A New Situation? How the Jersey Shore Became a Luxury Hot Spot for Travelers

The Jersey Shore gets a bad rap, but an abundance of upscale new offerings hope to change that.

Once frequented by mobsters, fist-pumping reality stars, and tri-state residents looking to escape the city, the Jersey Shore is the latest region to experience somewhat of a luxury revival, Bloomberg reported on Friday. While long-known as a prime vacation destination famed for its iconic boardwalks and stretches of sandy beaches, many of its oceanfront communities have been spruced up by a wave of swanky new developments—and discerning travelers are taking note.

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In Atlantic City, casinos have invested more than $1 billion to renovate the resort towns’ most iconic hotels, including Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Caesars, which are slated for completion this summer. MGM’s Borgata will also undergo a $55 million transformation. In addition, the funds are being used to add a slew of ritzy new restaurants including high-end eateries by Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay, to name a few. On that score, a Nobu-branded hotel is coming sometime in the near future, along with Superfrico and The Hook—two interactive dining experiences from Spiegelworld, the same people who produced Absinthe in Las Vegas.

Developer Bart Blatstein is the mastermind behind much of the city’s ambitious makeover. He poured a whopping $150 million into remodeling the Showboat Hotel. And right next door, he’ll debut the $100 million Island Waterpark in July. Dubbed the largest beachfront waterpark in the world, the family-friendly attraction will span 120,000 square feet and is said to take cues from the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos. The New Jersey amusement park will include over a dozen slides, a surf simulator, a lazy river, and an epic retractable glass roof.

jersey shore luxury travel
Atlantic City is in the middle of a luxury renaissance thanks to a slew of new hotels, restaurants, and casinos

Over in Long Branch, the seaside town is making a comeback of its own. Most notably, the Kushner Family shelled out $300 million to revamp Pier Village, an award-winning beachfront community. At the 67-Room Wave Resort, hotel rooms start at a cool $350 per night. Nearby, Asbury Park recently welcomed St. Laurent Social Club, a 20-room, $450-per-night boutique hotel from Top Chef alum and Heirloom Kitchen’s David Viana.

If you travel further south, Icona wants to build what would be Cape May’s first new hotel in five decades. The proposal includes a $150 million, 160-room resort, along with shops and three restaurants. The company also has plans for a 325-room hotel along the beaches of Ocean City. “We want it to be the nicest hotel on the East Coast,” said Icona Resorts chief executive officer, Eustace Mita, during an Ocean City council meeting in February. “This end of the boardwalk needs an anchor to give it class we know it deserves.”

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