Trump Breathes New Life Into Taj MahalCategory: World Spotlight
On October 2nd, I had the opportunity to head down to the Jersey Shore for a little work...and a little play. Thanks to Donald Trump, I had a hard time telling which was which.
The work portion of my trip was covering a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Trump Taj Mahal's new Chairman Tower. The Chairman Tower is Trump's latest masterpiece and oh-so-subtle namesake. You won't find T-R-U-M-P splashed across the side of this modern marvel. Instead, it gives a quiet nod to The Donald in a way that matches the refinement of its interior. The Chairman Tower is named in honor of Donald Trump's position as Chairman of the Board of Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc. - a tribute that Trump himself says was made by his Board of Directors, not him.
Rising 467 feet above the Atlantic City boardwalk, the new Chairman Tower is an obvious and welcomed departure from the gilded, pastel hues of the Taj Mahal. Its 39 floors and 782 rooms boast floor to ceiling ocean views, sleek mahogany furniture, and soothing earth tones with highlights of color in burnt orange, browns and mossy greens. The pillow-top mattresses and detailed, luxury linens scream comfort, not hotel, and the well appointed spa-like bathrooms make it clear that this is anything but your grandma's Atlantic City.
Not having been to the Taj in quite some time, the ribbon cutting ceremony was a great reminder of the level of excellence Donald Trump expects of his properties and his staff. When two lines of tuxedo clad waiters entered the reception room like synchronized sommeliers and served champagne to guests like Governor Jon Corzine and Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans, I knew we were partying Trump style. From the Kobe burgers to the molded ice drinking glasses, the elegance of it all carried right down to the glistening crystals peeking out of David Tutera's masterfully arranged floral bouquets.
Mingling amongst all of the notable guests were Chief Executive Officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts, Mark Juliano, General Manager of Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Rosalind Krause, Trump Entertainment Resorts Public Relations Manager, Mary R. Moyer, and of course The Donald himself, who was accompanied by his Vice President of Development & Acquisitions, the smart-as-she-is-pretty, Ivanka Trump.
The ceremony included a tour of one of the 74 suites the Chairman Tower has to offer, and the refined residential styling and attention to detail was evident at every turn. Elegant draperies showcased the suite's tall ceiling and grand ocean views, and a 50" wide screen plasma television hung above a sleek built-in made of East Indian Rosewood. The spacious suite had ample room for the round dining table that sat nestled beside a Brazillian granite wet-bar and looked out yet another bank of floor to ceiling windows. The suite I toured even had the ability to become a three bedroom thanks to the well-planned adjoining "standard guest rooms" - which were anything but standard. iPod docking stations and available WiFi just added to the list of modern creature comforts. And the environmentalist in me would be remiss if I didn't note that all of the fixtures in the suite I toured were equipped with energy-saving light bulbs. Hey, every little bit helps! When you multiply the energy savings of that suite by the other 781 rooms, Trump Entertainment Resorts has taken a small step that has a huge impact. Kudos to The Donald and his Board for lessening their footprint.
After the ceremony, a few of us paid a visit to yet another new addition to Trump Taj Mahal, Il Mulino New York. This is the 10th location for the restaurant group but the first that offers two distinct, side-by-side dining experiences. Il Mulino New York offers guests their renowned fine dining, while the more casual Trattoria Il Mulino features a wide variety of pastas and lighter fare with an atmosphere of exposed brick walls and an open kitchen. Both kitchens are run by Executive Chef Michele Mazza, who pays homage to the Abruzzo region of Italy with a menu of rustic, yet refined dishes - all of which are easily complitmented by a selection of more than 300 wines.
The experience and food at Il Mulino was so divine that I've decided it needs a post all its own, so be sure to look for that a little later in the week. For now, I will say that dining at Il Mulino and Trattoria Il Mulino was a treat I won't soon forget. Their signature drinks, specifically the Testarossa, are what first ignitied my love affair with the restaurant. Just imagine a bold but delicate combination of Vodka, Grand Marnier, Strawberries, Cranberry Juice, fresh Basil and a light-handed topping of fresh cracked pepper...I was hooked.
By the time I was ready to hit the casino, my view of Atlantic City as a vacation destination had forever been changed. Living within a few hours drive of the bustling boardwalk, I suppose I'm as guilty as anyone of overlooking the options in my own backyard for the ever evolving, always enticing Las Vegas Strip. But truth be told, the next time I'm looking for a getaway that offers world-class shopping (yeah, I squeezed some of that into my working weekend too), luxurious suites, fine dining, night life and spoil-me-rotten service, Atlantic City, and that suite at the Chairman Tower, will be definitely be high on my list.
Photos: Lisa Wagner/BlogHamptons.com
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