An AC Trip Report – A Vote For Spontaneity

The group of us who bring you tend to be calculating in our casino vacation plans. Even our Vegas vacations start with an itinerary for each day that’s followed about 75%. (Except Miguel – he’s more of a “go with flow” kind of guy in Vegas).

So, after the three of us returned from our July FlyBorgata trip to Atlantic City, which we always love (Bread & Butter, Amphora Lounge, & “Human Nature Concert,”  – yahoo!), I was surprised to hear Bert say – “let’s just go back and take advantage of the Tier Matching at Hard Rock and Ocean in Atlantic City!”

Due to a calf injury, I was stuck at Borgata while Bert & Miguel went to see both new casinos, with Bert getting a free room at both.  So we called, booked the rooms and four days later drove to AC – 4 1/2 hours later, we checked into Hard Rock.  Here’s our Trip Report, divided by the pros and the cons in a relatively random presentation.


Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Second Floor escalator looking down toward casino floor. Fabulous digital signage. Courtesy of

  • Room renovations seem successful, at least from our room.  Check -in was quick and service was friendly and helpful. (See below about getting into our room).
  • Card Rewards Center was very helpful in getting your card and Tier Matching.  My Diamond card from TR boosted me to Rock Royalty, the top tier.  Leap at Mohegan Sun, Platinum at Foxwoods, and Gold at MLife (MGM/Borgata) will also get you there, until Labor Day weekend.  It includes $150 Free Slot Play, 2 comp nights (w/ resort fees), 2 buffets, 2 comedy club Tix (weekend only) and of course line passes, which come in handy at HRC right now because the place is packed at night with card newbies lines getting very long quickly.  The Rock Royalty gets you a visit to the VIP lounge, but it was closed for a private function.
  • REALLY COOL – in most casinos I’ve played in, the PIN number screen is always the same – 1-5 at the top, 6-0 in the second row.  But not at HRC! – Miguel reported that the numbers are randomly different every time you enter your PIN for added security. Love it.
  • Food court is outstanding.  Quite the selections, and good choices without the usual chains.  And they have their own WhiteHouseSubs, a famous locals’ place.
  • Free T-shirt after 1 hour of play – Yahoo.
  • I only played Pai Gow Poker, which is only found in the high limit / Asian Gaming area.  Dealers and Pit were very friendly. Limits start at $20 and includes Fortune side bet.  After 90 minutes of play, I was up $200, and I had the table to myself.  It was a great play.

    Once we got into our room, we liked it.

  • Kiosk for additional cards and the Rewards Kiosks had some problems.  Twice, we had to go back to Rewards Center because promo ticket wouldn’t print.  There are a lot of them around, and were tons of people for the opening, so word was they couldn’t keep up with the ticket paper in the kiosks.  I feel, while it was annoying, it’s understanding that it could occur first month.
  • The entertainment line-up is amazing. And checkout the free bands in the Center Bar Lounge – every time I passed by, I quality of music was outstanding – afternoon and evening.

Ocean Resort Casino

Aerial View of Ocean Resort

  • This place is beautiful and earns the title of Resort. Spacious, with lots of areas to just chill.
  • Free Parking for Everyone – Bravo!
  • This place can just take you away – you tend to forget you’re in Atlantic City (not that being in AC is a bad thing).  The pools, the view, the scent, the casino, the service, and the appearance inside and out makes me feel like I could be in Aria or Cosmo in Las Vegas.
  • Check – in was very smooth, and you receive a nice gift bag with hats and water.  Nice touch.
  • Tier Match from HRC’s Rock Royalty top tier gives your Ocean Black Card.  This includes $100 Free slot play, 2 buffet passes (but no buffet yet), free entrance to Premier Lounge and VIP Lounge in High Limit throughout the day.

    Premier Lounge

  • Food options are good, better than in many Diamond Lounges.  The same menu is served all day.
  • Room was terrific, larger the HRC, and bathroom is 2-sink, large with a shower big enough for an entire basketball team (well, maybe not that big.) Great room, very quiet. Great view of the ocean, too.
  • The highest VIP lounge is small, similar food to Premier Lounge, open later and only open for Black Card members. (Premier is available for Platinum Member with 10 credits.)
  • Casino is spacious, modern with swirling lines of slots and video poker.  Very easy to get around.
  • Video Poker is better than HRC, if you play $1 and up. Full Pay JOB at $1 and 9/6 DDB at $1.


Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

  • When we arrived at our assigned room, we couldn’t get in.  Yes, the key was working, but something I have never seen kept us from getting into the room – the security latch from the inside kept the door from opening about an inch.  After waiting for 20 minutes and two phone calls downstairs for help, I finally had to go downstairs myself.  Again, being friendly usually brings helpful service – no ranting or complaining.  With 5 minutes, we had a new room with a pleasant conversation and my new friend Wes, and we were on our way.
  • Video poker is not a good thing at HRC, period. 8/5 JOB at $1 Level?  C’mon…….
  • The slots areas, which seem to be everywhere, feel a little stifling and close. I think they fit in as many as they could.
  • The casino is very warm at night.  If you don’t like the freezing cold of other casinos, then this one’s for you.  But for the most part, add smoke and it can get a tad uncomfortable.
  • The Buffet is smaller and underwhelming than expected.  Dinner is $37.50.  NETG was very disappointed – good thing it was free with Tier Matching.  If you have to pay, stay away.

    Dessert station only saving grace in Fresh Harvest Buffet

  • No Breakfast at the Buffet?!!!! Really? Just dinner & supper.

Ocean Resort Casino

  • The whole property tends to be easy in getting lost. Casino is on level 6, Hotel lobby a couple floors above that.  The slot floor, while and easy to get around, is also easy to get lose on.  When you circle by the Food Truck for the second time, you know you’re lost
  • Wanted to play Pai Gow Poker late morning – $50??? only table open.  Later at night had $25 low limit, but still better at HRC.
  • Retail shops are not really open yet except for fitness center, coffee place, and a couple clothing options.
  • Sorry, but I have to say the Ocean uniforms with this “yacht” theme don’t look good on most of the staff.  Nice try, but doesn’t work.  They DO stand out – maybe that’s what they are going for.


If you prefer a high energy, young, loud music filled atmosphere, go to Hard Rock, where a great tier match is waiting for you.

If you prefer the luxury of a resort, with better gambling, VIP lounges and the feel of a high-end stay, go to Ocean.

Both are great additions to the Boardwalk.  HRC may cause the most competition for Borgata for a while.  The options of HRC, Ocean and lower end but dependable Resorts makes a nice trio at the south end of the boardwalk.

Binbin & Bert