According to Elaine Shapiro Zamansky, manager of media relations for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (atlanticcitynj.com), the city has a sophisticated, yet relaxed seashore vibe. “Atlantic City provides a great combination of a year-round oceanfront resort destination and all the business amenities you need.”
This suggested three-day itinerary proves just how convenient and memorable an Atlantic City meeting can be.
1. Arrival & Reception
Atlantic City is a drivable destination from major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. New Jersey Transit has a terminal that is adjacent to the Atlantic City Convention Center, with trains available throughout the day from many destinations, and there is frequent bus/motorcoach service as well. Spirit Airlines flies directly to the Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), just 60 minutes from Atlantic City, serves most major U.S. and international airlines.
Atlantic City features more than 20,000 hotel rooms and plenty of options for memorable opening receptions. One of the newest additions to the scene is Revel, a smoke-free beachfront resort that features 160,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, more than 1,400 oceanfront rooms, a 130,000-square-foot casino, 14 restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools and a 32,000-square-foot spa. An elegant 50,000-square-foot ballroom is well-suited to large opening events.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City is another popular option, especially following a $150 million renovation completed last year. Formerly the Trump Marina, this hotel has been completely refurbished by Landry’s, which purchased it a couple years ago. It now features an updated casino, new bars and lounges, a luxury spa and salon, and stylish retail offerings. Landry’s signature restaurants, including Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, are available for group dining, and an event lawn is ideal for alfresco receptions.
Tropicana Hotel and Casino is also refreshed, having completed a $25 million enhancement to its guest rooms, restaurants and casino late last year. It offers 122,000 sq. ft. of meeting space spread throughout boardrooms, ballrooms, breakout spaces and a theater, and with 2,078 guest rooms, it is one of New Jersey’s largest hotels. The Quarter, a three-story streetscape located within the hotel that was created to bring the splendor of historic Havana to life, features 200,000 sq. ft. of retail, dining, spa and entertainment options.
Theater at Tropicana Hotel and Casino
Selective meeting planners also gravitate toward Caesar’s Atlantic City. The Roman Empire-themed property offers 10 restaurants and lounges, 1,144 guest rooms and 24,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the 17,135-square-foot Palladium Ballroom, which can be transformed into a memorable venue for a kick-off event. Another highlight is the recently renovated Circus Maximus Theater, which seats more than 1,500.
For entertainment, a top choice is Bally’s Atlantic City, which hosts the popular Legends in Concert celebrity tribute show, with impersonators bringing to life such icons as Whitney Houston, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. The hotel offers 80,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Pool at The Water Club at Borgata
Foodie groups will love Harrah’s Atlantic City. Dining options at this classic property include a raw bar, Mexican restaurant, steak house and Sammy D’s, where Philly cheesesteak dumplings, lollipop wings and pizza fondue are among the inventive menu items. The property offers 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 1,200-seat theater.
There are also two Trump properties with meeting facilities: Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (25,000 sq. ft.) and Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort (155,000 sq. ft.). Both offer sophisticated dining options, elegant indoor and outdoor event venues available for opening receptions, and some of the city’s finest spas. The Trump Taj Mahal even provides treatments specifically geared toward meeting groups, including the CEO package, encompassing a 50-minute Swedish massage, mini facial and manicure/pedicure combination.
Small groups appreciate the high-end experience offered at The Water Club at Borgata. This $400 million property has 18,000 sq. ft. of event space, 800 guest rooms, a two-story spa, three residences modeled after chic urban lofts and five heated pools. It features direct access to and from Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, which boasts more than 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Another charming property is The Chelsea, a glamorous retreat that harks back to the Boardwalk Empire-esque golden days of Atlantic City. Ideal for intimate events, the hotel features a fifth-floor pool deck where attendees can enjoy a stylish and scenic opening event.
2. General Sessions & Dining Out
Blueberry mojito at Cuba Libre Restaurant
Meeting facilities ideal for general sessions abound in Atlantic City, the most notable being the Atlantic City Convention Center. One of the most comprehensive, large-scale facilities on the East Coast, it features 500,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 45 meeting rooms totaling 109,100 sq. ft. of meeting space, a 1,400-car indoor parking garage and 29 loading docks.
At the end of the day, the networking can continue with myriad options for dining and entertainment. Cuba Libre Restaurant + Rum Bar at The Quarter inside the Tropicana offers authentic Cuban food, a festive atmosphere and the Late Night Latin floor show with salsa dancers. Groups ranging in size from 15 to 400 can be accommodated in one of the many dining spaces. Entertainment comes in the form of salsa lessons and an onsite cigar roller and rum expert.
Carmine’s, a branch of the famous New York Italian restaurant, also at The Quarter in the Tropicana, offers hearty Italian fare served family style. Adjacent to the 25-foot bar area is a private dining room that can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated affair and 350 for a cocktail reception or buffet.
New to the scene is Margaritaville Atlantic City, which opened in May and offers a relaxed setting for after-meeting dining. Located at Resorts Casino Hotel, it includes a tiki bar and nightly live entertainment.
Atlantic City has plenty of celebrity-chef-helmed restaurants to wow groups. Wolfgang Puck American Grille at Borgata offers private dining space for up to 80, and at Wolfgang’s Kitchen Table, guests can watch as their meals are cooked in front of them.
Wolfgang Puck American Grille
Bobby Flay Steak, also at Borgata, pairs its seafood and steak specialties, including selections from a lobster bar, with two elegant private dining spaces that can host up to 75.
3. Offsite Activities & Closing Event
Though there is plenty of space in the convention center and within hotels and resorts, Zamansky says Atlantic City is also chock-full of other options for offsite events and memorable closing receptions and activities. Twenty top golf courses can be found within about a half-hour of the city for tournaments and team-building events, and several have terraces, ballrooms and other facilities for events with golf course views.
Several local companies also plan and implement onsite and offsite team-building events that can be catered to your group and that take advantage of the local scene. Destination A.C. Offers options including reality show reenactments, beach olympics, a scavenger hunt on the Boardwalk, casino fun-play events, on-the-water activities, cook-offs and talent shows.
Atlantic City Ambassador, meanwhile, can organize visits to the Steel Pier amusement complex and Atlantic City Miniature Golf or create unique options such as beer-blending competitions, murder mystery events and sandsculpture competitions.
Absecon Lighthouse, courtesy of
Atlantic CIty CVA
Ocean lovers will enjoy the Atlantic City Aquarium at Historic Gardner’s Basin, which can host receptions, buffets and outdoor barbecues; dolphin watching adventures with Atlantic City Cruises; parasailing with Atlantic City Parasail; and surf lessons with the Atlantic City Surf School.
For a memorable closing event, the ultimate in Atlantic City views can be enjoyed from a One Atlantic, a 10,000-square-foot special-event space enclosed in glass that includes an outdoor deck. Located atop the Pier Shops at Caesars, it offers sweeping views of the ocean and Boardwalk.
Those with a taste for the past who love a vintage vibe will cherish a closing event at one of Atlantic City’s many historic spots, including Historic Absecon Lighthouse, the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the U.S.; and Lucy the Elephant,an elephant-shaped historic landmark in Margate City, N.J.
The Steel Pier Complex can also accommodate groups for special events. A three-year construction project is slated for completion by 2015, with plans to add a new ballroom and a nightclub and make the pier a year-round attraction. Already, the complex features new nightlife options and rides.
The historic Offers a 1920s Art Deco-style ballroom for banquets, receptions, sports events and other functions. The concourse can be configured for cocktail receptions, too. It’s the perfect place to toast the end of a successful Atlantic City event.
Main image: Atlantic City aerial view, courtesy of Atlantic CIty CVA
Fire pit at Golden Nugget Atlantic City
In Atlantic City, pools aren’t just for swimming. They are also places to see and be seen, particularly during warmer months at the adjoining outdoor bars. Here are some cool venue options for poolside events that will make a splash.
- HQ Beach Club/HQ Nightclub at Revel: Open day and night, this pool lounge is located on the Boardwalk and features a central triangular pool, multiple levels and two bars.
- The Cabana Club at The Chelsea: USA Today recently chose this as one of the best rooftop bars and lounges in the United States.
- The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City: One of the city’s hottest nightclubs hosts A-list Djs who know how to get the crowd dancing.
- H2O Pool and Bar at the Golden Nugget: Built-in seating areas, a fire pit, music and trendy cocktails are among the standout features here.
A City of Spas
Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Atlantic City
Atlantic City contains a treasure trove of relaxation destinations that can be used to host an offsite team-building session or serve as an enticing attendee incentive. Here’s a look at some of the city’s hottest retreats.
- Bask Spa at Revel: Created in partnership with Exhale Mind Body Spa, this 32,000-squarefoot sanctuary features a coed bathhouse with heated mineral pools, a Turkish-inspired hammam and a Himalayan-salt grotto, as well as 32 treatment rooms and a variety of fitness offerings, including Core Fusion, yoga and SurfSET classes.
- Immersion Spa at the Water Club: Located on the hotel’s 32nd and 33rd floors, the spa offers 360-degree floor-to-ceiling water views, a 25-yard infinity-edge lap pool, 16 treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a spa menu by chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
- Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Atlantic City: Roman baths, 14 treatment rooms and a new rooftop pool are among the amenities at this hydro-focused retreat.
- Spa & Salon at the Golden Nugget: This $6 million escape debuted in March 2012 and features luxe signature services such as 24-karat-gold facials and body treatments, as well as saunas and relaxing whirlpools.
Atlantic City Boardwalk
In addition to its beaches and casinos, Atlantic City is known for superb shopping. Meetinggoers with a few free moments should be told about these options, which also double as excellent additions to spousal programs.
- Atlantic City Boardwalk is the perfect place to explore souvenir stores and specialty shops and hunt down Atlantic City staples such as saltwater taffy and fudge.
- Tanger Outlets features discount offerings on brand-name and designer fashions and accessories.
- The Pier Shops at Caesars is a haven of high-end retailers including Gucci, Apple and Burberry.
- The Quarter at Tropicana offers unique options such as Zephyr Gallery and The Old Farmer’s Almanac General Store.