Developer Curtis Bashaw wanted to bring back some of the bygone glamour of Atlantic City— and he did just that with the opening last summer of his slick boutique hotel on the beach, The Chelsea. Bashaw has created a one-of-a-kind destination with this property, which brings to mind other hipster haunts such as The Standard in Hollywood and The Delano in South Beach. High-style design is evident everywhere here, beginning with a plush lobby with terrazzo floors, witty furniture groupings and cozy fireplaces just steps from the beach. What you won’t find here is a casino— the hotel focuses on its proximity to the beach, its salt-water spa and its public spaces, which serve as a backdrop for lots of socializing and mingling.
Key to that is the Fifth Floor, a series of lounges and bars that are the social hub of the hotel. Choose from the Living Room, the Game Room, the Oval Bar or the Terrace Lounge and kick back with a cocktail, shoot a game of pool or mellow out to the grooves of celebrity house DJ Paul Sevigny.
Outside, you can choose from a spot on the sand (the hotel employs a fleet of cabana boys to set up your lounge chairs, schlep your towels and take your drink orders), or the terrace of the main pool (which has an outdoor poolside bar and private cabanas) or the saltwater pool area, which adjoins the hotel’s full-line spa.
Dining options include Chelsea Prime, a high-end steakhouse designed with a nod to the swank supper clubs of the 1940s and ’50s, with its tiered dining banquettes and vintage celebrity photographs lining the walls. A classic steak joint menu (including retro appetizers such as oysters Rockefeller and escargots) is provided over by executive chef Jason Hanin, and a serious wine list is worth checking out. The warm pecan-raisin bread pudding on the dessert menu is a standout. For more casual on-site dining, Teplitzky’s offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as cocktails in a fun, mid-century coffee-shop setting. Both restaurants are overseen by chef Stephen Starr, known for his Buddakan restaurants in Philadelphia and New York.
Rooms at The Chelsea are offered at two levels: Chelsea Luxe (in the 20-story tower) and Chelsea Light (surrounding the pool area). Rates range from $89-$199 in low season and $169-$299 in high season.
(111 S. Chelsea Ave., Atlantic City, 866-393-3285, thechelsea-ac.com)
Over on the marina side of Atlantic City is the recently opened new tower at the Borgata, The Water Club. Rising 43 floors and containing 800 guest rooms, the tower is designed with a decidedly Zen feel, and is separated from the Borgata tower (and its casino) by a quiet passageway that contains several high-end boutiques. Rooms in the hotel start at $299.
As the name implies, the water theme is carried out everywhere. The tranquil lobby boasts a water wall, as well as jets of water that play behind the concierge desk. The hotel features five pools— three indoors and two outdoors.
Off the main lobby is an expansive 42-foot-high, glass-ceilinged solarium, which houses two infinity-edge pools surrounded by lush plantings, lounge chairs and a poolside bar. Connecting to that is The Sunroom, another indoor lounge space that offers intimate conversation areas as well as a café featuring cuisine by New York chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
The focal point of the hotel is its luxe 36,000-square-foot Immersion spa, housed on the 32nd and 33rd floors. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the skyline and ocean, offering great views from the 25-yard infinity lap pool, a large coed Jacuzzi and a state-of-the-art fitness center. And a wide range of spa treatments are offered in its 16 “experience” rooms. (1 Renaissance Way, Atlantic City, 609-317-8888, the waterclubhotel.com)