The Starlux used to be the Wingate, a typical Wildwood motel, but the building was gutted, expanded, and modernized into the 39-room boutique hotel it is today.
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305 East Rio Grande Avenue, Wildwood
Number of rooms: 39; Summer price range: $148-$339
The Starlux started as the Wingate, a typical 1950s Wildwood motel. Rooms cost $8-$10 a night and offered “Free Drive-In Parking!”—as a vintage advertisement boasted. The bones of the Wingate are still part of the Starlux, but the building was gutted in 2000 and expanded in 2002 into a 39-room boutique hotel with a lounge, a pool, and hot tub where the parking lot used to be, and two Airstream trailers tricked out, modernized, and available for rent.
If Atlantic City’s Chelsea resonates with Dean Martin and Rosemary Clooney, the pop touchstones for the Starlux would be Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Every room and suite is done up in doo-wop kitsch. Each comes with a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker. Guests get free bike rentals and access to the Astro Lounge, which is set up for continental breakfast and has a flat-screen TV, DVDs and a place to hang out if the weather is not beach friendly.
The biggest deals, though, are the Stay & Play packages. The same company that runs Morey’s Piers—and all the rides and waterparks on the Wildwood Boardwalk—also owns the hotel. Starlux guests can buy discount park passes that are good until 6 pm on day of checkout. A five-day Stay & Play adult pass, for example, costs $85. The regular price is $210 (deal not valid for arrivals between July 16 and August 21). The Starlux is open year-round, with off-season rates as low as $69 between January 1 and April 30.