(Margaret Zakarian, me & Geoffrey Zakarian)
Endless Summer at The Water Club and The Borgata in Atlantic City
We’re all chomping a the bit for summer – this winter has been long, cold, and merciless. While we’re almost there, if you really can’t wait, just a few hours south of New York City you’ll find a place where it’s summer all year long: Atlantic City, NJ. Now, it may sound ludicrous, but it’s true. AC’s Water Club at The Borgata is not only a fantastic weekend getaway, it offers just the right amenities for those who are ready to bid adieu to the winter blues: waterfalls, spas, serious food, high-end shopping, and for those who like to gamble, lots of that, too.
Located in the Marina District just off the boardwalk Steve Buscemi recently made famous, the Water Club has a hip, urban vibe that brings a Gotham style to the beach. From the beautiful guest rooms and suites (rates begin at $139/night during the week) to the spectacular two-story spa, Immersion, The Water Club transports you to a place where luxury and comfort help melt your stress away. Once you’re inside the Water Club, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve entered an endless summer.
Indoor pools are surrounded by lush greenery framed with vibrant sunshine pouring in through the windows. A visit to Immersion offers ultimate pampering and relaxation where you can lounge around yet another pool and take in a view of the ocean from the 32nd floor. A quick indoor walk to the Borgata will find you at Spa Tocarre where you can sport a fluffy white robe as you relax around their three hot tubs and soothing waterfalls. Winter? See ya!
Aside from a wealth of Zen water experiences, the dining makes the Water Club a destination in and of itself. Acclaimed Manhattan Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The Lambs Club oversees the menus for the in-room dining, the event space, poolside and Immersion. Some of my favorite in-room options include the Rachel Reuben Sandwich with pastrami, corned beef, coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing ($15) and the Philly Cheese Steak with arugula and oregano vinaigrette ($17) – not your typical dry-burger-and-cold-fries room service fare.
Zakarian is in good company at The Water Club—he is joined by Bobby Flay’s Bobby Flay Steak, Michael Mina’s Seablue and Stephan Kalt’s Fornelletto Cucina Italiana. In addition to these eateries, The Water Club is home to both Wolfgang Puck’s American Grille and Michael Schulson’s Izakaya.
Wolfgang Puck American Grille features refined American cuisine in an open space overlooking the sprawling casino. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, the Smoked Salmon Pizza with red onion, dill cream, chives and caviar ($24) impresses with bold flavor while less adventurous eaters will revel in the savory pasta offerings ($19-$25.)
(Patrick & me at Wolfgang Pucks)
Izakaya serves Japanese pub fare in a trendy setting where a DJ pumps out the soundtrack for the meal as diners are delighted by the eclectic dishes. The real standouts on the menu are the King Crab Tacos with wasabi, tomato & avocado ($17), the Beef Short Ribs with BBQ sauce & kim-che ($12) and the Dancing Eel Roll with tuna, cucumber & spicy eel sauce ($21). Wash down your dinner with Izakaya’s inventive sake-drenched cocktails and you’ve got yourself a perfect meal.
(Incredible sushi at Izakaya)
Of course you might also try your luck at the roulette tables in the casino and spend some of your winnings in the many luxury boutiques. Dance the night away at either mur.mur or MIXX nightclubs where the cocktails flow and the music doesn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. You can take in a comedy show at The Music Box or catch the Kings of Leon at the 2,400-seat Event Center. If you’re looking for a more relaxed bar setting, B-Bar and Gypsy Bar both offer cold drinks in an intimate setting. There’s something for everyone and the quality of the offerings is as impressive as the variety.
Getting to Atlantic City from Manhattan by both car and train couldn’t be easier. If you’re driving down, leave early enough in the day to avoid traffic and you’ll arrive in Atlantic City in 2 hours flat. If you prefer to take the train, a service called ACES (Atlantic City Express Service) provides direct train service between Penn Station and Atlantic City's Rail Terminal. The trip takes about 2½ hours and trains run Friday through Sunday. Fares start at $29.
After spending a weekend at The Borgata and The Water Club, it was tough to walk back outside into the chilly winter air. While we have seen a few breaks in cold temperatures lately, the experience in Atlantic City made me anxious for the days when I can sip a watermelon-infused cocktail while soaking up the warm summer sun. More than ever, I now feel like summer just can’t come soon enough!
We met some great people during the trip, including Kristian & Yale:
(Patrick, Kristian & Yale)
and Ahmed & Katrina:
(Ahmed, me & Katrina)
We had such a blast meeting and hanging out with all of them.
Thanks for reading! And be sure to check out all my writing on The Strong Buzz.
-The Fabulous Foodie