This New Jersey Hotel Is Just Outside of New York City — but It Feels Like an Island Resort
At Asbury Ocean Club, a laid-back dining program and outdoor bar encourages you to spend hours by the pool—with gorgeous ocean views.
Growing up in New Jersey, my beach trips usually involved a day at Point Pleasant where my grandfather lived, or booking a beautifully historic bed and breakfast in Cape May. So when I pulled up to the newly minted Asbury Ocean Club—a luxury resort and residence complex on the beach in Asbury Park—I had to do a double take. The tall, sleek glass building officially opened its doors over July Fourth weekend, offering guests rooms with chic neutral color schemes and floor-to-ceiling windows, designed to evoke beach lofts. A pianist plays music in "The Drawing Room" at nighttime; there's free yoga and pilates classes on the terrace in the morning. I was only about an hour and a half away from home, but I felt like I’d been transported to an island resort.
“The hotel conveys a feeling you usually have to travel very far to experience—the peace and relaxation of a one-of-a-kind oasis," said Anda Andrei, the design lead for the project, when the property opened. "With that in mind, our design is focused on connecting every guest with gentle dunes and tranquil reflecting pools.”
Although I was tempted to head down to the beach, Andrei’s design worked—I couldn’t tear myself away from the pool terrace. Maybe it was the way the white lounge chairs and umbrellas contrasted brilliantly against the blue sky; maybe it was the ocean winking at me in the distance, with front-row seats beckoning me to plop down and forget the world around me. Either way, the resort’s casual dining program made it that much easier to justify hanging out, too. There’s no formal restaurant (one will be opening on the ground level in 2020), but the all-day menu is available all over the property.
Craving a lobster roll at 3 p.m.? No problem. Looking to share oysters and clams with your friends at sunset? You can have that too, and servers will bring it to you poolside with a cooling glass of water to match. (Or inside, of course, if you need a break from the heat.) As for drinks, frosé is the perfect way to end your night. The drink is infused with vermouth and topped with strawberry slices, which I sipped while the sun dipped below the horizon and lights blazed on the boardwalk. Needless to say, it was pretty relaxing.
For breakfast, you have two options. A contintenal spread offers fresh pastries, fruit, coffee, and teas (I recommend the lavender blend), while an à la carte menu features a lobster benedict, available to order from the common areas or the comfort of your room. Lest you feel like raiding the mini fridge and snacking, the Ocean Club has you covered, too. My room was stocked with Red Vines, Swedish Fish, and popcorn—bottled Negronis and Ramona spritzers filled the fridge. Asbury Ocean Club is definitely designed to be upmarket, and the prices and amenities reflect that. But still, considering it's such a short ride away from New York City, it's a quick and easy way to feel like you're escaping without heading to the airport—which is why the next time I'm itching to use a few vacation days, you'll find me back on that terrace with a drink in hand, living out a slightly more grown-up version of childhood beach trips.
Asbury Ocean Club is operated by Salt Hotels—to make a reservation, book here.