So Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City
Upon arrival last weekend, I was very impressed with the transformation that has taken place there. No longer is it just pretending to be a rich man in a poor man’s shirt.
The aurora is truly rising behind this solid meetings destination. With the recent opening of the Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in the marina district, this is now one of the largest and nicest meetings spaces on the Atlantic seaboard, just over the Jersey state line. Harrah’s offers over 2500 newly renovated sleeping rooms and two stacked 50,000 square foot ballrooms, each breaking into 30 sections. The pre-function space in the conference center was huge, each level had over 25,000 square feet outside the ballroom. They also had outdoor terraces with amazing bay and ocean views. The flexibility of their meeting space was unsurpassed and impressive.
Prefunction space at the Waterfront Conference Center
One of the sections of the flexible ballrooms at the Waterfront Conference Center
…Sleeping at the beach all night.
The sleeping rooms were divided up into several towers, all have recently been remodeled or are brand new. The vast majority of the rooms have great water views. The elevators were very fast and efficient, something that is often forgotten at a hotel of this size. All the rooms I saw were incredibly nice, with spacious separate tub and shower, with exceptional lighting and counter space. Everything you need to put your makeup on and fix your hair up pretty. The beds were plush and the internet was fast, not much else you need to have an enjoyable stay.
Sleeping room at Harrah’s
…I ain’t here on business, I’m only here for fun.
One of my favorite features at Harrah’s was the massive indoor pool that they turn into a concert venue at night. This is a perfect reception space for up to 400 people. The complex has dozens of restaurants at all price points, ranging from high end steak houses to grab a slice pizza joints. Overall, I found the food to be really good, high quality, and it was not overpriced. Several venues did live music at night, adding to the energy of the hotel. The casino was huge, but not all that noisy. They also have a large performance theater that seats 1200, this can also be used for private events or general sessions should the need arise. Harrah’s offers a very unique offering, a large Viking cooking school. This gives people the opportunity to cook their own meal and learn from professional chefs, then eat what they made in a back room with wine parings. It looked like a lot of fun, this type of experiential activity is really popular right now.
Indoor pool at Harrah’s
Viking Cooking School inside of Harrah’s
…Rich man wanna be king
Over in the center of the boardwalk is Caesars Palace, an 1100 room hotel. This hotel is smack in the center of the action. This is a miniature version of the iconic hotel in Las Vegas. They have 28,000 square feet of meeting space, highlighted by a 17,000 square foot ballroom. The hotel has some of the best restaurants on the boardwalk, Morton’s, Nero’s Italian, Phillips Seafood, and Gordon Ramsey’s Pub and Grill. This is a truly great hotel for groups of 250-300. The rooms were very upscale and large, all with nice water views.
Sleeping room at Caesars Palace
…Running off down the boardwalk
Next to Caesars, is Ballys, a 1200 room hotel. Ballys is a really nice option for groups more on a budget than Caesars or Harrah’s, but still a nice product. The 80,000 square foot meeting space is all on one level, making it very convenient. They also offer the largest casino floor in Atlantic City, and also have a number of restaurants at all price points. Both Bally’s and Caesars are right across from a massive outlet mall. The prices and selection were outstanding here, I am not a shopping fan, but this was one of the best outlet malls I have ever been to.
Sleeping room at Bally’s
Some of the meeting space at Bally’s
…Never gave no thought to landing.
The Atlantic City airport has very limited service, right now only Spirit flies in there. The Philadelphia airport is about an hour away, giving you a ton of flight options. This time from the airport should not be a huge impairment to booking there, as it is often an hour or more to get to the main downtown hotels in cities like Chicago, LA, New York, Houston, and plenty of other cities. As an added convenience, one-third of the US population is within one tank of gas to get to Atlantic City, tearing down the highway like a big old dinosaur. So Mary, climb in…We’re pulling out of here to win.
…Cant start a fire without a spark.
For many people, the first thing that they think of when entering a casino is the amount of smoke that is used to be omnipresent. The filtration systems that casinos have installed recently has changed this reality. I spent extensive time at three large casinos and never once smelled smoke in any public area. The meetings spaces are all non- smoking, as are the restaurants. In years past, it was impossible to enter a casino without smelling like an ashtray, but these are better days shining through now, making this a non-issue in most casinos.
I was impressed by the transformation that the city and the hotels that I visited has undergone. It is a city I would enjoy going back to, and one I can see bringing groups of all sizes to in the future. There is still a lot of value to be found here, especially for groups booking during the week. It has all of the amenities that my groups are looking for, and is perfect for those groups that has a big driving contingent and those looking at the Northeast.
I will say it again, Meet me tonight in Atlantic City.
All photos were taken by Timothy Arnold, May 2018. Most quotes shamelessly stolen from the immortal Bruce Springsteen.
**Guest Written by Timothy Arnold, CMP, CMM – Regional Vice President of HPN Global
These past few months I had the pleasure of being an Intern at HPN Global, where i was apart of several teams within the company. Before I begin my reflection on my experience I want to share that I was the first intern HPN has ever taken on. Both HPN and I took a leap of faith taken me on. My first day at HPN in December was intimating, with an office of forty people I did not know what to expect.Are people going to introduce themselves to me?Do people know who I am?Am I ready to work full-time for a company I was recently introduced too?
Although all these thoughts ran through my head, my first day went great! I was introduced to everyone I would be working with a welcoming “hello and can’t wait for you to be apart of our team.” For the first few weeks of my internship I worked as the admin in the front of the office. Where I greeted everyone has they walked through the door, sent and delivered mail for the office, and helped with any tasks that need to be completed throughout the office.
Starting off as a receptionist i thought my degree was not being used to it’s fullest potential ,but then i realized first impressions means everything in the hospitality industry and that everyone has to start somewhere. After Christmas time, I was given the opportunity to be apart of the meeting services team. Being apart of this team I sat on weekly meetings where past and future programs would be discussed. This department is constantly on the move and busy, because of that it was challenging to be given tasks and jobs. However, I learned quickly that I had to be assertive and make myself available on daily basis for the team. From there, I created the monthly meeting services newsletter, designed several proposal templates, and updated the data base.
At the tail end of my internship I was apart of the sourcing team. Being apart of this team I was able to see everything from request for proposal from associates, selecting the best hotels, to the clients final decision. Taking a role on in this department was challenging. I was given the responsibility to call associates and hotels, which as first was extremely intimating to me, however through practice and great training by the girls.
I gained the confidence to make the difficult calls and make sure deadlines were met. As training came to an end,I was asked to look over RFPs’, select the best hotels, go through the follow-up process, and let the associate know when the process was complete. In addition to helping with the site selection process, I was able to visit several hotels throughout the area. Doing so, let me see all the types of properties in the area, what made them different from each other, and how the hospitality industry has many sectors. This team welcomed me with open arms and I truly felt apart of the team when I was with them.
From weekly meetings to visiting hotels to social gatherings after work, this team truly showed me what HPN is all about,”family first.” Taking a role on the sourcing team and more importantly being apart of the HPN team has allowed me to gain confidence and I am forever grateful for it. Moving forward I am not afraid to introduce myself to unfamiliar face, take on unfamiliar and challenging tasks, be assertive and asks for more, and truly love the industry I am in.
Connect with Haley on Linkedin
HPN Global has brought in one of Chicago’s and the hospitality industries most respected Sales & Marketing leaders Roderick A. Jao (pronounced “How”) to the team. Jao brings over 25 years of experience to HPN and will play a key role in expanding new business to the portfolio.
Prior to joining HPN, Jao was fortunate to hold Director positions within other amazing Four and Five Diamond Chicago-based hotels with Hyatt, Wyndham Grand, Omni, Elysian (now Waldorf Astoria), The James, The Affinia, The Sutton Place, The Sheraton Hotel and Towers, where he oversaw and led teams in sales, catering, reservations and banquets.
Our industry is all about partnerships and how a person/organization can give back to the community leads to his/her legacy. Throughout his career, Jao was able to build partnerships that are still engraved in the organizations he was involved with like ABC 7, Navy Pier, Northwestern University / Hospital to name a few. However, the long standing agreement with Lurie’s Children’s Hospital where his team donated as well as designed 9 sleep suites for families to stay close to their child needing extended healthcare is bar none one of his most influential and sustainable projects he was involved with.
Jao was blown away as one of the core values for HPN Global is “Family First.” Jao is the fourth of nine children. His siblings have provided their parents with 16 grandchildren and counting. In 1999, Roderick married Melissa and they are blessed with two children (Cassie 18 and Xander 16).
Roderick A. Jao
Vice President, Global Accounts
Hospitality Performance Network Global
690 Cole Drive
South Elgin, IL 60177
Edgardo has over 20 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry. Originally from San Jose, Costa Rica, Edgardo attended Costa Rica’s National University before relocating in 2001 to San Diego, CA where he started in the hospitality industry at the Grand Colonial Hotel as a Front Desk Agent. Edgardo held several positions in operations for over 6 years including Assistant Director of Rooms at the Doubletree Golf Resort in San Diego, CA. With an entrepreneurial mindset, Edgardo opened and operated a chain of tanning salons in the San Diego market for a little over 3 years.
In 2008 Edgardo continued in the Hospitality industry, this time in Sales where he held several positions in the San Diego and Los Angeles markets in the capacity of, Corporate Sales Manager, Associate Director of Sales, Director of Sales & Marketing to his most recent position as Area Sales Leader for Marriott Burbank and Seattle Airport, handling HPN Global Network.
Edgardo’s biggest treasures, Savannah Ysabella (8) and Luka Brayden (5) are everything to him. Some of the activities he enjoys are riding his motorcycle, playing soccer, golfing and going to the beach.
Edgardo is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Portuguese. Edgardo and his family currently reside in Valencia, CA but will be relocating to San Diego within the next few months to get back to where the dream started 17 years ago.
Vice President Global Accounts
firstname.lastname@example.org | 858.382.4636
Hospitality Performance Network Global
Nick began his career with Wyndham hotels in 1993 through 1998 where he worked in Chandler, AZ, Pittsburgh, PA and Los Angeles, CA. Nick also worked for Promus Corp, prior to being acquired by Hilton as Director of Sales for a Homewood Suites property in the Biltmore area of Phoenix.
Nick began working for Hyatt Hotels in 2001 in Monterey, CA then came back to the Valley in 2003 where he spent the next 11 years as a Senior Sales Manager handling the Washington DC/Assn market at Hyatt Regency Phoenix. Nick also enjoyed a Senior Sales position with Sheraton Grand in downtown Phoenix from 2014-2016.
Nick is an avid mountain-biker, motorcyclist and muscle-car enthusiast and he volunteers as a guitar instructor at Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center. Nick is also an animal lover and has a beautiful German Shepherd named Mika.
Favorite food: Cajun and Italian.
Favorite pro team: Steelers!
Global Account Director
Hospitality Performance Network Global
13825 N. Northsight Blvd #201
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