The much-anticipated day arrived for both the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City and the Ocean Resort Casino as both properties celebrated their grand openings Thursday morning.
Well, technically both had been open the previous evening thanks to some last-minute license acquisitions, but it did little to take away from the glitz and glam that treated onlookers and the first guests and gamblers that descended on the famous Boardwalk.
Despite jumping the gun the previous evening, the excitement was palpable the following morning and is primed to continue well into the weekend. Local police are well-prepared for the festivities expecting anywhere from 750,000 to one million tourists in town for the multi-day spectacle.
For both casinos the stacked entertainment schedule kicked off Thursday as major names in the music industry are on tap for a wild weekend-long party. Hard Rock will welcome country music megastar Carrie Underwood followed by hip-hop star Pitbull on Friday and Saturday night respectively.
The resort’s Daer Nightclub will host Tiesto, one of the most influential electronic dance music producers and DJ’s of all time, as well as well-known rapper Ludacris. Thursday featured a trademark mass guitar smashing ceremony and a stunning fireworks extravaganza in the evening.
Ocean Resort will boast some bumping party vibes at its HQ2 Pool and Nightclub with legendary producers and DJ’s Diplo, Kaskade, Jermaine Dupri and duo Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. Ocean will also be running a number of promotions and other events as the day rolls on.
Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen started the festivities with a morning press conference and Q&A session. Allen propped up his belief in the hotel as a powerhouse for providing entertainment and attempted to put one major concern to rest.
“We think we have a property that will rival anything in Atlantic City,” Allen said. And on competing with Ocean Resort he added ““I think it’s the greatest thing, right? We love the idea that there are 1,400 rooms right next door to world-class quality. We wish them nothing but the best…And don't worry, we will be in the sports betting business.”
That last stipulation is brought on by the fact that Ocean Resort began offering sports betting at a temporary sports book while the planned 7,500-foot William Hill location is under construction. Meanwhile Hard Rock is still searching for a partner, but Allen promised info on the casino’s progress in doing so would be addressed in the next 30-60 days as he is reportedly waiting for mobile and online options to become available.
The casino itself will offer 2,200 slots, 120 table games, more than 20 dining/nightlife options including the aforementioned night club and two massive refurbished theaters for which there are already 300+ nights of entertainment booked and scheduled.
This Hard Rock installment will tout itself as above the rest in terms of memorabilia as it sports the largest collection at any single location to date. From the giant Gibson Les Paul adorning the welcome center to a truly unique New Jersey-themed room featuring artifacts of Bon Jovi, Frank Sinatra and Wyclef Jean there’s a museum-level amount of history on display.
A casino with a restaurant that allows children and adults to order cereal any time of the day? That’s just one of the unique dining options offered at the Ocean Resort. Dining assortment is going to be one of the casino’s specialties with a 24-hour restaurant, a rock’ n roll music hall and pub, a beer and bbq joint, a noodles and sushi spot, taco truck and Wahlburgers.
Golf enthusiasts can check out a Topgolf Swing Suite serving lunch, dinner and late-night snacks while taking in some rounds at one of the 11 bays. Fine dining is available through three different world-class chefs with Marc Forgione’s American Cut steakhouse, Paolo Dorigato’s Dolce Mare Italian themed restaurant and Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Amada for those who prefer Spanish flavors.
Entertainment will be up to snuff with the competition as a burlesque club, six swimming pools and the aforementioned William Hill sportsbook will offer an exciting way to spend the day away from the traditional casino classics many Atlantic City regulars have grown accustomed to.
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