This storied meetings mecca has seen its fortunes wax and wane over the years. Now, A.C. is betting that the arrival of two new gaming resorts, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (pictured) and the Ocean Resort Casino, along with new eateries, attractions and more, will help attract more groups.
Good to Know
CONVENTION CENTER: Atlantic City Convention Center;
exhibit space, approximately 486,600 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 45; (888) 222-3683
TAXES: Luxury tax, 9%; sales tax, 4%; occupancy fee, 1%; tourism promotion fee, $5 per room for casino hotels; total tax on hotel rooms, 14% plus the tourism promotion fee
(609) 348-7100 or (888) 222-368
• Following a $500 million top-to-bottom makeover, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City (formerly the Trump Taj Mahal) is now a hip casino and resort featuring an array of iconic rock art and memorabilia. Offerings include a casino with 2,200 slots and 120 table games; 150,000 square feet of meeting and event space; the Hard Rock Cafe, which relocated from its former Boardwalk setting; and several new restaurants, including the elegant Japanese eatery Kuro. A few elements of the original property remain, including Italian restaurant Il Mulino, and the Mark G. Etess Arena, which has been expanded to seat 7,700.
• The 1,399-room Ocean Resort Casino, part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, debuted in late June on the same day the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City opened. The resort, which was purchased by AC Ocean Walk earlier this year, first opened as Revel in 2012, only to quickly go bankrupt. It then was purchased by developer Glenn Straub, who planned to reopen it under the new name Ten but never did. Finally back in business, the property sports new features such as a Wahlburgers (not yet open at press time), a Topgolf swing suite and a sports-betting area, as well as a bright new casino floor and easy access to the hotel from the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Ocean has kept many of the same food-and-beverage outlets and venues dating back to its Revel days. Among them are Amada for fine dining, the HQ2 nightclub (a beach club by day) and Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub. The resort includes 120,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and a 32,000-square-foot branch of Exhale, Hyatt's fitness and spa brand.
• The Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City has purchased the former Chelsea Hotel and renamed it the Chelsea Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City. The addition gives the resort, which recently completed a $50 million refurbishment, a new total of 2,730 guest rooms. A new skywalk linking the tower to the main building debuted this spring.
• The 227-foot-high Wheel at the Steel Pier opened for business this summer with 40 climate-controlled gondolas. The 16-minute ride gives passengers jaw-dropping panoramic views of both the New Jersey shore and Atlantic City skyline.
• Guest rooms in the Ocean Tower at the 942-room Resorts Casino Hotel have been completely refurbished. The resort also has unveiled a range of theme parties it can organize for groups in any of 24 meeting rooms, including four ballrooms and two theaters. Among the choices are an Academy Awards-style banquet for up to 900 attendees at the Superstar Theater; an Atlantic City Boardwalk-themed party in the Horizon Ballroom, with its own Boardwalk mock-up and ocean views; and beach party-themed events that can be held at the on-site Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville entertainment complex with its Margaritaville Café and beachfront LandShark Bar & Grill.
• The 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is in the midst of celebrating its 15th anniversary and is marking the milestone with a series of special packages, events and concerts headlined by luminaries such as Cher, Britney Spears and Ringo Starr. The property has a total of 106,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 30,000-square-foot ballroom that can host up to 1,700 people for themed banquet events; the bi-level, 18,000-square-foot Central Conference Center, which includes more than a dozen spaces able to accommodate groups of from 10 to 700; and a variety of other meeting rooms, the largest of which spans 29,000 square feet.
• In the Marina section of town, the 727-room Golden Nugget Atlantic City has a new restaurant, Bill's Burger & Bar, featuring a craft burger list that includes the signature Bill's Bar & Burger, which was listed as one of CNN's Top 10 Burgers in America. Other on-site dining options include Vic & Anthony's, a steak house; the Chart House for seafood; Lili's Asian Cuisine, and the Grotto Italian Ristorante. Meeting space at the property totals 95,000 square feet.
• As part of Caesars Entertainment's eco-minded efforts, drinks at the company's three A.C. properties -- Bally's, Caesars and Harrah's -- are now served without single-use plastic straws or stirrers.
Choices in the city include the 2,730-room Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City; 2,590-room Harrah's Resort Atlantic City; 2,000-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; 2,000-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City; 1,756-room Bally's Atlantic City; 1,399-room Ocean Resort Casino; 1,140-room Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Casino; 942-room Resorts Casino Hotel; 800-room Water Club, a Signature Hotel by Borgata; 727-room Golden Nugget Atlantic City, and 502-room Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel.
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit Northstar Meeting Group's new venue finder.
The creative team at the Steel Pier's Ocean Reef Oasis can give events a ready-made carnival theme, complete with colorful attractions and décor. The private space is built directly over the ocean and offers 360 degree views of the water and the Atlantic City skyline. Full bar and catering services are available for groups of 25 or more. (866) 386-6659
Empanadas -- crab, braised chicken, cheese and wagyu beef -- are a house specialty at Jose Garcia's Olon at the Tropicana. The eatery also serves fresh seafood and the chef's family recipes.
Getting Here and There
Atlantic City International Airport, about 10 miles from the heart of the downtown district. Transfer cost by airport shuttle, $15; by taxi, $30