The turn of the 20th century proved to be one of the most prosperous and exciting times on Long Beach Island. After the railroad was finally brought to LBI, this little barrier island turned into one of the most popular up-and-coming resort destinations of the entire tristate area. It was only natural that hotels such as the Hotel Baldwin, Engleside Hotel, Harvey Cedars Hotel, The Breakers, Spray Beach Hotel started popping up everywhere. These magnificent, old grand hotels were a central part of Long Beach Island culture. They were family run, classic seashore historic sites that were resorts, in fact— adding to the romance and charm of an island that drew in so many visitors. While LBI is home to many of the Jersey Shore’s finest hotels, Hotel LBI, opening in the spring of 2019, aspires to bring us back to that nostalgic vision of what LBI used to look like decades—if not centuries—ago.
Situated on a plot of land as soon as one comes off of the causeway, the Hotel LBI greets those coming onto the island. Generations ago it used to be called the Vacation Inn. From then it was bought and repurposed, renovated into the Quarterdeck, a hotel and restaurant, later The Stateroom, a banquet hall, and now completely rebuilt as new construction to emulate the grandeur of Long Beach Island’s hotels of long ago. Hotel LBI will not only be a touristy area for vacationers seeking local lodging accommodations, but it is also a picture-perfect setting for weddings, banquets, and special occasions with spacious luxury suites and elegant reception ballrooms. It will serve as a holiday destination for those looking to spend a few nights away, a few weeks at the beach— or even just a night out on a rooftop cocktail lounge.
The hotel will offer the charm of a summer home, with all of the world-class amenities of a proper resort. With a total of 102 oversized, family-style guest rooms and private penthouse suites, visitors will be able to enjoy kitchenettes with cooktops and refrigerators, even rooms with bunk beds for that laidback beach house ambience. In addition to the grand hotel lobby and reception area bar and lounge, guests are able to choose to atop a fully-accessible rooftop garden with a picturesque lounging area and panoramic views of the ocean and the bay, or sit in the shade of the covered front porch and relax in the breeze. Additional features include a fitness center, salon and spa, guest laundry, and an indoor/outdoor heated pool with retractable roof and hot tub, snack bar and access to the outdoor lounging areas.
With sweeping views of both the bay and the ocean from its rooftop deck, Hotel LBI is designed in a style reminiscent of the early 1900’s grand hotels, with historic detailing and spectacular interiors, creating an opulent destination experience. “Many years ago, we were the Interior Designers for Bonnet Island Estate and Mallard Island Yacht Club. So naturally we were thrilled to have been asked again to work on Hotel LBI, because having the opportunity to be involved in such an iconic project, and be able to infuse it with elegance and LBI history...well now that’s the dream of every designer,” shares Thom Sweeney, lead designer of the project and founder/principal of his namesake interior design firm, Thom Sweeney Interiors.
And just what will the design façade look like, one may ask? “There is so much history on LBI, and we wanted to be able to include it in the decor. Thanks to the generosity of Deborah Whitcraft, President of the NJ Maritime Museum in Beach Haven, we were given access to the entire treasure trove of the museum. Having thousands of images from which to choose, we were able to have art made from photographs and postcards, that we used throughout the hotel. It was a great learning experience at the museum. I was dazzled by it. Its contents brought back so many memories,” says Sweeney of the nostalgic elements embedded into Hotel LBI’s aesthetic. One of the directives that they had was, that no matter how fabulous an item or artifact was, they couldn’t use it if it was not indigenous to LBI. In reality, this did pose a bit of a challenge because this means they couldn’t decorate with traditional beach-resort elements such as tropical exotic plants and conch shells. But according to Sweeney, those items weren’t even missed. “One of my favorite things was being able to suspend an antique Ship Bottom Beach Patrol boat from the ceiling of the cocktail lounge. It is so very dramatic, and very LBI,” Thom shares of the exciting decorative component.
The interior’s color palette, with lots of blue and white with bright green accents, makes for a very comfortable, resort-like feeling throughout. Hotel LBI will also offer a salon and spa experience for those looking for a quick pamper session or even a weekend spa getaway with friends. The restaurant will provide seafood and local fare with a creative twist and casual family-friendly dining, while the indoor/outdoor seating and lounge areas will offer a great opportunity foe guests to unwind with a cocktail while listening to the soothing sounds of live acoustic music during the evening time.
“With this new project, we would like to preserve that historic grandeur of LBI in the early 1900s while combining it with the modern amenities of today,” says Christopher Vernon, owner of the Hotel LBI and other local wedding venues in the area such as Bonnet Island Estate and Mallard Island Yacht Club. Having summered on LBI since he was a little boy, he understands the importance of maintaining the integrity of the island’s charm while simultaneously enhancing its façade and helping the local economy.
With a strong focus on family-friendly accommodations, not only will the suites have kitchenettes but the hotel will offer shuttle buses to and from the beach, but also a Beach Shop for all rental needs, and guest services to assist patrons with local activities from bike rentals and surf lessons to yoga classes, fishing experiences and jet ski adventures.
Long Beach Island is composed of a close-knit community with offerings that are unparalleled to any other destination along the coastline. It is a place to unwind, to settle down, and to create new beginnings. Hotel LBI invites you to explore and be enchanted by our charming haven—an oasis on the Jersey shore’s most magical 18 mile barrier island.