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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?
AC Hotels by Marriott are working towards opening their first hotel in New Orleans in October, followed by South Beach, and Kansas City with JFK Airport and Chicago on the (tentative) horizon as well. And now, AC will open in Asheville, North Carolina too.
According to the Citizen-Times newspaper, design review approval was given to the owners of the BB&T building's parking garage. The garage will be razed and in its place a nine-story hotel--with 132 guest rooms, a restaurant and a bar--will be constructed.
Yay, exciting and that jazz. But what's also interesting, is that the BB&T building itself will be turned into an upscale, boutique hotel topped with six floors of condos. Naturally, we assume this brand has to be a Marriott-branded hotel as well. And if we had to place our bets, we'd put our money on a Renaissance Hotel which is definitely Marriott's boutique brand, after Edition of course. But the condo element has us a bit thrown off. So...what will it be? We're gonna go with Renaissance but only time, and maybe a loose-lipped developer or designer, will tell. Hint, hint.
[Rendering via AC Hotels]
In case you didn't know it today is National Tequila Day and what better way to celebrate than by pouring yourself a margarita or rather, learning about the new Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Casino coming to the 942-room Resorts Casino Hotel on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
The Margaritaville complex will feature a casino, restaurant, Five O'clock Somewhere Bar, retail stores, LandShark Bar and Grill, a year-round beach bar complex, and their first ever coffee shop. And should you find yourself on the boardwalk wondering where Margaritaville is, it won't be hard to find as the Resorts boardwalk facade will be re-branded by Margaritaville.
Way back when in 2008 there was talk of turning the Trump Marina hotel into a Margaritaville. That never happened and the property turned into the Golden Nugget instead.
Just in case you weren’t convinced that the cool weather is here to stay in the Northeast, here’s a big hint by way of Atlantic City: The Water Club at the Borgata is closing up shop on weeknights. And if you think you’ve heard this song before, you’re not going crazy: the Water Club also closed rooms midweek back in March, when business was slow, re-opening for the summer party season in May.
Guests wishing to stay at the property Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays can be accommodated at big brother, the Borgata, and it doesn’t look like all weekdays will be blackouts. When we checked out the online reservation system, we noticed that the week of November 15 is showing up as available, from $209 a night. Also, you can crash at the Water Club for just $159 a night tomorrow night.
Atlantic City's Borgata is new, it's nice and, in our experience, it's a mighty fine place to party. And we're guessing they know it, too: they've launched Borgata Nightlife Rewards, a loyalty program designed for nightlife customers. Ha! So you can cash in on your clubbin'. Nice.
If you sign up for the My Borgata Card, you can earn comp dollars based on everything you spend at the hotel/casino's nightlife venues mur.mur, MIXX, Gypsy Bar and B-Bar and then you can use those points toward rooms, even more nightlife, dining, spa treatments, entertainment, retail and whatever you need at the Borgata and its sister property, The Water Club. (Oh, warning though: you can't buy gum. The last time we were there, a retail staffer told us they don't sell gum on the premises. Ugh.)
As part of the launch, the Borgata is also running a "Soul & Cash Giveaway," where you can win one of three Kia Souls (yes, that would be the boxy car driven by the rodents in that commercial), cash and other nightlife prizes if you hit up the Borgata nightlife venues on August 8th, August 22nd and September 5th more details here.
You know a restaurant is goin' for a fancypants vibe when there's a prix-fixe menu involved (or they're just luring the too-tired-for-math Sunday brunch crowd in with the promise of easy billing) we assume the same is true of a prix-fixe spa menu.
This week (May 17th through 22nd) in Atlantic City, The Borgata's Spa Toccare and The Water Club's Immersion Spa are launching the first-ever "Spa Toccare & Immersion Week," which is kinda like spa week in major cities i.e., there are major discounts happening.
Hell's Kitchen, Top Chef, The Chopping Block how do we keep all these cooking reality shows straight? Oh, here's how: one of these shows has ol' Gordon Ramsay screaming in contestants' faces and calling them donkeys and stuff. And that show (Hell's Kitchen, in case we've lost you) had its season five finale last night complete with a viewing party at the Borgata Hotel and Casino to appropriately celebrate the grand prize.
And what was this grand prize, you wonder? Well (spoiler for the Tivo-ers) winner Danny Veltri scored himself a chef's job at Atlantic City's Borgata inside the brand new resto Fornelletto Cucina Italiano under exec celeb chef Stephen Kalt, who also runs the kitchen at Corsa Cucina at Wynn Las Vegas.
Back from those long walks along California beaches with husband Gavin Rossdale and babies Kingston and Zuma (as heavily, heavily chronicled by People and Us Weekly), Gwen Stefani and her band No Doubt kicked off their world tour at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in New Jersey on Saturday night.
Perez Hilton reported a Zuma sighting at the concert and then cited the singer shouting to fans: "Its so good to be back after five f-ing years" and "I forgot how adorable you all were!" (Good thing Zuma was sporting big blue headphones; he probably didn't hear his mom say the F-word). No sign of Gavin and Kingston, though. Maybe they were having some father-son bonding time workin' the BlackJack tables.
Following the show, the 38-year-old mommy showed she could turn it out late night along with Jersey's finest, as she was spotted partying at the hotel's club mur.mur into the wee hours.
[Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images via NJ.com]
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Since a popular idea of vacation relaxation involves laying on a beach chair and barely moving save for grabbing another drink, we think that Atlantic City's Chelsea Hotel will delight those who maybe won't be making it down to the tropics this summer. Aside from super-convenient proximity to the boardwalk and beach, The Chelsea boasts an all-in-one partying and dining destination which is simply their 5th Floor.
A bit like staying at an all-inclusive property without the free meals, sleeping at the Chelsea means that once you wake up, you only need take the elevator once to spend your day drinking in the Oval Bar and Living Room, shooting pool and reading by the fire in the Game Room, hanging with friends in the Terrace Room, taking a dip in the outdoor pool and then dining at the Chelsea Prime steakhouse.
It's the middle of March already and the east coast is still mired in the cold, thanks to Punxsutawney Phil. If it weren't for St. Patrick's Day, we would be bundled up yet; instead, we headed down to Atlantic City for a rare weeknight escape, and discovered that Harrah's is brewing a little heat of their own.
After wading through the lights and sirens of the casino, denying the urge to tuck into the buffet, and gawking into the tropical pool dome, guests will come face to face with one of New York's favorite little gift havens: Jacques Torres Chocolates. It's no surprise that Jacques, who is something of a celebrity chef after writing several cookbooks, hosting PBS shows and "Chocolate with Jacques Torres" on the Food Network, has done this deal with Harrah's for an Atlantic City location; New Yorkers will recognize it straightaway and most others will know of him from his TV appearances.
How did that Boyz II Men song go? "Let's not wait til the water runs dry / instead let's shut down the hotel midweek until the recession passes by..." No? Maybe? Are we close?
This song has popped into our heads because we just heard some pretty bummerish news out of Atlantic City: The Water Club at the Borgata, the upscale 800-room non-casino hotel & spa in Atlantic City (sister property to The Borgata), just opened up in June and after throwing open the doors to the $400 million dollar project, it's looking like it's not doing so hot (not that other AC hotels or any hotels at all, for that matter are doing so hot right now).
[UPDATE:: Trump Entertainment has filed for bankruptcy.]
On Friday, Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka resigned from their positions on the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts due to a dispute with the bondholders of the the company. Trump Entertainment Resorts owns the Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza and Trump Marina in Atlantic City, although the Trump Marina is under contract to be sold.
Donald and his daughter resigned because tomorrow is the day that a $53 million dollar interest payment is due, and it's widely expected that the company will default on it, putting Trump Entertainment into bankruptcy for the third time over the past two decades.