DRIVE-TO DESTINATIONS, such as beach towns, have seen steadily rising occupancy this summer as people seek to escape the restrictions of life in the COVID-19 pandemic. That is driving a wave of developments of Choice Hotels International’s upscale Cambria brand around the country, including Cambria Hotel Ocean City – Bayfront in Ocean City, Maryland, developed by Mihir Wankawala of The Wankawala Organization.
The eight-story, 137-room Cambria Ocean City – Bayfront, the fourth Cambria in the state, is near the city’s Boardwalk and the Inlet event forums as well as other attractions like the Outlets Ocean City shopping center, Splash Mountain Water Park and Northside Park.
Wankawala, who partnered with Tauhid Islam of PiNNacle Hospitality Group on the hotel, said he has confidence in the market despite the current pandemic related downturn. Work on the hotel had just been completed when the pandemic hit.
“The market has traditionally proven its resilience due to its vibrant beach location, attracting millions of visitors of all ages annually,” Wankawala said. “Recent studies show that travelers are beginning to regain confidence in traveling and are now looking to take shorter trips, primarily by car, due to the pandemic. Given that the hotel is within 3 to 4 hours driving distance to 40 percent of the U.S. population, we believe that the market will continue to show its resiliency and we look forward to an amazing 2021.”
The Ocean City Cambria is one of six properties in the brand that have opened since January, according to Choice. Most are in tourist destinations, including Rohnert Park, California, in wine country; Bloomington, Minnesota; Greenville, South Carolina; Madeira Beach, Florida; and Summerville, South Carolina.
“With leisure travel returning faster than business travel right now, we’re thrilled to offer these getaways so guests can have the chance to relax, rejuvenate and disconnect,” said Janis Cannon, senior vice president, upscale brands, Choice Hotels. “Ocean City is a vibrant seaside town and one of the most popular beach destinations on the east coast, while the Cambria Hotel Sonoma Wine Country connects guests to some of Northern California’s most well-known and picturesque vineyards. Both hotels, which represent the brand’s substantial growth across the country, are in easily accessible drive-to locations as today’s travelers pursue road trips more often than air travel.”
In February, Canon oversaw the grand opening of the 12-story, 352-room Cambria Hotel & Suites Anaheim Resort Area in Anaheim, California, the 50th property in the brand to open.