Atlantic City jams out with two new hotels
The acronym GTL (gym, tan, laundry) was made famous on the hit MTV reality show Jersey Shore. When heading down to the shore for meetings, GTL stands for gather, team-build, learn. Meetings and hospitality are such a large part of Atlantic City’s business infrastructure that New Jersey’s Stockton University is debuting a new campus in the city this fall for its hospitality and tourism management studies program. With the opening of two new properties on the Atlantic City boardwalk in June—Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino—students and graduates won’t have to travel far for internships and jobs.
Meet and Sleep:
If you love rock and roll, put another dime in the slot machine. Hard Rock has invested $500 million in renovations to the building once occupied by Trump Taj Mahal. As meeting attendees ascend the lobby escalator to the ballrooms, they can ooh and aah at a shimmering guitar chandelier.
With 150,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, Hard Rock Live at Ettes Arena and 2,000 guest rooms, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, which is owned by Seminole Tribe of Florida, intends to strike the right chord with the MICE market. Even prior to opening, according to Shaun Lightbourne, director of hotel sales, the hotel had booked 3,500 room nights for meetings in 2018 and 3,000 room nights for 2019; another 5,000 nights were in the works.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Resorts Casino Hotel is Atlantic City’s original gaming property. This landmark of the Atlantic City skyline managed to survive Superstorm Sandy and financial struggles that beset the boardwalk in recent years. Its Superstar Theater, which seats 1,350, has welcomed the likes of Frank Sinatra to its stage. The hotel has 64,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 942 guest rooms.
Also noteworthy is Havana Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City, where all 500 guest rooms were renovated in 2016. The hotel’s newest addition, Chelsea Tower, opened Memorial Day weekend, adding 330 more guest rooms to Tropicana’s inventory. Chelsea Five Gastropub has beautiful ocean views, and Whiskey Five Bar and its adjoining lounge area boast a pool table. Among its five towers, Tropicana offers 2,400 guest rooms and more than 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Eat and Drink:
Atlantic City is known for salt water taffy, an easy item to tuck into swag bags. The seaside town is also making waves on the hamburger front. Ocean Resort Casino, part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, is home to The Chef Burger (wagyu beef, smoked mozzarella, barbecue tomato jam, “adult” arugula and a griddled squishy bun) at restaurant Villain and Saint, which is also a live music venue. Wahlburgers, the Massachusetts-based chain owned by brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg, is also opening there. Mark even made a guest appearance at the hotel’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The new, 400-seat Hard Rock Cafe aims to top the charts with the world’s best burger by launching a steak burger in AC. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is home to more than 20 restaurants, including Council Oak Fish, Kuro and Sugar Factory (2016’s Most Instagrammed Restaurant in the United States). Atlantic City’s famous White House Subs has also opened a satellite Hard Rock location.
Escape the meeting room to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville (580-guest capacity) and Landshark Bar & Grill (650-guest capacity) at Resorts Casino Hotel. The tropically themed restaurants are both available for private functions. Floral shirts and flip-flops are encouraged. Enjoy surf-and-turf cuisine at chef Jose Garces’ Olon, located inside Tropicana Atlantic City. Private dining options range from the 14-person captain’s table to 128 guests in the dining room.
Hard Rock cracked open its Rock Vault to curate a museum-esque tribute to music royalty that is scattered throughout the casino of its new AC outpost. Be on the lookout for Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce, Prince’s guitar and outfits worn by The Beatles, N*Sync, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey. In the hallway leading to ballrooms, wave to a Miss America exhibit that features a tiara, costumes and other artifacts from the scholarship pageant. If your group wants a night of belly laughs, Howie Mandel Comedy Club at Hard Rock is the place to find them.
Just across the boardwalk from Hard Rock is Steel Pier, an amusement park replete with carnival rides, games and food. The focal point is The Wheel, a 227-foot-tall observation wheel with 40 gondolas. There are two private event tents and a helipad for VIPs.
The world’s largest Topgolf Swing Suite opened in June inside Ocean Resort Casino. The virtual putting green and interactive multisport games are a great way to bond over upscale nibbles and cocktails. In its previous incarnation, Ocean was known as Revel and very briefly as Ten. It has 160,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 1,399 guest rooms.
Need to Know:
- 1st boardwalk in the world
- 60 miles from Philadelphia
- 14,500 lights on The Wheel at Steel Pier
- 5 o’clock always at Margaritaville
- 25 plus golf courses surrounding Atlantic City
- 144 stores at Tanger Outlets