The hospitality industry is ever changing, and this list includes several recent and future major expansions, updates, renovations and grand openings.
The following compilation of updates on resorts, hotels, event venues and restaurants represents just a few of the notable developments upcoming or that have happened in recent months in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Atlantic City, NJ
Harrah's Resort Atlantic City is in the midst of a $56 million renovation to the 507 guest rooms and suites in its Coastal Tower (formerly Harbour Tower) that is scheduled for completion by summer of 2019. The Coastal rooms will boast approximately 450-square feet of space and will offer fresh design elements, contemporary furniture and modern bathrooms. Each also will be technology-rich with high-speed Internet access, charging stations, and featuring a 55-inch LG LED TV.
The tower is conveniently situated steps from hotel check-in and the casino floor. The upgraded rooms and suites will further complement the resort's destination appeal among business and leisure travelers, enhancing the property's profile of first-class dining, entertainment, nightlife and the Harrah’s Atlantic City Waterfront Conference Center - all in one location with more than 2,586 total hotel rooms available.
The room and suite upgrades are part of Caesars Entertainment's investment of over $250 million into its Atlantic City casino-resorts over the past four years, including the $125 million Waterfront Conference Center, revamped The Pool at Harrah’s and The Pool After Dark nightclub, and the recent debut of Gordon Ramsay Steak, the seven-Michelin star chef and television personality's first steakhouse concept in the tri-state area.
In addition, Caesars Entertainment boasts other celebrity chef inspired restaurants in Atlantic City, such as Guy Fieri’s Chop House at Bally’s, Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill at Caesars, and Martorano’s Italian Restaurant at Harrah’s. Still more new dining options debuted last summer at Caesars’ AC properties, including: 2100 Bar and Lounge; Beachside Bar at Caesars Atlantic City; and The Crafty Crab at Bally’s Atlantic City. What’s more, Caesars Entertainment offers groups the flexibility to enjoy all of its properties’ offerings in Atlantic City under one contract with one single salesperson.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Atlantic City, NJ
The 2,000-room Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City soon will celebrate its one-year anniversary on June 28, 2019. The property offers 150,000-square feet of meeting and event space with 30 meeting rooms - the largest of which measures 63,000-square feet - as well as an outdoor space of 15,000-square feet.
For the largest gatherings, Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena can stage a general session for 7,000 people or accommodate a 300-plus booth trade show. The 29,000-square foot Seminole Ballroom is divisible into six sections and can be configured to accommodate everything from banquets to intimate private concerts. Additional spaces also are available, and all are easily accessible from the Hard Rock’s hotel rooms. Each offers Wi-Fi access, expert audio-visual and technological integration, plus top-notch food and beverage. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City also boasts Hospitality suites, Apollo Suites with ocean and bay views, as well as Rock Royalty Suites.
Hard Rock Cafe - centrally located within the property - is a new 400-seat venue overlooking the Atlantic City boardwalk and features an exciting new menu plus two stages that can offer live entertainment. More food and drink options include: Council Oak Fish; Kuro; YouYu; Fresh Harvest Buffet; Sugar Factory; Il Mulino; Robert’s Steakhouse; The Lobby Bar; Beach Bar; DAER Nightclub; and Sigano’s Flavor Tour.
“The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City takes the meeting experience to the next level,” says the property’s director of public relations and community affairs, Nikki Balles. “Set on 17 acres of the Jersey Shore with the Atlantic City boardwalk as its backdrop, it’s the perfect place to make an event shine. The show stopping amenities truly turn any meeting up a notch, providing attendees with a memorable experience."
Resorts Casino Hotel
Atlantic City, NJ
Following the completion of more than $125-million in recent property renovations, Resorts Casino Hotel, a Mohegan Sun property, has announced new expansions and amenities that will continue throughout 2019, further transforming the property into a vibrant entertainment destination with even more immersive offerings.
Over the last five years, Resorts has celebrated the openings of the $35-million Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville and Landshark Bar and Grill Entertainment Complex, a first-of-its-kind iGaming Lounge dedicated to the online gaming experience, a completely revamped casino floor with 800 new slot machines, new luxury VIP player lounges, a renovated Ocean Tower featuring 480 guest rooms, and the addition of a $5 million conference center with 12,000-square feet of meeting and event space with state-of-the-art technology.
Additionally, the casino recently launched the DraftKings Sports Book at Resorts, which features: 5,000-square feet of action; ultra-high definition LED video walls; 16 betting kiosks; five betting windows; a VIP seating area with food and bottle service; an extensive list of sports betting odds and a view of all odds live; as well as a highly trained and knowledgeable staff.
“Since Morris Bailey purchased Resorts, it has undergone an overall transformation that really aligns with his vision for the property and has brought visitors of Atlantic City to our boutique-like hotel, along with an elevated level of service and entertainment that one can only expect from a powerhouse brand in the gaming and hospitality business,” said Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel. “With more than 21-acres on the famed Atlantic City boardwalk and significant improvements in the near future, Resorts Casino Hotel continues to position itself as a thriving, all-encompassing property, while increasing guest offerings and making crucial investments to encourage new and returning visitors to select Resorts as their go-to destination for entertainment in Atlantic City.”
Resorts recently announced an expansion of its Landshark Bar and Grill. Fins Bar, as it will be known, expects to celebrating its grand opening event on May 16, 2019, and will boast a 2,300-square foot boardwalk deck, a new large capacity bar complete with an additional 150 seats, more outdoor speakers, exterior string lights, cozy fire pits, exciting food and drink specials, plus live entertainment seven days a week.
Other recent additions at Resorts include the opening of Mukashi Traditional Sushi Bar along with Wet Willie’s Daiquiri bar.
Seaview, a Dolce Hotel
Situated on 670 scenic acres along Reed’s Bay, the award-winning Seaview, a Dolce Hotel, reopens to guests this summer following a multi-million dollar renovation that has transformed its 296 guest rooms and public spaces and updated the dining and meeting areas of this iconic property.
The renovation was inspired by the hotel’s celebrated Jersey Shore history and includes a hint of art deco nostalgia. Just eight miles from Atlantic City, Seaview offers a serene, retreat-like setting to go along with its 27,000-square feet of event space. For meal functions, the hotel serves fresh seasonal produce and locally caught seafood in the main dining room. Seaview also partners with local breweries and distilleries for pairing events.
The Reeds at Shelter Haven
Stone Harbor, NJ
The Reeds at Shelter Haven, a luxury boutique hotel on southern New Jersey’s Shelter Haven inlet and only two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, offers 58 distinctively designed guest rooms and suites, five unique dining concepts, along with a wealth of event space that can accommodate everything from formal weddings and social gatherings to corporate retreats.
The all-new Spa Side building at The Reeds opened in November and introduced 21 guestrooms and suites ideal for a spa-centric escape. In addition, Salt Spa at The Reeds, which debuted at the beginning of May 2019, offers two levels of pure relaxation, featuring luxurious treatment rooms, a brine light therapy lounge, a Turkish bath, a blow-out bar and makeup application studio, a manicure and pedicure salon, waxing services, and a fitness center.
Holiday Inn at Drexelbrook
Drexel Hill, PA
In the heart of Delaware County, close to major attractions, shopping and restaurants, is the newly reimagined Drexelbrook Special Event Center. Stunning redesigns of all event spaces to a modern, sleek look further enhance its highly acclaimed service and food and beverage offerings.
The property features the new Franklin Conference Center, a 15,000-square foot grand ballroom that is subdivisible, the Mansion Ballroom for under 200 guests, new boardrooms and hospitality suites, Studio and Independence Lounge collaboration rooms, wireless Internet (1 GB/s), Q-SYS audio system, complimentary security assisted parking, and easy trade show access.
In addition to the updates and upgrades to the Special Event Center, Drexelbrook soon will welcome a brand new, state-of-the-art H4 Holiday Inn and Suites, which will be connected to the southern end of the event center. The new hotel will be home to 100 ultra-modern rooms with Smart TVs (86 guest rooms, 12 suites and 2 executive suites), an indoor swimming pool, complimentary fitness center, Street Light Restaurant and Bar, an outdoor patio, business center, bi-lingual staff, and IHG Green Engage, an innovative online environmental sustainability system that helps to measure and manage the hotel’s impact on the environment.
Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill (Philadelphia Marriott Old City) Philadelphia, PA
Located in the heart of historic Old City Philadelphia, the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel is currently in the process of a renovation and rebranding that began in February of 2019. The Buccini/Pollin Group, together with Marriott International, have announced plans to transition the Sheraton into the Philadelphia Marriott Old City. The 364-room hotel will become the newest Marriott Hotels branded property in Philadelphia in mid-July of 2019. The full project is expected to be completed later in the year, but the hotel will remain open during the renovation and rebranding.
Helping with the transition to the Marriott flag is the fact that the hotel has always been charming, modern and considered upscale, even as a Sheraton. After its renovation, the property will boast a very unique lobby with comfortable seating, open areas and gathering places that will provide a “great room” feel. A bar will occupy the center of the lobby area offering ample, comfortable seating, and there will be a breakfast room that is separate from the main dining area at the hotel restaurant. Business travelers will have access to the M Club, a private space that offers food and beverage, a TV, and a quiet place to relax, yet big enough to engage and network.
Guests rooms will be refreshed and upgraded to include flat screen TVs, in-room safes, refrigerators and modern, comfortable new furnishings, and many of the bathrooms will be upgraded to include exquisite new shower stalls. A state-of-the-art exercise facility will be added as part of the renovation, replacing the former swimming pool area and doubling the size of existing fitness facilities. After the brand conversion is complete, renovations will continue to the remaining hotel rooms and meeting space will be upgraded.
Planners and guests can enjoy the rewards of Marriott Bonvoy, the new name for the brand’s combined loyalty programs that include Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and SPG®. Located in a neighborhood with less traffic and congestion than Center City, guests of the hotel can enjoy a leisurely walk to attractions like the Liberty Bell, National Constitution Center and Betsy Ross House. Easily accessible via I-95, SEPTA stops and the subway (just a short walk to Market Street), there are opportunities to experience everything in the city from sporting events to fine dining to theatrical performances to museums and more.
Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City
Across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and adjacent to the historic Reading Terminal Market, Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City completed a $9 million renovation this spring that included its 279 guest rooms, featuring 109 junior suites and 4 deluxe and presidential suites. The new room upgrades include amenities like Serta Perfect Sleeper® mattresses, ergonomic desk chairs, 42” LG LCD Flat Screen TVs and more. Owned and managed by an affiliate of GF Management, Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City is within walking distance to over 100 restaurants, historic attractions, theaters, museums and shopping.
The Cordish Companies and project partner Comcast Spectacor recently announced a new $50 million, next-generation esports and entertainment venue to be adjacent to Xfinity Live!
Fusion Arena will seat up to 3,500 guests and will stand as the largest new construction, purpose-built esports arena in the western hemisphere.
Philadelphia Downtown Marriott
The Philadelphia Downtown Marriott recently took a former banquet kitchen and turned it into 1201 Innovation Lab. Hidden away at the hotel, 1201 Innovation Lab offers meeting and event planners demonstrations to show the creativity of Executive Chef Robert Price and his team as it relates to innovative, customizable F&B programs for groups. Examples include: for a medical group, a food buffet was set up on a replica of an “Operation” game board; a science group was presented with levitating plates; and an ironworkers group was taken out of the ballroom and onto a BBQ patio outside the hotel for a pig roast.
AKA Rittenhouse Square
AKA Rittenhouse Square, hotel residences specializing in weekly and monthly stays, recently revealed new designs and amenities throughout the property marking the completion of a multi-phase, multimillion-dollar transformation. Enhancements introduced at the hotel include a newly-unveiled tree-level “Reverse Penthouse” on the mezzanine, which provides residents who love the space and luxury of the upper penthouse level the option to stay directly above ground level. The Reverse Penthouse boasts convenient access into and out of the building, as well as a tree-lined view of Philadelphia’s historic Rittenhouse Square Park, and a refined, contemporary design.
New amenities at the hotel also include a. cinema, Philadelphia’s newest private cinema, a laundry facility, a boardroom that seats up to 18, on-demand beauty and wellness services, a fitness center, plus full access to the fitness facilities and lap pool at The Sporting Club at the Bellevue. Residents also have preferred access to the acclaimed a.kitchen+bar.
The Riverhouse at Odette’s
New Hope, PA
Located on the banks of the Delaware River, The Riverhouse at Odette’s is being designed to offer the most spectacular views of both the New Hope waterfront and the Lambertville landscape.
Embracing the rich history of New Hope as well as that of Chez Odette’s, its historic predecessor on the site of its construction, this rustic-contemporary hotel will feature natural reclaimed materials, soft textures and a serene color palette, accented by local art as well as historic and cultural elements that tie the resort into the fabric of the community.
With an anticipated debut in early 2020, The Riverhouse at Odette's will be home to 34 guestrooms and suites, including two expansive river view hospitality suites outfitted with premium amenities. Odette’s Restaurant and Lounge, an homage to the former Chez Odette’s, plans to offer both indoor and outdoor seating and frequent live entertainment, plus a lively piano bar and cabaret. For an edgy nightlife experience, an elevator will lead to the roof and a vibrant, open-aired bar and lounge with a skyline view.
Designed with private events in mind, The Riverhouse at Odette’s also will feature conference and meeting facilities for up to 220 guests with spacious private dining rooms and an open-concept ballroom with floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls that lead out to a sprawling second floor veranda.
Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square
The Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, which is attached to the Lancaster County Convention Center, is currently in the midst of an expansion to its East Tower. Slated to open in the first half of 2019, the tower, with 12 new floors, will add 110 rooms to bring the total sleeping rooms at the hotel to 416.
“The East Tower will fulfill a crucial role in attracting more large events to the Lancaster County Convention Center,” said Mark Fitzgerald, president and COO of High Real Estate Group. “The convention center has proved itself to be an economic engine and a catalyst for growth and investment in Lancaster. We’re delighted to be able to help this important community asset realize its full potential.”
A new, 6,500-square foot restaurant and bar will occupy the first floor, while a rooftop bar with a sidewalk entrance and a signature Marriott M Club will be part of the East Tower, as well. Cooper Carry Inc. of Atlanta designed the East Tower expansion with High Construction Company erecting it. The property is owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Lancaster.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
Mount Pocono, PA
Mount Airy Casino Resort officially opened its multi-million-dollar expansion on May 3, 2019. The resort’s luxury amenities include a top 100 golf course, spa, a music and comedy venue, along with gaming. The expansion includes a 100-plus room hotel addition with luxury suites that feature private bars, art deco bath tubs and a local twist with custom-designed Amish furniture. Among its "wow" factors is the 21,000-square foot event center's entrance, which features a custom designed 20-foot long chandelier.
As the largest event center attached to a casino outside of Atlantic City and Las Vegas, the venue - designed by internationally renowned architects The Friedmutter Group - spares no expense, from custom-designed lighting and artwork to a locally-sourced and organic menu.
In addition, the owner of Mount Airy Casino Resort, the state’s only family-owned casino and Pennsylvania’s first AAA Four-Diamond casino resort, also has plans to open Mount Airy Pittsburgh. At its anticipated grand opening later this year, Mount Airy Pittsburgh will offer 750 slot machines, 30 table games and a high limit area, along with several eateries. A future phase II development plan anticipates the addition of a full-service resort hotel, convention center, fine dining, and a spa.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions
in the Pocono Mountains
Pocono Manor, PA
Scheduled to open in late 2019, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in the Pocono Mountains will unveil its newly expanded convention center, which will more than double the size of meeting facilities on-site, adding 105,000-square feet to bring its total footprint up to 205,000-square feet once completed.
The project includes a 38,000-square foot ballroom and a 12,000-square foot junior ballroom, which will join the facility’s existing 25,000-square foot and 9,000-square-foot ballrooms. The project also includes 18 additional meeting rooms, bringing the property’s total up to 33, the expansion of its load-in and load-out capabilities, and the addition of extensive registration and client office spaces. This is the second expansion to Kalahari’s Pocono Mountains location since the resort opened in the summer of 2015.
“It’s been challenging and rewarding to help grow the Poconos as a premier destination for group business on the East Coast,” said Travis Nelson, owning family member of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. “The completion of this expansion will allow the company to meet the current and future projected demands for group rooms in the area.”
The addition at the Pocono Mountains location is the most recent project for Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, as the company continues its rapid expansion nationwide, including a new resort in Round Rock, TX, and an expansion to the Wisconsin Dells location’s convention center.
Known for going beyond expectations and delivering first-class service, Kalahari’s modular meeting spaces will feature state-of-the-art amenities like high-def monitors and projectors along with superior lighting and AV controls for colorful and sharp presentations. Guests will have free access to high-speed Wi-Fi with capacity to increase to 10 GB/s or more (with advance order), plus ergonomic chairs designed to keep attendees comfortable for up to 10 hours. Kalahari also boasts a dedicated and experienced team who can assist planners and provide advice to help them meet their goals and objectives.
The meeting space, guestrooms and leisure activities all will remain under one roof when the expansion is completed, and guests will continue to enjoy complimentary parking, as well as easy access to Spa Kalahari and Salon. Additional offerings at the resort include: fitness studios, various entertainment options, and dining experiences such as Double Cut, the resort’s signature steakhouse experience, Sortino’s Italian Kitchen, and the new B-Lux Grill and Bar. Of course, admission to America’s Largest Indoor Waterpark is always included with an overnight stay, as well.
Camelback Resort recently opened two new restaurants, Kartrite’s Summit House and Berrelli’s Family Style Italian, both featuring epic views and unique dining experiences.
Kartrite’s Summit House serves Contemporary American fare and is located at the top of Camelback Mountain, at the highest elevation of any restaurant in the Pocono Mountains. Berrelli’s family-style Italian is the only family style Italian restaurant in the Poconos. Located at the base of Camelback mountain, Berrelli’s offers slope-side views, outdoor dining and fire features along with a carefully curated wine bar. Both restaurants are open to the public year around.
“Not only are we proud to introduce two new epic dining adventures, but we’re also excited to provide year around dining options for area residents” remarked Ame Cameron, VP of sales and marketing for the resort. “Plus, the extraordinary views, the fireplaces, the wine bar - combined with easy access to all of the countless resort adventures - will undoubtedly contribute tolasting memories”
Kartrite’s Summit House sits at an elevation of 2,133 feet in Big Pocono State Park and offers access to hiking trails from spring through fall along with ski-in/ski-out enjoyment in the winter. An ideal venue for wedding receptions, it is located adjacent to Camelback Resort’s mountain-top wedding ceremony site.
Berrelli’s takes pride in its carefully curated wine list that includes bold Italian wines as well as some lighter bodied California wines served from a temperature-controlled wine room. Guests also can enjoy Italian specialty wines on tap at the Wine Bar. In addition, the restaurant boasts ski in/ski out accessibility as well as outdoor fireside features in the winter.
Camelback serves more than 1.7 million outdoor enthusiasts and visitors annually with 37 trails, 16 lifts, 100 percent snowmaking, the largest snow tubing park in the U.S. with an out-of-this-world “Galactic” light experience, Camelback Mountain Adventures (featuring the only mountain coaster in Pennsylvania and North America’s longest twin 4,000-foot Zip-Flyers), plus Camelbeach Waterpark (the largest waterpark in Pennsylvania) and Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark.
Lansdowne Resort and Spa
The Golf Club at Lansdowne unveiled its newly renovated restaurant, Piedmont’s, in March of 2019. Located in The Golf Club at Lansdowne’s 43,000-square foot clubhouse, the restaurant is open to club members and Lansdowne Resort and Spa guests only. A focal point of its renovation is a new communal bar with balcony seating and a new terrace with golf course views and its own exclusive bar menu. Planning is underway for additional fitness and wellness enhancements at the resort over the next three years, as well.
The grand opening of the Conrad Washington, DC took place in April 2019, a highly anticipated hotel with significant meeting space downtown. A Hilton Worldwide hotel, it features 360 guest rooms, 32,000-square feet of meeting space, and a rooftop bar with Capitol views. This is just one of a series of new hotels that have recently opened or are in the works in the Washington, DC area through the year 2020.
Opened in April of 2019, Hilton Washington, DC National Mall is a renovated and rebranded property with 367 rooms in L’Enfant Plaza. It offers 23,000-square feet of meeting space with a grand ballroom for up to 800 guests.
Eaton Workshop opened in the fall of 2018, a 209-room lifestyle property downtown that includes co-working space for 370 members, a 50-person movie theater, a wellness center offering alternative treatments like reiki and sound baths, a new restaurant, a rooftop lounge and more.
A Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott opened last November as part of a $230 million mixed-use project in DC’s Shaw neighborhood. The Courtyard is home to 357 guest rooms while the Residence Inn has 147 rooms. Additional offerings include an on-site restaurant and 10,000-square feet of meeting space.
The Moxy Washington, DC Downtown also opened last November, a new hotel concept from Marriott that is budget-minded and Millennial-forward. It features 200 guest rooms, a rooftop lounge and economy pricing.
The Dupont Circle Hotel reopened this spring after a multimillion-dollar transformation that included a new bar, new restaurant, renovated lobby, and one of the largest penthouses in Washington, DC with a fireplace and heated garden terrace that boasts views of the Washington Monument.
Also having reopened this spring, Rosewood Washington, DC added six neighboring townhouses that offer a residential experience along with a new restaurant, a new bar and lounge in the hotel lobby, as well as a deck atop the hotel overlooking Georgetown. An intimate private dining and meeting room is available for special events of up to 14 people.
W Washington, DC is slated to reopen this summer after a $50 million renovation to its 317 guest rooms and 12,000-square feet of meeting space, while two new food and beverage venues also will be added.
The Lore Group will open its first hotel in North America, The Riggs, in late 2019 inside the original Washington Loan and Trust, a circa 1891 Romanesque Revival building. It will house 181 rooms, a restaurant, a basement bar and an enclosed rooftop event space.
In addition, several anticipated openings in the year 2020 include: Mob Hotel, a stylish Paris-based chain whose brand embraces neighborhood culture and programs; Thompson Hotel near the Capitol Riverfront; citizenM near The Wharf that is billing itself as “affordable luxury;” SLS Hotel; The James, a boutique hotel in DC’s NoMa neighborhood; along with The MEININGER Hotel Washington, DC.