Hotel at a Glance: The Chelsea
If you’re cruising through Atlantic City, it’s hard to miss The Chelsea: it’s the retro hotel topped with neon-purple letters broadcasting its name along the coast. The chic decor extends into the 4-star hotel, where you’ll find Zagat-rated restaurants and an upper-level pool with cabana service. If you head downstairs, you’re just steps from the beach, where you can lounge in the sun before retiring to the hotel for high-end spa treatments.
- Awards and accolades: Fodor’s writes, “This boutique hotel has a convincingly swank vibe that could double as a set location for the TV hit _Mad Men.” It’s a winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, too.
- Luxe accommodations: Bay-view rooms give you an overhead view of the water; floor-to-ceiling windows bathe penthouse suites in natural light. All guest rooms feature OnDemand TV and complimentary WiFi.
- Zagat-rated restaurant: Dining on the Fifth earned a spot on Zagat’s rundown of the Jersey Shore’s hottest restaurants. Stop in on Saturdays for live DJ music.
- Solarium and spa: Soak in a hot tub or slip away to a treatment room for a hot-stone massage (facility open on select days only).
Atlantic City, New Jersey: Casinos and Carnival Rides Lining Historical Beachside Boardwalk
No trip to Atlantic City is complete without a stroll along its signature boardwalk, which stretches for 6 miles along New Jersey’s eastern coast. Originally built in 1870 to keep sand out of hotel lobbies, the boardwalk grew in popularity as a place where you could drink and gamble during Prohibition without much trouble from the police, as depicted in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. The boardwalk is still popular for its casinos, but it’s family-friendly, too; visitors are just as inclined to sit at the beach or stop at one of the many carnival rides.
On the boardwalk, it’s worth it to check out the Absecon Lighthouse, which is more than 150 years old. It’s possible to climb its 228 steps to the top, which features sweeping views of the city skyline and the sea. Down at the base, you’ll find a replica of the original light keeper’s lonely cloister and the collection of sock puppets he created to keep him company.
Proving further that Atlantic City isn’t all nightclubs, boardwalk, and casinos is Gardner’s Basin, a maritime village along the bay. Here, a community of artisans uses seashells and driftwood to hand-make items such as wind chimes and picture frames. However, the Basin’s biggest claim to fame is the 25,000-gallon Atlantic City Aquarium swimming with turtles and rays.