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New Management

(March 22, 2013) Bonita Beach Hotel on 81st Street and Coastal Highway is the newest property in Ocean City to be managed by the Carousel Group.

The Carousel Group includes the Carousel Oceanfront Hotel & Condominiums on 118th Street, the Coastal Palms Inn & Suites on 120th Street and the Atlantic Oceanfront on 45th Street. All four are Hospitality Partners (a Bethesda-based privately owned hotel management company) properties that operate under the umbrella of the Carousel Group.

The company took over management of the Bonita Beach property in mid-February.

“We’re happy to work with [owners] Mr. [George] and Mrs. [Earla] Conner. It’s a wonderful, beautifully designed hotel and we’re happy to market it through the Carousel Group,” said Michael James, managing partner for the day-to-day operations of the Carousel Group. James, who joined Hospitality Partners in 1989, was named the company’s president and CEO in January.

“It’s a dynamite property and we’ll be able to maximize its full potential.”

The 10-year-old, five-story building is undergoing some interior renovations, and the exterior will be repainted. The hotel is scheduled to open the weekend of April 5-6.

“We’re preparing it for the season,” James said. “By summer, it will look like a brand-new building.”

The property features an indoor pool, exercise facility, third-floor atrium/sitting area and sun deck. The 100 rooms have either two queen beds or a king bed, sleep sofa and a kitchenette with full-size refrigerator and microwave. Each room has an ocean and/or bay view from its private balcony.

“I’m impressed with how nice the views are from the rooms,” James said. “From any floor you can see the bay and the ocean.”

Bonita Beach will be integrated into the Carousel Group marketing and reservations system.

Hospitality Partners purchased the Carousel Resort Hotel & Condominiums on 118th Street in 2000 and spent millions of dollars on repairs and renovations.

On July 14, 2011, the company bought the Atlantic Oceanfront Inn on 45th Street and the beach.

“We thought it was such a great location. We wanted to expand and we were happy to find the property,” James said last May.

The property was in foreclosure and since it was purchased in the middle of the summer, no work could be done on the hotel at the time. But when it closed for the season in October 2011, preventative maintenance, repairs and renovations began.

The 51 rooms and nine suites in the boutique-style five-floor hotel opened with all of its upgrades on April 13, 2012.

Coastal Palms Inn & Suites (previously the Serene Hotel) on 120th Street and Coastal Highway was purchased in November 2011. The property received a top-to-bottom facelift.

“It was an elaborate job,” James said last May. “We bought the hotel and we started [renovations] immediately.”

Coastal Palms has 94 rooms plus a beach house, which made the deal even more enticing.

One of the buildings is home to 60 rooms. The second features 34 suites.

“The most surprising thing about this hotel is how good the views are,” James said. “On the fourth and fifth floors you have views of the ocean and the bay. It’s a great piece of real estate.”

The five-floor hotel opened on May 4, 2012 and the 60-room building was immediately full.

Several benefits of the Carousel Resort have been extended to guests of the other properties. Vacation packages are also available.

James has more than 30 years of hospitality experience in managing an array of hotels, both independent and franchise.

He said the company is always on the lookout to expand, especially on the Eastern Shore, and particularly in Ocean City. A few “deals are in the hopper,” he said.

“Our goal is to continue to add properties in Ocean City and grow down here as well as in Baltimore and Washington [D.C],” James said. “The Carousel Group is a real growth point of our company moving forward. Ocean City will become a bigger part of the company as we grow.”

Bonita Beach Hotel on 81st Street is the newest member of the Carousel Group, which includes the Carousel Oceanfront Hotel & Condominiums on 118th Street, the Coastal Palms Inn & Suites on 120th Street and the Atlantic Oceanfront on 45th Street.
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Managing Editor Lisa Capitelli, a New York native, entered Salisbury University (then Salisbury State) in the fall of 1998 and graduated in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. She majored in communication arts, and minored in art, with concentration on photography. Lisa began her career at Ocean City Today as a staff writer in February 2003. She was promoted to Assistant Editor in August 2011 and Managing Editor in May, 2013. Editorial responsibilities include covering sports — from local high school games, to fishing tournaments and recreation and park programs, the business community and weekly happenings, events and activities.

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