A bi-weekly staff review of East Coast and regional lodgings.
The cast of “Jersey Shore” kept me up all night — because they weren’t partying till the crack of dawn.
My second-floor room at the Boardwalk Seaport Inn sat eye-level with the reality show’s beach house in Seaside Heights, on a barrier island in northern Jersey. From my dreamy cloud of a bed, I could see straight into the rooftop of iniquity, which was scantily clad with open netting. Throughout the evening, a rooster would crow inside my head, causing me to rise from my pillow and peer through the window for some aerie action. Nothing. The hot tub was as barren as Snooki’s head.
The 10-room, two-apartment property excels in the location category. In addition to its proximity to the “Jersey Shore” nest (a pro or a con depending on your TV tastes), the inn is attached like a tree limb to the wooden boardwalk. Five short steps and you’re in the thick of rowdy bars and sugary food stands, carny games and ticky-tacky shops. A few more strides and you’re raking your toes over the soft Atlantic sand.
Only three properties in town share this geographical fortune; however, the Boardwalk Seaport gets the advantage with its spacious deck. Furnished with chairs, a grill and vestiges of a good time, the wide perch provides optimal views of the ocean and the never-ending parade below. On a warm summer’s evening, two male guests used it as a dais for greeting passing fillies.
If the deck is busy, the wraparound porches, one per floor, easily double as lookout towers and towel drying racks. From the section of railing outside my room, I scanned the boardwalk for large gatherings of people holding cameras in quick-snap position: the unofficial sign that a “Jersey Shorer” was in our midst. (Though I’m an anti-fan of the show, I did guiltily watch a camera crew film “The Situation” squirting a water gun at a squealing brunette. Another confession: I lined up on the sidewalk across from their pad to watch their mundane comings and goings, including “JWoww” carrying laundry. )
Despite the social scene in the public spaces — a guest at an outdoor table near the check-in office invited me over for beers, for instance — the rooms are monkish sanctuaries. Though I saw cases of beer drift past my window, I never heard the revelry that surely followed.
The space is thankfully devoid of seashells and seagulls by the seashore, aspiring to a more pan-seasonal decor. The walls, painted a shade of roasted pumpkin, complemented the bark-brown duvet with a windowpane pattern. A decorative gold piece on the headboard hovered above my noggin like a suspended coronation. A microwave and mini-fridge occupied one corner; a flat-screen TV hung from the wall, hospital-style. The bathroom was basic, not lavish, but when you have sand-encrusted feet, you don’t want faux-fur bathmats.
The hotel throws in perks that are especially generous in an oceanfront town that requires beach tags and serious patience to park. Guests receive two tags per room (a $10 savings per day) as well as a spot at an on-site lot or across the street. Without the space, you’ll probably drive around and around during the best beaching hours and may drop $40 just to end the torture. In the morning, a light breakfast (bagel, orange juice, coffee) appears on the ground-level patio. After my long night’s vigil, I desperately needed caffeine.
“They’re always filming,” a manager told me the next morning. “People are always standing around here, hoping to see them.”
Unlike those poor souls forced to stand in the heat, at least I could command my reconnaissance station from the cool, cozy comforts of my hotel room.
Boardwalk Seaport Inn
1119 Ocean Terrace
Seaside Heights, N.J.
Rates from $99.