Ocean City’s bayside has steadily become a more popular hub for vacationers over the decades; not only to the boaters, who already know from experience all the delights of the Assawoman and Isle of Wight bays, but now for the families, couples and friends who have discovered that nothing beats a sunset over the peninsula, too.
It wasn’t always this way. Some still remember the days when Ocean City’s upper streets were all but completely undeveloped, and most hotels that were daring enough to open past the Boardwalk did so on the coveted oceanside.
In 1975, John Fager built Fager’s Island on 60th Street on the bay, which he described as then being “kind of the Wild West.” The restaurant, with its open-air atmosphere and decks, live plants and picturesque sunset views, was different than anything else in Ocean City at the time, and it was a success, quickly evolving from a seasonal venture to a year-round destination.
I <3 Mondays (at least, now I do) I’d never been to Fager’s Island before Monday night. I’d heard about it plenty from friends and co-workers — the food’s great, but the view of the sunset on the bay is spectacular, is what I’ve constantly heard everyone say — but for some reason it still took me this long to make my way down there.
The all-suites Lighthouse Club hotel — two bridge crossings from Fager’s Island restaurant and one bridge crossing from another Fager’s hotel, The Edge — was built in 1978. The building, modeled after the Thomas Point Shoal Light on the Chesapeake Bay, hosted three different restaurants until Fager bought the building and converted it into a hotel in 1988. Still, even with the success of the restaurant next-door, opening a bayside hotel was a risk.
“At the time the bayside was still not a popular thing. Everyone wanted to be on the ocean,” said Angela Reynolds, Managing Director of Hotels at Fager’s Island. “As it turned out, the bayside has become popular.”
Today, the Lighthouse Club is a mainstay of Ocean City’s midtown bayside and is geared toward couples looking to experience a more intimate, quiet side of town. 23 elegant suites in total sit upon the wetlands, with sweeping views of the Isle of Wight Bay beckoning guests to step onto their balconies or the lower wraparound porch, where the water is just steps away.
Amenities include a fitness and massage room, access to the pool at The Edge next door and an evening turndown service for each room, but it’s the details in the hotel’s Clubroom that set the Lighthouse Club apart from other luxury accommodations: that’s where fresh-baked cookies are set out every afternoon, and in the evenings, a beer and wine honor bar is also available to guests.
The unique, personal touches in the Lighthouse Club’s decor also make it special. The Edge hotel boasts suites that are each decorated according to a different theme, but the Lighthouse Club is similarly marked by John Fager’s affinity for travel and collecting pieces from around the world. The furniture in each suite is custom-made, and the decor in the Clubroom and other common areas throughout the hotel is interesting, eye-catching and luxurious.
Not only is the Lighthouse Club a destination for couples looking to experience the peace and tranquility of Ocean City’s bayside, but it’s also a clear choice for those who appreciate all the little details that work in tandem to make a vacation so enjoyable.
The Lighthouse Club is a waterfront replica of the Thomas Point Lighthouse and consists of the Lighthouse Suites and The Lightkeeper Suites. This small boutique designer hotel sits on Ocean City’s bayside and offers an atmosphere of privacy and relaxation that’s unparalleled to anywhere else in town.