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Tim Boxer

Nina Boxer

[ Harrah’s Atlantic City ] [ Travel Guides: Moon Handbooks, TimeOut Shortlist ]

Kimberly Fenton serves Michelle Nelson in cabana at
Photos by Tim Boxer

Harrah’s Is A Winner

INCE we haven’t been to a casino in quite some time, we decided to visit the gambling dens of Atlantic City. After we checked into Harrah’s on the Marina, we made a beeline to the enticing one-armed bandits that greet you the moment you step into the grand lobby.

Imagine the shock when we reached for the handles to pump for our winnings, only to discover how time has passed us by!

There are no one-armed bandits!

The slot machines are computerized. Beat the slots and you come away triumphantly with a paper receipt which you redeem for cold cash at the window.

How we miss the fanfare of the raucous sound of quarters clanging out of the maw of the machine as bells and whistles announce another winner. We reluctantly resigned ourselves to progress and automation.

There’s lots of progress going on at Harrah’s Atlantic City. Senior vice president and general manager R. Scott Barber told us that the property is undergoing a $550 million upgrade and expansion. A new 961-room tower, opening early next year, will make it the tallest building in town and second tallest in the state at 44 stories.

Chef David Suscavage hosts Joan Brower and
Alyce Parker at Harrah’s Steakhouse

Last spring Barber opened the Waterfront Buffet with seven restaurants and a retail promenade with seven shopping emporiums including a Sony Innovations store.

He also debuted a magnificent four-acre entertainment complex featuring the largest atrium tropical garden space in New Jersey. The highlight is a 90-foot high glass dome over an oasis of heated pool, Jacuzzis, cabanas, outdoor and indoor deck areas and a pool bar. www.harrahs.com.

Adjacent to the pool area is a newly opened Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. When I was attacking the slots, Nina was exploring the 23 treatment rooms. She was so mellow and relaxed, I sent her for an encore the next day. At least she came out a winner on this trip.

Next time I’ll join her at the Red Door Spa’s deluxe couple’s suite. It has a Jacuzzi, shower and fireplace. Each person gets an 80-minute massage followed by a 30-minute relaxation by the private fireplace. Well worth the $482 tariff. www.reddoorspas.com.

Water Show at The Pier Shops at Caesars

While you can happily spend all your time here, hop on the shuttle and take advantage to visit some of Harrah’s sister properties which include Bally’s, Caesars and Showboat.

Be sure to drop in at The Pier Shops at Caesars at the center of the boardwalk. www.thepiershopsatcaesars.com.

Opened a year ago on the site of the historic Million Dollar Pier (built in 1906), this world-class shopping center juts 900 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. It boasts 90 upscale retail shops (such as Tiffany, Tourneau, Gucci, Victoria’s Secret) and seven restaurants (including Buddakan for modern Asian cuisine in "opium den" dining nooks).

Don’t miss The Pier’s spectacular water/light/sound show. The $7 million dollar water extravaganza is open to the public and runs every hour on the hour.

Good news: A double-decker train is scheduled to begin service from New York to Atlantic City in January. It will take 2.5 hours for $100 round trip.

Travel Guides

Moon Handbooks, from Avalon Travel Publishing, come in three flavors so far: Ireland (600 pages, $21.95 Amazon.com Price: $14.93 ), London (410 pages, $19.95 Amazon.com Price: $13.57 ), Spain (700 pages, $24.95 Amazon.com Price: $16.47 ). Each one is superb, extremely helpful, and very well put together. The illustrations are all black & white. The maps in the London book are in color, which makes a difference.

TimeOut Shortlist: New York is handy little booklet that offers all (or the most interesting portion) of Manhattan. The city is divided into areas of interest, with half a dozen pages give to the outer boroughs. The lavishly colorful booklet fits neatly in your pocket for ready reference. TimeOut, 191 pages, $11.95 Amazon.com Price: $10.16 

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