By Greg Ellison
(March 13, 2020) Annemarie and Jim Dickerson are ending a nearly half-century run at the Francis Scott Key Family Resort in West Ocean City after selling the property this week to the Sibony family.
Zev Sibony, son of Sunsations owner Avi Sibony, said closing was held this week for the more than 240-room resort, which was originally built by the Hastings family in 1953.
“There’s no real changes that are going to happen immediately,” he said. “The guests are going to come that have been coming there for years and they’re going to have the same great experiences they had when Annemarie Dickerson was operating it.”
Dickerson’s father, William "Kenny" Baker, bought the hotel in 1972, when it had five-dozen rooms. He became sole owner in 1978.
Sibony said the resort property would be maintained to the same standards as his family’s other area facilities, such as the Aloft Hotel on 45th Street and the Paradise Plaza Inn on Ninth Street.
“We’re going to run it like the majority of the other hotels that we operate,” he said. “It’s going to be a well-run establishment.”
Sibony said Dickerson would be involved during the ownership transition this season to assure guest expectations are maintained on par with the past.
“She’s formed relationships with these people over the years that have come to know her establishment and we want to continue that [and not] try and reinvent the wheel over there,” he said.
Sibony acknowledged there would be a learning curve while becoming acquainted with numerous returning guests.
“It will take a year or two for our people to learn all the same faces that have been going there for all these years,” he said.
Sibony said there are no immediate plans to revamp staff at the family resort.
“Behind the core of every good business is a great staff,” he said. “We’d kind of be fools to just go in there and clean house.”
Named in honor of the author of the Star Spangled Banner, the location recalls an earlier era at the shore, which Sibony says has proven financially viable.
“We know what does well and we’re just going to continue the great work that Annemarie has done over the years and keep the Francis Scott Key relevant,” he said.