In 1952 Lois and George Harrison built and opened the Harrison Hall Hotel. Since then the Harrison Group has grown over the years. It now includes thirteen hotels and motels in Ocean City, MD, Virginia Beach, VA and Corolla, NC, eight restaurants, and a number of other various properties.
Hospitality and the Harrison name has a long history that grew its roots on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. After the opening of the 77 room Harrison Hall Hotel, Lois’ children, Hale and John, purchased their first property with the help of their mother. The Barbizon was a 9 room boarding home and was the first of many properties that the current high-school students John and Hale would call their own. Some 6 short years later Hale and John would, for the first time, buy a hotel on their own: the Plimhimmon Hotel, which current Ocean City travelers might recognize as the Plim Plaza hotel. This 3-story, oceanfront hotel located directly on the famous Ocean City, MD Boardwalk has been welcoming guests since 1970. The Plim Plaza is an icon amongst the few historic hotels still standing from the earlier times of Ocean City, Maryland.
Understanding the need for some brand recognition in their growing portfolio, John and Hale purchased their first brand hotel in 1973: the Quality Inn Oceanfront on 54th Street in Ocean City, MD. A hotel that still operates today, the Quality Inn Oceanfront is a unique property which offers guests a 5-story atrium built directly into the center of the hotel. It’s something that our guests love and shows how the Harrison Group thinks differently in order to build unique and memorable experiences for our guests.
It wasn’t until 1980 that Hale and John did something they had never done before, they built their own hotel from the ground up. The Holiday Inn Oceanfront was originally a 5-story oceanfront hotel that brought the world-recognized Holiday Inn brand to the Harrison’s portfolio. Currently the Holiday Inn Oceanfront stands at 8 floors and is home to Ocean City’s original swim-up pool bar. The Holiday Inn Oceanfront was also the first hotel in Ocean City to construct EV charging stations for their guests, a trend that has spread to many other locations in the area.
Shortly thereafter the construction of the Harrison Group’s first hotel came the opening of their first restaurant. In 1984 Harrison’s Harborwatch Restaurant & Raw Bar opened. Sitting on one of the southern most points in Ocean City, Harrison’s Harborwatch has an unbeatable view that overlooks the Ocean City Inlet, Atlantic Ocean, and Assateague Island. Harrison’s Harborwatch was, and still is, the only raw bar in Ocean City, Maryland and continues to win awards year after year for their quality of food and service.
The Harrison Group can be defined in Ocean City as pioneers on many fronts, and another one of those is constructing the first ever all-suite property. The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites was built in 2001 and sits oceanfront on the boardwalk on 17th street, a prime Ocean City location. Not to be outdone by anyone but themselves, in 2006 the Harrison Group constructed the Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites which became Ocean City’s only all-oceanfront suite hotel. The Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites is the pinnacle of hospitality in Ocean City, MD.
Having left an unforgettable mark on Ocean City’s hospitality landscape, the Harrison Group decided to expand south in 2012 with the purchase and total renovation of the Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks/Corolla. The only hotel in the area, the Hampton Inn Corolla is an oceanfront escape from the hustle and bustle of ones’ daily life. It sits peacefully amongst the surrounding nature and offers guests a tranquil destination to unwind.
In 2016 the Grand Ocean Hotel was purchased in Virginia Beach, VA. An independent hotel in need of the kind of innovation and rejuvenation that only the Harrison Group can offer, the hotel was quickly transformed into a modern, boutique hotel called the Surfbreak Oceanfront Hotel. Not long after its opening, the Surfbreak became a member of Choice Hotels’ Ascend Hotel Collection, a collection of hotels that offer a historic, boutique and one-of-a-kind experience. The Ascend collection hotels have a tighter bond with their community and environment, and it was a natural fit for the tastefully designed Surfbreak Oceanfront Hotel. The Surfbreak quickly became one of the most popular destinations in the very competitive Virginia Beach, VA market.
The most recent location added to the Harrison Group’s growing portfolio is the DoubleTree by Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront. Located next to its sister property, the Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites, the DoubleTree is an oceanfront hotel located on 33rd Street that features 3 pools, 2 penthouses, 1 pool bar, and a lively atmosphere and décor that blends seamlessly with the oceanic surroundings. It’s a modern hotel for the modern guest that’s helping to revitalize the vacation experience in Ocean City, Maryland.
The Harrison Group portfolio is constantly evolving. Yearly renovations take place at all of our properties to enhance and refresh the experience for our guests. Great effort is taken to constantly improve our locations, enrich our guest experience, and perfect our hospitality. Beyond our current locations, the Harrison Group is always looking to the horizon for new opportunities to expand and transform other markets.