A longtime favorite among East Coast residents, Atlantic City is fast becoming a nice option as a meetings and events destination for insurance and financial meeting professionals from across the country. This Jersey Shore resort destination is teeming with fun-filled entertainment, captivating casinos, award-winning cuisine, wonderful shopping destinations and oceanside retreats that leave meeting and event attendees wanting more.
And while the city’s historic Boardwalk and casino gambling is a key attraction of Atlantic City, many planners and attendees themselves find this entertainment destination offers something for everyone. Best of all, Atlantic City is easily accessible and within a three-hour drive of 30% of the U.S. population. In addition to the Atlantic City International Airport, the Philadelphia International Airport is within a one-hour drive.
What’s more, the city offers more than 5 miles of pristine beaches, boasts 17,500 hotel rooms and 1.8 million sf of meeting space. And while the regional resorts and casinos offer a wonderful array of meeting space options, the Atlantic City Convention Center’s (ACCC) five spacious exhibition venues are located on the building’s second level and range in size from 29,400 sf to 199,500 sf. In addition, the ACCC features a wealth of meeting rooms — 45 in total that are ideal for small meetings or training seminars. And with more than 32,000 sf of pre-function space, the ACCC offers ample room for gatherings and events of all sizes.
Lisa Obolsky, vice president of operations at a group representing New Jersey builders, recently orchestrated the largest annual building industry trade show in the Northeast. The event draws thousands of participants from the region, including residential and commercial builders, developers, remodelers and subcontractors, plus a variety of manufacturers, suppliers and consulting professionals. The convention features hundreds of exhibits showcasing the latest products and services to a large and diverse audience of decision-makers. Attendees gain up-to-date information about the latest market trends, government policies and technical developments at educational seminars.
For Obolsky, Atlantic City offers abundant meeting and event space throughout the city, as well as a great diversity of entertainment options to incorporate into the trade show’s schedule and enhance the attendee experience. “Whether you are bringing your show to the city for the first time or for the 45th time, the best first step is to contact the folks at Meet AC,” Obolsky says. “They are responsible members of the business community and expertly refer the right business to meet your needs. As we strive to keep our show fresh and introduce something new each year, we have turned to the staff at Meet AC, who are keenly aware of what is going on in the city and have helped us incorporate points of interest into our show to help attract visitors.”
Atlantic City is filled with an array of venues that can accommodate groups of all sizes. One of the biggest names in resort destinations is Caesars Entertainment. Known for providing a memorable experience at all of their world-class casinos and hotels throughout the U.S., Caesars Entertainment has certainly made its mark on the Atlantic City landscape — providing a wealth of meeting and event venue options at its Las Vegas-style resort destinations in the Atlantic City region. In addition to Caesars Atlantic City, the company’s other two properties — Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Tropicana Atlantic City — have become favorites among meeting planners thanks to their wealth of amenities and experiences, including nightlife, shopping, celebrity chefs and entertainment. “In particular, [Harrah’s Resort and Tropicana] offer an all-inclusive resort all under one roof. Tropicana is perfectly located on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and offers great space for outdoor receptions and experiences,” says Steve van der Molen, vice president, meeting operations, Atlantic City with Caesars Entertainment. “Harrah’s Resort is a little more secluded and is the largest hotel conference complex from Baltimore to Boston, and Caesars Atlantic City is the jewel on the Boardwalk. In addition to the flexible conference space, the properties have large theaters, which are often used for general sessions.”
In fact, with its prime Marina District location, the Waterfront Conference Center at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City offers more than 100,000 sf of flexible meeting space. In addition, Harrah’s Resort offers another 125,000 sf of meeting space and more than 2,500 guest rooms. A favorite spot for many groups to meet is under Harrah’s 90-foot-high glass dome within an indoor tropical oasis. Here, up to 2,000 attendees can be enamored with a unique meeting experience.
For more than 40 years, Tropicana Atlantic City has been a favorite among meeting planners who are looking for expansive meeting spaces. As one of New Jersey’s largest hotels, Tropicana boasts more than 122,000 sf of meeting space and 2,400 guest rooms. For large-scale events, conferences and trade shows, Tropicana’s Grand Exhibition Center is a multipurpose space measuring almost 20,000 sf. Often used for trade shows, this room can accommodate more than 115 standard exhibit booths. In addition, Tropicana offers a 2,000-seat Broadway-style theater, ideal for large award programs or general sessions.
While Tropicana has long been celebrated for its memorable cuisine and casino entertainment, recently Tropicana Atlantic City announced that it soon will be debuting eight new dining and entertainment concepts, and undergoing gaming enhancements. The new additions and enhancements are part of Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to invest $400 million into its Atlantic City resorts by next year.
Eight of the 14 new restaurants and fast-casual concepts debuting at Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City properties this year are at Tropicana. The plans for Tropicana join the game-changing enhancements that are taking place at Caesars Atlantic City and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, including more than 2,100 newly renovated rooms and suites. Nobu Atlantic City — which will be within Caesars Atlantic City — and Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen are soon opening, and a new theater show by Spiegelworld is arriving next year at Caesars Atlantic City.
“Building on Tropicana’s success over the last four decades, we are thrilled to go all-in on our investment in this incredible resort destination, our team members, and the community we serve, as we introduce an unparalleled eight new dining offerings and additional transformative gaming enhancements this year,” says Jacqueline Grace, senior vice president and general manager for Tropicana Atlantic City in a recent news release.
And as van der Molen explains, the enhancements to Caesars Entertainment’s presence in Atlantic City is further exemplified by the hands-on attention and service meeting planners receive while planning an event at this oceanside gem. “Our sales people are located in your destination. They know the properties well and can not only check availability and quote rates, but be a great resource to help you plan an impactful conference,” van der Molen says. “Our catering and convention services managers are knowledgeable and will help you with all of your needs. Everyone is focused on delivering and exceeding expectations.”
The properties also have a wide range of amenities and offer great value for conferences. Caesars Entertainment has a reputation for service and providing a memorable food and beverage experience,” van der Molen says. “The catering team will work with you to customize your menus. Being in the Garden State, the menus are always changing with the seasons as much is locally sourced.”
Another fan favorite among meeting planners is Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. As Donna Ward, vice president of sales, explains, the resort can host meetings and conventions of any size, with more than 2,000 rooms and more than 150,000 sf of meeting and event space. “We have a variety of venues available to amplify programs and are designed to accommodate groups of all sizes — from intimate board meetings to large-scale events with the ability to host up to 7,000 people or 300-plus-booth trade shows and expo events,” Ward says.
As a resort destination, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City offers nontraditional venues available for roundtables, discussions and appointments that are attractive to groups and social settings. “There is something for everyone, and the opportunity to have any experience at your fingertips is what sets us apart from other destinations known for their meetings and events,” Ward says. “The casino resort is motivated by music, and that is ingrained in our offerings for groups. With a vast collection of music memorabilia, often touted as one of the largest collections in the Northeast, we are able to offer unique music-centric activities, such as trivia and scavenger hunts and guided tours for groups during their breakout sessions.”
Last year, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City made a $20 million capital investment, which included suite renovations, the opening of a new Starbucks, additional slot and table games, a new dining outlet called Sandpiper Coastal Bar & Grill, and a refresh of beachfront amenities. Additionally, Hard Rock Atlantic City was the first casino resort in the destination to bring back live entertainment in 2020.
“There are endless opportunities at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City for work and play. As a resort destination, attendees are able to enjoy a wide array of activities from exciting entertainment to world-class relaxing spa treatments at the Rock Spa,” Ward says. When it comes to dining, the legendary Hard Rock Cafe offers an indoor/outdoor dining option — including a private space for groups — with a sophisticated urban vibe and classic American menu, alongside signature fine dining at Council Oak Steaks and Seafood, Kuro and the aforementioned Sandpiper Coastal Bar & Grill.
“We also have additional outdoor dining options, including the Hard Rock Beach Bar, Balcony Bar, Sugar Factory and Fish & Co.,” Ward says. “We’re fortunate to be located on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk with the iconic Steel Pier as our backdrop, so our location alone allows guests to enjoy a nice walk, run or bike ride along the ocean.”
Another venerable venue in Atlantic City, Ocean Casino Resort, sits prominently on more than 20 acres of beachfront property along the Boardwalk. With more than 160,000 sf of flexible indoor meeting and convention space, Ocean Casino Resort can accommodate groups as small as 10 to as large at 10,000 attendees. For those looking for “meet-and-greet” opportunities, the resort offers many outdoor gathering spaces. In total, Ocean Casino Resort boasts 90,000 sf of unique outdoor space where you can bring your event outside.
Following a $15 million casino floor remodel this year, Ocean Casino Resort has recently announced that it is beginning construction on a new sports venue, intertwining an entertainment bar and lounge, along with an immersive gaming and sports wagering experience. The $4 million initiative debuted recently.
There’s something to be said about working some and playing some at any meeting or event. That’s why Resorts Casino Hotel, with its nearly 100,000-sf casino, is a playground for those attendees looking for entertainment opportunities 24 hours a day. And thanks to Resorts 310 feet of Atlantic City Boardwalk frontage overlooking the stunning Atlantic Ocean, those looking to take in nature’s beauty can do so.
Resorts features a 1,350-seat showroom, a 300-seat theater, six restaurants, two VIP slot and table player lounges, an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, Boogie Nights dance club, two lounges, a salon, a health club and spa and retail shops. And the property features approximately 39,000 sf of convention facilities, including seven meeting rooms and a 13,000-sf ballroom. The Resorts Conference Center is a multifaceted convention and event space featuring an additional 12,000 sf of meeting space and 12 conference rooms.
The Atlantic Ballroom is a 6,500-sf function room with a multi-use pre-function area. In total, Resorts offers more than 64,000 sf of space, with 24 meeting and event rooms, many of which offer natural light and ocean views.
MGM Resorts International has long been celebrated as the “go to” for casino entertainment, thanks in part to its wealth of properties dotting the Las Vegas landscape. However, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City is an MGM gem that offers meeting planners a wonderful option to house their next meeting or event in contemporary, state-of-art environs. Borgata’s expansive ballroom features 30,000 sf that can accommodate everything from large formal dinners to receptions to shows. In fact, the ballroom can accommodate a theater-style event for up to 3,200 attendees or banquet events for 1,700.
In addition, Borgata’s Central Conference Center is a contemporary space that is ideal for business expos, trade shows and meetings. Highly customizable, the conference center showcases 18,000 sf of space in a bi-level design. The space includes five meeting rooms, a boardroom and an office on the lower level, as well as a 6,500-sf, clear-span ballroom on the upper level. And when it is time to relax and unwind, Borgata’s Premier Nightclub is an ideal location to host a private social gathering in the 11,200-sf venue that can accommodate up to 1,400 attendees.
Casinos and resorts aside, Atlantic City is always featuring new, innovative attractions and venues that are ideal for meeting and event attendees to enjoy. The all-new North Beach Mini Golf features 18 holes and is set amidst historical design elements, all of which celebrate the great “Garden State’s” sites and landmarks.
For water lovers in your group, Atlantic City’s upcoming Island Waterpark, set to open next year, is sure to excite. It will be considered the largest indoor beachfront waterpark in the world when it opens. Located at the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel, Island Waterpark will span 103,000 sf and feature an array of waterslides, lazy rivers and pools. The waterpark will also feature retail outlets, party rooms and lounge areas, plus a retractable glass roof making it the ideal year-round attraction. I&FMM.