary closure of the founders’ estate as the reason behind the difficult decision. The entire property is up for sale and is currently under contract.
“Through our nearly 50 years operating on the Boardwalk, we’ve loved getting to know all our guests who stayed with us year after year,” stated Steve Phillips, son of the late founders Brice and Shirley Phillips. “The Beach Plaza Hotel was a wonderful home base for thousands of beach vacations, weekend getaways, wedding and anniversary celebrations, and reunions, and we’re so grateful to have been a part of these unforgettable memories in Ocean City.”
In an additional statement to OceanCity.com, the family noted that the structure of the business is far different now than it was when the hotel was first acquired back in 1967. They believe that selling the property altogether is indeed the best path forward. The family does not have insights into any plans the new owner might have for the property.
Located on 13th Street along the Boardwalk, the Beach Plaza Hotel opened to the public in 1973 with a mission to provide a simple yet comfortable travel experience. The family believes that it lived up to its founders’ wishes.
“They wanted to provide a welcoming, comfortable place for families to stay in Ocean City, and our oceanfront Boardwalk location put us right in front of OC’s best attractions,” explained Joanna and Brice Phillips, the children of Steve Phillips. “Although we made some small updates and improvements along the way, we think we remained true to that goal.”
In a resort town filled with countless hotel options, there is a reason why the Beach Plaza stayed in business for decades. “In a ‘sea’ of condos and flag hotels, Beach Plaza offered something hard to find anywhere else – a property that showed the personal touches of the owner,” reflected Joanna and Brice. “From the décor to the “Parlor Bar” to the old porch rocking chairs, the Beach Plaza was a step back in time to simpler times.”
Decades of Memories
The Beach Plaza Hotel is all about tradition, and the staff will miss the loyal customers that returned each and every year. Many local events such as the Air Show and Cruisin’ OC bring in the same crowds, many of whom always picked the Beach Plaza as their go-to destination. “We’ll miss the families that we got to know across the years the most,” the Phillips stated. “We were lucky to have lots of families who booked the same timeframe year after year and who made the hotel their home away from home in Ocean City…We hope they all find a great spot to continue those traditions.”
Many longtime Ocean City residents and members of the business community will remember that the Beach Plaza Hotel relied heavily on a sense of family. Whether it was a holiday, a wedding, or just an ordinary meal, the activity and fun never stopped.
“On a personal family note, the Beach Plaza and the restaurant within played a huge part in Phillips family life over the years,” they said. “We would all meet for breakfast as a family after church on Sunday mornings and would have dinner together very frequently there throughout the year.
“Many of Shirley and Brice’s grandchildren worked at the hotel during summer breaks from school. The hotel hosted several Phillips family weddings and hosted a huge birthday/Halloween party every year for Jeff Phillips, which really became a huge Ocean City town party – all of Brice and Shirley’s friends in the business community would come with their families and the parties would go well into the night with competitions for the most creative costume ideas.”
While time will move forward on the Eastern Shore, the image and legacy of the magnificent Beach Plaza Hotel will never fade.
Staff began reaching out to patrons with existing reservations for 2021 and issued refunds following the announcement. People with lingering concerns are encouraged to message firstname.lastname@example.org for any remaining questions.
What’s Next for Ocean 13?
One major move that remains unsettled is the future home of Ocean 13, a successful restaurant that has occupied part of the Beach Plaza property for the past four years. The restaurant’s owners are actively searching for a new location. In a video posted to Facebook, the team thanked their loyal customers and promised that this is not goodbye.
“We were fortunate enough to have been part of this historic building for the last four years,” said co-owner Jeremy Brink. “It means a lot to us to let you guys know that we are saying goodbye for now, but we will be back very soon with a whole new place and concept for you to enjoy for years to come.”
The local restaurant, which is already closed for the offseason, certainly will return, and its owners promise to keep their customers updated on their next chapter. While Ocean 13 is relatively new compared to the hotel, the Phillips family believed that the restaurant’s presence was a real advantage for everyone.
“They grew a loyal following of locals and visitors during their time at the Beach Plaza and were a great enhancement to the property, as a wonderful place for guests to dine, gather and relax,” said the Phillips family.
Phillips Crab House Is Not Going Anywhere!
The hotel is done for good, but the Phillips family is not leaving Ocean City. Phillips Seafood, a century-old company with a restaurant presence in OC since 1956, will continue serving customers with delicious food. Phillips Crab House on 21st Street is planning to reopen its doors for weekend dining starting at the end of April. For more details, click here.