It’s easier to choose a hotel in Atlantic City than it is in
Las Vegas for one big reason:
You just don’t have as many options.
There are 31 hotels on the Las Vegas Strip alone, but there
are also dozens of other hotels in other parts of the city. The
closest thing to The Strip that Atlantic City has is the
Boardwalk, which only has 6 casino hotels. The other 3 casinos
in the city are in the Marina district.
Atlantic City does offer other hotels and lodging
arrangements in a wide variety of price ranges and with a large
range of amenities. But unlike Las Vegas, the casinos and hotels
in Atlantic City aren’t really the star of the show. They’re
big, impressive, and important, but there just aren’t as many of
them—and they aren’t as big, impressive, or as important as
their counterparts in Sin City.
Gambling is big business in A.C., though. Even though
revenues are down about 15% year over year, the city has done
over $2.6 billion in gaming revenue over the last year. The bulk
of that revenue ($1.8 billion) comes from slot machine players.
Table games only generated $710 million.
Below we offer some tips about how to choose a hotel based on
your particular needs as a traveler. We have also recommended a
number of hotels in each of the following categories. You can
jump straight to those recommendations if you want, by just
clicking the relevant button.
When you’re planning a hotel stay anywhere—not just in
Atlantic City—you should answer two big questions first:
What’s your budget?
What locations do you want to be near?
What’s your budget?
The first question is related to your finances, but it also
varies according to your expectations and habits. Some people
prefer luxury hotels. Others, even people who can afford better
accommodations, enjoy saving money by staying at a more budget
friendly property. Either way, knowing your preferences in that
respect before making any reservations can help make your
decision a lot easier.
If you’re a budget traveler pinching your pennies, then
Atlantic City is a great destination. We’ve seen prices as low
as $17 or $22 per night at the lowest rate properties in the
On the other hand, if you’re into luxury lodging, Atlantic
City also has you covered. Expect to pay between $130 and $240
per night for a top notch property.
Mid-range properties vary in price from $74 up to $120 or
Keep in mind that all of these price ranges are surprisingly
fluid, too. I’ve seen luxury hotels in Atlantic City offer rates
of less than $100 many times, and I’ve also seen economy
properties raise their rates to over $100 during peak season.
What’s the difference in these categories?
Economy properties are aimed at customers who are just
looking for a place to stay. They usually lack most amenities
besides the basics, i.e. a bed, a television, a phone, and a
bathroom. These aren’t necessarily bad properties. They’re often
clean and comfortable.
Mid-range or first class properties provide more amenities in
exchange for a higher price. Such hotels might have a fitness
center or an affordable restaurant on site. They might or might
not offer room service. You’ll find some hotels in this price
range that are far better than others.
Luxury hotels provide finer amenities. Room service and good
restaurants are required for a hotel to be considered a luxury
property. Valet parking and a concierge service are also
appropriate. You can also expect the décor to be of a higher
quality than you’d find in the other two categories.
About Revenue Management
Keep in mind that hotels price their rooms based on occupancy
levels. This is called “revenue management”. When a hotel is at
a high percentage occupancy, then it raises the prices on its
remaining rooms in order to maximize the amount of revenue they
make per night. On the other hand, if the hotel’s projected
occupancy is below a certain percentage, they’ll lower their
nightly rates in order to encourage more reservations.
What locations do you want to be near?
If you’re going to A.C. for a specific event, it might be a
good idea to book a room near that event. Conventions are often
held at specific hotels, but they can also be held in the
convention center. Since most events at a convention behoove you
to show up at a certain time, staying nearby can really help out
Of course, another approach that works well for the
recreational traveler is choosing a hotel and then researching
the sights and activities nearby. That’s the opposite of what
most travelers do, but it’s a valid approach to planning your
trip. If you find a property that isn’t near anything
interesting to do, only stay there if you’re on a budget and the
property is the only place where your dollar can go furthest.
Many of the best properties in Atlantic City are located on
the Boardwalk, which offers visitors plenty to see and do—both
gambling-related and not. Others are located in the Marina area.
You’ll also find a wide range of other properties in
out-of-the-way places. Some of these are timeshares; others are
You’ll find an incredible variety of activities to choose
from on the Boardwalk. 2/3 of the casinos are located here, as
well as shopping centers, gourmet restaurants, and theaters.
Outdoorsy types can get quick access to beach activities, too,
like surfing and fishing.
Also, if you notice that the addresses of some of these
hotels sound familiar, it’s because the board game Monopoly took
the names of its properties from actual streets in Atlantic
There’s two more questions you should answer before choosing
where to stay in AC.
Am I planning to gamble?
What games do I play?
If you like to gamble, your choices become even easier. Do a
little looking into what games are available at the casino
hotels where you’re planning to play. There’s no point in
staying at a property with no baccarat tables if that’s your
Another thing gamblers should keep in mind is the stakes
available. If you’re a low roller, you’ll want to find a
property with low minimum bets. Not all casinos offer penny
slots and $5 per hand blackjack.
If you’re a high roller and plan to put a lot of money into
action, you should contact several properties to let them know
you’re planning a trip. Since they offer perks to high rollers,
like free travel, room and board, meals, event tickets, and the
like, you want to get the best deal in exchange for your action.
Be prepared to discuss with them how much you plan to gamble.
In the case of real high rollers, you should keep in mind
that some casinos might turn away your action depending on how
their results have been for the last quarter. Someone betting
$10,000 per hand at blackjack can get on a winning streak that
can wipe out a casino’s profits for the month. Many properties
will also give you a flat rebate percentage on your losses, too.
But they’ll make you sign a contract guaranteeing them a certain
amount of action over your visit.
Harrah’s is easily the most affordable luxury hotel in town.
You can find rooms there as low as $64 per night during certain
dates. That makes it at least half the price of some of the
other four star properties in town. The hotel might be a little
older than some of the other luxury lodging available in A.C.,
but at this price, it’s far and away the best value for your
Harrah’s is located in the Marina area, not on the
Boardwalk—if you want to stay at a luxury property on the
Boardwalk, move on to the other listings in this section. The
décor is contemporary, and the property has a full casino with
over 3800 slot machines and video poker games.
The Pool After Dark is one of the coolest nightclubs in the
city. The showroom also books a great variety of talent. Coming
up in the next month or so, Engelbert Humperdink, Jason
Alexander, and Pat Benatar are performing there.
If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience on site,
you can find it at Martorano’s. Run by Steve Martorano, this is
one restaurant everyone should experience at least once. The
property also offers a buffet as well as a casual Mexican
restaurant, Dos Caminos.
Golden Nugget Atlantic City is known for its suites and spa
packages, among other amenities. They do have a large and busy
casino, with frequent slot machine tournaments and a high limit
slot room for the high rollers. In fact, the readers of Strictly
Slots magazine voted Golden Nugget the best nickel slots in
Atlantic City. The poker room on site offers guaranteed prize
pool tournaments every night, too.
The restaurant selection is excellent. It includes Chart
House, Vic & Anthony’s, Grotto, Michael Patrick’s Brasserie, The
Buffet, The Deck Bayfront Bar & Restaurant, the H20 Pool + Bar
Grill, Lillie’s, Bean & Bread, Chocolate Box, and Starbucks.
Chart Front is one of the big stars of the dining scene there.
The fresh fish specials are excellent, as is the prime rib, but
the terrific food is accompanied by breathtaking views of the
Golden Nugget also features several bars and nightclubs,
including Haven Nightclub, Live Bar, Rush Lounge, Wine & Wifi,
and Bar 46. The H20 Pool + Bar Grill and The Deck also serve
drinks. The Deck is one of our favorites; we like the Old Bay
Crab Dip and the outdoor casual atmosphere.
Golden Nugget is also a shoppers’ paradise. You can shop at
the following stores: Style & Trend, Nineteen Fort-Six, Tint,
Cool Jeans, d’Oro, The Signature Shoppe, Essentials, Docksider,
and The Pool Boy. At these establishments you can buy stylish
clothes for both men and women, as well as brand name
sunglasses, blue jeans, and fine jewelry. Some of the stores on
the list are also gift and souvenir shops. They have items for
sale that fit everyone’s budget, so you can be a hero to your
family members when you bring them back souvenirs from your
You’ll also find entertainment from around the world in their
two showrooms, The Grand and The Showroom. Upcoming events at
the time of this writing include Andrew Dice Clay, Last Comic
Standing, Herman’s Hermits, and Michael Bolton.
The Golden Nugget is far pricier than its competitor,
Harrah’s, but it’s money well spent—especially if you love
shopping, spa treatments, and shows.
We know we said that a luxury hotel in Atlantic City costs at
least $130 per night, but there are exceptions to every rule.
Caesars has special rates on low occupancy nights right now as
low as $74.
Caesars offers a casino aimed at least as much at the table
games player as the slots player. Table games available at
Caesars include but are not limited to: blackjack, 21 + 3 Xtreme, Texas hold’em, craps,
sic bo, Spanish 21, Fortune Pai Gow, Caribbean Stud, Pai Gow
Tiles, Easy Pai Gow, mini baccarat, EZ baccarat, big six, Let It
Ride, three card and four card poker, and Ultimate Texas
That is not to say that slot machine or video poker players
have to do without. Caesars has over 2000 slot machines ranging
in denomination from a penny per spin to $1000 per spin. On
their official website, you can download a list of the slot
machine and video poker games available. It’s a PDF file with 26
pages. Each page lists at least 25 or 30 games, so there are
lots of different games to choose from—probably at least 600.
Caesars has its own theater with a wide range of big name
acts. Some of the upcoming shows at the time this was written
included ZZ Top, Martin Lawrence, Elf the Musical, and the Brian
Fans of Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares will love
Caesars. One of the more famous restaurants there is the Gordon
Ramsay Pub & Grill, which features many of the same dishes as
Ramsay’s Vegas restaurant of the same name. The Pub also
features a big variety of alcoholic beverages and expert
That’s not the only restaurant on site, either. The Palace
Court Buffet features stone fired pizza, sushi, ice cream, and
plenty of meats sliced to order. You can also dine at Nero’s
Italian Steakhouse, Kwi Noodle House, Café Roma, Tazza, Morton’s
the Steakhouse, Phillips Seafood Restaurant at the Pier, Piazza
di Giorgio Café at the Pie, Souzai Sushi & Sake at the Pier,
Buddakan at the Pier, Auntie Anne’s, and Cinnabon at the Pier.
As you can see, the dining choices run the gamut from affordable
and quick to upscale and leisurely.
The property also features a spa and several nightclubs,
including Dusk Nightclub and The Backyard Bar.
The Borgata is a luxury resort style hotel with plenty of
dining options and shows. It’s also a good spot for nightlife,
shopping, and spa amenities. The décor is splendid, with rich
colors and a warm ambience. The rooms feature lush bedding, and
they also have suites available.
You can book a variety of packages at the Borgata. These
include their “Savor the Weekend” package, which their website
describes as “a food-cation for two during Savor Borgata
Weekend”. This package includes a $100 dining credit and 2
tickets to Bobby Flay’s Culinary Demonstration in the Music Box.
It also includes tickets to the Street Eats: Save the World
Event. Celebrity chefs present at the event include Wolfgang
Puck and Geoffrey Zakarian.
Available packages change according to what’s going on in the
city, but you should visit their website to see the full range
of possibilities. The Burlesque Show package looked like a fun
one for $179 per night.” If you like wine, they also offer a
The Borgata offers both fine dining and casual restaurants.
The fine dining options include Bobby Flay Steak, Fornelletto,
Izakaya, Old Homestead Steakhouse, and Wolfgang Puck American
Grille. Casual dining options include the Borgata Buffet, the
Metropolitan, the Borgata Baking Company, Bread + Butter, Now,
28 West, Sunroom, and the Cafeteria. You’ll find enough dining
options here to keep you well-fed for even a week-long vacation,
and you never have to leave your hotel.
The Borgata has multiple spas for multiple needs. The Salon
is a full-service styling destination. You can get your hair
styled, learn how to apply makeup, get a wax, a manicure, and/or
a pedicure. Spa Toccare is one of the largest spas in the world,
with over 54,000 square feet of services, including a
barbershop, a swimming pool, and gardens. When you’re getting
ready to make reservations, ask about their spa packages.
They also offer a full casino and shows, including comedy and
live music. You could take a week-long vacation at the Borgata,
never leave the hotel, and have more fun than you thought
possible. It’s that great a place.
The Claridge is only listed among the first class hotels
because of its affordable price tag. That, and it’s really a
little bit older than some of the newer super-luxury resort
properties. In fact, The Claridge Hotel would easily be
considered a top-tier hotel in almost any other destination.
It’s just that in Atlantic City, the competition is tough.
The Claridge used to be called the “Skyscraper by the Sea”.
It’s been in business since 1929. It’s located right in the
center of the Boardwalk, and it stands out from the other
buildings there because of its Manhattanish design. It’s known
for having a long history of hosting famous (and infamous)
celebrities like Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe,
Al Capone, Nucky Johnson, and Princess Grace.
The property has only 500 rooms, making it smaller and more
elegant than many of its nearby competitors. The amenities here
are classy and old-school. They offer many amenities which are
unavailable at their competitors—these include private limos,
shopping packages, golf packages, and personal concierge
The third oldest restaurant in Atlantic City, The Twenties
Restaurant, still has the original speakeasy bar it had in the
1920s. That’s history, there. You can choose from steaks and
chops or Italian dishes there. Breakfast and lunch are also
Besides The Twenties Restaurant, you can also eat and drink
at a couple of other spots there. One is the Beer and Wine
Garden, which serves from 6pm to 10pm. The Club 11 Nightclub is
also cool. The Celebrity Lounge and Malcolm’s Lounge are also
worth visiting for a drink.
Key Information Address: Park Pl, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 Phone: (844) 224-7386 Website: http://claridge.com/
Resorts Casino Hotel Atlantic City
The Resorts Casino is owned by Mohegan Sun. It’s a fine
property at which to stay, especially if you’re a gambler. It’s
not the same kind of older luxury property that the Claridge
is—just the opposite in fact. It’s newer and focused more on
gambling than their other amenities. For a mid-range customer
looking to get in some gaming excitement, it’s a good value.
For a mid-range property, Resorts has an excellent selection
of fine dining restaurants. Choose from Eat Wid, Cielo Wine Bar,
Capriccio, or Gallagher’s Steak House if you’re looking for some
fancy dining or drinks. Their casual dining selection is
impressive, too. Jimmy Buffett fans will, of course, want to
visit Margaritaville and Margaritaville Coffee. There’s also a
food court (Quick Bites), the Burger Bar, the Landshark Bar and
Grill, Breadsticks, and East Wind Express.
Key Information Address: 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 Phone: (800) 334-6378 Website: https://resortsac.com/
Tropicana Casino & Resort
Like many other hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, the
Tropicana Casino & Resort is big, glitzy, and flashy. In most
towns, this type of property wouldn’t be considered mid-range at
all, but gambling destinations have different standards.
Tropicana offers as many fine dining restaurants as some of
the more upscale and pricey hotels in the city. These include
Fin, a fine seafood restaurant, Il Verdi, which serves upscale
Italian fare, Golden Dynasty, which has an Asian theme,
Carmine’s, another Italian restaurant, Cuba Libre, which offers
Cuban food, The Palm, a steakhouse, and PF Chang’s, which
stretches the definition of fine dining a little bit.
Casual diners have plenty of options to choose from at the
Tropicana, too. The focus of these restaurants is on fun. You
can choose from A Dam Good Sports Bar (no, that’s not a
misspelling), Broadway Burger, Casa Taco & Tequila Bar,
Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar, Fiesta Buffet,
Hooters, Marketplace Express, Perry’s Pizza, Ri Ra Irish Pub,
Seaside Café, the Bar at Fin, and Tony Luke’s at Atlantic City.
Tropicana isn’t all about food and gambling, though. It’s
also about entertainment. They have a daily show, Tropicana’s
Multimedia Light & Sound Show, which can be seen every half hour
from 8:30pm to 11:00pm. The iMax theater on the property is
constantly showing movies. You can also see MMA bouts at the
Tropicana, and they have live music—the Guess Who, Meat Loaf,
and Brian Wilson are just three of the concerts coming up at
If you like nightclubs, there’s plenty to experience here,
too. Boogie Nights, with its 70s and 80s dance groove, might be
And of course, the casino offers the traditional selection of
slot machines and table games. They also have a specific section
(Jade Palace) devoted to Asian gambling games. If Pai Gow Poker
and Pai Gow Tiles are your cup of tea, head their first.
Key Information Address: 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 Phone: (800) 843-8767 Website: http://tropicana.net/
Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center
If you’re going to Atlantic City on business or for a
convention, the Sheraton might just be the alternative to the
noise and shock of the casino hotels that you’re looking for.
It’s a nice hotel with great rooms and furniture, but it’s more
sedate and traditional.
Among the amenities there is the Sheraton Club. It’s a lounge
featuring complimentary breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres,
snacks any time of the day, and beverages. When you’re not
hanging out in there, noshing on the free food, you can relax at
the indoor pool and the outdoor whirlpool. The fitness center is
state of the art, and the business center is too.
You’ll have three restaurants to choose from in Atlantic
City: Boulevards Café, Tun Tavern Restaurant & Brewery, and Shoe
Bar. None of these are as fancy as some of the restaurants in
the more leisure-oriented casino hotels, but they’ll provide the
business traveler with hearty meals at good prices.
They also offer weddings, but we’re of the opinion that the
Claridge is a better choice in Atlantic City for hosting a
wedding. But if you’re a business traveler looking for somewhere
to stay that’s not a casino, the Sheraton is a great choice.
The Wyndham Skyline Tower has similarities to the Sheraton in
terms of its target market, but it’s located closer to the
Boardwalk. One of the cool features of the Wyndham is the suite
availability. People who are traveling with families will enjoy
the one bedroom suites available. They range in size from 736 to
882 square feet. They also offer 2 bedroom deluxe condos which
go up to 1257 square feet. These feature a master bedroom with a
king or a queen, a 2nd bedroom, which usually has 2 double beds,
and a queen sized sofa sleeper.
The prices are good and the location is excellent.
One of the best ways to save money on lodging is to stay a
little further away from the center of the activity and drive to
the sights. Country Hearth Inn is a good example of this. The
rooms are nice, and you even get some free premium channels to
watch on the 32 inch TVs.
They also offer a free continental breakfast. You know you’re
dealing with a budget property, though, when their website lists
having a 24 hour desk clerk as one of their featured amenities.
Sometimes we wonder who comes up with the names of hotels.
Naming a property “Superlodge” just seems like an exercise in
letting customers know that the location is cheap. Maybe that’s
the goal. But we try to find hotels that have cheap prices
without looking or sounding cheap.
That being said, if you’re looking for a rock bottom price
and don’t mind bland contemporary style décor and a lack of
amenities, the Superlodge is a fine accommodation.
Key Information Address: 633 White Horse Pike, Absecon, NJ 08201 Phone: (609) 641-0085
Empire Inn & Suites Atlantic City/Absecon
The Empire Inn & Suites is located in the business district
in Absecon, which is a short drive to Atlantic City. Many
travelers aren’t interested in staying on the outskirts, but if
budget’s an issue, it can be worth it to bunk here and drive to
the Boardwalk and the other sites during the day.
It’s a clean, comfortable, contemporary style property
without a lot of atmosphere. But you can’t beat the price.
Key Information Address: 630 White Horse Pike, Absecon, NJ 08201 Phone: (609) 645-8008
Discount properties don’t usually get much more affordable
than the Econo Lodge. This one features rooms with in-room
refrigerators, microwaves, and coffeemakers, but not all of
their rooms are so equipped. Be sure to ask for a room with
these perks when you make your reservation. But ask again at
check-in. Room assignments aren’t made until you check in.
Key Information Address: 3001 Pacific Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 Phone: (609) 344-2925 Website: https://www.choicehotels.com/new-jersey/atlantic-city/
You don’t think of luxury when you hear the words “Days Inn”,
but the A.C. Days Inn has some surprising amenities you might
not expect from an economy hotel. It’s located directly on the
Boardwalk, for one thing. And even though it’s an older hotel,
it has clean, comfortable, safe rooms—many of which offer a view
of the ocean.
Unlike most economy properties, the Days Inn does have a
restaurant, but gourmet dining it is not. The on-site restaurant
is called The Country Kitchen. It serves traditional American
cuisine during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
You won’t find a lot of fancy amenities like spa treatments
and shows here. But if you’re there to see the sites, and you
want to keep your budget for lodging low, the Days Inn is one of
the best values in the city. It’s also walking distance from
almost anything and everything you’d want to do while visiting.
If you enjoy boutique hotels with a lot of style and
sophistication, The Chelsea is an excellent choice in Atlantic
City. It holds the distinction of being the first non-casino
hotel on the boardwalk in 50 years. It’s a rare luxury property
in a casino destination with no gambling offered.
But The Chelsea has plenty to offer. They have a “Rise, Shine
and Relax” package that includes your stay and breakfast at the
property’s award-winning Teplitzky’s, which is considered
Atlantic City’s best breakfast restaurant. They also offer a
package called “Sea Spa Baccarat”, which includes a $100 credit
toward the on-site spa amenities.
Teplitzky’s isn’t the only restaurant on site, either. Dining
on the Fifth is a neat little casual restaurant and lounge. It’s
listed on Zagat’s “10 Hottest Restaurants on the Jersey Shore”.
Key Information Address: 111 S Chelsea Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 Phone: (800) 548-3030 Website: http://www.thechelsea-ac.com/
The Courtyard by Marriott
The Courtyard by Marriott is a reasonably upscale property
located about a block from the Boardwalk. They don’t offer
gambling on site, but it’s a short walk from the casinos. The
property offers free high speed Internet, a fitness center, and
meeting event space.
The biggest selling point for The Courtyard by Marriott is
the reasonable price and the great location. It isn’t quite a
luxury hotel, but it’s better than first class.
Tourism in Atlantic City is down, which means you can find
great prices on hotels of all categories—including economy,
mid-range, and luxury hotels. Many of these hotels offer some of
the best casino gambling in the world, but that’s not the only
perk to visiting Atlantic City. You can also find non-gambling
hotels with access to shopping and spa treatments. There are
also plenty of hotels offering great restaurants and live
When and if the city’s tourism becomes revitalized, you can
expect hotel rates to go back up. Our suggestion is to check out
Atlantic City while it’s still so affordable.
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