MURRELLS INLET — Glen and Joyce Smith of Bennettsville were shocked when they learned that the Brookwood Inn, a favorite spot of theirs, is for sale.
“Somebody’ll tear it down and put condos here,” Glen Smith said disdainfully. “It ought to be against the law.”
Indeed, Robert DuBose, owner of the 60-year-old Murrells Inlet staple, expects the same thing.
“It’s not really the motel I’m selling,” he said. “It’s the land.”
The property stretches for a whole block along U.S. 17 Business near the southern end of town, with the pink inn, its swimming pool, a couple of palm trees and some low hanging live oaks dominating the central part of the land.
With small white copulas and a fence-looking decoration atop the single-story inn, it immediately evokes the ‘50s and ‘60s, the days when it was the newest thing around.
Step inside the small office and you’re transported to the feel and smell of beachfront cottages of another era where wicker furniture was covered with well-worn pillows for sitting and talking and just resting.
There’s a ship’s wheel clock hanging on the wall along with a blueprint from the days when the Brookwood was built and a plate decorated with the friendly faces of Mamie and Dwight Eisenhower. There’s a small rack of brochures from Grand Strand attractions and deep sea fishing charters, and shelves hold everything from snow globes with fish swimming inside them to a model of a sloop to a stuffed bear dressed in formal hunt attire.
DuBose said the Inn was built by the Parrish family in the 1950s who also owned all the land between it and the marshland about a block away. There were no trees on the adjoining land then, he said, and the view to the marsh was unobstructed.
Since DuBose, 63, bought the Inn 32 years ago, he’s purchased property on both sides of it, including two houses that he uses for motel overflow.
DuBose said he could have invested the money he paid for the Brookwood and done better financially, but if he’d done that he wouldn’t have three decades of the simplicity and quiet of Inn life.
Joyce Smith said she keeps the Brookwood’s telephone number in her nightstand, and calls for rooms every time she and her husband are headed to the Grand Strand. The Inn holds such a special spot in her heart that she and other family members chose to celebrate her mother’s 65th birthday at the Brookwood.
Friends like it for their visits to the area, she said, because they can park right outside their rooms.
It’s a throwback to a different time and way of life, and some of those who stay there repeatedly like it because they leave feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready for the busier world elsewhere.
“I have a good repeat business,” DuBose said.
He thinks of the Brookwood as a piece of art and hopes he can find a buyer who appreciates it the way he does.
One of those interested, said Jim Allison of Dunes Realty in Garden City Beach, has said he’d like to keep the original Brookwood like it is and add a couple of matching buildings on the 4.28 acres.
Allison said the asking price is $2,150,000, a figure comparable to the value of other commercial property in Murrells Inlet.
A week ago, he said he had 20 inquiries, five of which were serious.
He said there will be a lot of due diligence by prospective buyers who will want to make sure the property can be used as they want it. There’s been one offer, but it was a low-ball that was rejected.
A couple of those interested, Allison said, “love the charm of the property.”
DuBose said he charges $65 and $75 for the 20 rooms at the Inn, rates that drop to $55 in the off season.
He owns a similar motel in Maggie Valley, N.C., a tourist mecca about 30 miles west of Asheville, but that one’s not for sale yet.
His family owns a motel on Interstate 95 in Santee, DuBose said, and when he was growing up, they would vacation in Garden City. He’d see the Brookwood when they drove to Murrells Inlet for dinner and wanted to own it from those days.
“I love being here on the grounds,” he said.
But it’s time.
He’s not 31 anymore, he said. He’s not 41.
“There comes a time for everything,” he said.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.