Atlantic City Travel Guide
For a long time, especially during late 70s and 80s, Atlantic City was considered the Las Vegas of the east, attracting gamblers and partiers from the nearby cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and D.C. for getaway weekends with its combination of casinos and beaches.
But as it typically does in tourism, a lack of long-term planning has led the city into the despair it currently finds itself today. The Revel was an absolute disaster - an insult to the State's taxpayers - and two other boardwalk casinos also closed down this fall.
When we arrived in Atlantic City last Friday night, it was certainly sad to see the three buildings on the boardwalk essentially abandoned. Things simply did not feel the same. But meanwhile, off in the distance, bright lights could be seen.
It was The Borgata, a Boyd Gaming hotel that, in the midst of all the closures and negativity, was jammed pack to the gills. Indeed, back in October, it was reported that the revenue at Borgata was up by five percent.
So we had to ask--what makes this property seemingly successful when so many others have failed?
The luck has gone from bad to worse to slightly better and then back to worse for the now-closed Revel Resort & Casino on Atlantic City's boardwalk. The Canadian firm who announced last month they would buy the resort for a bargain $110 million has decided to drop the deal.
Toronto-based Brookfield US Holdings LLC has simply said that it "terminated the Revel acquisition." The Press of Atlantic City first reported the news and said the reason for the termination was because " bondholders refused to rework debt connected to construction of Revel’s power plant." The power plant story is kind of a doozy. Read the Press' report to find out more.
So what does this mean for Revel? Well, a backup buyer was named at the bankruptcy auction, developer Glenn Straub. He even appealed the bankruptcy court decision to name Brookfield as owner. The good news is, he's still very interested but he doesn't seem keen to keep the aspect of Revel. Hey, something is better than nothing, right?
Keep reading for another update on the AC Hotel Scene
Themed Hotel Rooms / Sports Suites Sweet Suites / Omni Hotels / Atlanta Hotels / College Football Hotels / → All Tags
As the UK preps for their own football-themed hotel in Manchester (boringly called, ), The Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta is proudly showing off their devotion to the American kind of football--with their new National College Football Championship Suite, henceforth known as the NCFC suite.
The suite "opened" the other but really, it's just a regular suite at the hotel that's been gussied up with memorabilia entirely devoted to the reigning champions--the Florida State Seminoles. Inside are various team photographs, a Charlie Ward jersey and FSU-branded throw pillows, blankets towels. Heck, there's even a bleacher seat inside (from the 1993 championship game signed by Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden.) But of course, since the suite will change every time a new champion is crowned, die-hard Florida State fans will need to drive hard to book it. Er, rush fast to book it.
The NCFC suite is part of the Omni's new partnership with the College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Fan Experience which opened recently next to the hotel.
A stay in the suite for the die-hard Seminole football fan can be had by booking the Ultimate Fan Package which costs $4,500 and includes a two-night stay in the suite, roundtrip airport transportation, a football themed tailgate party for you and 20 guests and a private breakfast for 20 served on the College Football Hall of Fame’s indoor football field. Touchdown! (Sorry, we couldn't resist.)
Just a few short weeks ago, we watched as Revel Resort & Casino, the strikingly modern casino on Atlantic City's boardwalk, closed down after just two years in operation. This closure was followed by more closures and more bad news. However, someone else's metal detector just went off in the sand and it could mean the resurrection of Revel.
Toronto-based Brookfield US Holdings LLC has agreed to buy the Revel Resort in a bankruptcy auction for just $110 million. The casino cost $2.4 billion to build. Brookfield US Holdings LLC (nice name for a Canadian company, eh?) also owns the Hard Rock Las Vegas and the casino at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
There's a little bit of a hurdle for the new owners to overcome as they expect to be delinquent on an interest payment for their Hard Rock property. But a spokesperson said that shouldn't affect Brookfield's ability to buy the Revel. (Um? It probably should.) Anyhoo, tentative plans call for the resort to once again operate as a resort-casino. There's no timeline and there's no word on whether the name Revel will remain (indeed we suspect Hard Rock could come in here) but so far, this looks like much-needed good news for Atlantic City.
Hotel Closings / Atlantic City Hotels / Hotel News / Trump Entertainment Resorts / Hotel Woes / → All Tags
Ugh. Another round of bad news for Atlantic City and its employees. Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday and said that if it could not make "significant expense reductions", the casino will close on November 13. Nearly 3,000 employees will then be out of a job.
The odds of Trump Taj Mahal closing are very, very good. Trump Entertainment Resorts, which is a separate entity from the Trump Hotels company as using the Trump name is simply a licensing deal, did not pay property taxes on the Taj Mahal last month and cannot pay off $285 million in bonds. Not even a strip club could save the Taj.
Trump is hoping to cut labor costs but the unions are strongly opposing it, saying even if the workers accepted minimum wage with no benefits, there wouldn't be enough money to save the Taj Mahal. This is some dire stuff. You can read more of the nitty gritty here on this NY Times article.
Hopefully, this will be the last closing in Atlantic City for a while. At least until 2015.
Hotel Closings / Atlantic City Hotels / Hotel News / Trump Hotels / Caesars Entertainment / Revel Resorts / → All Tags
Today's the day, although it's not a day we should really be excited about.
The Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, which cost $2 billion to build and only opened two years ago, is closing today. Here's a statement on the hotel's website regarding the logistics of the closure. Guests were actually checked out of the hotel yesterday at 11am. No late check-outs! Although, apparently there was a fire alarm that went off at 1am but the nigthclubs at the hotel partied on, mostly filled with employees. Here's an excellent article on the last hours of the casino. Below are our photo galleries from when we first went inside Revel.
Hotel Closings / Revel Resorts / Atlantic City Hotels / Gambling Hotels / New Jersey Hotels / → All Tags
If there's any question about just how bad things are going for the Revel in Atlantic City, look no further than the fact that the casino resort has moved up its closing date from September 10th to 5 a.m. on September 2nd, right after the Labor Day weekend.
According to reports, the owners of Revel wanted to shut down even sooner - this week - but its request was denied by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. All hotel operations will cease as guests check out on Monday, September 1st.
This contributor is anxious to see the city move on from this mess, so the sooner the Revel is out of the picture, the better. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind as things shut down next weekend:
Hotel Closings / Revel Resorts / Atlantic City Hotels / Gambling Hotels / New Jersey Hotels / → All Tags
In case you hadn't already heard, The Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City announced that it will officially close its doors and shut down all operations on September 10, only two and a half years after it first opened in April 2012. Hailed as the project that would revive Atlantic City, Revel was never able to turn a profit and was continuously battling bankruptcy issues.
The resort had been a curious case leading up to this announcement. Despite rumors of the potential closing, rates were as high as ever and the hotel is even sold out this weekend. The brass at Revel attributed the resort's demise to a "considerable non-controllable expense structure that financially burdened the property." To us, it sounds like a fancy way to say they didn't do their homework.
Revel said it is going to continue to try to find a buyer during the bankruptcy process, but that even if it does, it will not be until after the resort closes. In total, 3,100 jobs will be lost, which is, of course, sad. And the city is going to have to figure out what to do with the abandoned building if no one wants to give it another go. It's easy to shrug our shoulders at that as tourists, but the locals are the ones who have to bear the aftermath of a botched tourism effort.
UPDATE, 8.12.14: The Revel Resort and Casino will close on September 10. Over 3,000 jobs will be lost. The resort never turned a profit in the two years it was opened. #rip
It's been nearly two months since we learned The Revel Casino in Atlantic City was in danger of closing yet sadly, there doesn't seem to be much improvement in the boardwalk casino's financial health.
Revel is set to go up of auction on Thursday but NBC Philadelphia reports that as of today, there are no qualified bids. The resorts' board of directors are supposedly meeting this afternoon and will determine whether or not the resort will close. There should be an update on this later today. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, this weekend, rooms are sold-out on Saturday night and running about $499 a night for the next two weekends. Rates during the week are as low as $129 a night. And judging from the hotel's Facebook post earlier today, you'd never know anything was amiss.
It's starting to look like a bummer summer for Atlantic City.
First, came the news that the Revel Hotel, a brand new, gorgeously modern resort and casino could shutter as soon as next month if it didn't find a new buyer. Now, comes news that weathered Trump Plaza, located next to Caesars Atlantic City, could also close in September due to low revenues. Unless Trump can find a buyer or get an injection of money from somewhere, then the casino will shut down and roughly 1,000 workers will be laid off.
Despite having an excellent location in the center of the boardwalk across from the beach, the Trump Plaza has seen better days. There might be Chihuly (or Chihuly-inspired chandeliers) found on the casino floor, but overall, the property is in bad condition. We were shocked at the level of disrepair we saw last year in the public spaces. And the room photos on the website have us scared. It looks like nothing has been updated since the 1980s.
Whoa. The Revel Resort in Atlantic City, home to an expensive taco truck, sent out a letter to employees recently saying that if the resort couldn't find a buyer before August 18, it would close down. Did you catch that? REVEL COULD CLOSE.
But it's not surprising. Revel has had drama from the start when its groundbreaking coincided with the global financial collapse of 2008. After finally receiving the funds to finish the construction job, the resort was open, and losing money, for just six months before Hurricane Sandy walloped the Jersey Shore. Then in early February, Revel filed for bankruptcy. But despite picking up new owners and having a ton of debt removed, the resort is still struggling.
Now, Revel is asking interested buyers for about $300 million. But we're not so sure there are many folks out there who want to buy a resort that's losing even more money than when it first opened. (Gothamist pointed out that Revel lost $130 million last year versus $110 in its first six months open.)
So, with all these money woes at Revel, perhaps room rates will be cheap? Think again.
We know we gave you 9 Killer Hotel Views to fantasize about experiencing in person one day so hopefully you'll forgive us for what we're about to post now--a serious anti-view from Caesars Atlantic City.
Yes, this room in the Temple Tower here has an atrium view of the casino and check-in desk below as well as into other rooms that also have atrium views. So it's best to keep those shades drawn when you're walking around naked (and we know you are.) The rest of the deluxe room was quite nice--super comfy bed, big flat-screen TV and a room service menu of epic entrees.
And fortunately, Atlantic City is not necessarily a place where you go to relax in your room. Usually, you're at the tables, at the bars or people-watching on the boardwalk. Still, if you want a room with a view when staying at Caesars, make sure to request it at check-in. Slipping a $20 probably won't hurt either. Rooms this weekend start at about $150 on Friday night and a whopping $450 on Saturday night.