Not since the Borgata opened in 2003 has an Atlantic City casino/hotel thrown down such a gauntlet, promising services and amenities to match its gleaming presence. But the new Revel Resort does just that, and in fact raises the ante. For one thing, Revel has the more desirable location, right on the ocean at the northern end of the Boardwalk, compared to the Borgata’s encampment about a mile away in the marina district. But Revel doesn’t turn a more or less blind eye on the Boardwalk, the beach and the ocean, in the manner of most Boardwalk casinos. It openly embraces all three.
Revel’s wide, circular driveway brings you right to the edge of the newly renovated Boardwalk. Its curving glass walls rise from the Boardwalk, flooding the multi-story atrium, the broad perimeter hallways and some of the restaurants with daylight and affording sweeping views of the seaside splendor. Revel thinks of itself as a resort first and a casino second. Breathtaking in scale and ambition, it is imaginatively designed, lavishly outfitted and smoke-free throughout. An indoor-outdoor pool and an elevated garden with lounge chairs and bar service, among other amenities such as a full-service spa and a beach club, are reserved for guests of its attractive high-rise hotel. Revel’s theaters will slug it out with the competition for A-list bands and entertainers.
In its restaurants, Revel is clearly taking aim at Borgata, the first Atlantic City property to boast a murderer’s row of celebrity chefs. Revel’s all-star lineup includes three restaurants by acclaimed Philadelphia-based Iron Chef Jose Garces, two of them celebrating his Latin roots. Washington-based chef Robert Wiedmaier has the Mussel Bar, an enticing take on a Belgian pub. Marc Forgione, a Next Iron Chef winner, has American Cut, a neo-retro steakhouse. Alain Allegretti is serving suave Mediterranean cuisine at Azure by Allegretti. James Beard Award-winner Michel Richard has three restaurants, including Central Michel Richard, a showcase for his French-California fusions. There will be 14 restaurants in all, and when you just can’t take another bite, all you have to do is roll out the front door and you’re on the beach.