To understand the success of Ocean Properties, Ltd & Affiliates is to understand the formative years when Tom Walsh, the company’s founder, after working door-to-door with his father, established a small warehouse in Bangor known as “Maine Motel Supply.” Soon after, in the late 1960s, he built their first hotel known as “The Plaza Hotel” in Brewer, Maine. At that time, private hotel development was a risky proposition and the family financed the project by putting up every penny of the equity in their homestead to make it happen.
Later, Tom Walsh built a popular seasonal motel and renovated a restaurant on the Maine Coast known as “The Lobster House.” In fact, Tom’s five children, presently the principal owners and managing core of the company, started their careers at very young ages at The Lobster House working various jobs ranging from bread delivery boy to housekeeper to dish washer, bell hop, desk clerk and maintenance worker. He believed in learning the business from the ground up.
In 1969, Tom formed the company known today as Ocean Properties, Ltd., and simultaneously purchased five hotels in Florida. In the succeeding years, the Walsh family has developed and expanded beyond its origins in Maine and through its affiliates, operates more than 100 hotels in North America as well as numerous shopping centers, apartment complexes, residential housing developments, office buildings, and marinas.
The 1970′s was a springboard decade for the company’s launch into a growing hotel franchise company. A strategic relationship was struck with Intercontinental Hotel Group. Four popular Holiday Inn’s were launched in 3 corners of the country, each seeding future growth in the northeast, southwest and southeast regions of the country.
- 1972, the Holiday Inn Bath was added in the naval shipyard town of Bath, ME.
- 1975, the Holiday Inn Highland Beach was added on the sandy beaches of Florida.
- 1977, the Holiday Inn Durango was added in the Colorado southwest.
- 1979, the Holiday Inn Alamogordo was added in New Mexico.
The 1980′s marked a continuous evolution and growth in partnership and success with the Holiday Inn Brand of hotels. More growth was demonstrated in each region of the portfolio, and the company more than doubled its assets.
- 1980, the Holiday Inn Nashua was built in New Hampshire.
- 1981, the Holiday Inn Kayenta was added in Monument Valley New Mexico.
- 1982, the Holiday Inn Treasure Island was added in Florida
- 1983, the Holiday Inn Delray Beach was added in Florida.
- 1984, the Holiday Inn Bradenton was added in Florida.
- 1985 and 1986, Days Inn Bar Harbor and the Holiday Inn Bar Harbor Regency were added in Maine, seeding future development in one of America’s Top 10 Destinations.
- 1988, the Holiday Inn Boynton Beach was added in Florida.
- 1988, the company ventured into its first full sized 277 room Marriott hotel with 9,000 square feet of function space. This was the cutting edge hotel of its time and opened the door to a floodgate of future Marriott ventures and projects. The South Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks continues its legacy today.
- 1989, the Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista was added near Disney capital Orlando, Florida.
The 1990′s decade featured an increased partnership with IHG and a growing portfolio of Marriott branded hotels. In this decade, over 10 hotels were built under the flags of Holiday Inn, Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott, continuing a legacy of select service hotels and entering a new market demand for better long term stay accommodations. Growth continued in all four regions of the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Canada. More full scale major developments and acquisitions were accomplished, including a major step into independent hotel management and operation.
- 1990, the company acquired the well-known Hilton Albuquerque, home of the famous AAA Four Diamond Restaurant, The Ranchers Club. The hotels was renovated and re-branded as the Crowne Plaza Albuquerque and still features the award winning restaurant to this day. In 2008, the hotel was the only hotel recipient of the New Mexico Green Zia award for extensive energy conservation commitment.
- 1996, the company completed its purchase of the 611 room Chateau Champlain and completely renovated the property for conversion to a full service Marriott hotel with 25,000 square feet of function space and historic theater.
- 1996, the company purchased the Latham Hotel in downtown Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square. An architectural and historic landmark, The Latham Hotel was constructed as a 14-story apartment house in 1907, on the original site of the home of William Bucknell, a world-renowned Philanthropist and the founder of Bucknell University. The building operated as such until the late 1960s, when a small group of wealthy businessmen converted the apartment house into The Latham Hotel at a time when many investors were converting hotels into condominiums. In 1970, The Latham Hotel was first opened to the public. It quickly earned a reputation as one of the finest Hotels in America for business travelers. The European-style boutique hotel offered luxury appointments along with all the most modern conveniences of the day. It is recognized by the National Register of Historic places. The hotel was completely renovated in 2011/2012.
- 1997, the company developed the 178 room Westin Key West Resort & Marina (formerly Hilton) as well as the acclaimed Sunset Key Guest Cottages on a private island featuring 37 extravagant units. Host of many celebrities, the resorts continue a legacy of awards and accolades in the travel industry. The resort was host to the NBC Today Show in 2009.
- 1998, the Delray Beach Marriott was completely renovated from a 107 room Holiday Inn to a 268 room full service Marriott with 14,000 square feet of function space.
- 1999, the company purchased the Samoset Resort, a 178 room seaside golf resort with 22,000 square feet of function space. Located on 238 acres, the stunning piece of real estate overlooks Penobscot Bay and the Breakwater Lighthouse, arguably the best view in Maine. Thus began the venture into independent properties and the company’s growth and ability to fully manage and operate a full scale resort without the support of a major brand. Samoset is a proud member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and earned Preferred Family Certification in 2011.
- New Holiday Inns – Jensen Beach FL, Boca Raton FL, Port St Lucie FL, Chinle AZ, College Park MD, South Portland ME, Boston MA
- New Courtyards by Marriott – Page AZ, Albuquerque NM, Portsmouth NH, Naples FL, Lake Buena Vista FL, Myrtle Beach SC, Ottawa ON
- New Residence Inns by Marriott – Portsmouth NH, London ON, Ottawa ON
- New Fairfield Inns – Bangor ME, Albuquerque NM
The Millennium decade featured significant growth at Ocean Properties, Ltd. and was demonstrated by an impressive list of developments, acquisitions, and conversions. Two major projects began and ended the decade by completing hotel developments in major metropolitan cities.
- 2001, the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center was developed into a 359 room hotel in the heart of Gallivan Plaza and opened in time to support the city for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Advisory Board of the Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency selected OPL over many others based upon the merits as a first class developer and operator.
- 2003, the company restored the magnificent 128 year old 161 room historic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel & Spa in New Castle, NH. The hotel was saved from the wrecking ball and removed from the Endangered Hotels List and listed among the Historic Hotels of America. The historically famous hotel is the site of the signing of the Russo-Japanese War Peace Treaty. Decorated with many awards and accolades, the hotel was quickly featured as the Marriott Hotel of the Year 2006.
- 2004, the company and its affiliates completed the construction of the Marriott Victoria Inner Harbour, a 236 room hotel in British Columbia managed by Atlific, the largest independent hotel management company in Canada. The stunning property immediately started a long list of awards and accolades within Marriott, including the crown achievement of Hotel of the Year in 2007.
- 2005, the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina was unveiled at the waterfront location of the former Golden Anchor Inn in downtown Bar Harbor, ME. The hotel quickly became “The Place to Stay” in Bar Harbor, featuring an Italian La Bella Vita Ristorante, adjacent Stewman’s Lobster Pound and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. Tendering Cruise Ship Vessels and private yachts, Bar Harbor Resorts became the new face of the Top 10 Destination in the World, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
- 2005, the Jupiter Beach Resort was completely renovated and reopened with a brand new 7,500 sq ft Spa. The 159 room hotel is one of Florida’s best kept secrets and features 12,000 sq ft of function space and is a proud member of Summit Hotels & Resorts.
- 2005, the Hollywood Beach Marriott debuted on the shores of Hollywood Beach featuring 229 guestrooms, 8,000 sq ft of function space, spa, and five story parking garage. This project served as a shining leader in the transformation and renaissance comeback of the area.
- 2006, the company acquired Lido Beach Resort of Lido Key in Sarasota Florida. This 222 room hotel sits on the beach of Siesta Key and boasts 2 beachfront pools.
- 2009, the Bar Harbor Club renovation and restoration was completed on the property adjacent to the Harborside Hotel. The historic private swimming club was held deep in the hearts and memories to those who frequent and live in Bar Harbor, dating back to the Rockefellers, Pulitzers and Vanderbilt’s in the early 1900′s. Restoring it beyond its former glory was a crowning moment. Featuring a historic Club house with 7,000 square feet of function space and a state of the art full service Spa. A new luxurious two-story Pool House and outdoor pool on the ocean’s edge was completed.
- 2009, the company completed the purchase and acquisition of The Sagamore, one of the most famous hotels and golf, spa resorts in New York and the world. The Historic Hotel is a generational family favorite in the NYC market, situated on a private island in Lake George, NY. The views are breathtaking with the Adirondack Mountains providing the backdrop for endless lakeside vistas. The hotel was ambitiously renovated with 36 new guestrooms, a new 3500 sq ft lakeside outdoor pool, lobby expansion and renovation of the main dining room. The Sagamore has a long list of awards and accolades and played host to the NBC Today Show in 2009.
- 2009, Le Westin Montreal was unveiled after a 2 year development project on the site of the former historic Montreal Gazette printing press. Situated in Old Montreal, this stunning 454 room Starwood property features 40,000 square feet of dynamic meeting space. Upon entering the hotel, guests look up to a glass-bottom swimming pool upon stepping out of their vehicles.
- New Marriott’s – Key Largo FL,
- New Courtyards by Marriott – Coral Springs FL, South Brunswick NJ, Toronto Airport ON, Key Largo FL
- New Residence Inns by Marriott – Delray Beach FL, Treasure Island FL, Auburn ME
- New Springhill Suites by Marriott – Tampa FL
- New Holiday Inn’s – Key Largo FL, Lido Beach FL, Vero Beach FL
- New Starwood’s – Westin Key West FL, Sheraton Key West FL, Four Points Columbus GA (sold)
- New Hilton’s – Longboat Key FL, Deerfield Beach FL
- New Golf – Sable Oaks Golf Club – South Portland ME
- Other – Days Inn Bar Harbor ME, Park Entrance Motel Bar Harbor ME, Paddy’s American Grille Portsmouth NH, Weather Station Inn Key West FL, Travelodge Key West FL, Marina Del Mar Key Largo FL, Carambola Beach Resort St. Croix USVI, Banana Bay Resort Key West FL, Boston’s on the Beach Restaurant Delray Beach FL, Bermuda Inn Delray Beach FL
The new decade brings new opportunities for a large independently-owned hotel franchise company that has the experience to generate bottom-line results and the ability to invest during downturns in the economy. The new decade started off with a bang by acquiring partnership in a celebrity-frequented oceanfront resort, the renovation of a downtown historic hotel, and the announcement of a new hotel build.
- 2010, Ocean Properties entered into partnership to own and manage the Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach. The resort has 253 guestrooms and features a spa, two restaurants and a lagoon style pool. In 2010, the resort earned the highest score in the country in its anointment of the AAA Four Diamond Award. The Sandpearl is a proud member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
- 2011, the company managed the renovation and rebrand of the Holiday Inn & Suites Phoenix Airport North (formerly Embassy Suites). This all suites hotel is not your standard Holiday Inn, featuring luxurious accommodations and modern social spaces with multiple dining options and outdoor soft seating surrounding two fire pits and an outdoor pool.
- 2011, the company underwent a complete renovation of the 141 room Latham Hotel in city center Philadelphia, in the famous Rittenhouse Square. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, once the site a 14 story apartment house built in 1907. The hotel will become a proud member of the Preferred Boutique Hotels collection and offer complimentary luxury car service.
- 2012, the company completed the construction of the West Street Hotel in downtown Bar Harbor, ME overlooking the harbor and primly situated on the corners of Main and West Streets. The hotel features boutique luxury guestrooms, a street side Paddy’s Irish restaurant, retail spaces and Maine’s only rooftop pool. Guests have access to the Bar Harbor Club. The colorful and elegant architecture of the hotel completes the transformation of the face-lift of Bar Harbor.
- 2013, the company purchased the Edgewater Beach Hotel on the beach in Naples, FL. The only all-suites hotel on the beach near downtown Naples, this hotel affords couples and families a unique experience and location in Florida.
- 2014, the company acquired the Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach. This prime beach real estate adds to the extensive Sarasota portfolio and provides another hotel destination for OPL customers.