Atlantic City Rocks with Madonna

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Sep 24, 2012

If you’re interested in a seaside getaway just a few hours from New York City and Philly, take a gamble on Atlantic City. Whether it’s fine dining, nightclubbing, strolls on the lively Boardwalk, relaxing spa treatments, historical tours, live performances or outlet shopping, there is a lot more than slots.

If you love the idea of Roman columns and statuary everywhere, Caesar’s Atlantic City is the place for you. With more than 1,100 luxurious rooms to choose from, many of them with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll be sure to find something to meet both your budget and your expectations.

And the location couldn’t be more convenient, nestled right in the heart of the Boardwalk shopping district, where even in the fall, people flocked to walk along the beach and soak up the last of the summer sun, enjoy a frozen custard and check out the carnival atmosphere of the old Steel Pier. A new beer garden, set to open soon, will offer a 40 x 60 square-foot tent to keep you dry while you wet your whistle.

Caesar’s offers a wide variety of boutique shops, including Burberry, Tiffany and Gucci. If you’re in town to recharge your batteries, the Qua Spa is a modern "social spa" where you can indulge in both the open facilities like hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms, plus one-of-a-kind treatments like the Hungarian mud wrap or the hot lava massage, a deep tissue massage with the soy and hemp-based aromatherapy candle of your choice used as the oil. Don’t worry; you won’t get burned --especially if you opt for their affordable mid-week luxury packages.

Dining options abound at Caesar’s, from their expansive room service menu to casual eateries like sandwich shop Café Roma, or trendy Asian fusion cuisine at KWI Restaurant and Noodle Bar, where a lunch of potstickers, vegetarian spring rolls, edamame dumplings, roast duck, wok-fried green beans and Mongolian beef was a huge hit.

For more upscale dining, Caesar’s offers the beautiful Mia Restaurant, with hearty chops and delicate pasta dishes, or sushi, oysters and grilled fish at Manhattan stalwart Atlantic Grill, at home in its new outpost.

And during a recent trip to their Atlantic Grill, Executive Chef Keith Mitchell served up a five-course meal culled from the day’s catch and a local organic farm that provides much of their produce.

Featured dishes were a peekytoe crab tart, a stuffed squash blossom, Dover sole meuniere, prime rib and a deconstructed pineapple cheesecake. Nearby, diners lined up for Nero’s Tuscan Steakhouse, a popular location for Sunday brunch.

Designed by Miami architectural firm Arquitectonica

If you’re looking for accommodations a bit further from the hubbub, and want to go for the ultimate in modern hotels, the $2.4 billion casino Revel is the place for you.

Located at the northern end of the Boardwalk, Revel is a smoke-free oasis with 1,800 rooms with sweeping ocean views. It was designed by Miami architectural firm Arquitectonica to blend in with its natural surroundings, from the windswept-tent look of the port-cochere to the setbacks that evoke the encroaching tide.

Although it has been criticized for low slot returns, Revel’s CEO Kevin DeSanctis insisted during a recent tour that the hotel has embraced the future, focusing more on the resort experience that attracts a higher class of clientele than some of the other Boardwalk casinos.

Among recent guests were First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, one of who told DeSanctis that she wished she could move into the luxurious Cabana Suites they were occupying.

Other high-rolling guests include the First Lady of Hip-Hop, Beyonce, and her husband Jay-Z. Revel is the only local venue that can boast getting Ms. Carter to play at their establishment. One look at the SkySuite they occupied will erase any doubt as to whether the perks were worth it. This beautiful suite of rooms featured a large living room area with deep couches and a black lacquer coffee table, a charming dining area and kitchen, two huge bedrooms with luxury bathrooms, including a pristine white square tub overlooking the city. Even the wastepaper basket had a disco ball interior!

According to DeSanctis, rather than just serve up heaping platters of Alaskan King Crab legs, they thought to up the ante by importing the country’s best chefs to start in-house restaurants and nightclubs. So Chef Alain Allegretti dishes up his fresh seafood and European coastal cuisine at Azure by Allegretti and Iron Chef Mark Forgione brings the dark wood and leather to his manly steakhouse, American Cut.

The "cherry on top" of Revel lights up

Smaller restaurants such as popular brunch spot One overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and serves up everything from burgers to lobster mac and cheese. The pub-like Village Whiskey is a nice place to grab a beer, and Central Michel Richard offers a casual dining experience. They’ll even help you work off those calories with morning yoga or core fusion barre "Exhale" classes. Nearby are shopping options including Ona Emporium, DNA 2050, Vince Camuto, Liu Jo, Revolution Jewelers and the Bask Boutique.

After hours, the "cherry on top" of Revel lights up, visible from 20 miles in each direction, beckoning partiers to their in-house nightclubs with 40,000 square feet over four levels, each with a different vibe. Among your choices are the casual Mussel Bar, Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly and HQ, where famous DJs like Paul Oakenfold and Roger Sanchez spin at this bumping nightclub with an attitude -- and a dress code to go with it. A chic candlelit bar with billiards gives way to a state-of-the-art performance area, culminating with a sleek rooftop bar outfitted in yacht-inspired décor. Also on Revel’s roof is their famous SkyGarden, a rooftop oasis with panoramic pathways lined with 20,000 plants.

Set designers from "Cirque du Soleil" were hired to design the performance space, and then convinced to also do the hotel’s beautiful public spaces. The result, redolent with theatrical elements and riggings, is as otherworldly as this acrobatic circus troupe’s productions.

Nearby, the Borgata’s purple neon lights up the night, and Chef Wolfgang Puck invites guests in to his American Grille. The front bar area offers casual comfort food like wood-fired pizza and savory burgers, while in the back, the magic happens with succulent seafood dishes like Maine lobster with fava beans and truffles, and charred grouper, crab risotto, seared tuna and a bevy of delicious desserts, from crème brulee to blueberry tarts.

Across the way, sexy, sensual nightclub mur.mur. offers guests bottle service and private bouncers as some of the world’s best DJs spin on a state of the art sound system. The subtle innuendo is rich yet cozy.

And nothing beats Atlantic City when it comes to outlet shopping. Local trolley service takes you to The Row at Revel, which features 55,000 square feet of retail shops and boutiques, including Denim Habit, Hugo Boss, the Emporium, G-Star Raw, JC Rags, Religion, and jewelers Gemma Redux and Pomelatto, to name a few.


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