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Postwar 1950's America was an optimistic, confident, enthusiastic society and an economic colossus where people enjoyed increasingly greater wealth and leisure time. TV overtook radio as the most important cultural influence and began broadcasting ads for a device that would transform society: the automobile.

Families wanted to get in their cars and go! The Wildwoods accommodated them with a dynamic seaside boardwalk, amusement piers and nightclubs that became a proving ground for the period's biggest music stars. The prosperity and vitality of the 1950's provided the impetus for an exciting high-voltage visual style that transformed the Wildwoods' architectural landscape. The island resort's architecture built in this era reflected the spirit of the people: brash, bold and boastful, and the popular culture of the times. The dense building fabric presented a varied and exaggerated spectacle of designs, all competing for the passing motorists' attention. Angular elements, space-age imagery, tropical themes and colors, with spectacular neon signage turning up the volume even more, combined to form a sensational display that can still be seen in the Wildwoods today.



Photo courtesy Aladdin Color, circa 1960s
The Caribbean Motel was built in 1957 by Lou Morey (whose family built many of the Wildwoods' original Doo Wop motels) for original owners Dominic and Julie Rossi.

Among the signature features of this ultra-modern motel was a curving "Jetson Ramp" that winded its way from ground level up to the second-floor sundeck & lounge in a most glamorous fashion! Then there was the crescent-shaped pool - one of the most unique in the area at the time, and still to this day!

Photo courtesy Aladdin Color, circa 1960s
The Caribbean is said to have been the first motel in The Wildwoods to use plastic palm trees to create an exotic atmosphere that made you feel as if you were far, far away from New Jersey! These kitschy oddities are now ubiquitous throughout the entire resort - and you can blame (or thank, depending on your point of view) the Caribbean for starting the trend!

In this photo from the 1960s, you can see how the Caribbean has not changed much - at least on the outside!
The Caribbean's famous oversized rooftop neon sign was designed by Harry Lanza of Allied Signs in Wildwood. When first proposed, no sign this large had ever been installed - or permitted - in Wildwood Crest! After much debate, local ordinances were changed to allow installation of the extra-large sign, setting the stage for other motels to follow suit with similarly over-the-top signs, gradually creating the neon-lit fantasyland the "strip" in Wildwood Crest would soon become, and still is today!
Stay tuned for more historical photos and tidbits from the Caribbean Motel!
Or, read on to learn about our complete restoration and renovation which began in 2004!
 
  
  

About the Caribbean Motel:

Since first opening in 1957, the Caribbean Motel's daring, futuristic architecture and exotic, tropical flair have enchanted families and friends. It's long been a place to escape, relax, and enjoy good fellowship. Today, you'll thrill at the pizazz of our recreated mid-century modern decor with 21st century amenities. Plus, with a fabulous location on Wildwood Crest's glitzy Ocean Avenue, you are just steps from the beach and a short walk to the boardwalk, convention center, restaurants and entertainment!

The Caribbean Motel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a proud member of Historic Hotels of America. We are the quintissential Doo Wop Motel in the Wildwoods, and have been featured in photographs, videos, magazines and newspapers all over the world! Join us this season to see what all the buzz is about!

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