The Meadowlands Liberty Convention & Visitors Bureau ((meadowlandslibertycvb.com) has earned accreditation from Destination
Marketing Association International. Meeting facilities in the area
include the Meadowlands Exhibition Center (mecexpo.com) in Secaucus,
about 20 minutes from Midtown Manhattan, with 61,000 square feet of
exhibit space and five meeting rooms. In nearby Lyndhurst is Medieval
Times Dinner & Tournament ( medievaltimes.com), where groups of 15
to 1,400 can enjoy 11th-century-style jousting and hearty fare such as
chicken and ribs served in an indoor arena-style setting.
Trump Entertainment Resorts' three Atlantic City casinos -- Trump Marina Hotel Casino, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino -- filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. They might have found a buyer in their former owner, Donald Trump, this past summer -- the deal is still in the works. Last December, the 786-room Chairman Tower opened at the Trump Taj Mahal.
Revel Entertainment, which is building a $2 billion casino-hotel, has stopped work on the interior of the structure but expects to resume, pending market and financing conditions. Work on the exterior continues, however. The resort property will have two 1,900-room towers, a 150,000-square-foot casino and a 5,500-seat theater.
Last spring, Caesars Atlantic City completed an upgrade to all 680 rooms in its Centurion Tower and the 200 rooms in the Ocean Tower. The property also unveiled its Qua Baths and Spa and a new rooftop swimming pool.
New Jersey regulators approved a plan in August for the former corporate parent of Atlantic City's bankrupt Tropicana Casino and Resort to operate the business as a reorganized company owned by a group of investors led by billionaire Carl Icahn. The group offered to buy the property for $200 million in April. Since losing its gaming license in December 2007, the casino has been operating under a state-appointed conservator.
The Water Club, a Signature Hotel by Borgata, which opened in 2008, will take some of its 800 hotel rooms out of operation for the winter 2010 season due to low occupancy. The property has a 36,000-square-foot spa and 18,000 square feet of meeting space.
Last February, Atlantic City Express Service (ACES) rail transportation began operating between New York's Penn Station and Atlantic City. The train, run by Amtrak, is a joint venture of Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Offered are coach ($29 to $39 roundtrip, depending on train and availability; has access to F&B kiosks), first class (price of coach plus $20; has private F&B service, leather seats and additional legroom) and lounge ($200-$300 roundtrip; has all of the above plus space for groups to mingle, music, movies and TV).
The recession has taken a toll on other new development in Atlantic City: MGM Mirage put its $5 billion MGM Grand Atlantic City development on hold; the company's original plans called for construction to begin in 2009. The developers of the proposed Atlantic Beach Resort & Casino withdrew their application with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for a coastal building permit and put plans on for the property on hold. Penn National Gaming scrapped plans to build a casino, even after the city council had approved a zoning change to allow the property to be built on Route 30, about a mile away from the Boardwalk. And plans for Pinnacle Atlantic City, which was to be built on the site formerly occupied by the Sands Resort, have been put on hold.
In April, Dolce Hotels and Resorts took over management of Seaview Marriott Golf Resort in Galloway. The property has been reflagged as the Seaview Hotel and offers 297 guest rooms, 26 meeting rooms and 16 breakout rooms. Troon Golf now manages the property's two championship courses -- the links-style Bay Course and the 80-year-old Pines Course.
Meeting Hotels: Properties include the 2,590-room Harrah's Resort Atlantic City; 2,127-room Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort; 2,032-room Trump Taj Mahal Hotel Casino; 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; 1,756-room Bally's Atlantic City; 1,331-room Showboat Casino Hotel; 1,140-room Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino; 942-room Resorts Atlantic City Casino Hotel; 904-room Trump Plaza; 804-room Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort; 800-room Water Club, a Signature Hotel by Borgata; 728-room Trump Marina Hotel Casino; 502-room Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel; 331-room Chelsea, and 206-room Courtyard by Marriott.
Convention Center: Atlantic City Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 486,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 45; (888) 222-3683; accenter.com
Airport Transit: Atlantic City International Airport, about 10 miles northwest of the Boardwalk. Transfer cost by airport shuttle, $13; by taxi, $25–$35
Taxes: Luxury tax, 9%; sales tax, 4%; occupancy fee, 1%; tourism promotion fee, $2 per room for casino hotels, $1 per room for others; total tax on hotel rooms, 14% plus tourism promotion fee
Group Venues: The newest casino restaurant to open is Fornelletto at the Borgata. Chef Stephen Kalt runs the Italian eatery, which has a 500-bottle wine cellar and features artisanal ingredients. The restaurant accommodates 145; for smaller groups, there are three private dining rooms: Omaggio, which seats 40; Champenois, seating 20; and Prosecco, which seats 12. (866) 692-6742; theborgata.com
The 331-room Chelsea, a nongaming boutique hotel, opened in August 2008; its saltwater pool offers private beach cabanas for guests, as well as a surrounding deck that can accommodate receptions for up to 290 people. (800) 548-3030; thechelsea-ac.com
Golf: Among courses that welcome groups: Atlantic City Country Club (609-236-4401; www.harrahs.com/golf/atlantic-city-country-club), Blue Heron Pines (609-965-1800; blueheronpines.com), McCullough's Emerald Golf Links (609-926-3900; mcculloughsgolf.com), Sand Barrens Golf Club (609-465-3555; sandbarrensgolf.com), Twisted Dune Golf Club (888-894-7839, twisteddune.com) and Vineyards Golf Course at the Renault Winery (609-965-2111; renaultwinery.com/vinyard.asp)
CVB Services: Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, (888) 228-4748; atlanticcitynj.com