The Ocean House: Victorian opulence meets modern amenities in Spring Lake
By Elana Knopp
It sits on the corner of Sussex and First Avenues in Spring Lake, a majestic Victorian gem that brings the grandeur of the Victorian Era into the 21st century. With its grand wraparound porch, original architectural details, and lush landscaping, the Ocean House Bed and Breakfast Hotel adds it splendor and opulence to the beautiful beach enclave at the Jersey Shore.
Built in 1878, The Ocean House was originally called The Colonial Hotel, and guests would flock there from New York City and Philadelphia. It is recognized by the Spring Lake Historical Society as one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in the area.
Located just a half a block from the ocean, The Ocean House has 30 rooms available for guests, and is open from April 1 through December 15.
Amenities include beach towels and beach chairs for each guest, use of an outdoor shower, complimentary bicycles, a hot and iced coffee all-day bar, as well as buffet-style breakfast each day.
The Ocean House is owned by Nancy and Dennis Kaloostian, who purchased the inn in 1998 after selling their family home in Spring Lake. Innkeepers Jared and Colleen Kaloostian, run the day to day operations of the inn.
Colleen Kaloostian, who is from Queens, NY, also has deep roots in Spring Lake. Her grandparents met in Spring Lake in July, 1934, as both would summer there in the 20s and 30s.
According to Colleen Kaloostian, the architectural features of the Ocean House make it truly unique.
“The grand staircase was painstakingly preserved from the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia,” Kaloostian said. “The top piece of the staircase that did not fit in the building can be found at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.”
According to Colleen, the inn has only been owned and operated by a handful of families since its opening day in 1878.
“Living and working in the same location gives you laser focus to detail, a unique understanding of the building itself, and what the needs of the guests are. For our family, the guests' experience with us is top priority,” Colleen said. “We find that continuing to bring modern amenities to our guests, all the while preserving the beauty of the historic building, have become the balance that brings so many guests back to us year after year.”
Kaloostian said that much of the inn’s success has to do with their beautiful location and access to the beach, amenities, and the inn’s famous wraparound porch.
“Our location in Spring Lake, being one block to the beach, and two blocks into our town, is always a popular component for new guests, especially if they are hoping to leave the car at home and take the train,” Kaloostian said. “We offer amenities such as free wifi, a full hot breakfast, complementary beach cruisers, chairs and towels for the beach. Our porch is also one of the largest in town. At approximately 1900 square feet, and fully furnished, many of our guests spend their time catching up, relaxing, and enjoying the breezes, day and night.”
Kaloostian said the inn is busy from the beginning of the season to the end, especially during the summer months.
Many of the inn’s grand Victorian furnishings were purchased by owner, Nancy Kaloostian, who, Colleen said, has a special talent for décor, as well as a knack for finding amazing pieces.
According to Kaloostian, running an inn is a lot of work but also a labor of love. With a daily routine beginning with coffee at 6am, breakfast prep at 7:15, and menus, housekeeping, shopping lists, booking reservations, and concierge services, the days at Ocean House are always busy.
“Sixty people ebbing and flowing throughout the inn during all hours of the day will keep you up and moving,” Kaloostian said. “We are incredibly fortunate to have an amazing staff that comes back every year, and makes all of this possible.”
Other responsibilities include landscaping and gardening, building maintenance, and inventory of food and amenities.
“In between all these tasks, you get to meet so many people from all over the world, catch up with guests that are like extended family, and introduce Spring Lake and the surrounding area to our new guests,” Kaloostian said.
The Ocean House is located at 102 Sussex Ave. in Spring Lake. For more information visit http://www.theoceanhouse.net/ or call 732-449-9090.
All photos courtesy of Ocean House