we've just returned from 24 hours in Atlantic City.
all three of us.
Atlantic City is an occupational hazard for variety entertainers - like falling off your unicycle, or getting papercuts from palmed cards. I've been once before, and Eric and Charon have been a couple more times, always to see friends perform.
This was actually a great opportunity - a magician Eric admires, who lives and performs on the west coast, had a booking in AC, and agreed to spend a day with Eric and do some show-doctoring. And that part (you know, the point of our trip)was totally totally totally worthwhile, more than worthwhile - I can already see good effects from the coaching he received.
We stayed at the Trump Marina, a multi-million-dollar COMPLETE HOLE miles from the ocean. Okay, not a complete hole. The sleeping room was very nice. It had the most fabulous chaise over by the window, upholstered in cream linen, and the bed was fantastic. Great linens. Not a bad view. Really good design all around. Whenever we were in the room, we were happy.
The hotel also has a lovely pool, which unfortunately someone carelessly left outdoors in the rain. Since it was not only drizzling but also 68 degrees all weekend, that didn't work out for us.
They also have a nice spa, but until Ian and I can get parallel massage tables, that's not going to work out either.
In fact, I would say that this hotel was the least hospitable environment for a toddler that I have ever seen.
"Duh," you're saying, "Who takes toddlers to casino hotels?"
Well, idiots, to start with. In my defense, I want to say that I was thinking that Atlantic City would be like Vegas. You'd think that would be a safe bet, right, ha ha?
Atlantic City is NOTHING LIKE VEGAS. IN ANY WAY.
We first went to Vegas several years ago for a gig. I expected to hate it - almost didn't go. I ended up completely loving it. We stayed at the Mandelay Bay for the first part of the trip, which was GREAT; when it came time to pay for our own lodging, we moved down the strip to the Monte Carlo. Which, though it lacked the marble bathrooms and Dale Chihuly ceilings of other hotels, was still pretty nice. (Scaling down, in that case, meant going to a hotel that only had 4 pools.)
I was shocked at how, well, accomodating everything was. Though I'm from the country, I'm kind of an urban girl at heart, and I have internalized the idea that 'the world was not set up for my personal convenience.' Except in Las Vegas, it is.
Tired? There's a bench right here! Bathroom - 10 feet to your left. Warm day? Well, for heaven's sake, don't walk down to the Walgreens - take the free monorail. Thirsty? Oh, honey, let me bring you a drink - what, just a soda? You sure? Well, okay....
Plus, as if you needed it, everyplace is brimming with entertainment, either paid (the art museum at the Bellagio, the big evening shows) or comped (we saw Mac King's daytime show for free) or really free, out on the street! Choreographed fountains! Hot air Balloons! Pirate Battles! Singing gondoliers! A fire-breathing dragon! Okay, so the dragon was looking a little shopworn, and Merlin's arm had fallen off. I didn't care, and I can guaran-damn-tee you that Ian wouldn't care.
Ian, in fact, would have been totally happy to stand in the window and watch the Luxor's diagonal elevator all day. I'm totally sure. The fountain show might have been too much for him. He would have gone into a pleasure coma.
I wasn't expecting a pleasure coma, but a bench might have been nice. A public area with, you know, seating. A lobby. Like at a hotel.
That's all I was expecting. I was expecting the hotel where we were staying to be like...a hotel. Hospitable. Accomodating. You would think they would want to make a nice place, so people will want to come and gamble.
But pretty much the motto of the Trump Marina is: gamble or fuck off.
There's not even SHOPPING, people. There's not even anything to buy if you win, except dinner and Trump t-shirts. (And really cheap costume jewelry. I got 2 watches. I am waiting for my arm to turn green.) You would think they could scare up a Versace, a Juicy Couture counter, something vulgar.
But there's no place to sit down except at a slot machine, no place to stand except in line, no place to buy a paper (AT ALL), no place to let a baby be a baby. It's barely even handicapped accessible, despite the HUGE number of wheelchair users we saw there.
How gruesome is it?
we went for a 60-minute walk in the rain.
So, to recap:
1. The Trump Marina's success is based entirely on entropy. Once you're there, you're not within walking distance of anything else, and so there's not much competition.
2. If you are not actively involved in shoving coins into something, Trump Marina thinks you're dead weight, and would prefer not to do you any favors. It is a hellish place to spend an afternoon, let alone 24 hours with a hyper toddler.
3. East coast hotel pools belong indoors.
4. Be nice to the staff; they really appreciate it, plus you get to leave eventually but they come back every day.
5. We really, really need a new bed.