By Ron Bernthal
The newest addition to Atlantic City’s ever-changing skyline, The Water Club is the beautiful baby sister to its slightly older and popular sibling, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. The Borgata, which raised the bar for style and luxury in Atlantic City when it opened in 2003, has now expanded its presence in AC by creating a stunning signature property right next door, connected to each other by a short shopping corridor that leads to the Borgata casino floor, a one-minute walk between the two properties.
When I drove into the valet parking area ($10 for the length of a guest stay) during a visit shortly after its grand opening, in spring 2008, I was greeted by at least five valets and several beautiful young hostesses who escorted me up the escalator to the front desk, where six more gorgeous young ladies, dressed smartly in conservative brown suits and white shirts, quickly checked me in to a 22nd floor room. Two security guards checked my key card and opened the doors that led to the guest elevators. Additional security personnel protected the private elevators that led to the 40 exclusive suites on the upper floors. All the newly hired staff were extraordinarily accommodating, and their crisp uniforms, easy smiles, and enthusiastic welcome was either the result of being on the job only two weeks, or having been well trained. I suspect both.
My room had oversized windows overlooking the marina, the city, and the Atlantic Ocean, about a mile away. Two other casino properties, Trump Marina Hotel Casino and Harrah’s, were both within 15-minutes walking distance. Decorated in shades of brown, the room was spacious, with a King bed, divan, and working desk. Amenities included a SONY 40″ LCD HD wall-mounted flat panel TV, I-pod docking station, two phones in the bedroom, one in the bathroom, 400-thread Egyptian cotton sheets, a large glass-enclosed shower stall with rain shower head and spray, L’Occitane bath products, lots of cool dimmer switches for various bathroom lights, and the biggest, fluffiest bath towels I have seen in a hotel. High speed Wi-Fi access is available for $10 per 24-hours.
The Water Club’s Immersion spa takes up two floors near the top of the 43-story hotel, and offers lots of treatment rooms, an indoor lap pool, and a fitness area that faces a two-story glass wall with great views. Unfortunately, guests must book a spa treatment to use the lap pool and fitness facility. There are three small pools (two outdoor, one indoor) on the first floor that are free to guests, but the pool decks are confining and lounge chairs go quickly on hot days. Although the atmosphere is relaxing The Water Club is not a resort property, and I had to keep reminding myself that its public spaces are not meant for lingering, especially with a money-making casino so close by.
The hotel’s Sunroom lobby lounge, which also services the outdoor pool area, offers drinks and light meals prepared by noted chef Geoffrey Zakarian, and there are state-of-the-art meeting rooms on the second floor with 18,000-square feet of space. The Water Club, which cost $400 million to build, contains 800 guest rooms and has the same gold reflective glass exterior as the Borgata, but the ambience inside is more like a quiet boutique hotel compared to its sister property next door. Although I was just a minute’s walk from the Borgata’s frenetic casino floor, I always felt cocooned while in The Water Club. Perhaps it was the “water” theme of the new property, with its small reflecting pools, water image photos and art objects, and the ever present sight of the bay and ocean from the windows, that evoke an air of solitude and calm. Billy Crystal was one of the first celebrities to stay at The Water Club, and others will surely follow, as the summer season heats up on the Jersey shore.
The Water Club
1 Renaissance Way
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Phone: 800-800-8817 or 609-317-1000
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