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Visitors to Atlantic City will find a variety of lodging options to suit any need or budget, including casino hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts and more.

While most visitors choose to stay at one of the casinos almost by default, if you are willing to cast your net a bit wider you are likely to find equally satisfactory accommodations at a better price.

 
 
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Where to Stay in Atlantic City

Choices for everyone in exciting Atlantic City
 

The Borgata, Atlantic City's newest and premiere casino with its new luxury hotel, The Water Club, next door.

Part two of a series on Atlantic City, NJ, see also

1.  All about visiting Atlantic City, NJ
2.  Where to stay in Atlantic City
3.  Where to eat and drink in Atlantic City

4What to see and do in and around Atlantic City

 

 

Whether you're looking to be pampered in the lap of luxury or are seeking rock-bottom budget accommodation, there is likely to be a good accommodation choice for you in Atlantic City.

From the casino hotels to small individually owned hotels there are thousands of rooms available for the visitor to choose from, so it pays to hunt around for the best deal.

Where to Stay in Atlantic City

As you would expect for a major resort town, Atlantic City is bursting at the seams with accommodation alternatives. Whether you are wanting a penthouse suite at a large resort hotel, a small room at a modest bed and breakfast, or something in between, you can be sure to find it here.

With that said, be warned that during the summer weekends many of the more popular places to stay fill up well in advance and during holiday weekends such as Memorial Day or the 4th of July it can be hard to find anywhere to stay.

Our guess is that a significant percentage of visitors to Atlantic City automatically choose to stay in one of the casinos. While it is hard to go too horribly wrong by staying at a casino they do not always offer the best value for money nor are they always the most interesting places to stay. In making the following recommendations for places to stay we have quite deliberately chosen to offer a few alternatives to the casinos. If you have your heart set on staying in a casino, we have also offered what we believe to be the pick of the casinos to stay at.

It is necessary to say a few words about the pricing structure of accommodation in Atlantic City. There are two main points to be aware of in this regard. First, there are significant differences in price depending on the time of week you want to stay. Most places offer much lower rates for Sunday through Thursday nights. On Friday night the going rate can increase by as much as 100% and it can double again for Saturday night - so it is usually possible to stay Sunday through Thursday nights for less than the cost of Friday and Saturday nights.

Secondly, hotel rates differ quite significantly according to the time of year. Not surprisingly, rates are at their lowest during the winter months, are somewhat higher during spring and fall, and are at their highest during the summer months.

In addition to the 7% New Jersey sales tax added to your hotel bill there is also a 1% occupancy fee applied to room rentals - well below the standard New Jersey rate of 5% and also well below what you would expect to pay in most other parts of the country.

So, without further ado, here are some options you may wish to consider as you decide on a place to stay.

The Chelsea

Since opening in 2008, The Chelsea has quickly become one of the most popular hotels in the city. The 20 story Chelsea is a sort of Soho-meets-Miami retro boutique hotel that has opted not to host any gambling and is attempting to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd than you will typically find in many of the casinos.

Room rates are generally reasonable, and service is very good - just make sure you stay in the Luxe Tower (and ask for a room with a direct ocean view) rather than The Annex, which offers retro-motel style accommodations. In the Luxe Tower you have a choice of 208 stylish and luxurious rooms with either two queen sized beds or one king size bed (all very comfortable), or a small number of suites that are located on the top floor. All accommodations include a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi internet access, iPod docking station, custom mini bar and bathrobes. If your budget allows, we would suggest you upgrade to one of the top floor suites, the best of which is undoubtedly the Rockstar Suite. This suite features sweeping ocean views that you can enjoy from your private balcony, a sunroom with floor to ceiling windows, the master bedroom along with a luxurious bathroom and separate powder room, a full kitchen and two separate living spaces, one of which contains a fireplace. Connecting rooms are available that can convert this into a three bedroom suite if you are travelling in a larger group.

The Chelsea features two restaurants: Chelsea Prime, a good quality steakhouse in the style of a 1940s supper club and Teplitsky's, a funky diner style restaurant. The hotel has two pools, a ground floor outdoor seasonally heated salt water pool and the 5th floor terrace pool. Across the boardwalk they also have a pristine stretch of beach where they offer guests the only full beach service in Atlantic City, providing towels, lounge chairs, umbrellas and food and beverage service.

The Fifth floor of the Luxe Tower is where you are likely to find yourself spending a lot of your time. This is the hotel's indoor/outdoor playpen, featuring The Game Room (for scotch and billiards), The Living Room (champagne and cocktail lounge), The Chelsea Prime and, of course, the Terrace with the pool. Two new additions, which opened Memorial Weekend 2009, are the Cabana Club (outside by the pool, featuring nightly live performances or DJs, private cabanas - with plasma screens, private mini bars, Playstation 3s and a DVD and game library - and a rotating set of services throughout the day including massages, palm reading and chilled hand towels) and C5 (a boutique nightclub inside, featuring over 50 types of whiskey and tequila and a weekly burlesque).

Also slated to come on line in 2009 are a saltwater inspired spa, fitness center and a retail store.

If you are looking for a somewhat hipper scene than is normal in Atlantic City, The Chelsea is likely to be your best bet. 111 South Chelsea Ave. Tel (800)548-3030

Atlantic Palace Suites Hotel

The Atlantic Palace Suites boasts a great location right on the boardwalk with terrific views, especially from the upper floors of this 31 story tower, and a room can generally be had for much less than you would pay elsewhere. It is mainly for these reasons that we include it in our list of suggestions as we left with rather mixed feelings the one time we stayed there.

The Atlantic Palace actually consists of timeshares that they rent out like hotel rooms when they are not otherwise occupied. We have no idea where the "Suites" in the title comes from, as we have never before come across a studio suite and even the one bedroom suites seem at best only a little bigger than a decent hotel room.

Let's start with the positives. The Atlantic Palace is one of the very few hotels where you can walk out the front door onto the boardwalk and its central location means that almost any destination of interest is in easy walking distance. As mentioned, the ocean views here are some of the best we have experienced in Atlantic City. We would wake up in the morning with the sun streaming in and start our day watching the surfers, who it seemed as if we were almost right on top of.

The rooms generally seem to be quite clean and offer a few more amenities than a standard hotel room. There is a mini-kitchen complete with microwave, 2 burner stove top, small refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster and all the crockery, silverware, etc that you are likely to need. DVD players are also included in the rooms.

There is a 45 foot outdoor swimming pool (open during summer) on the 3rd floor terrace, along with a 4 person spa tub and an expansive sun deck furnished with lounge chairs, picnic tables and two gazebos - once again offering very nice views. An arcade with video games, pool tables and foosball table offers a way to keep children entertained.

Unfortunately, the good news is rather balanced out by the following weaknesses. First and foremost there is no elevator service to the parking garage. The elevators, in general, can be extremely slow - to the point where if you are staying on one of the higher floors getting to and from your room can become quite time consuming.

One of the strangest characteristics of the rooms is that the bathroom features a large window that looks out into the living area and does not have any blinds to provide privacy. While this may not matter if you are on your own or with your partner it could become an issue if you are sharing with others.

Finally, a couple of comments about the staff. It was our experience when staying here that, on more than one occasion, we had to rebuff attempts to get us to participate in promotional activities for their time share program. When not trying to sign us up for their time shares the staff were somewhere between disinterested and downright creepy - our companion actually found herself being stalked by one particular employee on more than one occasion.

So, the Atlantic Palace is a bit of a mixed bag. It certainly does not offer the same level of luxury as many of our other suggestions, but instead it offers up generally satisfactory lodgings with unparalleled views and a tremendous location at a lower price than more up market alternatives. 1507 Boardwalk. Tel (609)344-1200

The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa

The Borgata is both the newest and the best of the Atlantic City casinos and we would recommend this as the place to stay if you want to stay at a casino. While one of the more expensive options in the city, if you are wanting to enjoy yourself in the lap of luxury it is worth the extra money.

Unlike most of the casinos, The Borgata is not located on or near the boardwalk, but is a couple of miles away in The Marina district. This provides an opportunity to experience a slightly different side to Atlantic City, away from the crowds and the tackiness of the boardwalk. It has been our experience when staying here that we do not really venture out of the immediate area surrounding the Borgata - which can be a double edged sword as you find yourself constantly paying the Borgata's rather high-end prices for everything you do. Should you want to make your way over to the boardwalk, however, it is easy enough to hop on the jitney that stops outside and runs along Pacific Avenue, one block from the boardwalk.

The 46 story, 2,000 room Borgata is the closest equivalent to the luxury hotel casinos of Las Vegas that Atlantic City has to offer. You can expect spacious, well appointed rooms and suites with great views (for a real treat, we recommend the 1,500 square foot Piatto suites, or if money is no object you can upgrade to one of the two 5,000 square foot Residences). High speed internet and three phones, each with dual lines, are included in all rooms and suites.

The on site facilities are of the scope and standard that you would expect from a luxury hotel. You can choose from 12 restaurants, including venues run by chefs Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Michael Mina. Entertainment and nightlife is never a problem, even without setting foot in the casino, thanks to the 2,400 seat Event Center that regularly hosts headline acts and the 1,000 seat Music Box which hosts more intimate shows as well as the nightly Comedy Club. There are also four different nightclubs on offer: Gypsy Bar (the resident rock and tequila bar), B Bar (Borgata's ultra-lounge), MIXX (the main nightclub) and  (a more intimate nightclub featuring celebrity DJs).

During the day you can visit the 54,000 square foot European style Spa Toccare that also includes a salon, fitness center and barbershop. Alternatively, you may want to unwind at the indoor pool (complete with wet bar) and outdoor gardens. Finally, if you feel the need for a spot of retail therapy, there are 11 specialty boutiques located in the "Via Borgata" where you will find men's, women's and children's fashions, gifts, toys, housewares and a few essentials.

One word of warning. Make sure to stay at the Borgata itself, not The Water Club, their new "Signature" hotel that is next door. While we have not stayed at The Water Club ourselves, the feedback we have been hearing seems to suggest that you can expect to pay more but get less than you do at the Borgata itself. One Borgata Way. Tel (609)317-1000

La Renaissance Suites

Although nothing much to look at from the outside, La Renaissance has become the default accommodation option for us when visiting Atlantic City.

Located just a couple of doors back from the boardwalk and in a central location, we feel that the low cost of accommodation here combined with the good size of the suites makes it one of the best values in Atlantic City.

Like the Atlantic Palace, this place is made up of time shares that are rented out and with only about 30 suites it is far and away the smallest of the hotels on our list. Due to its make up you will not get the same level of amenities that you would expect at a casino or other large scale hotel. Instead, what you can look forward to are lodgings that feel more like an apartment than a hotel. If the thought of staying in a more relaxed, homelike environment appeals then this could well be the place for you too.

All suites have a generously equipped kitchenette that includes a microwave, coffee maker, refrigerator and dish washer. Some suites are starting to look a bit tired - particularly the furnishings - but even they are still reasonably comfortable. Some, but not all, suites offer views of the boardwalk and ocean - we recommend that you ask for ocean facing rooms as these have the added benefit of small balconies from which to enjoy the view.

There is a small indoor pool on the top floor, along with a hot tub, a few pieces of exercise equipment and a games room that features a pool table. While there is no food available on the premises there are a number of eateries very nearby and La Renaissance's location means that any food deliveries will show up promptly.

The staff are all friendly and unobtrusive and it has been our experience that they are happy to do what they can to be of help.

Parking is available underneath the hotel although there have been issues in the past with the parking area becoming flooded. Right across the road is a large parking lot should you encounter any problems. 190 South Kentucky Ave. Tel (609)348-1343

Seaview Resort and Spa, A Dolce Hotel

A mere ten minutes drive from Atlantic City, The Seaview Resort and Spa offers a completely different accommodation experience from that of our other suggestions. Located on 670 acres of wooded pinelands in Reed's Bay (eight miles from Atlantic City), the Seaview's biggest attraction is its two 18 hole golf courses that are two of the oldest and most prestigious courses in New Jersey.

The resort features 297 recently renovated guest rooms, all with internet access and satellite TV, an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa on site, and 27,000 square feet of meeting space with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. Also available are a main dining room serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the less formal pub-style Grille Room and the Lobby Lounge, where cocktails are served. Room service is available from 6am to 11pm.

Despite the name, be warned that the only ocean views you will find here are from the roof. Room rates are surprisingly reasonable and it is possible to include golfing packages with your reservation. 401 South New York Road, Galloway. Tel (609)748-7660

Read more in Parts 1, 3 and 4

Part two of a series on Atlantic City, NJ, see also

1.  All about visiting Atlantic City, NJ
2.  Where to stay in Atlantic City
3.  Where to eat and drink in Atlantic City

4What to see and do in and around Atlantic City

 

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Originally published 26 June 2009, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 

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