We’re beyond excited to announce that we’re expanding in Wildwood Crest! Yesterday (12.18.23) we closed on the Iconic Royal Hawaiian Motel. Our plans are to have both properties up and running for this summer! We’re so happy to be expanding the Madison Resorts brand as we continue our commitment to preserving the iconic doo-wop legacy in Wildwood Crest. We’ll have more information soon. If you are a guest of the Royal Hawaiian and have questions, click here to view our FAQs.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR 2024 STAY AT MADISON RESORT, NOW WITH MORE ROOMS THAN ANY OTHER RESORT IN CAPE MAY COUNTY!
Read the full feature story in the Philadelphia Business Journal
Madison Resorts has purchased a Wildwood hotel neighboring the former Oceanview Motel that it also owns, with plans to combine the properties to create one large, beachfront resort in the Jersey Shore town.
The Cape May-based resort company has acquired the 54-year-old Royal Hawaiian Motel at 500 E. Orchid Road in Wildwood Crest for $13.4 million. The sale was finalized on Monday.
Following its purchase, Madison Resorts plans to begin a $7 million renovation of the five-story property. Upgrades will include redoing the roughly 88 rooms, restoring the pool and incorporating the bright Madison Resorts color scheme and aesthetics into the exterior of the motel.
Madison Resorts purchased the Royal Hawaiian from Lester Klayman and his family, who have run the property since it was built in 1969. Dan Alicea, founder and CEO of Madison Resorts, told the Business Journal that the company wants to maintain the property’s status as an iconic Wildwood hotel.
“[The Royal Hawaiian Motel] has been a staple in the skyline, and our intent is to ensure that it remains a staple in the Wildwood skyline,” Alicea said.
Madison Resorts plans to retire the Royal Hawaiian name and make the property a part of Madison Resort Wildwood Crest, where it will be referred to as the Beach Tower. Madison Resort Wildwood Crest currently consists of the former Oceanview Motel property next door to the Royal Hawaiian. The hospitality company acquired the 61-year-old motel, located at 7201 Ocean Ave., for $10 million in September 2022.
After buying the 108-key property, Madison Resorts began a planned $12 million update that was set to include full renovations to the exterior, lobby and rooms while preserving the hotel’s classic doo-wop style. Upgrades to the lobby, however, went from a simple rehabilitation to a virtual reconstruction, Alicea said, driving the total cost of the renovations up to $20 million.
Rendering of Madison Resort Wildwood Crest
Updates to the former Oceanview Motel are expected to be completed in the coming months with the property slated to reopen in February. The former Royal Hawaiian property will follow shortly thereafter, with the project expected to be completed by the end of April.
Alicea said the location of the Royal Hawaiian next door to Madison Resort Wildwood Crest is what first attracted him to the property. The acquisition of the hotel was about five to six months in the making.
“The opportunity to acquire a property right next door to Madison Resort Wildwood Crest is an opportunity that you have to jump on,” Alicea said.
When both properties are open, they will create one large resort with about 200 hotel rooms, two pools, two hot tubs, three restaurants, two fitness centers, five conference rooms and two rooftop events spaces. The former Royal Hawaiian will also be pet friendly.
Alicea declined to share details about the three restaurants but said two will be located in the former Oceanview Motel building, with the third in the former Royal Hawaiian, which already has a restaurant space.
Combining the two properties into one large resort will allow guests to have access to all of the amenities no matter which tower they stay in. The resort, which Alicea said also plans to offer live music and entertainment during the summer, will bring “energy, fun [and] excitement” to the Wildwoods.
Madison Resorts plans to keep the property open year round. All Royal Hawaiian employees have been extended an offer to remain on staff.
The project will join a wave of new development ongoing in the Wildwoods. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested into North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest to add new hotels, vacation rental and hospitality concepts and to update the iconic Wildwood boardwalk.
The Royal Hawaiian is the third Jersey Shore hotel that Madison Resorts has scooped up in two years. In January 2022, it acquired the Montreal Beach Resort in Cape May for $23 million. That property also included the two-story Harry’s Ocean Bar and Grille.
Madison Resorts is currently rebranding the Montreal Beach Resort to Madison Resort Cape May in order to build up the hospitality company’s name. The rebranding will take place throughout 2024 while it also renovates Madison House behind the Montreal Beach Resort, which will become part of Madison Resort Cape May. That property, which pays homage to the legacy of bed and breakfasts in Cape May, will have four suites, a chef’s kitchen, a private concierge and offer guests access to the neighboring building’s amenities.
Madison House is expected to open in 2025.
Alicea said the resort company continues to actively look for other properties along the Jersey Shore that can fit within its brand, but declined to share whether any other acquisitions are in the works.