NJ Travel Guide
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.
So if you're set on
freezing your a** off cheering your team on at the Super Bowl XLVIIIthis weekend, there are still plenty of hotel options available in NYC. Like, the most amount of hotel rooms open that we've ever seen for a Super Bowl.
But considering the game is actually in New Jersey, we thought we'd check the hotel options there.
Crazily enough, the Hilton Meadowlands, formerly the Sheraton and practically overlooking the MetLife stadium, has rooms open from January 31-February 2 or February 3 for just $499 on Expedia. Plus free shuttle transportation to the stadium!
Ummm, BOOK IT. You can split the cost with a friend or a stranger. Who cares? That's a good deal right there. Especially since most of the other options in NJ are budget brands like a Red Roof Inn for $170 a night, although we did see a Hyatt Place Secaucus/Meadowlands for $399 a night. Not too terrible. You could also hit up one of New Jersey's B&Bs, most of which are located near NJ Transit stops. Even though getting to the game will still be a hassle of epic proportions.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the scoop on NJ Hotel Super Bowl Parties. In the meantime, check the NYC Hotel Super Bowl Parties here.
Hilton Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / Super Bowl Hotels / Meadowlands Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
The long-standing Sheraton near The Meadowlands Complex in New Jersey, where the Giants and Jets play, has turned into a Hilton Hotel, with some brand new rooms, a new lobby and hallways. (The remaining rooms and meeting space are scheduled to begin renovation later next year.)
Aside from a prime location near the Meadowlands and the MetLife Stadium, the hotel is just four miles from NYC and 15 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, making it an affordable alternative to Manhattan. But should you want to stay at this hotel sometime in early February, try again. The hotel is the host hotel of Super Bowl XLVIII which means rooms are probably sold-out.
And we say probably because there isn't an official Hilton site for the hotel right now. The existing Sheraton site is still up but when we tried to make a reservation for next week, no dice. Until the Hilton site comes online, you may want to call the hotel at (201) 896-0500 to book your stay. Who knows? Maybe you'll get lucky with a room for the Super Bowl.
[Photo: Sheraton Hotels]
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.
The opening comes on the heels of the city's decision to allow strip clubs in the hotels and casinos for the first time in AC's gambling history. No doubt, the decision was made in hopes of boosting profits and revenues for the city's businesses.
Scores will open at 7pm on Thursday, although it's normal working girl hours will be 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Below, is a photo gallery of some of the boardwalk hotels, including the Taj, followed by a list of all the different elements that Scores will include. Get your dollar bills ready!
When you put a food truck into the middle of a hotel-casino, you probably should expect higher prices than the average food truck that dishes out tacos and hot dogs. But at the Distrito Cantina and its funky Distrito Taco Truck at Revel in Atlantic City, we paid way more than we would at our local Mexican restaurant here in LA.
The Distrito Taco Truck is located on the second floor of Revel (or rather, the third floor, since the second floor is the gaming area.) We dined at Chef Jose Garces' Distrito restaurant at The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale last year and loved it. So when we saw the taco truck--an actual truck that's been placed inside the casino hotel--we had to sit down at one of the festively decorated picnic benches and try it.
We all know that early check-ins at hotels are elusive. It all depends on a few things--how full the hotel was the night before, how fast the other guests get their belongings together and out the door and how quickly housekeeping can get in there and turn over the room.
We typically have good luck with early check-ins during the week and at huge hotels that don't always sell out like the big casino hotels in Las Vegas (mid-week of course, definitely not on a Friday or a Sunday.) But if that doesn't work, then we have to find ways to kill time in the hotel lobby, or the nearby area, for a few hours until the 3pm check-in time. Unless we want to pay extra for it with an early check-in fee.
We first noticed early check-in fees back in 2011 when we compared hotels to airlines, thanks to all the extra fees they were tacking onto hotel stays. But we've never actually seen them in the wild.
But at Caesars Atlantic City we saw this sign at check-in.
It's Sunday morning in Atlantic City and if you aren't too sick from all the drinking or the late-nite eats on the boardwalk, then you're ready to chow down. A lot. It might be a situation.
Over at Caesars Atlantic City, smack dab in the middle of the boardwalk, your best option to get fed well is to do Sunday brunch at the Nero's from 10am to 2pm. Here, with views out to the ocean and retro photographs of the Rat Pack and Marilyn Monroe on the walls, you will find every sort of breakfast station you could ever dream of--omelette, prime rib, waffle, seafood, bagels (so Jersey!), sushi and dessert. Don't forget, bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys. Brunch costs $59 person ($55 for Total Rewards members) and you can make your reservations by calling 1-800- 223-7277.
If you can't bear to shower and get reasonably dressed to make your way downstairs to Nero's, never fret. That's what room service is for. Aside from offering several hair of the dog drinks, the room service menu has a ton of food options. It might be one of the most comprehensive room service menus we've seen in a while. (We love that someone circled the bagel and cream cheese option on our menu.) They even offer On-The-Go boxes which you can take out to the beach or bring for the car ride home. There is a $4 delivery charge added for all orders but gratuity is not included. So you have to decide whether it's worth the extra bucks to eat in the comfort of your room.
Atlantic City Hotels / Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival / Caesars Entertainment / Harrah's Hotels / → All Tags
If you're gambling in AC this weekend and you get hungry, you're about to get lucky. Atlantic City kicked off its fifth annual Food and Wine Festival last night with a pool party at the Harrah's Resort hosted by Food Network star Rocco DiSpirito.
While the pool party gave guests samples of the culinary delights in AC (it goes beyond salt water taffy and funnel cakes), the rest of the weekend will see tastings and talks from culinary experts and TV personalities such as Robert Irvine, the host of "Restaurant Impossible",: the lovable Neelys and expert wino, Laurie Foster. The entire event is being held across all four Caesars Entertainment properties--Caesars, Harrah's Resort, Showboat and Bally's--giving guests access to all four hotels during the event. Well, not guest room access but festival access.
And while the main focus is obviously food (lots of it) and wine (plus cocktails), the festival did take a brief time out during last night's party to donate $7,000 to Architecture for Humanity's Restore the Shore efforts.
Tickets are still open for several events this weekend, which you can buy online here, but room rates are extremely pricey--ranging from $459 at Harrah's to $619 at Caesars. The same is true for other hotels in AC not connected with the events. Looks like people are making good use of the few remaining Shore weekends left in the summer.
It's been a rough Monday for us but we're still having a better day than Amanda Bynes's wig. As of late, that poor thing (the wig, not Amanda) has been arrested, thrown in jail, hauled to court and then randomly sent up to Buffalo to engage in some trampolining. All without getting a proper brushing!
Sources tell TMZ, Bynes checked in solo at the Revel Hotel ... where she stared into her phone while surrounded by strangers in the tub.
We're told she did pose for some photos with fans -- while wearing her famous blonde wig in the jacuzzi -- but if Amanda didn't like the way she looked, she demanded they be deleted ASAP.
Our heart is breaking for Wiggie. Especially since we all know what happens in the hot tub at the Jersey Shore, thanks to Snooki. We hope Amanda had the decency to treat her wig to a nice blowout at the salon later.
Meanwhile, the Revel Resort's brush with fame continues tonight with an appearance on "The Bachelorette"! Fingers crossed Desiree fares better than Kanye West and Amanda's wig.
Read our review of the Revel Resort RIGHT HERE
[Photos: TMZ and Revel/Facebook]
The next hotel to open in Atlantic City could be a total departure from the usual mammoth, multi-million dollar casino resorts we've come to expect.
Philly.com reports that the historic Madison Hotel, a 14-story oceanfront property that originally opened in 1929, has been sold for $4 million, with explicit plans to re-make it as a boutique hotel modeled on its rich history. According to the report:
"The lone bidder for the Madison House was not identified. But a representative for the buyer told The Press of Atlantic City that the new owner intends to resurrect the hotel."
The article goes on to say the hotel is distinguished by its "grand stairway, marble floors and ornate chandeliers," and that it was one of the few old-style hotels in Atlantic City to continue operating even as the big new casinos started opening in the 1980s.
Though The Sands annexed it as an all-suite sister property in 2004, the Madison promptly closed down in 2006 when the Sands went kaput, and the place hasn't been touched since.