Tim Boxer

Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
Las Vegas’ Bill Boyd Builds
A Village in Atlantic City

EW JERSEY Gov. Jim McGreevey pronounced it “the premier entertainment destination for families in the nation” as he joined Mayor Lorenzo Langford to welcome the innovative and outstanding Borgato as the 12th hotel/casino to rise in Atlantic City.

Borgato Hotel Casino & Spa is the first to be built here since Trump Taj Mahal opened 13 years ago. Atlantic City, the East Coast’s paramount vacation destination, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of casino gaming, since the premiere of Resorts International in 1987.

Joe Pantoliano of
The Sopranos is first one to
play the Borgato slots (and
win big)

Chairman/ceo Bill Boyd of Boyd Gaming, partnering with MGM Mirage in a joint venture, named his hip gambling palace Borgata, Italian for village. It is stupendous.

He poured in $1.1 billion to erect his village in the Marina District of this oceanfront city. It is money well spent to assure comfort, luxury and enjoyment. I could summon additional generous adjectives and each would accurately describe this exciting mega-casino.

Boyd Gaming president/coo Bob Boughner says he has to retrain himself: “When you deal with a billion-dollar project, a million dollars is a rounding number.”

David Arquette decorates the
casino floor on opening night

The statistics of this awesome structure are mind-boggling. The elegant building is located at Renaissance Pointe on a 27-acre site. It consists of a soaring 43-story tubular hotel tower with 2,002 guest rooms, 7,100-car parking structure, 2,400-seat event center/ballroom, 1,000-seat theater.

Also a gorgeous swimming pool with underwater music, a spa featuring 22 treatment rooms plus full-service hair salon and gentleman’s barbershop, 11 restaurants (including New York’s Old Homestead Steakhouse), 11 high-end boutiques, and of course let’s not forget the 145 gaming tables and – my speed – 3,650 slot machines in the gold-toned casino.

Borgata is the only casino in town without a Gideon Bible in any of the rooms. But they’re available in the front lobby along with New and Old Testaments, the Mormon Bible and the Koran.

Mime greets first nighters

I liked the elevators. Instead of looking at boring restaurant ads, you watch classical movies. I also liked the guest rooms, stocked with many amenities. No bathtub here, but every room has a spacious two-person shower. Cool!

As a bevy of Borgata Babes (waitresses/hostesses) watched, Joe Pantoliano of The Sopranos got to be first to play the slots. The lucky fella won big bucks (okay $9) to the applause of the first nighters.

Stephen Dorff, with model May Anderson at his side, tossed the first dice to open the casino’s gambling.

Courteney Cox’s hubby, David Arquette, made his way through the adoring throng to use an ATM machine. I didn’t need the ATM. I came fully prepared – with a five-dollar bill, which I lost in a snap to a one-armed bandit.

Ready for casino debut

Margaret Corsello, a retired Women’s Wear Daily writer, came from her home in Chatham, N.J., to try the trail-blazing slot machines. Instead of rewarding you with buckets of quarters, these high-tech slots yield paper receipts of your winnings, which you redeem at the cashiers.

”The last time I played,” she said, “I won a bucket full of coins. It was so heavy I can still feel the pain in my arms. These new machines give receipts. It’s wonderful. All the hotels should have them.”

Indeed they should. According to The Press of Atlantic City, revenue from the slots accounts for three-fourths of casino business.

Borgata lobby topped by a
Dale Chihuly sculpture, one of
13 hand-blown glass
chandeliers hanging in public

Bob Boughner and Bill Boyd

By the way, don’t call the chic Borgato Hotel Casino a resort. “That,” says Boughner, “denotes a golf course or tennis courts. Therefore we use spa in the name.”

Call Borgata at 609 317-1000.

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