Lois Harrison broke ground in 1951 with the Harrison Hall Hotel - her sons John & Hale Harrison founded the Harrison Group in 1970. The Harrison Group now owns and operates 11 hotels and numerous restaurants in Ocean City, MD. We strive to bring you excellent service day in and day out.
Lois Carmean stood on the porch of the Shoreham Hotel, shading her eyes as she watched the waves break along the sand. Ocean City Maryland was a far cry from her hometown of Spring Hope North Carolina. She wanted to freshen up before meeting G.Hale later. She hadn’t a clue as to what he had planned, but whatever it was it required a clean dress and another coat of lipstick. After all, tonight was their third date…
And what a date it turned out to be. Agreeing to marry G.Hale Harrison would be “the best decision she ever made”, as Lois often remarked later on in life. On September 16, 1944 they would marry surrounded by friends and family at Stevenson United Methodist Church in G.Hale’s hometown of Berlin. By 1949 Lois had completed the best thing she ever did and now had three young children of her own, Helen, Hale and John.
In 1951, as a gift to his wife, G.Hale began construction on the Harrison Hall Hotel, a 77 room property facing the Atlantic on 14th Street. It would be the most lavish hotel of it’s kind for the day. Then the northernmost property in town, it was also the first hotel to provide private bathrooms for each guest room. The idea of having a competitive advantage was deeply embedded into Lois’ two sons.
In 1961 G.Hale would pass away leaving Lois in charge of Harrison Hall. The daily operation of the hotel quickly became a lifestyle for the family.
“We learned to be the first in town, to set the pace and be ahead of the competition from Mother. Our father taught us the value of hard work and being morally ethical. We still stick to those same values today.” - Hale Harrison
“Dad died when I was 12. We worked in the hotel as boys after school, on the weekends, in the summer, anytime really to help Mom. We did everything you could think of, from desk agents to groundskeepers. We even lived there in the summers. We both have always known that’s what we wanted to be when we grew up. We wanted to own hotels.” - John Harrison
This early desire to own and operate their own properties would only strengthen as they got older. In 1964 with their mother’s help high school students Hale and John purchased their first property, a nine room boarding house called the Barbizon. In 1970 they would buy their first property on their own, the Plimhimmon Hotel which they renamed the Plim Plaza. The majestic property had stood on the Boardwalk, coincidentally next to the Shoreham Hotel, since 1893. As the years went on, The Harrison Group grew.
In 1973 they acquired their first “flagged” or name brand property with the Quality Inn Oceanfront on 54th Street. In 1980 they built their first hotel, the Holiday Inn Oceanfront on 67th Street. 1984 saw the opening of their first free standing restaurant, Harrison’s Harborwatch Restaurant and Raw Bar.
In 2001, The Harrison Group brought an unprecedented level of luxury to Ocean City with the construction of the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites on 17th street, the first all suite property in town. In 2006 they raised the bar even higher with the opening of Ocean City’s only all-oceanfront suite hotel, the Hilton Suites Ocean City Oceanfront on 32nd street.
Following in the path of Lois Carmean Harrison who built the Harrison Hall Hotel shortly after WWII, The Harrison Group is proud to be part of the Ocean City community and welcome you to any of our properties so that we may show you that we take hospitality seriously.