Seaboard Hotels Start in Dewey Beach

The family-owned Seaboard Hotels started in Dewey Beach with the Atlantic View hotel.

The late 70s

In 1977 Dewey Beach was a very different place than the thriving summer playground it is today. The town was yet to be incorporated. Route 1 had just become a dual lane highway. And side streets were still mostly sand and stone. It was in this year that the Simpler family decided to try their hand in the hotel business. This was after decades of running The Avenue Restaurant in Rehoboth. An oceanfront property was purchased on Clayton Street. Then plans were drawn for a 35 room hotel. Bunting Construction, a newly formed construction company out of Selbyville, Delaware was chosen as the contractor. In the spring of 1978, The Atlantic View Motel opened its doors and so began the first hotel within the Seaboard Hotels family.

Fast forward to the 90s

On January 4, 1992, the coast was hit by a Nor’easter that produced 9.02 foot tide. This was the second highest tide ever recorded in Delaware after the storm of 1962. The 1992 storm washed over the dunes and through the first floor of Atlantic View. It caused major damage and destroyed the pool. After the storm, steel sheet pilings were driven deep into the sand. they were across the front of the property and north, under the dune crossing. They would  help protect against future storms. The pool was rebuilt and ready for the summer season. In 1998, another Nor’easter hit Dewey Beach on January 28th and produced a tide of 8.95 feet. One week later, on February 5, 1998, another severe Nor’easter pounded Delaware’s coast with tides of 8.76 feet. While no major damage to the hotel was sustained, the beach and dunes were decimated.

The opening of the hotel in 1998 brought new managers, Alex and Kendra Moore. Kendra, the daughter of owner Ken Simpler, and Alex were recently married and beginning their careers in the family business. During this time the hotel had live-in managers, so Kendra and Alex moved into the tiny apartment behind the front desk with their two labs, Webber and Tucker. Their first summer was faced with many challenges because the hotel was occupied on the weekend by the revelers that gave Dewey its less than stellar reputation during that period.

The young couple could easily fill a book with the numerous stories they amassed from partying hotel guests.

In addition to the late night partiers, a beach replenishment project in July tested the new hoteliers abilities to keep the guests happy. Noisy equipment operating 24/7, and no beach access, made for challenging times in the heart of the summer season. The two rookies stuck it out, learned a great deal from that first season, and evolved into the educated operators they are today.

Michael Orhelein

Ch-ch-ch-changes

That season, and the next few, made the family recognize they needed to make changes. It was determined that the hotel needed to cater to their ideal guest. Patrons looking to enjoy the unique location and the more relaxed vibe of Dewey Beach were most welcome. While small improvements were consistently made over the years, the currently named, Atlantic View Hotel, began a transformation to better serve guests and improve the overall image and appearance of the property.

These improvements have helped sustain a more vibrant off-season for the hotel. In the late seventies and into the mid-eighties the hotel was open from just before Memorial Day to the week after Labor Day. While the hotel still closes in the off-season the number of weeks open has gone from the original sixteen to around thirty-six today.

 

Seaboard Hotels History

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