Want to know what the worst hotels in Atlantic City are? Plan wisely and avoid the costliest, dirtiest and out-of-the-way accommodations!
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For East Coast natives, just the mention of Atlantic City conjures all kinds of images and reactions.
If you live in New York City or Philadelphia, it’s a common day trip destination.
If you’re lucky enough to own or rent in one of the surrounding shore towns, it’s a center point for meeting up with friends or relatives and spending a fun evening.
But for a long time, Atlantic City was and still is a vacation spot, a place to spend a weekend (or longer) while hitting the casinos and taking in some shows. Name a famous musical act of the past 40-50 years, and chances are they’ve made Atlantic City a centerpiece of at least one tour.
Those days aren’t over, but these days Atlantic City attracts more novelty acts than headliners in keeping with the crowds who remember the town’s glory days. These people need a place to stay while they’re visiting “America’s Playground.”
We’re not going to tell you where to stay – we’ll just give you a couple of places to avoid with our list of the worst hotels in Atlantic City.
Worst Hotel in AC (Location): La Sammana Resort
I’m going to be honest – I’ve never been to La Sammana, or even gone past the building, despite spending summers for most of my life on the Jersey Shore.
And that’s the point. Look up Atlantic City hotels, and you’ll see this perfectly nice property featured. It promises pristine beaches, a rooftop pool, and plenty of “sun, sand, and surf.”
We don’t deny any of that, it’s the “Atlantic City” designation. La Sammana is in Brigantine, a solid 15-minute drive from Atlantic City.
Brigantine has beaches, to be sure. Sun, sand, surf… but it’s not Atlantic City.
Maybe you can save a few dollars by increasing your travel time. Maybe you’ll find you enjoy the hotel amenities. Just don’t expect to wake up and walk to your favorite casino.
Worst Hotel in Atlantic City (Cleanliness): Harrah’s Resort
This is going to sound horrible, but how do you pick one?
The town of Atlantic City wasn’t built with luxurious, spotless hotel rooms in mind. It’s a place to party, gamble, and have a generally great time… and then you need a place to crash. If you’re a connoisseur of fine amenities and impressive accommodations, maybe best to look elsewhere.
So while we could focus on any number of two-star, off the main drag establishments, we chose Harrah’s because of all its outstanding features, it’s not a place that you’ll show off pictures of your hotel room upon returning home.
The Pool After Dark is Harrah’s unique nightlife experience within an indoor dome. Musical acts, bars galore, VIP balconies and bottle service, and private cabanas all surround a 3,500 square-foot, 86,000-gallon swimming pool.
Thousands of partygoers drinking, swimming, and dancing all night long. Does this sound like a place overly concerned with luxury?
It’s not dirty so much as it is functional. The hotel rooms are… fine. That’s all. You’ll find more modern, spacious, and complete accommodations elsewhere, but these get the job done. That’s exactly what they’re designed to do.
Worst Hotel in Atlantic City (Affordability): Borgata
Most reviews list Borgata as Atlantic City’s unquestioned crown jewel.
It’s certainly one of the newer establishments, opening only 20 years ago and featuring 2,800 rooms – the largest hotel in the state of New Jersey.
A 160,000-square foot casino, a 50,000 square foot spa… there’s really nothing to dislike at Borgata – except the prices.
Weekend stays, even in the offseason, can run you upwards of $500 per night for a standard room with one king bed. The Piatto Rooms start at $800 per night. These are apartment- or condo-type accommodations with state-of-the-art furnishings, beds, and the best beach views in town. But you’re going to pay for it.
The Borgata is an exceptional establishment, and the hotel would be a crown jewel in just about any U.S. city. But be prepared to pay accordingly. Or, why not try it out online here instead!
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Worst Casino in Atlantic City (Casino): Golden Nugget Casino
It’s a geographically convenient alternative to Vegas; a place with an entertainment and casino vibe that you can visit for a day. But the options are more limited.
Right now, there are only nine casinos operating in Atlantic City, and they span from fresh, new looks to somewhat antiquated and outdated.
That’s where the Golden Nugget comes in. It’s not Atlantic City’s oldest casino (that would be Resorts, opened in 1978) but it’s seen better days.
The Golden Nugget opened as Trump’s Castle, later became Trump’s Marina, and was renamed Golden Nugget Atlantic City in 2011. It’s the second property in the city to hold the name, as Steve Wynn opened the original Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in 1980.
All of this is to explain that the Golden Nugget is indicative of Atlantic City’s ongoing battle. Changes in ownership, management, and a general shift in gambling habits leave a casino that seems outdated. The general vibe is one that leaves you feeling as if you’ve stepped back in time.
It’s on the smaller side, with about 60 table games and the rest slots and video poker machines. There is a high limit room, and sportsbook that opens at 4 p.m. daily (11 a.m. on weekends). Smoking is still permitted on large portions of the casino floor, an attraction to some and a drawback to others.
In general the casino can feel crowded or deserted at different times, and doesn’t offer the exciting, place-to-be atmosphere that visitors desire in Atlantic City. It’s worth your time giving it a try online instead!
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Atlantic City’s status in 2023 is an indication of where the gambling industry and casino atmosphere is heading on the East Coast. There’s no question that more casinos in more areas is a great development – it just isn’t helping Atlantic City’s bottom line.
For the first time in 2022, Pennsylvania edged New Jersey as America’s second-richest gaming state (behind Nevada, of course.) Much of that gaming revenue is coming from Philadelphia-area casinos – the same clientele who once flocked to Atlantic City.
But Philadelphia and its suburbs can’t offer the same atmosphere, not the beachside location of Atlantic City. Visit America’s Playground and you’ll find a town going the extra mile to show you a good time amidst a changing climate.
Based on our list, you can tailor your trip to your specific needs and avoid the costliest, dirtiest, or most out-of-the-way Atlantic City hotels.