What’s 70 minutes from New York City, has plush accommodations with sweeping water views, and a swanky spa and fitness center? Nope, it’s not the Hamptons’ latest opening or some Catskills hideaway. New Jersey—yes, the Jersey Shore—is finally stepping up to the plate, with the July 4th opening of the high-end Asbury Ocean Club Hotel.
That’s right. The home of blue-jeaned Bruce Springsteen and the setting for the exploits of the tanned meatheads of Jersey Shore is hoping to become the next it destination for New York’s elite looking to escape a sticky summer in the city. And after seeing what the hotel has in store, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
“We are bringing the first luxury five-star boutique hotel to the Shore, and the exceptional roster of talent involved is unlike anything the area has seen,” says Brian Cheripka, senior vice president at iStar, the master developer behind Asbury Park’s waterfront, which has been under redevelopment for the past several years. iStar partnered with hotel operator David Bowd (Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, the Chiltern Firehouse in London, and The Chequit in Shelter Island) to open Asbury Ocean Club.
The new building stands out against the shore skyline at 17 stories high, with the 54-room boutique hotel being housed on the ground and 4th floors (the upper floors will be posh residences). Guests are welcomed by entering through massive bronze doors into a light-filled double-height lobby before heading up to the fourth floor where all of the guest rooms are located in what feels like an ultra-luxe fantasy beach house.
“The essence of Asbury Ocean Club came from all the elements of effortless beach living—light, sun, ocean, air,” explains Anda Andrei, the design lead for the hotel and the entire Asbury Park redevelopment project. “Connecting guests to the surroundings from the comfort of their rooms was a priority in the design, where each room has views of either the sea or sand dune gardens.”
And while it’s summer now and the offerings of the area are obvious (beach, sun, pool), the property is actually designed to be inhabited all year-round. Although the ocean will be too cold for a dip during the winter, guests can gaze at it from the glass-enclosed Drawing Room while snuggling up by the massive tiled-covered fireplace. Separating the 65-foot swimming pool, spacious deck and bar from the beautifully landscaped dune garden, the Drawing Room is like the living room of a house—one that’s populated with a collection of custom-made furniture pieces from around the world, like hand-painted Italian fabrics on upholstered walnut sofas, velvet armchairs designed by Space Copenhagen, Kelly Wearstler–designed iron floor lamps with linen shades, and custom-made Apparatus Studio pendant lights.
“I imagine this room being one of the most used public spaces in the hotel, in every season,” says Andrei of her favorite part of the hotel. “Designed in a glass house that appears to float on a glistening reflection pool that sparkles at night with candles, the Drawing Room sits at the center of the property and will act as the beating heart of activity at any time of day.”
Guests who visit in colder months (and year-round) will also be able to access health amenities on the third floor, like the Technogym-equipped gym designed by Jay Wright of New York’s The Wright Fit; daily classes like yoga, meditation, tai chi and pilates, along with guided shoreline runs and aromatherapy; and the spa with massage, mani/pedi and relaxation rooms.
And of course, the rest of Asbury Park awaits.
“Asbury Park is a true city by the sea, due to its lively downtown, burgeoning restaurant culture and ever-growing wellness community,” says Bowd. “There’s vintage shopping on Cookman Ave., enjoying a cocktail at Asbury Park Distilling Co., exploring historic relics like the Silverball Pinball Museum, or hearing live music at iconic venues like Asbury Lanes and The Stone Pony.”
Opening next year at the hotel is a food hall, market and fine-dining restaurant, ensuring that the Asbury Ocean Club will remain a coveted destination. Hamptons, eat your heart out.