Monday, August 27, 2018
The Best And Worst Of AC's Newest Casino!
We've been to the new Hard Rock Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
We stayed overnight.
We tried the restaurants.
We took the slots for a spin.
We went to a show.
We made our way around the entire property -- no small undertaking!
Here's our take on the best and worst of it.
The whole thing is under the domain of the Seminole Native American nation out of Florida, so you'll see old and new Indian influences here and there, all very tastefully presented.
At the North End of the world famous Boardwalk right across from the Steel Pier which is now an amusement pier with lots of great rides. If you have kids (or if you're a kid at heart) you'll like that. Also, the beach at this end is very nice and less crowded.
The Big Guitar
Yeah, it's right outside at the carriage entrance. And yeah, it lights up at night. And, they've even set up a platform for you to take pictures there. Sweet!
Everyone seemed well-trained and friendly. Lots of staff on hand everywhere -- especially to help guide you as the place is truly vast and there are areas that haven't even been developed yet.
The Rock Memorabilia and Artifacts
This stuff is all over the place -- everywhere you turn. But some of the best of it is under the grand staircase: Elvis' Rolls, The Beatles outfits and hand-written lyrics by legends. All FREE!
They're new, reasonably spacious, sleek, bright and feature large bathrooms, king size beds and lots of nice extras like free, fast wifi, mini fridges and coffee makers. And, each floor is themed to a different rock star.
Not so high that you need to be super limber to get in and out and not overly frilly. Above all, they're firm and very comfortable. Rooms seem to be amply soundproofed as well, lending to a good night's sleep.
Great from most any any guest room. You'll get a view of the ocean or the bay. Ours actually had a view of both and it cost us no extra.
A sore spot. They've had a lot of trouble getting it ready. When we were there, it still wasn't open. Well, even when it's open (far as we can tell) it's nothing special -- largely indoors, nondescript and with astroturf. They refunded us our resort fee.
All new, vivid and up-to-the-minute with many special features. Lots of fun but they weren't very loose for us.
You can easily score yourself tickets to a show (we did) or some other premium without investing too much at the slots of the gambling tables. But you must be a Wild Card member and check your card's promotions.
Sleek and functional. All those garish minarets from the Taj are gone and replaced by simple right angles and subdued colors except for traces of the Hard Rock's logo-inspired purple and gold. It's impressive without being overwhelming
Everything is new -- inside and out. Very digital. Lots of big screens and dazzle but toned down as well with more subtle textures, no chandeliers and no neon. Harmonious visually and aurally. Yes, there's plenty of rock music but it isn't ear-piercing.
The Food Court
Unfortunately it's stretched out along the overhead walkway that leads from the casino to the parking garage. It can get crowded and seating can be a problem. Lots of pedestrian traffic.
It's a challenge. If you want a quick breakfast (and most people do) the one place in the food court that features breakfast is small and crowded. You wait in line to order and then they bring it out to you. Only other option seems to be the Hard Rock Cafe.
A few good choices: The hoagies and steaks at The White House outlet of the famed AC eatery are the best you'll find anywhere. But even the regular hoagie size tends to be big. A salad place makes perfect salads at your direction and all the ingredients are fresh. That was a favorite of ours. At the coffee bar even a small regular coffee will cost you three bucks. A very large cookie (the only size they have) will set you back more than five bucks. We hear the pizza at the food court is wonderful, however. As for the gelato, it looks wonderful but tastes of nothing. Skip it.
We tried the Council Oak seafood and steak restaurant. The big deal here is really seafood. Spacious and airy with nice views onto the Boardwalk. But it lacks intimacy and can be noisy, almost taking on all the ambience of a mass feed. The food was only OK. Of course, we had been to Steve & Cookie's the night before and nothing compares to that!
We went to the Motown tribute show in the Soundwaves theater. It features live music (a rarity in many of these types of shows) via an eight-piece band and a talented groups of more than a dozen singers and dancers. It started out fine but grew increasingly more shrill. The seats in Soundwaves are not real theater seats -- they're collapsible and not very ample. Tight fit. And the acoustics seemed off. Something wrong with the sound system? Maybe they're still breaking the show in. We left before it was over.
It varied throughout the hotel and casino. Some areas were frigid, others were surprisingly warm. A light jacket-type shirt came in handy.