The Borgata's new Water Club elevates opulence to new levels.
It's one thing to revisit Atlantic City after a decade-long hiatus and notice the myriad capital improvements, and something else completely to watch them unfold before your eyes. The list of what has transpired to restore the resort to its premier-destination status in a relatively short time is growing too long to chronicle by memory, but the arrival of the Borgata in 2003 absolutely ignited the firestorm of: Can you top this? With each influx of extravagance that aim seems tougher to achieve, but The Water Club -- the Borgata's $600 million towering counterpart, and another joint venture between Boyd Gaming and MGM Mirage -- has indubitably done it again.
The Water Club is a 43-story, 800-room high-end hotel with a two-story spa located on its 32nd and 33rd floors. The hotel features 18,000 square feet of meeting space including a 52-person conference room equipped with about every sort of high-tech gadgetry you can imagine, five heated indoor and outdoor pools and six designer retail shops.
There is no casino or gaming tables of any sort in The Water Club, and unlike Borgata's 54,000-square-foot Spa Toccare, which is available to the general public, The Water Club's facilities are for hotel guests only. The hotel concept is termed "boutique lifestyle," and is the first of its kind to open in Atlantic City.
"We have 800 employees here and 800 rooms," says Michael Facenda, Borgata's director of marketing services. "That's a one-to-one ratio, and that's our focus -- to make sure the experience here is as personalized and accommodating as we can make it. The two properties share common ownership, but from a brand-name marketing perspective we're saying, 'Here's Borgata and here's The Water Club.'"
"The White Bloody Mary is phenomenal," says Facenda.
Guests enter The Water Club via a private drive and all cars are parked by valet service. Upon entering the building, the diversity of wood paneling (about 60 varieties) and stone facades (about 40 types, including limestone and petrified marble) are eye-catching and interspersed throughout every facet of the hotel. An intimate fireplace-equipped room is located in the lobby and adjacent to two outdoor Jacuzzi pools flanked by private cabanas. There is a lounge bistro called the Sunroom offering a breakfast, lunch and late-night snack menu and a full-service bar.
Even the elevators are lavishly adorned and move at ear-popping speed. Dubbed "the spa in the sky," the two-story health club encompasses the entire 32nd and 33rd floors and 36,000 square feet. Connected by staircase, Immersion -- The Spa at Water Club -- includes a 25-yard pool that allows bathers to swim right up to the edge of the glass and look out on the A.C. skyline from 32 floors up. Likewise, the spa floors are enclosed by base-to-ceiling glass panels that, when standing right up against one, can make it feel like there's nothing substantial between you and a 32-story drop. There are 16 private spa rooms that offer treatments such as mud wraps of various herbal extracts, a Japanese-style Hanoki soaking tub, and full-body, deep-tissue massages.
"The feedback that we've gotten from everyone who has experienced The Water Club has been incredible," says Dave Coskey, Borgata's vice president of marketing. "I don't think people knew exactly what to expect, but the attention to detail, the views, the levels of service -- they've been very impressed. Borgata was definitely a new experience when it opened its doors here five years ago. It drew new customers to the market, and I believe that The Water Club will do the same now. It's really the next step in an evolutionary process for Atlantic City as a tourism destination."
Immersion also includes a state-of-the-art fitness center, men's and women's lounges equipped with steam rooms and cold-water plunge pools, and a gourmet spa menu prepared by Geoffrey Zakarian, chef/owner of Town and Country (two restaurants in New York City).
Each guestroom at The Water Club includes a 40-inch LCD flat-panel TV, an iHome stereo system with iPod docking station, 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets on each bed, glass-enclosed Italian marble showers large enough for two, mini bars and more. The first-floor retail outlets include La Perla (intimate apparel and swimwear), Fixation (designer accessories), Cameo (specialty products and gift items), Just Cavalli (designer clothing), Hearts On Fire (a high-end retail jewelry store) and Hugo Boss (men's clothing).
Judging was heightened for the event too, with current Iron Chefs Masahara Morimoto and Bobby Flay — also a Borgata operator — serving on the evening’s panel.
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