Anyone who bought into the gloom and doom from a few years ago that said Atlantic City was a “dying town” is really going to have to eat their words this summer. In addition to the grand opening of two new casino properties on June 28 — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort respectively — and the legalization of sports betting, Tropicana Atlantic City has jumped in ahead of the pack and cut the ribbon on their recent revamp of the previously shuttered Chelsea Hotel. Carl Icahn purchased the neighboring Chelsea in July of last year, but the plan of what it would become seemed a mystery at the time. Was making the Chelsea part of Trop’s empire the plan all along?
“There had been talk of doing something with the Chelsea for a long time, even when the hotel was open, but it had not ever come to fruition,” says Chef Demetrios Haronis, Director of Culinary Operations for Tropicana.
Now known as The Chelsea Tower, the structure is now an official part of Tropicana both from an ownership standpoint and from a physical one, as construction of a new Skybridge connecting the two is now complete. One of the truly unique aspects of the Chelsea is that it is a non-gaming facility.
“The reopening of the Chelsea Tower is a great example of Tropicana’s commitment to offer our guests more,” says Chris Rippy, vice president of food and beverage at Tropicana. “It allows us to offer more rooms, more food and beverage options and more pools.”
While merely a stone’s throw away from all the fast-paced action at the tables and slots of Tropicana’s massive gaming floor, the Chelsea Tower offers guests a way to take a break from the clanging machines and enjoy a variety of non-game based entertainment options. Renovations and a variety of updates to the bars, pools and restaurants at the Chelsea have brought a once darkened, closed property back to life, and this summer guests will be able to enjoy all of its offerings. Let’s take a look at what has moved in:
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Perhaps the most key feature of the entire space is The Skybridge, a literal bridge in the sky that connects the south tower of Tropicana to The Chelsea Tower. Massive floor-to-ceiling windows flank both sides, allowing guests to walk freely between both buildings without having to go outside. Similar bridges have been built at other casinos in both Atlantic City and Vegas, making for a seamless entertainment experience.
Cabana Five Bar & Pool Deck:
At the end of the Skybridge leads to Cabana Five Bar & Pool Deck. The large space has been updated with a multitude of brand new furniture including an army of lime green lounge chairs, couches and umbrellas. The deck features a large bar area as well as a stage where live DJs will perform. No official word yet, but there are rumors that live bands may also take the stage here in the future. The pool is the obvious centerpiece, but don’t expect to be bombarded by splashing children looking to impress their parents with perfectly executed cannonballs. Instead, expect a more grown-up type of fun. “We’re not going for a daylife seen per se, but it will be a 21-and-over experience. Customers will be able to rent cabanas and we can even combine them into bigger spaces if needed,” says Rippy.
The Chelsea is known for its long history in Atlantic City and Whiskey Five does a nice job of bringing the past into the present, as its walls are decked out with old photos and keepsakes from years gone by. These artifacts are juxtaposed with modern, almost space age furniture, including a brand new pool table that serves as the centerpiece of the room. If the name alone didn’t tip you off, the bar specializes in whiskey, and will feature a variety of cocktails that use the spirit. Their Manhattan ($12) made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters was well researched, taken from one of the oldest recipes of the drink that could be found.
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Chelsea Five Gastropub:
Standing in the former space occupied by Chealsea Prime is Chelsea Five Gastropub. A mix of casual and upscale, this eatery offers what is easily one of the most stunning views of any space in Atlantic City thanks to a massive wall of windows that face the Atlantic Ocean.
“I am personally very excited by the Chelsea five Gastropub,” Rippy says. “The menu is diverse and offers something for everyone. We are proud to partner with a variety of local purveyors in an effort to provide the freshest ingredients possible, and a view that just can’t be beat!”
The menu is divided up between casual snacks and sandwiches — the turkey burger ($15) is among the best you will find anywhere — and fancier fare, such as the filet ($34) — a stunningly tender cut of beef which comes topped with grilled asparagus in a red wine demi. Outside sits a smoking lounge that runs the length of the building. The opposite end has exterior space as well, this time with fire pits, couches and comfy looking seating. “The chefs are excited about having a brand new venue to showcase the best of New Jersey and our local partners,” Haronis says. “With a menu featuring hand-cut steaks and house- ground burgers from our own butcher shop to local produce and Jersey Shore seafood classics, our guests are excited to have a new restaurant to chose from.”
Down on the lower level is the Oasis Pool. This spot is open to all ages (hey, the kids need someplace to practice those cannonballs) and features a bar in a more low-key atmosphere than its upstairs sibling. Furniture here has been updated as well, giving the space a lively, relaxing vibe in which to kick back and forget your troubles.
South tower suites:
In addition to the massive redesign of the pools and nightlife locations, guests looking to splurge a bit will now be able to enjoy newly renovated South Tower suites at The Chelsea. New furniture and updated décor gives these new rooms a distinctive touch that will suit the needs of both high rollers and those looking to step away from the gaming for a bit to recharge.
Don't mess with the 'Boss;' Rotomi hosts at The Pool
Actor Olurotimi Akinosho, known professionally “Rotomi,“ from the hit Starz TV Series “Boss,” hosted at The Pool After Dark on Saturday.
Photo: Tom Briglia/PhotoGraphics