Reviewing Revel: The bar has been raised in Atlantic City

    Last weekend, I kicked the tires on Revel, the new $2.4 billion Atlantic City casino resort that had its grand opening on Memorial Day weekend. Here’s how it went.

    The hotel

    Lovely. Wonderful. Luxurious. This has become the standard for new and/or refreshed rooms at Atlantic City’s hotels. The details make the difference here. I arrived at 10 a.m. on Friday and waited until noon to see if my room was ready, so I left my luggage with the front desk. When I checked in, they scanned the bar code on my luggage tag, and delivered the bags to my room five minutes later. There’s no thick, leather bound book in the room with details about the hotel — instead, it’s a touch pad with anything you could need. And they have quite possibly the best hair dryer I have ever used in the rooms (it’s a Barbar — and I’m getting one despite a seven week back order). 

    The food

    Excellent. I had lunch at Amada and dinner at the Mussel Bar. I’m not a cheesesteak fan, but the Amada version, with mahon fondue and truffled mushrooms, worked for me. If you go to Mussel Bar, do the obvious thing: get the mussels. We ordered them Mediterranean style: sausage, goat cheese, harissa aioli cilantro and smokey tomato broth. My mouth’s watering just thinking of it. 

    The nightlife

    Interesting and different, but incomplete. The main attraction right now is Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly, a burlesque show. We didn’t go into the show (combination of sleepiness and that my boyfriend had seen the show the night before — his review is that he enjoyed it), but we did have a drink in the bar outside of the show and watched two girls dance in two spaces: an elevated stage and on the bar. They’re quite talented. I was impressed by the dancer who re-strapped her garters while dancing without looking like she was trying to fix her costume. We also had drinks at the Ultra Lounge and One. It was nice to be able to move around the casino to experience different options.

    But I say that nightlife is incomplete because HQ, the 40,000 sq.-ft. multi-story night club — is still not open. They’re shooting for July 4th weekend. Until then, Revel is missing that nightclub experience, and I fear they will lose people who will want to hop from bar to bar in the casino before doing the big night club thing.

    The spa

    Did you know it’s possible to spend four hours in a spa? I didn’t, but that’s what I did. Bask is a complete sanctuary. I moved from mineral pool to salt water jacuzzi in the co-ed area, to the steam room and another salt water jacuzzi in the women-only section of the spa. I sat in a room lined with salt blocks that’s supposed to help people with respiratory problems. I read my book and just relaxed. I will be coming back to Bask, even when I’m not staying at Revel. Those four hours of complete relaxation were the highlight of my visit.

    Overall

    I loved it, and I can’t wait to go back. The fact that it’s non-smoking is a huge factor in the overall experience. No smoky casino floor to wade through, which my lungs appreciated. Plus, a pregnant friend stopped by to say hello, and I didn’t need to worry about where she could or could not walk or sit. I just looked and felt cleaner, and not because it was new.

    I feel the same way about Revel as I did about the Borgata when it opened in 2003. The bar has been raised, and now it’s time for everyone else to catch up.

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