Atlantic City May 2012

Fun Fact
The Miss America pageant took place here from 1921 to 2005.

Atlantic City 
The $2.4 billion Revel casino resort officially opens this month, following a six-week preview. The property has 1,800 guest rooms, 160,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, 90,000 square feet of outdoor function space, a spa and 14 eateries.

Plans for a Hard Rock International  casino hotel have been put on hold for six months at the request of the developer (construction on the first phase of the 850-room project was set to begin this summer). The "boutique" casino had been approved as part of a pilot program that allows for two smaller-scale casinos on the Boardwalk. At press time, no other firms had applied for the second casino slot.

Guest room at the BorgataThe 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, with more than 70,000 square feet of event space, is spending $50 million to redesign and upgrade its guest rooms. The property, which recently revamped 300 suites, expects the project to be completed by July.

In other news concerning the Borgata, New Jersey's Casino Control Com­mission approved a request by MGM Resorts International for additional time to sell its 50 percent share of the gaming resort. The extension, through March 24, 2013, is part of MGM's settlement with the state to leave the Atlantic City market because of concerns over the company's business partner in a casino in Macau.

The former Atlantic City Hilton Casino, renamed ACH Casino Resort last year, is now the Atlantic Club. Last May, Hilton Hotels & Resorts announced that the 804-room gaming property would no longer be allowed to use the Hilton logo, and the name was changed to ACH, reflecting owner Colony Capital's rebranding campaign to attract local business.

John F. Palmieri was named executive director of New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority last September. The agency oversees development, tourism, meetings and the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority. Previously, Palmieri served as director of Boston's Redevelopment Authority.

The 2,133-room Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort will debut two new group venues this spring. The Anthem Lounge (formerly 32 Degrees) is designed as a trendy nightspot that will feature a 360-degree cylindrical screen visible throughout the lounge and a photo booth with a live feed. Anthem will accommodate events for up to 150 people. The second venue, Boogie Nights, will feature a state-of-the-art lighted dance floor. The 1970s-themed club bills itself as "a time warp back to the era of 8-track disco tapes, bell bottoms, sideburns, crushed velvet and afros." Groups of up to 700 will be accommodated.

The Atlantic City Convention & Vis­itors Authority has launched a new mobile website. The site features four main tabs to navigate events, accommodations and activities in the area, along with copious information about dining. Users who access  from a smartphone automatically will be sent to the mobile site.

The three-year-old Atlantic City Express Service, known as the ACES train, was discontinued  in March. The luxurious train, which offered service between New York City and Atlantic City, had been jointly operated by Harrah's Resort, Caesars Atlantic City and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Construction of a new 75,000-square-foot federal inspection station is under way at Atlantic City International Airport and set for completion later this year. The new facility will allow the airport to pursue international carriers and air-service routes. The project, expected to cost about $25 million, includes a customs and border patrol facility, an expanded baggage claim area that will provide space for customs to process international passengers, and the installation of new passenger boarding bridges.

Houston-based Landry's purchased the Trump Marina Hotel & Casino last year and rebranded the 728-room property as the Golden Nugget Atlantic City following a complete overhaul.

Easy Rider
Atlantic City Boardwalk
Attendees can get energized before hitting the meeting room with a morning bike ride on the Boardwalk, permitted from 6:30-10 a.m. daily. Get outfitted with some wheels at B&K Bicycle Rentals, (609) 344-8008.

Meeting Hotels
 Meeting and incentive properties include the 2,590-room Harrah's Resort Atlantic City; 2,133-room Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort; 2,032-room Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel; 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; 1,800-room Revel; 1,756-room Bally's Atlantic City; 1,331-room Showboat Casino Hotel; 1,140-room Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino; 942-room Resorts Casino Hotel; 904-room Trump Plaza; 809-room ACH Casino Resort; 800-room Water Club, a Signature Hotel by Borgata; 728-room Golden Nugget Atlantic City; 502-room Sheraton At­lantic City Convention Center Hotel, and 331-room The Chelsea.

Outside the city proper, in nearby Galloway, is the 297-room Seaview.

Convention Center
Atlantic City Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 486,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 45; (888) 222-3683

  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

Airport Transit
Atlantic City International Airport, about 10 miles northwest of the Board­walk. Transfer cost by airport shuttle, $13; by taxi, $25-$35

Group Venues
 It turns out there are lots of vines in the Garden State -- the kind prized by winemakers. Several wineries in the Atlantic City area feature tastings and even upscale venues for group functions. Among them, the Tomasello Winery in Hammonton accommodates private events for up to 150 people at its 70-acre facility. (800) 666-9463 

Another vintage spot is the Renault Winery Resort & Golf in Egg Harbor City. The property features the 147-year-old namesake winery spread out among 31 acres. Groups of 20 to 300 people are accommodated. (609) 965-2111

At 171 feet high, the Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest such beacon in New Jersey and the third tallest in the country. Attendees willing to climb the 228 steps are rewarded with a spectacular view of the Jersey Shore. The landmark can host groups of up to 50 people for private events. (609) 449-1360

One Atlantic is a waterfront event space and catering facility perched atop The Pier Shops at Caesars. The venue, in walking distance of all Boardwalk casino properties, has 10,000 square feet of indoor event space and a 2,500-square-foot terrace. Up to 550 guests can be accommodated for seated meals, and up to 1,000 can be hosted for receptions.

Indoor Pool at HarrahsOne of the hottest night spots in Atlantic City, the Pool at Harrah's is an indoor tropical oasis enclosed under a soaring glass dome. The venue features cabanas, bottle service and now, in its Loft section, table gaming. The entire venue can be rented out for private events of up to 1,300 guests. (609) 340-2150

The greater Atlantic City area features a number of exceptional golf courses. Among them are the Atlantic City Coun­try Club (609-236-4400), Blue Heron Pines (609-965-1800), Harbor Pines Golf Club (609-927-0006), The Links at Brigantine Beach (609-266-1388), Mays Landing Golf Club (609-641-4411), McCullough's Emerald Links (609-926-3900), Sand Barrens Golf Club (609-465-3555), Seaview Pines Course and Bay Course (609-652-1800), Shore Gate Golf Club (609-624-8337) and Twisted Dune Golf Club (609-653-8019).

Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, (888) 228-4748

New Chefs in Town
Chef Robert WiedmaierWith the opening of Revel, Atlantic City visitors will have more eateries to explore.

Among the chefs lending their culinary talents to the property are Robert Wiedmaier, whose Washington, D.C.-based Marcel's was named the capital's top restaurant by Zagat's. His restaurant at Revel, Mussel Bar, features hearty "Belgian roadhouse" cuisine and, naturally, mussels and Belgian beers.

Latin cuisine is the hallmark of chef Jose Garces, a James Beard Award-winning chef whose signature Revel dining spot, Amada, is an Andalusian-style tapas bar. He's also the talent behind two additional Revel F&B outlets, Village Whisky and Distrito Cantina.

Another James Beard Award-winner, Michel Richard, brings his "American cuisine with a French accent" to three dining spots: Central Michel Richard, O Bistro and Wine Bar and O Bistro Dining Room.

Chef Marc Forgione, winner of the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef" award in 2010, lends his skills to American Cut by Forgione.

And New York City-based chef and restaurateur Alain Allegretti presents dishes inspired by the French Riviera at Azure by Allegretti.

For reservations and group dining information at Revel: (855) 348-0500