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Castle in the Sand Hotel 3.0

Ocean City, Maryland, United States

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Directly on the beach
  • Larger than average rooms with full kitchens, balconies or patios on the ground floor
  • Olympic-size swimming pool with a deep end and diving board
  • On-site amenities include gift shop, beach volleyball court, and ice cream shop
  • Popular bar and grill, Coconuts, offers wait staff service on the beach
  • Casual Beach House Restaurant serves both buffet and a la carte breakfast
  • Seasonal kids activities program with costumed character performances
  • Beach rentals for chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards

Cons

  • Sand dunes block views on lower floors
  • Some issues with bathroom drainage
  • Castle South is a three-story walk-up; the other two buildings on the property have only one elevator each
  • Ice cream shop is in the basement

Bottom Line

This large, family-owned oceanfront hotel with an OIympic-size swimming pool and beach volleyball court is incredibly kid-friendly, with a seasonal kids program that includes live character performances. But it's also great for adults, thanks largely to its popular bar & grill, Coconuts, which provides beachfront food and drink service and live music. The Beach House Restaurant serves breakfast a la carte or buffet-style (and there's a kids' menu, of course). Little ones will also likely appreciate the ice cream shop. Rooms are a bit basic but have full kitchens, and the hotel is a short drive to the boardwalk and Jolly Roger at the Pier amusement park; those looking to be closer to the boardwalk action should consider a hotel farther south.

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Scene

Large, family-run hotel complex with an Olympic size pool and lively beachside bar

The lively beachside bar Coconuts gets crowded on weekends, and features live music in the evenings

A sprawling complex of three oceanfront buildings as well as condo and cottage rentals, the Castle in the Sand has a lively beach party atmosphere, for both kids and adults. The seasonal kids program is a highlight, and there are live performances and interactive activities with characters such as "Lady J" and "Lady Sunshine;" the Mermaid Show is particularly popular.

Adults will likely appreciate the hotel's beach bar and grill, Coconuts, which is packed on summer weekends and has live music in the evenings. Bikini-clad waitresses serve up drinks to college students, middle-aged couples, and senior citizens, all of whom seem to feel at home in the relaxed surroundings.

Location

Oceanfront hotel complex close to the Convention Center and a short drive to Ocean City's main attractions

Map of Castle in the Sand Hotel

The hotel is surrounded mostly by condominium buildings, and on the ocean side, there are sand dunes and a path offering direct beach access. The hotel is less than 10 minutes by car to Ocean City's restaurants, shops and attractions. It's also the closest hotel to the Convention Center (a five-minute walk) and a short ride to the boardwalk and Jolly Roger at the Pier amusement park (home to the city’s landmark ferris wheel).

Rooms

Larger than average and efficient with kitchens and balconies or ground-level patios

The Castle North Suite is well-equipped but basic in decor

Waverly Castle, Castle South, and Castle North Suites contain either kitchenettes or full kitchens. Despite remodeling, however, the aesthetic is still quite basic -- think patterned comforters, wall-to-wall carpeting, and visible air-conditioning units under the window. They're clean, however, and fine for the price. All have balconies with ocean, bay, or city views. Ground-floor rooms have patios and glass doors that open onto the beach. Travelers on a budget can opt for condo and cottage rentals that are walking distance to the beach and include access to most hotel amenities -- however, condos do not include towels and maid service.

Features

Oceanfront hotel complex with Ocean City's largest pool and a popular beachfront bar

The hotel pool is the largest in Ocean City and has a diving board (rare for the area) and a lifeguard on duty in season

Castle in the Sand offers many amenities that distinguish it from other Ocean City hotels -- principally, its Olympic-size pool, which is the largest in Ocean City and has life guards on duty (in season) as well as a diving board (a rarity for the area). It is surrounded by red and white striped plastic loungers and overlooked by some of the hotel's rooms; poolside service is available. Both kids and adults will also likely appreciate the sand volleyball court, and the extensive seasonal kids activities include activities such as arts and crafts, face painting, and silly hat making -- not to mention popular live kids'-oriented shows.

Coconuts, the hotel's popular oceanfront, open-air patio bar and grill, offers live music performances (in season), two for one happy hour drink specials, and casual American fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. The basement-level Beach House restaurant serves breakfast either buffet-style or a la carte, and a kids' menu is provided. The buffet option includes a make-your-own waffle station, as well as hash browns, biscuits and gravy, egg dishes, country fried steak, pancakes, and french toast. There is also an ice cream shop here, but it feels a bit hidden away in in a dreary section of the underground restaurant.

Weekly family movie night screenings of kid-friendly films happen on Tuesdays with popcorn and candy provided.

The beach itself is wide and sandy, and the hotel offers a beach rental stand for chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards. Beachside wait service is provided by Coconuts -- this is one of the few hotels in the area to sell liquor on the beach.

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Address

3701 Atlantic Ave, 37th Street & Oceanfront, Ocean City, Maryland 21842-3338, United States

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