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The Asbury Hotel—the first new accommodation option in Asbury Park, New Jersey in over 50 years—officially opens its doors this evening with a celebration that will rival the Fourth of July fireworks.
A perennial favorite for weekending travelers from New York City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, Asbury’s like the Ipanema of the Jersey Shore: gays in banana hammocks sunbathing, sipping cocktails, and grabbing meat sandwiches alongside legions of local families. And every cross-section of the community is dutifully represented—even a special tribe of Jersey juice-head homos.
The Asbury Hotel itself—formerly a lovelorn Salvation Army—is the tricked out brainchild of hotelier David Bowd and his partner, interior decorator Kevin O’Shea—the co-founders of Salt Hotels. The concept and look employs plenty of their signature savoir faire found in their preexisting clutch of seaside properties in the other gay-friendly havens of Provincetown, Massachusetts and Shelter Island, New York.
With a vibe approaching something like The Standard’s baby brother, the decor matches sleek white lines with industrial accents, and there’s a palpable hostel vibe in the dorm rooms and boardgame-stacked lobby. The canteen serves up superlative coffee, green juices, salads, and killer breakfast sandwiches—the perfect cure after a rooftop rager the night before.
Salvation, the aptly named bar on the top of the property, has been drawing an eclectic crew of clubbers mirroring the different stripes of beachgoers since the hotel’s soft opening over Memorial Day Weekend. And Baronet, the astroturfed roof deck on the fifth floor, screens movies regularly (think: Top Gun and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) for guests and locals alike.
The pool and biergarten combo is a welcome oasis when the beach swells with umbrellas on warm summer days. Draught beer and hotdogs are served from a permanently parked retro Volkswagen, and the lounge chair lined swimming pool comes with a thumping soundtrack that pairs perfectly with canned wine and tanning oil.
The completion of the hotel is the first step in a massive real estate innovation project led by iStar that will include additional accommodation, a generous infusion of condos, and twenty other endeavors that increase the amount of recreational and commercial space as well. An investment of several billion dollars, the project’s goal is to completely revitalize the 1.25-mile stretch of coastline by 2025. For more information about the ambitious plans, check out Asbury Park Waterfront.
Tonight’s opening party is open to the public.