Revel, which is hosting its grand opening this holiday weekend, is the tallest building in Atlantic City and the biggest construction project to hit the city since the Borgata.
We must say, Revel Atlantic City, 500 Boardwalk, immediately scores some major cool points. It has a stylized and hip décor blending futuristic and retro influences that will probably have anyone but the most hardcore of gambling addicts looking up and around on the first visit. Revel also has some of the best stretches of beachfront the city has to offer. Actually, we were just impressed that anyone could make any piece of beach in New Jersey attractive as opposed to the wasteland of funnel cakes, Skee Ball, aggressively dive-bombing seagulls, medical waste and Snooki clones we’ve always imagined it to be. But Revel’s piece of real estate is sure to be a major draw once they get all of their pools and outdoor accommodations set up.
Revel is also coming on strong with entertainment, boasting a 5,000-seat arena, Ovation Hall, in the complex and a list of summer concerts that includes Beyonce, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Seal and Duran Duran.
On the culinary side, Revel brings three restaurants into the fold that Philadelphia residents should be familiar with, all courtesy of Chef Jose Garces. Amada, specializing in Spanish tapas, benefits greatly from a dark and sexy atmosphere and a breathtaking view of the beach. But if you can’t stand to be away from the action for too long, there’s an express window where you can grab quick tapas to go.
Village Whiskey and Atlantic City are a perfect match: There is something about strong mixed drinks and upscale bar food, steaks and seafood that goes well with gambling. But we think it was a stroke of pure genius to build a replica of Garces’ Guapos Tacos truck adjacent to the casino floor. Getting street tacos and racing back to the slots in under five minutes? Priceless.
But Revel is going to have to really knock it out of the park to completely win us away from the Borgata Hotel Spa and Casino, 1 Borgata Way, which recently underwent a $50-million redesign of its hotel rooms. Keep in mind, they were pretty swanky to begin with. And then there are the hotel rooms in the Borgata’s Water Club, so luxurious they bring tears to our eyes.
The Borgata also has some of our favorite places to eat in Atlantic City. In our humble opinion, we just get a more impressive experience for our buck. Izakaya is the place to go for traditional and nontraditional Asian-inspired flavors and sushi. Wolfgang Puck’s American Grill is fantastic as well. Do not leave with trying the smoked salmon pizza. For a more intimate meal away from the din of the casino floor, Fornelletto is a candle-lit subterranean oasis featuring a vast menu of Southern Italian cuisine expertly executed by chef Stephen Kalt.
The Borgata has always been and will remain a major player when it comes to live entertainment. With its 2,400-seat Event Center and the 1,000-seat Music Box, the Borgata has its own healthy list of top-notch concerts coming through this summer including Sting, Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin, Sarah McLachlan, Jerry Seinfeld and k.d. lang.
No matter which casino and resort you choose to get away to — and don’t forget favorites Harrah’s, Resorts, Trump and Caesar’s — things in Atlantic City just got a lot more interesting.
For more information, visit www.atlanticcitynj.com (click on the rainbow flag on the top right for LGBT-specific information), www.theborgata.com or www.revelresorts.com.