Travel: A Simplified Way to See Atlantic City

Whether it’s on your travel to-do list or you've just heard about it from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Atlantic City has the reputation of sort of the Las Vegas of the Northeast.

Just 100 miles south of New York City and 60 miles east of Philadelphia, it’s been a favorite quick getaway for the big city folks since the 1870’s. But now, vacationers from the south have a chance to enjoy the experience...and it’s easier to get there than ever imagined.

I was invited by the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa for a weekend stay, and to get there they booked me a seat on a chartered plane out of Charlotte, NC! It’s part of their service that includes a chartered flight and hotel starting at just over $700.
That’s for a full three day, two night stay: Friday through Sunday.

*Click here for more information on the service
The Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa

And they fly from Buffalo, NY to Cleveland, OH and as far south as North Carolina!
Our chartered plane.
Believe me, the private plane experience is unmatched. When was the last time that you drove up to the airport, parked your car for free, walked into the terminal...with the agents expecting you: they take your bag, and hand you a boarding pass? Then moments later, you simply walk on the plane. For me...that never happened before until this trip. And I have to say, I can really get used to the non-TSA way of flying!

Anyway, the flight simply leaves when it’s ready, no big hullabaloo, and then before you know it you have arrived to Atlantic City!

With this package there is no way to get lost. Everyone on your flight is going to the same place, and there is someone to lead you straight to the shuttle for the hotel when you exit the flight.

Once at the casino, there is a number of things to do.
  • Five fine dining and six casual dining restaurants; plus a mall like cafeteria
  • most nights there’s a big show: big name concerts and headlining comedians
  • boutique shopping
  • two spas
  • two night clubs
  • 161,000-square-foot casino floor with 3,475 slot machines and over 250 table games

But before the fun, we checked into our room.

I would give it a 3.5/4 out of 5 stars for quality.
Unfortunately, I did find that the hallways can be noisy;  even inside the room, I could hear voices and doors closing from somewhere other than inside the room.
The price of the room itself can start as low as $89/night.

Here’s what I did:
We took it easy the rest of the afternoon and luxuriated (napped) in our room.
But ready for dinner, we had 7pm reservations at Fornelletto.

My Friday evening meal.
I had the Tuscan Fried Chicken.
And oh boy! You get what seemed to be an entire chicken: four peices - wing, leg, breast, thigh.
It also came with mashed potatoes and honey mustard sauce to dip the chicken in.

I really enjoyed the flavorful crust and the taste penetrated to the meat.
There was a lot of food and I only got through one chicken breast and the top of the mashed potatoes.

*lesson learned: After barely doing any damage to my plate, my dinner companion and I observed another table splitting their order; and then we felt like fools. Of course, this ridiculous amount of food isn’t meant for one person! It could be more economical and more satisfying to share an entree. Also, if you are staying at the Borgata, the rooms do have a place to store extra food, but no means to re-heat it.

Wine, wine, wine for days

The restaurant had an extensive wine selection, beautifully displayed along the entire wall, then encased by glass.

We did find it strange that the menu did not include bruschetta, as it was an Italian restaurant. Our lovely waiter said they could make it for us. It came out beautifully, but we thought it odd that it was topped with halved cherry tomatoes. Welp! Lesson learned: don’t order what is not on the menu.
  1. The awkward tomatoes kept falling off
  2. one fell, with the vinegar and oil, onto my lap and stained my dress
  3. it wasn’t worth the calories. it simply wasn’t that tasty
The not-so-good bruschetta
But the appetizer bread was simply glorious. It was indulgent. We loved it. I’m dreaming of it now!

Club Mur.Mur
After dinner it was the after party.
We checked out Club Mur.Mur.
Walking in we loved with the female DJ Kiss was doing. She was hot and the music was fun. It was the perfect combination for people watching gold. We danced a lot, and DJ Kiss played top 40 hits from the 1990’s to today. It was an unexpected good time until 4 am.


Time for the spa!

Admittedly, I’ve never indulged in a full spa day and that has been a luxury that I had robbed myself from. But never again!

The Borgata has two full spas: Spa Toccare and Immersion Spa.
I had an appointment for the Balinese Massage, but their services ranged from facials to mani/pedis. At Spa Toccare there are a list full of men’s treatments too.

My massage was divine. 90 minutes of a relaxing and relieving experience.
But my favorite part, is that when you get any service at the spa, you have access to the spa for the rest of the day. And what that means is you can luxuriate in their steam room, hot and cold tubs, and co-ed pools. Order lunch, drink the mineral water and lay by the beautiful window view until your heart’s content.

And that’s exactly what I did!
I managed my time in and out of the hot tub. It was simply the perfect day.

Also, don’t worry if you forgot your swim suit. They will offer you disposable ones that you can use in the gender only areas. (Because they are flimsy and just cover your private bits just enough!)

For dinner, we went to Bobby Flay Steak. Reservations were for 7pm, and that place was so hoppin’, that we didn’t get seated until 8:30. (That made us a little nervous because we had a show to see at 9pm!)

I ordered the filet mignon and it was perfectly prepared as I asked. It had Bobby’s special rub and sauce. (I didn’t really like the sauce as it was sweet. I would’ve preferred savory.) I ordered the sweet potato side, which was also a mistake because I was in the mood for salty flavors.

Filet mignon and sweet potato
My dining companion ordered the halibut and said the sauce put it over the top.

Pan seared halibut
For appetizer we had the coolest salad. Our waiter said it was a non-salad salad. It was four onion rings on top of blue cheese chunks and roasted tomato.
Onion ring salad
Of course, there was no room for dessert.

Always great acts.
The Borgata has a lineup this year full of fun performances, like Janelle Monae, Robin Thicke and Maxwell. For our Saturday night we saw Rob Thomas. The Music Box theatre was the perfect venue for his acoustic sound, as there were theatre seats. I question how that would play for some of their more high energy performances.
Rob Thomas at the Borgata, 1/18/2014
*click here for a list of upcoming performances

The other club.
We took a two hour break in our room. That’s part of the convenience of staying where you play. (I supposed we could have used the in between time to gamble, but I had all day Sunday planned for that.)
Around 1am we went to MIXX. It was the same kind of energy: go-go dancers (we even saw the same girls from the night before at Mur.Mur.) and a mixed crowd of age and likeness. Except, MIXX was two levels, had private VIP rooms, confetti and a dancing pink gorilla.

Pink dancing gorilla

Here's video of the dancing gorilla.

Sunday I took it easy and went to the cafeteria, got some Fat Burger for nostalgia sake, and spent $100 on the slot machines. That’s as risky as I get when it comes to giving away my hard earned bucks.

I love that you get the most out of this three day trip. The return flight is around 6pm and I was back at my house by 9pm!

  • Best times to go: For this trip you don’t have to really consider weather. We stayed and entertained ourselves plenty inside the casino. But if you want to expand your trip to explore Atlantic City’s boardwalk and beach, then of course, the summer is the time to go, but be warned that is peak season, so if the high traffic and crowds don’t bother you then book your trip.
  • Safe to travel alone: there were at least two women on the trip who were solo travelers. On the flight home, they seemed to have enjoyed their visit. Also, booking the trip this way, you are escorted and accounted for during travel.
  • Cheap travel tip: get on Fly  Borgata’s mailing list and they will alert you when deals are available. That will likely be in off-season travel, but this is a good trip to take in the off-season.
  • Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit. Especially if you plan to go to the spa, even in the cold weather, the co-ed spa with the magnificent Atlantic City view is a special experience to share with your travel companion.
One more time for the view from the pool.

What are your tips?
Have you’ve been? What was your favorite thing to do or place to eat or discovery?
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