Photo by Trishna Patel
Photo by Trishna Patel

Last June, I had the opportunity to enjoy a weekend at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I’d always heard stories of the quirky city—often endearingly described as “Vegas with a shoreline”—and I was especially curious to see where it was in the rebuilding process post-Hurricane Sandy.

Turns out, the slot machines were ringing, the sun was shining (for the most part) and above all, people were out and about. In many ways, the Resorts Casino Hotel epitomized the area’s newfound energy; the good ol’ Jersey Shore had weathered the storm and was as lively as ever.

Making a trip to Atlantic City and staying at the Resorts Casino Hotel? Here are my top three must-do’s along with a few helpful tips:

Margaritaville's nacho platter/Photo by Trishna Patel
Margaritaville’s nacho platter/Photo by Trishna Patel

I. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
This 35-million dollar investment by legendary American singer-song writer Jimmy Buffet is the newest addition to the Resorts Casino Hotel. Located on the boardwalk, it features all the staples for a good time: an entertainment stage (live music every night at 10 pm), a colorful tiki bar and an outgoing and interactive staff. It’s extremely fun and yet family-friendly at the same time. I spent quite a bit of time—both during the day and night—on the outdoor sun deck, the perfect place to dine and enjoy drinks as you people-watch.

 Tip: Sample away and call it a day. If you’re not too hungry, that’s alright. The entrées are tasty but where Margaritaville really hits a home run is with its delicious and generously-sized appetizers. My side order of nachos could’ve easily been my meal.

II. The Bar at Capriccio
I’ve been to many noteworthy brunches in my lifetime but I must say that Capriccio’s Sunday brunch—located on Resorts’ Dining Level—nearly tops them all. From traditional breakfast favorites like sausage and eggs to the more sophisticated seafood salad bar and exotic cheese platters, the variety of options on its menu left me truly impressed. But perhaps what elevates Capriccio to a league of its own is its stylish signature display, exquisite balcony view and five-star service. And of course, the occasional Real Housewives of New Jersey sighting! Call ahead for reservations: 1.800.932.0734 (brunch priced at $44.99).

Tip: Early bird gets the worm! I regret my mistake of waltzing in at noon thinking I’d have enough time to enjoy a simple brunch (served from 9:30-2 pm). But the truth is I could’ve sat there the entire time, enjoying the ambiance, spacing out my servings and sipping on bottomless mimosas. (Their Bloody Marys are also exceptional.)

The Bar at Capriccio/Photo by Trishna Patel
The Bar at Capriccio/Photo by Trishna Patel

III. Landshark Bar & Grill
The only year-round, full-service bar on the boardwalk is a fun and laid-back spot where people can roam in and out of the restaurant to the beach and back. The surf-themed Landshark Bar & Grill’s retractable walls showcase its prime real estate—only 200 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. If that’s not enticing enough, the hotel also provides beach chairs and umbrella service on the sand just outside.

Tip: A not-so-hidden gem! With all there is to do at Resorts Casino Hotel, Landmark may get lost in the frenzy—which is odd because it’s literally right across the boardwalk at the back of the hotel. Also, upon first glance it looks like an extension of Margaritaville (given its location and similar vibe). I almost missed it. Thankfully, I was looking for a cocktail or three before my flight and aimlessly wandered across from my hotel into the restaurant. Definitely make some time to enjoy its beachfront location and amenities.

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