Ashworth by the Sea: A Hampton Beach Classic

By Scott E. Kinney. Beach News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, June 2, 2006

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
295 Ocean Boulevard
Hampton Beach, N.H.
(603) 926-6762
(800) 345-6736

HAMPTON -- For well over 90 years, the Ashworth by the Sea has been a destination for New Hampshire seaside visitors. Although Dunbar Hotel LLC of New Hampshire, an affiliate of Scleicher and Stebbins Hotels, recently purchased the well-known resort, representatives promise the continuation of what has been a draw for decades of guests.

"They've done things right and really have been a leader for a long time," said General Manager Peter Coutis of the hotel's former owners. "We want to capture what they've done well and move forward from there."

Coutis said the transition was so smooth that he is the only new employee on the premises.

"We kept the staff because they've shown that they are really highly skilled at their jobs," he said.

Among the few additions to this exemplary property is wireless Internet access that is now hotel-wide. Coutis said the addition of a small hotel gym and total renovation of at least half the Ashworth's rooms is planned for the slower season in October or November.

"We feel like the last two years the full-service hotel has come back," said Coutis. "We really truly hope to attract the businessman."

Live entertainment is also planned for the upstairs deck and pool area, known as The Sandbar. Coutis said the town of Hampton is currently looking over the proposal and is hopeful the upstairs entertainment will begin sometime toward the end of June.

"It's going to be something quiet, acoustic," said Coutis. "We don't want to be noisy neighbors."

In addition to comfortable and tasteful accommodations, the Ashworth by the Sea has even more to offer its patrons. Downstairs, their elegant dining room capable of seating more than 400 guests, has for more than three decades enjoyed the reputation as one of the finest dining establishments in New England. For something a little more casual, the Breakers Cafe Lounge, luxuriously appointed with mahogany and brass, features entertainment throughout the year.

"The lounge has really been the backbone of the hotel for years," said Coutis.

For breakfast, pop on over to the Wharfside Coffee Shop, which is open year-round from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Also offering full conference rooms and beautiful, spacious function rooms, the Ashworth can meet both locals, and travelers' needs.

For functions the Ashworth offers its newly renovated, 5000 square foot ballroom with a 350-person capacity.

One hour's drive from Portland, Maine, Boston, Mass., and Manchester, this conveniently located resort is a hotel for all seasons. Situated in an area that offers whale watching, deep-sea fishing, outlet shopping, year-round concerts and an abundance of colonial history, it is not difficult to find something for the whole family to do.

Built in 1912 [burned in 1913; rebuilt; burned in 1915 & rebuilt again] by Colonel George Ashworth, the Ashworth by the Sea was one of the first hotels on Ocean Boulevard. Over the years, thousands of New England families and visitors have enjoyed this seaside escape.

Until as recent as early May, the popular hotel was under the stewardship of the Grandmaison family. Paul Grandmaison, who was originally general manager, and his brother Norman first leased the Ashworth in the fall of 1953, and went on to purchase it in the summer of 1954. The two brothers operated the hotel seasonally for the next 15 years and in 1969 opened its doors for year-round operation. Paul's son, John Grandmaison, joined the Ashworth management team in 1975.

A large expansion with a new building doubling the size of the property in 1980, and a complete renovation of the original building in 1986, brought the Ashworth to its current appearance.

Coutis said the owners of the hotel are looking forward to the future, while continuing to offer some of the best hospitality on the ocean.

"We feel a positive change coming to Hampton," he said. "We want to be a big part of that."

The Ashworth by the Sea is located at 295 Ocean Boulevard. For reservations or more information call (603) 926-6762 or (800) 345-6736, or visit