by Wendy Irvine
The Courtyard by Marriott Ocean City Oceanfront, built in 2009, is a beautiful hotel with sparkling-clean and cozy rooms spanning four floors. The intimacy of this hotel assures you of personal service (everyone knows your name), and boasts an unbeatable location on the Ocean City boardwalk.
At the Courtyard, you’ll be a quick tram ride or easy walk to the old-time seashore amusement park and all of its goodies. We’re talking fun shopping, dining, snacking (thick shakes, funnel cakes and pizza-by-the-slice, anyone?), arcade centers, bike rentals and so much more.
The hotel’s guestrooms offer two queen beds or one king with a pullout sofa, and most deliver a spectacular Atlantic and boardwalk view. Have a big family? Just ask for one of the dozens of connecting rooms. Parents will also appreciate the mini-fridges and microwaves.
A stay at this hotel gives you incredible proximity to the beach itself. Forget lugging heavy bags and little kids over hilly sandy paths, only to realize that you forgot water bottles and sun block. If you’ve forgotten something here, it’s a snap to run to your room and back again to the beach (just bring your keycard — security is tight in this hotel, providing peace of mind for parents with little ones racing around).
You’ll likely note that an outdoor activity pool is missing from this hotel. What it does offer, however, is a sweet indoor-outdoor pool that sits under a glassed-in atrium.
A family-owned restaurant — the Captain’s Table — is also inside the property. And it’s not your usual hotel restaurant — visitors come from around the region to dine at the Captain’s Table for dinner. Breakfast, lunch, desserts and snacks are also served, and a pianist accompanies on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Our Editor Loves
- Located in the heart of Ocean City
- Beautiful pool with children's splash pad
- Array of amenities for parents of young kids
- Theme Park
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The Courtyard has 91 guestrooms sprawling throughout four floors. Upon entering a guestroom, you'll feel the unmistakable vibe of a peaceful escape. The airy, spacious and beach-hued guestrooms, with individual climate control, are just what we all hope to find when we first slide that key-card into the lock.
When you reserve your guestroom, you'll have the choice between two queen beds or one king bed with a pullout sofa. Each room is designed to serve four guests. If you have a larger family, just request one of the 40 connecting rooms at this property.
When you make your reservation, you'll also have the choice of an oceanfront or city view. All of the oceanfront rooms come with a beautiful sky-blue colored balcony, as do most of the rooms with a city view (but not all). For the least amount of noise -- especially during the summers -- reserve a fourth-floor room. If you want the true ease of running from the beach into your room (and back again), ask for a room on the ground floor, but be advised these rooms will be noisy. Corner rooms offer the largest balconies with breathtaking views, while third floor rooms put you conveniently on the same floor as the pool, fitness room and laundry facilities. In the summer, rooms near the elevator are not likely a quiet choice.
Every room is comfortable and white-glove tidy with a flat-screen TV, mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, spacious desk and ergonomic chair. The small bathrooms and shower-tub combos are modern, yet basic. While complimentary cribs are provided, rollaway beds are not available.
Admittedly, the in-room coffee maker runs on the small side, but you can grab a cup of complimentary coffee or tea at the hotel lobby's coffee buffet -- available from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily.
In-room safes are not provided, but a safe deposit box is available at the front desk.
If you're in the mood for a bells-and-whistles, two- or three-bedroom experience, check out the luxury condos -- owned by the Miramar company -- which sprawl across the hotel's fifth floor. These beauties boast full kitchens with ovens, granite counters, a full washer and dryer, large bedrooms, a lavish bathroom with Jacuzzi tubs, room service and access to the Marriott's amenities, including the pool, fitness room and business center.
We spent two nights here during the week of SunFest. We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon around 5pm, and everything was ready. They gave us fresh baked cookies for our girls which was a hit. The room was clean and a decent size. We requested a balcony over the boardwalk - this was by far our favorite. We loved sitting out there. I was crazy about the blue-hued glass on the balcony. Unless the sun was shining a particular way, it was hard to see through down to the boardwalk, so you almost had to stand to look over. Rooms were cleaned timely. The pool was small but enough for us. The kids were bummed bc it looked like their was a hot tub, but it was called a "conversation" tub - just looked like a hot tub but was the same temperature of the pool. The front desk messed up and thought we were only staying one night, so our keys didn't work on the second day, but they were quick to fix it, and we had it solved within 5 minutes. Would definitely stay here again. Good service, clean and great location!
In any market with a long off-season, quality and value will not compare to what you get in a robust year-round market. This is true of Ocean City. Peak-season prices are high and there are a lot of other places you could go for that money.
But the Courtyard is one of the better places in town because it's rather new and holds to overall corporate Marriott standards. It was clean, in good repair, fully staffed, and breakfast was good.
The location is right on the Boardwalk at a nice, wide stretch of beach. The OC Boardwalk is not everyone's cup of tea. Marriott is on the Boardwalk, but far enough north that it's a bit removed from the heart of the noise and chaos. It's a mile and a half walk to the Inlet, or you can ride the tram.
There is parking. It's tight.
There are some handy restaurants within walking distance, off the boardwalk.
Why not a five? The nature of the overall trade in OC forces the hotel to treat you a bit like a potential troublemaker on prom weekend, even when you're all grown up. Beach towels are closely accounted for. You come down to the lobby from your room and you must use a keycard to swipe yourself out the door to the pool (which is tiny). It's just not gracious; Ocean City is not gracious; I sometimes have to go there for other reasons and I would not choose to vacation there -- but if you happen to love OC for itself, the Courtyard is probably a very good place to stay.
The Courtyard by Marriott doesn't have many floors or a ton of rooms, nor does it have a gigantic pool, but it does have one awesome location with close proximity to the spectacular Ocean City beach and the insanely fun, old-fashioned boardwalk.
The beach is located directly in front of the hotel and has an independently operated stand that rents umbrellas, chairs and boogie boards by the hour, day or week, which makes for one mellow-yellow day at the beach. Note: Remember to bring your own beach towels from home, as pool towels are meant for the pool only.
If you arrive early on your first day and your room is not available, pick up a parking pass at the front desk, park your car and enjoy the hotel's amenities, which include guest changing areas, showers, a pool, and, of course, the beach. On your last day, you can keep your parking pass until 4 p.m. and use all of the aforementioned amenities. The property also has an outside shower for rinsing off sandy feet.
A glass atrium with a soaring ceiling canopies the hotel's indoor pool. Although on the small side, the pool has a contemporary vibe with its rather flowy rectangular shape and a round "conversational pool" connected to it. Streams from the round pool pour into the larger pool giving a charming waterfall effect (from photos, it's easy to assume the round pool is a hot tub, but it's not). In the summer, the atrium's large glass doors open to the ocean air. Once the doors open, the pool -- still under the umbrella of the atrium's ceiling -- is directly linked to the outdoor patio that's lined in chaise lounges, chaise beds, and large umbrellas. The pool is ideal for parents who can't miss a second of tiny-kid pool supervision. Kids over 5, however, will get bored and beg for the beach or the boardwalk's amusement park pretty quickly. Pool hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. A lifeguard is not on duty.
On Saturday afternoons, live music entertains from the pretty patio -- usually an acoustic guitar -- and snow cones are known to appear every Saturday in the summer from about 2 to 4 p.m. Food and drink services are also available on the pool deck.
A splash pad for kids opens every summer and is a fountain of sorts with a mushroom that sprays water for the little guys from 2 to 8 p.m. every day.
The hotel's lobby sports four flat-screen TV's in comfy cubicles which are perfect for entertaining the kids when you're checking into the hotel or waiting to be seated at the Captain's Table.
The family-owned Captain's Table sits inside the Courtyard and is upscale-casual with sun-dappled walls, spacious booths and dark wood tables. Located on the third floor of the hotel, the Captain's Table serves breakfast, lunch, an elegant dinner, desserts and a full bar.
Breakfasts are the most inexpensive option and include options like cinnamon vanilla French toast, smoked salmon omelets and eggs benedict. Lunch (generally served in the summer only) offers a lighter-side section with crab balls and shrimp cocktails, while the regular lunch menu includes large salads and sandwiches like BLT's, Brie and tomato, and a veggie sub. For dinner, the Captain's Table is frequented by diners not staying at the Marriott -- in other words, it's a hot spot for fine cuisine. The menu features seafood (lobster, crab cakes, stuffed shrimp), beef (filet mignon, rib eye) and chicken dishes (pan seared half chicken, garlic chicken and shrimp). All entrees are served with a salad or a fresh vegetable and your choice of a potato. An impressive wine list has been carefully selected by the chef to compliment the entrees. But it's the desserts that deserve a good look: rum cake with vanilla ice cream, crÃ¨me brulee with a thick crust of sugar on top, forest berry pie with vanilla ice cream, and a Carnegie deli cheese cake with fresh strawberries.
Kids are more than welcome and two children's menus are available. One is for little guys who only eat a standard hot dog, burger or pasta ($5 to $6). The second menu is for older kids who want real food like steak, seafood, grilled chicken and more, but in smaller portions ($5.50 to $10).
The Captain's Table offers live entertainment (on weekends) and early bird specials (smaller portions equal smaller prices) on the weekends from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. (must be seated by 6 p.m. to be considered an early bird). Tip: Before dining, check out the Captain's Table Web site for outstanding coupons throughout the year.
The Captain's Table is happy to provide carry-out service, too -- call in your order and enjoy an elegant picnic on the beach, or select room service, available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Additionally, a convenience store -- called the 24-Hour Market -- sits on the hotel's third floor near the front desk and sells frozen dinners, snacks, ice cream, swim diapers, sun block and more.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The Courtyard by Marriott does not tag on a resort fee. High-speed Internet in the guestrooms and newspapers and coffee in the lobby are part of the room rate.
A washer ($1.50 in quarters) and dryer ($1 in quarters) sit on the third floor. Ask at the front desk for complimentary laundry detergent.
Complimentary parking is under the Courtyard, but parking spots are a squeeze even for small vehicles. An overflow lot across the street from the hotel is a better bet and has generous spots for large trucks.
A business center that sits on the third floor and is available for families looking to print tickets and coupons.
The compact, but impressive fitness room shoulders the pool and has cardio machines with TV's and free weights. The fitness room looks onto the pool allowing you to supervise older kids and work out at the same time.
The Art of Smart Timing
If you love a party, then a visit to the Courtyard June through August is just the ticket. But if you prefer your beach on the quieter side of the calendar, plan a visit September through May. Fall and spring in Ocean City are lovely -- stroll the boardwalk and lie on a chaise lounge reading a book and enjoying the ocean music.
June to September is all about the beautiful beach temperatures ranging from a balmy 70 degrees into the 80's. The fall months tend toward the 70's, but can dip so layers are a must. The winter months require a coat with temps hovering in the 50's. April sees temperatures climbing back up to 60 and in May, Ocean City hits a gorgeous 70 degrees.
Driving to Ocean City takes a bit of thought given the region's bridges, tolls, traffic and the like. If you're heading to Ocean City from the west, you'll take highway 50 and drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (known to locals as the Bay Bridge). It's hard to believe until you see it for yourself, but this bridge can bring traffic to a halt at any hour of the day -- not just during rush hour. From the south, you'll take US-13 north over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (not to be confused with the Bay Bridge), which requires a $13 to $15 toll both ways. From the north, you'll take US-13 going south.
If you're flying into Ocean City, you have several airport options. That said, your best plan is to fly into the Philadelphia International Airport, which gives you a fairly breezy 2.5-hour drive to Ocean City (with no bridges to cross). If flying into Washington D.C. is important, keep in mind that D.C. traffic is generally snarled. Choose between the three D.C. airports: Baltimore-Washington International, Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. All necessitate under a three-hour drive to Ocean City -- if traffic is light.
Virginia's Norfolk International Airport is another potential airport choice. This airport will give you a 2.5-hour drive to Ocean City and will take you on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Keep in mind that the toll is $13 to $15 to and fro.
The Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY) offers daily scheduled service provided only by US Airways.
For Mom and Dad
While the Captain's Table welcomes children at every meal, dinner is the best time to find a sitter in the area (the hotel does not provide this service) and enjoy the elegant entrees with a glass of wine sans kid-chatter.
The Captain's Table also sports a long, beautiful, club-like bar that begins pouring at 10 a.m. Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. and serves inexpensive cocktails. Two TV's are above the bar for catching the latest game.