by Andrea Doyle | September 05, 2017
Salt water taffy, Miss America, Mr. Peanut, and countless other cultural icons originated in Atlantic City. Today, so do meetings and conventions.
Groups are convening here in droves and, in turn, its casino resorts are responding. In May, Borgata Hotel Casino unveiled its $11 million, 18,000-square-foot Central Conference Center. Featuring two stories of customizable event space including five meeting rooms, a boardroom, and an office on the lower level, it also offers a 6,500-square-foot clear-span ballroom on the upper level. Occupying what was formerly mur.mur nightclub, the bi-level venue boasts the latest in technology, offering high-definition digital projection, TV, and internet capabilities paired with all-digital distributed sound systems. Touch-panel controls and decor lighting that can be customized for any event.

The addition allows Borgata to devote more than 106,000 square feet of space to meetings, events, and conventions among its three unique venues -- the 70,000-square-foot Event Center, the 18,000-square-foot Water Club, and the 18,000-square-foot Central Conference Center -- while also offering a wide array of group dining from world-renowned chefs, including Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Michael Schulson, Geoffrey Zakarian, and restaurateurs Greg and Marc Sherry.

Harrah's Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center, which opened in 2015, is turning the head of many a meeting professional. With an estimated cost of $125.8 million, the facility features a 100,000-square-foot conference center with two 50,000-square-foot pillarless ballrooms that can be configured 63 different ways, part of a complex that includes the 2,590-room Harrah's Atlantic City, which has another 25,000 square feet of event space.

Building on the success of the Waterfront Conference Center, Harrah's Atlantic City underwent a $30 million room-and-suite renovation, part of Caesars Entertainment's total investment of $200 million into its Atlantic City casino resorts, which also include Harrah's premier nightlife destination, The Pool After Dark, the resort's fitness center, and its upscale food court.

In other news, Hard Rock International has purchased Trump Taj Mahal, and after a multimillion-dollar renovation, is expected to open next Memorial Day weekend.

"From world-renowned music events to innovative dining concepts, we're excited to bring the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino experience to the Atlantic City Boardwalk -- which has been home to our Hard Rock Cafe for more than 20 years," says Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International.

The $375 million renovation will see an entirely redesigned hotel and casino with new food and beverage concepts, 2,400 slots, and 130 table games. Two separate arenas will offer more than 7,000 seats for meetings, conferences, live music, and sporting events. Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City will move to a new 400-seat venue, including an improved stage and a central location within the property featuring beach access. All 2,010 guest rooms and suites will undergo a complete renovation, as will the 155,000 square feet of meeting space.

In other hotel news, Tropicana purchased The Chelsea Hotel, and the additional tower will bring Tropicana's room inventory to 2,730 units. The tower will be called The Chelsea Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City, and a skyway bridge will link the Tropicana and Chelsea Tower for easy access.

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This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Successful Meetings.