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National News / Entertainment

Thursday, 27 May, 2010 5:16 PM

Review: Harrah's Resort is a great place to stay in Atlantic City

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

An outside view of Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

by Gloria Rzucidlo
gloria1025@yahoo.com

 

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- My husband and I flew on the Spirit Airlines inaugural flight from Detroit to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Spirit Airlines is partnered with Harrah's Resort and Casino providing seasonal service to Atlantic City for people to enjoy all that this city has to offer. The gambling, beaches, boardwalk, shopping, sightseeing and big name entertainment are some examples of the attractions at the Jersey shore.

We spent a little over an hour in the air with a comical flight attendant. As we pulled into the gate, we received a surprise. There was a fire truck spraying the plane with water to christen the first flight. As we got off, we were greeted with balloons and cameras flashing. The seasonal daily schedule will operate from May 21-Nov. 10, 2010 and then resume again next Spring. Detroit to Atlantic City departs at 6:45 a.m. and arrives at 8:20 a.m. Atlantic City to Detroit departs at 8:11 p.m. and arrives at 9:56 p.m.

After we got our luggage, we were greeted with a limo taking us to the Harrah's Resort. We had an early check-in into the Waterfront Tower, which is the newest of the towers at the Resort. There had been a $550 million renovation on the property and the rooms were fabulous. The decor was done in beach and sand colors. Our room on the 38th floor was spacious and the bathroom had granite countertops with a clear glass shower door. The regular rate of the room is $450 per night. However, from May 16 til the end of summer, you can get the Shore Rate of $100 per night.

One night we had a furnace problem, it was pounding and making a loud windblown sound, so I called the front desk every half hour. Three hours later, I got a call from the engineer saying it was a computer problem and should be fixed now.....and it was.

As we strolled downstairs on the main floor was the casino with 3,700 slot machines, roulette, table games, racebook and the Poker Room. The Poker Room is the home of the World Series of Poker. While we were there, Annie Duke, who has been a top poker pro since the 1990's, was playing. She loves the game and loves to teach people to enjoy the game.

Also on the main floor was the fitness center with over 40 fitness machines. The Red Door Spa is also available for some relaxation and pampering.

There are several shops on the main floor such as jewelry stores, electronics, housewares, apparel, handbags, shoes, eyewear and, of course, souvenirs and a convenience store.

The Pool, as they call it, is underneath a glass dome with tropical greenery and palm trees. There are six whirlpools surrounding the outside perimeter of the main pool. They have cabanas to rent with couches and flat screen tv's. When celebrities visit, they get a cabana and sign autographs. Kim Kardashian will be there on May 29, 2010. Ludacris kicks off the Wet Sunday at the Pool on Sunday, May 30. Sean "Diddy" Combs will set off a red, white and blue party on Sunday, July 4, just to name a few.

At night, the Pool After Dark turns into a nightclub. It is well-known around the country as one of the hottest places to be. The Pool After Dark opens at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. There is a line to get in and proper attire is required. The music is blasting and colored spotlights are flashing.

There are several restaurants located on the property to fit anyone's tastebuds. From fine dining, coffee shops, sub shops, pizza parlors and the Waterfront Buffet. We had lunch at McCormick & Schmick's, This is a fine dining seafood restaurant. I had a shrimp cocktail, where the shrimp is bigger than I have ever seen. For the main entree, I had lobster and shrimp crepes. The fresh seafood was out of this world. All the fish is flown in fresh daily from around the world. They print two menus--one for lunch and one for dinner depending on what is flown in for the day. For dessert, I had creme brulee. The meal was fabulous and I highly recommend this restaurant.

The Waterfront Buffet at Harrah's was voted the best buffet in Atlantic City four years in a row. It includes nine food destinations offering over 100 food choices. The American Bounty offers chargrilled steaks and other American favorites. There is also the Italian Market, Braziliian cuisine, coastal specialties, Asian Wok and Mongolian Barbeque, sushi bar, and salad bar and be sure to leave room for dessert. There is also a Sunday Brunch, which is totally delicious for $20.40 per person.

Harrah's owns three other properties in Atlantic City: Bally's, Caesars, and Showboat. They make up 40 percent of the property share in this city. On the outside of Harrah's is a programmable LED light display from Color Kinetics. The lights wrap around each level of the building designed to generate bands of light performing a special lighting effect including color chases, sunburst patterns, rainbow effects and color wipes. The American flag will be displayed on special occasions. Also pictures of entertainment personalities are displayed on the side of the building.

Dinner that evening was at The Foundation Room at the House of Blues inside the Showboat Hotel. The House of Blues is where Bourbon Street meets The Boardwalk. The Foundation Room is an Indian-themed private room and unique place to dine. The decor offers global art and artifacts. Enjoy live music and Louisiana delta cuisine. Upcoming performances at The House of Blues include 50 Cent on Friday, June 25, 2010. Gladys Knight on Saturday, June 26. Dierks Bentley on Friday, July 2 and Diddy on Saturday, July 3, along with many others.

For all of you shopping enthusiasts, Atlantic City offers the Pier Shops at Caesars. Walk across the bridge from the casino and shop til you drop in the designer and specialty stores. The inspiring view overlooking the beach and Boardwalk is breathtaking. Also inside is a $7 million water, light and sound show which runs every hour on the hour. The "Water Show" is the world's largest indoor fountain with state-of-the-art audio technology.

Buddakan Restaurant at the Pier Shops at Caesars is the place we went for lunch. It is an upscale casual Asian restaurant. As you enter the restaurant, the decor has an Asian garden with 25-foot trees that grow through the rocks and into the ceiling itself. The first thing you see as you walk through the door is the giant gold Buddha at the head of the 24-foot communal, lighted dining room table. The menu features family-style dining of Asian/French dining styles. Everyone shares dishes and main lunch entrees begin at $20 and run as high as $40 for buttered poached lobster.

As you look down across the beach from the Pier Shops, workers are currently building Sammy Hagar's Beach bar on the sand and he promises to make an appearance now and then. It is located in front of Bally's on the Boardwalk and will open on May 28.

Behind the Boardwalk and casinos, going inland, is "The Walk" which are outlet stores. There are 100 factory outlets and restaurants and will offer visitors savings of 50 percent or more at their sidewalk sales coming up this Memorial Day weekend. They are continuing to build more stores which will be completed by next Spring.

Dinner was held at Mia's inside Caesars and it is located in an atrium/courtyard of the hotel with towering pillars. As you walk up the red velvet steps to the restaurant, there are tall curtains draped from the high ceilings. Philadelphia Chefs Georges Perrier and Chris Scarduzio serve food very creatively prepared and well presented. Mia is a high-priced, but worth every penny, upscale restaurant in an elegant setting serving Mediterranean, Italian and Greek fare. We had an appetizer of a mound of fresh seafood such as oysters, crab legs, lobster and shrimp stacked high to perfection. For the main course, I had the grilled free range chicken breast, asparagus and lemon risotto with lobster mashed potatoes. The plate was easy on the eyes and tasted delicious.

Take a step back in time to see the Absecon LIghthouse, which is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey and one of the oldest in the country. The Absecon Lighthouse first beamed out across the Atlantic Ocean coast in 1857. Visitors can climb the 228 steps to the top and see abreathtaking view of the skyline. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children 4-12. Congress approved to build the lighthouse because there were too many shipwrecks along the shoreline due to the shallow water. There was a multi-million dollar renovation in the late 1990's. Also on the property is a replica of the Lightkeeper's dwelling, a museum and a gift shop.

Also something to see is the Steel Pier premier Amusement Park offering family rides, games, food and plenty of fun. The Steel Pier is a 1,000-foot long amusement pier located off the Boardwalk across from Trump's Taj Mahal. During the beginning of the 20th century, the Pier offered big bands, movies, sideshows, acrobats and flag-pole sitters. People lined up to see the famous Diving Horses and their riders dive into a pool of water. The pier officially opened on June 18, 1898. The original wooden pier was destroyed in a 1982 fire and the new concrete structure was built in 1993. Trump Entertainment Resorts owns the Steel Pier. The pier is in the process of being redeveloped into retail, entertainment attractions and luxury condos, once it gets necessary approvals. It will continue to operate as an amusement park until re-development plans are finalized.

Our next stop was Nero's Grill for Sunday Brunch. This restaurant has a spectacular panoramic ocean-view overlooking the beach and Boardwalk. It is located inside Caesars next to the Pier Shops. The menu was buffet style and included prime rib, filet mignon, crab legs, shrimp, oysters, grilled swordfish, freshly carved turkey, caviar and many other options to choose from. The dessert tables included cheesecakes, tiramisu, pastries, crepes with fresh fruit and a chocolate fountain. I tried the melon champagne with my meal and I loved the lightness in taste. This restaurant was my favorite and is highly recommended. The cost for Sunday Brunch is $44.95 per person and is chock full of every kind of food you can ask for.

Our last stop was the Qua Baths and Spa inside Caesars Hotel and Casino. I had the most unique and luxurious spa treatment ever. The tranquil environment was set with soft music, dim lighting and candles. There are 14 treatment rooms including three facial rooms, wet room with three jacuzzi's--hot, tepid and cool. There was an herbal steam room and a cedar sauna. There were several treatments to choose from. I chose the Ayurvedic Journey which is the herbal masque on the body, then wrapped in a soothing warm blanket to lock in the beneficial elements. My feet was massaged, then enveloped in warmth. The ritual also included a pressure-point facial massage. Heaven lasted one and a half hours and the cost was $250. I felt the physical and mental benefits of balance and relaxation afterwards.

In summary, our journey was great. However, the plane was delayed by two hours. We thought it was due to the fog, but later found out it was a computer glitch of the whole Spirit Airlines system. They fixed the problem and we arrived in Detroit at 11:52 p.m. Atlantic City is a great destination for a weekend getaway of casino and gaming, entertainment and nightlife, ocean and fishing, watersports, fine dining, shopping and the famous Boardwalk. So pack up the kids or just go as a couple, it guarantees excitement and non-stop activities.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Our hotel room in the Waterfront Tower

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The bathroom inside our room

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A view of Atlantic City from our 38th-floor room.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A queen-size bed inside our room

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A view down the hallway.

 

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