No alcohol served at the hotel (Wildwood Crest is a dry town)
The Port Royal is among the pricier beachfront properties in Wildwood Crest, but it’s also one of the more stylish. This 100-room, family-friendly hotel features classic nautical decor, a great outdoor pool, and comfortable rooms with ocean-view balconies. An on-site restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they serve no booze, as the whole town of Wildwood Crest is dry of alcoholic beverages.
A family-friendly hotel with a stylish nautical theme
Opened in 1972, the Port Royal is one of four hotels owned and operated by the Morey family of Wildwood, along with three amusement piers (Mariner’s, Surfside and Adventure) and two water parks (Raging Water and Ocean Oasis). The property’s tasteful nautical theme -- vintage photos of fishermen and sailboats, metal lamps that look like they belong on a boat, porthole windows -- makes this one of the more stylish hotels in the area. An oceanfront restaurant, The Royal Grille, is a homey venue that serves American comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Other restaurants, sandwich shops, and ice cream parlors are also within walking distance. The vibe is quieter than some of the other hotels in the area, as the bustling Wildwood Boardwalk is a mile-and-a-half up the coast.
The Port Royal is an oceanfront property a few feet from Wildwood Crest Beach. Two small parks, where summer concerts are often held, and a bike path surround the Port Royal. Restaurants, gift shops, and other hotels are within walking distance, but the Wildwood Boardwalk is about one-and-a-half miles away. The town of Wildwood Crest is dry (no alcohol can be sold, but BYOB is okay), so guests have to drive about five minutes out of this small town to find a bar or liquor store -- a pro for some families.
Nautical decor and private balconies with ocean views
Rooms run the gambit in size, from small Hotel Rooms to spacious two-room Efficiency Apartments with kitchens. Porthole-shaped ceiling lights, tasteful black-and-white maritime photos, and light-colored wooden furniture make the rooms feel a bit like cabins on a ship. Many rooms include sofa beds, and select oceanfront suites also have bunk beds. Every room has a private balcony with a full or partial view of the ocean, and all come with DVD players, flat-screen TVs, and at least a mini-fridge.
Large outdoor pool, restaurant, game room, and stylish library lounge
A nine-foot-deep heated outdoor pool, separate kiddy pool, sundeck, and poolside snack bar all serve to make Port Royal’s pool area among the best in Wildwood Crest. Other perks include a beautiful nautical-style library, homey restaurant, game room, coin-operated laundry room, and changing area with showers and towels that guests can use before and after checkout. Wi-Fi and parking are free. Guests receive discounts to the Morey family’s piers and parks (at least 40 percent off admission, depending how many days you go). Supervised activities for kids are offered in-season.
The most noticeable thing about Port Royal’s beach is its sheer size. It takes at least four minutes to walk from the hotel to the water’s edge, which can be annoying on a scalding hot day, but it also means there’s plenty of beach space for everyone. Unlike many Jersey Shore beaches, Wildwood Crest Beach is free and doesn’t require a beach tag. It rained two days before our visit, and a large strip of sand lining the water was still muddy and damp. Lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (from mid-June through Labor Day).