Once upon a time there was a beautiful hotel in Berlin, a town made famous as the setting for the movie Runaway Bride. That hotel, the Atlantic, had been the Worcester County town’s most famous landmark since it was built in 1895, and although its Victorian splendor had faded, townspeople loved it.
They were thunderstruck, then, when the hotel abruptly closed last New Year’s Eve after an ambitious effort by a previous tenant to transform the grand dame into a sleek siren failed.
“It was like someone stuck a knife into the heart of the town when the Atlantic Hotel shut its doors,” says John Fager, creator of the iconic Fager’s Island complex in Ocean City.
It was Fager and his wife, Michelle, who raced to the hotel’s rescue in February, with a clear mission to give the lovely lady a facelift and reopen her this spring. A crew of craftsmen, guided by historic preservationist Angela Reynolds, worked round the clock to resurrect the original floors, intricate woodwork, and antique furniture they’d reclaimed from storage.
“The whole town has been involved in this project, with some volunteering their time to get it done on a tight timeline,” says Fager.
Today, Leo D’Aleo, formerly of Liquid Assets in Ocean City, is in charge of the hotel’s 70-seat Drummer’s Café, which serves lunch and dinner. The handsome formal dining room, currently reserved for private events, is already booked for a fashion show, a feast by the Red Hat Ladies, and several wedding receptions.
Fager plans to run the hotel with the same steady hand and innovative spirit that make his other properties first-rate. The hotel’s 17 guest rooms and spacious hallways have been refurbished with new wallpaper, window treatments, luxurious linens, and such updated amenities as flat-screen TVs concealed in antique armoires.
Perhaps the most charming public feature of this singular property, though, is its spacious front porch, furnished with a fleet of old-fashioned rocking chairs. It’s the perfect place for sipping a Black-Eyed Susan and watching the world go by.
Thanks to the Fagers’ determination to save the doyenne of Berlin from disaster, the historic Atlantic Hotel rocks on.
The Atlantic will offer special opening rates this spring, as well as a variety of interest-specific Coastal Tours. don't miss Along the Seaboard Side Tour, a coastal architectural tour of Ocean City and an Eastern Shore Village, July 12-15, or the Paint the Coast tour for artists in September and October. For details, call 410-641-3589 or visit www.atlantichotel.com.