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Beyoncé performs during Memorial Day weekend at Revel
The Greyhound bus trip from New York’s Port Authority to the casino strip in Atlantic City is the stuff of legend: tales of smoke-saturated senior citizens in neon plastic visors and fanny packs define the narrative. Once you arrive at America’s Playground, what you’ll find rarely compares to New York’s high-end, luxury experiences—until now. Just ask Kim Kardashian, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, and Jay-Z, who all made appearances at Revel during the Memorial Day weekend grand opening, which centered on a series of four concerts by the one and only Beyoncé.
For the refined New Yorker less interested in visors and more in vistas, the newly opened Revel resort offers a solution: A completely smoke-free facility that spans 6.3 million square feet and stretches 47 stories into the air above AC. Fully visible as you approach the city on the Garden State Parkway, Revel is by far the tallest building on the coast and the second tallest in the entire state of New Jersey, behind Goldman Sachs in Jersey City. The resort has more than 1,800 hotel rooms with ocean views, two nightclubs, 14 restaurants from celebrity chefs such as Iron Chef Marc Forgione, high-end fashion retail, an Exhale spa, and, of course, a giant casino gaming floor. The list seems exhausting, but it’s all part of the vision.
“It’s [Revel CEO] Kevin Desanctis’ vision to make Revel a resort proper that happens to have a casino in it,” Michael Prifti, principal at BLT Architects, Revel’s executive architect of record, says. “The property in its physical manifestation is an expression of that vision. By design, the elevators from the hotel towers don’t go to the casino. And the casino is different in its aesthetic, design, and layout than other casinos in Atlantic City.”
A total of 67 design teams worked together to conceive, plan, and implement Revel. This grouping includes Scéno Plus, the creatives responsible for Cirque du Soleil’s theater in Orlando, who put their magical touches on the entire casino, giving a dramatic feel to a place that could have been drab and unimpressive.
“We did a lot of benchmarking and took great pains to make sure we achieved intimacy and warmth,” Prifti says of the interiors, which were entirely built out in just over 12 months. “There should always be a sense of discovery, and every time you turn around a corner, you will find something really unique, new, and appropriate to that experience.”
And despite the sheer massiveness of the property, Prifti says, it’s the detailed touches that make Revel stand out.
“We are conscious of the vibe of the space and the energy level of the experience,” he says. “In the hotel lobby, for example, the scalloped ceilings with the light coves are illuminated. During the day, there are red and orange lights akin to sunshine, and after dinner, there are more blues to add an electric atmosphere of excitement at night.”
A relationship with the ocean, the space to see and be seen, and exemplifying that it’s of its place: these were the three guiding principals of Revel’s design teams, all of which BLT Architects managed and coordinated, Prifti says.
“The sinuousness of the glass and its reflectivity show the sky and the ocean, because they are reflected [in the façade of the building],” he says. “You see the continuousness of the horizon as it extends around you, and [the building] merges into its place on the Jersey shore. It has so much opportunity for people watching. You can stand anywhere on the property and look out to the boardwalk and see people walking—and they can see you.”
Far from the bus ride of yesteryear—barring access to your own chopper, of course—Atlantic City International Airport, open for private jet landings, is about a 20-minute drive from Revel’s prime spot on the boardwalk. Now that’s classy. 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-225-9851