Crown Reef overhaul, including new water park, expected to be ready by summer

04/03/2014 4:47 PM

04/03/2014 4:49 PM

The new owners of the Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach are pumping $7.5 million into overhauling the property and adding amenities they hope will make the 20-year-old resort stand out amid the beach’s competitive lodging market.

Crews are busy creating a sprawling water park with slides that stand as high as 38 feet, updating all 514 guest rooms and suites, putting the finishing touches on a new arcade and adding a casual restaurant to one of the signature properties on the south end of Ocean Boulevard that needed a little TLC.

All the work is expected to be done in May, just in time for the busy summer tourism season.

“The Crown Reef is such a great name, let’s take it where it needs to be,” said Matt Klugman, spokesman for Vacation Myrtle Beach, a cooperative of hotels that includes the Crown Reef.

While Klugman will gladly show off some of the newly renovated rooms – which include new headboards, wall coverings, bedding and countertops – the water park is the signature piece of this project, intended to make a splash with vacationing families and lure them to Crown Reef instead of other Myrtle Beach hotels.

The water park will have three slides and a silly sub play area with water sprays and bucket dumps, joining the pools, lazy river and Jacuzzis that already were there.

“This is a true water park,” Klugman said. “It’s something that is exciting and gets attention.”

Work started in the fall, shortly after Crown Reef Resort LLC bought the property for $16.1 million in August. The hotel, which includes three towers, is managed by a newly formed group of hoteliers and investors known as Legacy Business Solutions.

Klugman said the Crown Reef, which debuted in June 1994, had been stagnant in recent years as other hotels had updated or added amenities, making the overhaul one of the first jobs for the new owners.

Myrtle Beach hasn’t seen a rush of resort renovations this year, city spokesman Mark Kruea said, adding that many of the hotels were part of the building boom in the mid 2000s and likely aren’t due for a major update yet.

At the Crown Reef, all guest rooms are getting a fresh look; gone is the wallpaper, replaced with a brightly colored wall treatment, and white bedding aims to give a crisp, clean look, Klugman said. About half of the rooms are ready to go, the others are expected to be ready by May.

“That was something that was needed here,” Klugman said of the renovations of the guest rooms. “They were just a little dated. They needed some TLC.”

The resort also is adding a Loco Gecko restaurant, an arcade with about 40 games, a coffee bar and ice cream station – all amenities the new owners picked because they appeal to the resort’s target market, Klugman said.

“There is no question, like most of Myrtle Beach, we cater primarily to families. We want something with a lot of energy and excitement,” Klugman said as the dings from the video games joined with the sounds of drills working on the new town center area.

Will guests have to pay more to stay at the Crown Reef now?

“Not yet,” Klugman said. “We are still trying to build back the loyal clientele.”

But rates likely will go up at some point, Klugman said. Guests will get more “bang for their buck” with the new water park, arcade and restaurant on site, he said.

“People will probably be willing to pay a little more,” Klugman said. “We are still trying to calculate what that might be.”

Crews still have lots of work to do in the next month to get the resort ready for the busy summer season. Mounds of dirt and stacks of cabinets ready to be installed sit in the parking garage, and the water park is still taking shape. Klugman said the project is on schedule and all the additions will be ready by mid- to late May.

“They are moving,” Klugman said of the construction crews.

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