Wildwood is a hot spot for people in summer. Today we’re talking to the general manager of the Kings Inn, a motel in North Wildwood, NJ.
How long has the Kings Inn been in business?
Are you originally from Wildwood?
“No. I’m originally from Delaware.”
What brought you to Wildwood?
“Right out of high school, I just came down to my grandmothers down here and started my life.”
Are the owners of the Kings Inn from Wildwood?
“Not originally, no. Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia area I believe.”
How long have you worked there?
“This is my 19th summer.”
What made them decide to open a hotel there?
“This was already an existing business when they purchased it. It was a turn in key from a family that owned it before and was selling it and it was a partnership and an investment.”
What is the busiest time during the summer, that are busiest for you?
“Fourth of July is very busy. We have a soccer tournament the last weekend in June, which is right before the Fourth of July. And the first week in August is exceptionally busy.”
What would you say the Kings Inn offers that other places don’t?
“Location. We’re on the Boardwalk at 23rd Ave. in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Two blocks north of Morey’s Pier.”
Why do you think Wildwood is such a hotspot for families to come to?
“The main reason, is it’s a huge amusement destination. There’s everything to do here from Motorcraft to beach walking, water parks to amusements, and inexpensive I would say. The crest is probably more expensive. (As for the hotel) Excellent prices that we offer as compared to other resorts.”
Do you find the people come from all different parts of the country?
“Yeah, I have a woman that’s coming here from Kissimmee, Florida for four weeks this year. She has family in the Philadelphia area and she comes up to visit and they all get rooms here from the tri-state area. I’ve had them come from California before.”
What Wildwood has come to gain a sketchy reputation over the years. Do you feel that is true or that it is a family friendly destination?
“It’s coming back to the families. It had troubles, I would say, in the 90s. But the families are starting to come back. I think the wise of the condos have been a detriment to the tourism business. The little tiny hotels that were bought out and turned into condos, people come in and complain about that. That’s one of the biggest concerns. They like the little quaintness of a family motel.”
I remember being a little sad seeing all those condos go up and the mom-and-pop places closing down. That was always one of the cool little nuances of Wildwood. So you feel that those condos hurt Wildwood?
“I do feel that. I see them empty. They’re surrounding our motel. There never completely full except for the Fourth of July weekend and the weekends that we do really well. But that’s just because we are full and they start to branch out to the condos. I believe someone told me that there’s only 8000 motel rooms on the island now. There’s over 9000 fireman, so the convention, The firemen I’ve had to go to the condos. And a lot of the condos don’t have pools or conference centers or meeting places. So it just gets more and more difficult for people to come. But in the same token, The city has taxed the little mom-and-pop places so high, that want to developer comes and offer them a couple million dollars, they’re going to take it and run. The taxes in the city are tremendous as compared to A six-month business if you’re lucky.”
Why do you think people prefer to stay at the mom-and-pop places as opposed to the condos, besides the pool and conference rooms if needed?
“Daily maid service. Condos don’t offer that and they probably don’t offer linens all the time. The people enjoy getting up, being able to go out on the boardwalk and have their breakfast. They come back and the rooms are nice and fresh and then change for the beach or the pool, start their day. Lots of time so just go out and ride the boardwalk and want to come back and get showered. It’s just a convenience. Some people don’t want maid service but most people do and that is a plus.”
What is your favorite time of year there?
“The busier the better. The end of July, beginning of August. We go from April till October but don’t really pick up a lot of business until the kids are all out of school. Usually Father’s Day weekend. When we’re busy were like a well oiled machine. Right now were just really a weekend business. We offer really, really good rates. We offer five nights for $129 for the week in May, up until Memorial Day. Then the prices go up as the schools let out. However busy the boardwalk is, is how we judge our business. And we do have really excellent weekend packages on the off-season. And we do really well but we can’t work just on weekends.
They tried making the city a year round town, they made the Holly Street mall a walk-in mall and tried to bring more residents in to the town to make it year round but it doesn’t work if the piers and the beach aren’t open. The weather is really a major concern. If you have bad weather, you don’t have tourists. Where as when you go to Disney World or other places it doesn’t matter if it rains. It does here. It’s a huge beach resort and it’s a very large beach. You can put more people on this beach than any other than I’ve ever been to.”
Why do you feel people should come to Wildwood for vacation?
“The boardwalk is a safe place both day and night. The Morey’s have really done a tremendous thing for the city. There’s more to do and to come to the Kings Inn, it’s a convenient place. You park your car I don’t have to move it the whole time you’re here, although you can, we have one parking spot per unit, included in the price which is rare in a city. It’s also assigned parking so you know you have a parking spot to come back to. The only time you might want to take your car out is if you’re going to go to other restaurants in the area. But you can eat a full dinner, breakfast, and lunch right out on the boardwalk and not move your car at all.
As for Wildwood, there’s just more to do. We have three piers of amusements. You can pay one price and do unlimited rides on all three piers. When you do the water park pass you get the tramcar for free, with the wristband, till 5 PM. There are bowling alleys, movie theaters, fishing boats. A lot of the resorts have those, but it’s very busy here and there’s a lot to do. You never run out of things to do here.”