|The Revel in Atlantic City boasts plenty of natural light across a royal blue horizon.|
On the 42nd floor of the Revel, Atlantic City welcomes guests with a rolling carpet of light that stretches clear across a royal blue horizon—all the way to the red Mars-like twinkle of the Tropicana 25-odd streets away.
Here, the Showboat’s lit-up marquee blurs with that of the Trump Taj Mahal so that the seagulls look radioactive in the pinkish glow. It is 10 p.m., and in the Revel’s lobby and in its 14 eateries and on the 130,000-square-foot casino floor—with its 2,500 slot machines, 100 table games, 16 electronic tables and poker room—most folks are clean, crisp, still-flush and jovial. It’s a scene that says it’s right and just to consider the promise of this city as a resort destination.
The $2.4 billion Revel, which opened in April and was ballyhooed with a hip, $20 million ad campaign aimed at Manhattan’s meat-packing district set, is the latest addition to this still evolving tourism destination. The resort is somewhat at variance from the Atlantic City norm by the very virtue that one can seriously use the word “resort” to describe it.
All around its 6.3 million-square-foot expanse, huge windows welcome natural light into its cavernous spaces, a startling oddity in a city that makes its living off creating an atmosphere in which time—and the outside world—seems to have stood still. Every room in this 47-floor building—the second tallest in New Jersey—neatly offers an ocean view.
About the Rooms
We stayed in one of the $189-a-night variety, and were pleased to discover marble-tiled bathroom with a double-wide shower, accompanied by top-of-the-line Grohe fixtures. Every room is outfitted with at least a 46-inch flat-screen TV, as well as an electronic tablet kept on the nightstand that does double duty as a resort directory, from which your clients can make spa and dining reservations. Complimentary Wi-Fi is included.
There are four pools, one open year-round, including a private dipping area with 13 tricked-out cabanas (flat-screen TV and minibar included) for those willing to shell out a $1,000 or more on food and beverage. Deejays spin tunes here on weekends, encouraging a festive vibe.
The sprawling, outdoor SkyGarden area is our favorite amenity of the whole lot. In summer it hosts Friday and Saturday night barbecues illuminated against the night by burning tiki torches. At twilight, we found it most pleasant to sit here and listen to the not-too-distant surf.
Then there’s the craftily designed 32,000-square-foot “social spa,” Bask, designed and operated in partnership with the New York City spa, Exhale, where bathrobe-garbed singles can easily and uniquely meet in co-ed bathhouses. Thirty-two therapy rooms highlight an exclusive menu of hydrating facials, therapeutic massages and acupuncture.
The pièce de résistance, we found, were the aqua-lit, heated mineral pools, as well as a neat Himalayan salt grotto. “It’s meant to be a unique experience that offers a social [aspect],” noted our guide on the recent tour of the property taken by Travel Agent.
|Amada is the Revel’s signature tapas eatery.|
Fourteen restaurants offer plenty of dining options. We ate at Amada, the Revel’s signature tapas eatery. The food was excellent, and accompanied by an attentive and friendly waitstaff, as well as an Antonio Banderas doppelganger Flamenco dancer who sweated his way through numerous numbers while we happily gorged on our meal. We recommend Amada. Other options are Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s American Cut steakhouse and the Mediterranean-inspire Azure by Allegretti.
Two nightclubs stud the resort’s resume, along with a semiprivate swatch of beachfront that offers volleyball nets and ingeniously imposes a chair fee to discourage outsiders from setting up shop. The hotel also has bolstered its active-persons bona fides with a much-publicized partnership with the Atlantic City Surf School, allowing visitors to wile the day away learning to surf. As is the case with everything here, book a client’s reservation ahead of time.
The structure of the Revel differs wildly from the usual Atlantic City fare. In a very symbolic gesture that is lost on no one accustomed to traveling the city, the Revel’s lobby is on a different floor from the casino. In fact, you must take two towering escalators to even begin gaming. Similarly, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the self-parking garage did not have an immediate option to exit directly into the gaming area.
“Our agenda,” says our guide, Neil Cantor, Revel’s VP of brand programming, “is to develop A.C. as a resort and playground rather than simply a gambling destination. Most customers come here focused on gaming and we are serious about that customer and his [or her] needs. But we wanted to elevate it for someone who, for instance, might go to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.”
Well, that’s certainly a lofty and worthy goal. And you won’t go wrong sending your clients to the Revel. While hard-core gamers among your clientele might find the nearby Borgata a little more to their liking, the Revel has the advantage of a beachfront setting and the potential for a more active, resort-style guest experience. (The Borgata is situated on the bayside and away from the beach.) Another point that could make (or break) the sale: The Revel is totally non-smoking, another departure from the usual Atlantic City fare.
Standard 10 percent commission applies at the Revel, with the resort going active on GDS sometime this month, and an agent incentive program following in the first quarter of 2013. Familiarization trips are now available at special rates for agents who wish to experience the resort firsthand.
Atlantic City has, indeed, come a long way since the introduction of gaming in 1978. There’s now an outlet mall a few blocks from the boardwalk and fashionable eateries such as “Ruth’s Chris” in the formerly nether land interior of the city. But the destination has a decidedly different vibe than its more famous counterpart in Nevada. Talk it out with your clients and ensure they know that unlike hotels in Las Vegas, a destination that was created out of virtually nothing in the middle of a vast desert, the Revel is situated in a grittier East Coast urban environment.