The Caribbean Motel: a Doo Wop Wildwood stop
Looking for a fun, retro place to stay in the Wildwoods? Check out the Caribbean.
I stayed here for the Wild Half. I chose the spot because it was affordable and close to the starting line but wasn't on top of the noise of the boardwalk. It also has a great backstory.
The Caribbean was built in 1957 in the midst of the Doo Wop boom. The motel concept was a new one: parking closer to your room rather than in a parking lot, doors facing the outside instead of a hallway. Doo Wop architecture was wild and loud: things like neon, blue palm trees, and Jetsons-like elements were the norm.
Like any trend, Doo Wop started to fall out of favor, and the motels soon followed. In 2000, the Wildwoods had 100; 10 years later, there were just 50. Many survived as continuously upgraded and modernized motels, others were converted into condos (anytime you see a bland L-shaped building with a pool inside the L, you've found a motel turned into condo). A few went back to their bright history and were restored. The Caribbean is one of them.
Carolyn Emigh and George Miller bought the building in 2004, and renovated it into full Doo Wop style. This including a cool circular ramp from the first floor to second, sun deck, palm-treed pool and tiki-themed rooms. Those rooms still have decades-old phones in the rooms, reminding you that you're staying in a historic place, which it is. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Caribbean will be open until Oct. 14 this year, and almost every weekend in the fall comes with a special party or meal that's included in your stay. The weekend of the Wild Half was "Yeungs and Wings." Sept. 21 and 22 is an Italian Dinner Party, and Sept. 28 and 29 is Oktoberfest.