I opened the Sunday edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning to find a photo of Revel that took up half the page on the front of the business section. It was a coincidence in that I spent the last few days at Revel (I was there Thursday to Saturday), but the hotel’s appearance on the front page is nothing new to those living in the area.
Atlantic City’s newest resort casino has been well covered by the paper throughout its development and opening, partly because Philadelphia sits only 60 miles from the coastal town, and partly because of neighboring New Jersey’s financial and political gamble to help fund its construction. Given the significant amount of taxpayer money involved, it’s not surprising Revel has been under the microscope.
Quick backstory: The hotel cost $2.4 billion to build, and it received $261 million in state tax credits, $37 million in state funds to widen the roads leading to Revel, $2.6 million in state funds for training employees, and $22 million over the next 20 years in projected luxury tax rebates. The hotel employs about 4,000 people but is still not 100% open, as many rooms and part of the beach out front are still under construction. According to the Division of Gaming Enforcement, Revel had a gross operating loss of $35 million in the second quarter ($18 million if you leave out the one-time pre-opening expenses and charges).
That’s all just a little perspective on the drama surrounding Revel that’s been brewing in South Jersey, although I’m not really sure it says much about the hotel in terms of how we should view it as a tourist destination. The problem seems to be moreso with the local market, as Revel thus far has been unable to draw long-time slot and card players away from their current casinos. While interesting, I don’t believe this struggle to intrude much on the touristic experience offered by the property.
The restaurants, nightlife, accommodations, and luxury indulgents (such as private pool cabanas overlooking the ocean) are all nice options for a great stay in Atlantic City. As someone passing through town on vacation, do I really care about the internal struggles or the state’s decisions? So long as the product is on point, what’s it to me?
Tomorrow, we’ll break down the resort, taking a closer look at some of the restaurants, nightlife, and amenities that made my stay at Revel a pleasure. For now, here are a few photos of the hotel’s all-glass reflexive exterior. Say what you want about the numbers, Revel seems to be sparkling in these shots: