A new luxury development adds oomph to the fabled Jersey Shore town.
First came the hip hotel with the rip-roaring rooftop and a live music venue carved out of a defunct bowling alley. Next, the shops offering funky doughnuts and vintage European linens arrived. Now, Asbury Park—halfway between New York and Philly—has reached a tipping point on its bumpy road from shabby to chic with the unveiling of Asbury Ocean Club Hotel. Touted as the Jersey Shore’s first luxury five- star boutique property, the hotel features 54 rooms and luxe amenities like 24-hour concierge service and a state-of-the-art Technogym-equipped fitness center. “The Asbury Hotel was about creating a new gathering place for the city. This new hotel is for guests in search of calm, serenity and well-being with a luxury resort experience,” says David Bowd, CEO of Salt Hotels and operator of both properties.
On the fourth floor of a new and eye-catching glass tower is the hotel’s Drawing Room—outfitted in walnut woods and floral patterns, and centered on a dramatic hearth—set on an expansive pool deck with communal dining and lounging options, as well as hideaway nooks. Three pool suites allow direct access to the deck, but nearly every neutral-toned room cedes itself to the sunny outdoors, offering glimpses of the ocean or (our favorite) a sand dune garden. 1101 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, N.J., 732.825.6000, asburyoceanclub.com
A Town Rebounds
Asbury Ocean Club brings together partners like The Wright Fit, known for installing workout facilities in Manhattan’s top residences, and hospitality veterans like Salt Hotels’ CEO Bowd and its lead designer, Anda Andrei, who have long histories with hotelier Ian Schrager. Behind everything is iStar, the real estate developers who have snapped up 35 acres of waterfront and promised to pour $1 billion into this town-on-the-rebound. Asbury Park, they believe, is just beginning to realize its potential. For now, though, there’s plenty to do, starting with a pilgrimage to the iconic Stone Pony, the club that launched Bruce Springsteen. Music lovers will also want to check the calendars of Salt’s own Asbury Lanes, the Paramount Theatre in the historic art deco convention center, and several boardwalk bars. For eats, fine dining (Shore-style) is available at Pascal & Sabine (pascalandsabine.com) and Cardinal Provisions (crdnal.com), both on Bangs Avenue. Don’t leave town without visiting Patriae (patriaestudio.com), where owner Barbara Pisch fashions beautiful totes from antique hemp textiles she sources in her native Slovakia.