Resorts Atlantic City will debut a new luxury option for its guests when it opens Serene Blu this weekend.
Serene Blu, located on the casino level near The Double Down Lounge, is a boutique offering therapeutic treatments and massages. This is the first Atlantic City casino location for Serene Blu, which was founded in 2003.
The idea of Serene Blu is to offer relaxing, stress-relieving treatments without requiring customers to commit the great deal of time that it may take if you went to a spa. Massages are priced at $1 per minute with a minimum of 20 minutes, and the location, right near the casino floor, enables players to get back to gambling quickly.
"We went looking for something like this because we have a large Asian market and we are constantly looking services like this to cultivate that market," says Resorts Senior Vice President of Marketing Kathleen McSweeney. "It provides a high level of convenience. We know it's going to be extremely popular."
Guests will have the option of private and public treatments, and the massage rooms were designed so that adjoining doors can open for couples massages. Services include deep tissue, reflexology, chair and warm stone massages. Serene Blu has other locations in New Jersey and Philadelphia, including the Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing.
The Serene Blu space went through a complete renovation that includes new carpeting, six private massage rooms with tables, new massage chairs and a public area that features plasma televisions, leather furniture and a fireplace.
"They did an amazing job in there," McSweeney says. "They blended the classic architecture in there with a modern style. We're very pleased with the way it came out."
Hours will vary, but Serene Blu will be open daily.
"We're the first casino in Atlantic City to offer something like this," McSweeney adds. "We are always trying to find new niches to attract new customers while pleasing existing ones."
It was a close battle, but Seablue: A Michael Mina Restaurant Executive Chef Anthony Amoroso defeated Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto on The Food Network's "Iron Chef" that debuted Sunday.
"It was strange watching myself on TV," Amoroso says. "It was like when you were a kid the first time hearing yourself on a cassette tape and you say, 'I don't sound like that.' Yes you do."
The secret ingredient was one that put a smile on Amoroso's face when it was announced in Kitchen Stadium: branzino, which is also known as Mediterranean sea bass, a fish that the James Beard award winner has worked with extensively.
Amoroso's five dishes were: a crudo with avocado mousse, pickled pearl onion and basil gelee; tartare with a candied blood orange, oil-cured black olives and mint; smoked branzino with horseradish cr�me fraiche, capers and Granny Smith apples; a trio that included pickled, saut�ed and fried branzino, one with chorizo caramel and poached quail egg and another with littleneck clam bellies and almond milk; and a Pernod pot pie with sungold tomatoes, baby fennel and heirloom potatoes.
Morimoto seemed to pull out all of the stops, using hot rocks, shabu-shabu (hot pot) and also wrapping his main course in a banana leaf.
"I never really got to see close up what he did," says Amoroso, who won with a score of 49 to 47. "And I didn't know the point totals even though I expected it was going to be close. It was interesting to see what he produced and the amount of effort that went forth on his side makes me feel even better about winning. He certainly didn't lack for bringing toys. He wasn't short of techniques."
Amoroso and Seablue are considering offering a tasting menu based on the "Iron Chef" win to offer the customers at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa restaurant.
"I think that people would really love some of those items," Amoroso says. "We're working on it."
Diane Neal of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" stayed at the Tropicana Casino and Resort last weekend, dining at Red Square in The Quarter and gambling most of the night.
Australian TV and film actor Louis Mandylor ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), in town to promiere a film at last weekend's Downbeach Film Festival, popped into Megan's Good Grub & Pub, which is owned by Pinnacle. He joined the cast and crew of the independent crime drama "Ice Grill, USA," which was filmed entirely in Atlantic City and also debuted at the festival.
pink for October
The Tropicana Casino and Resort is doing its share this month to bring awareness to Breast Cancer Awareness Month by going pink. During October, the casino's exterior cupola, as well as its fountains, will feature pink lights while its showroom walls will be illuminated with pink ribbons during shows.
Retail shops in The Quarter will also offer special items, including White House Black Market, which will offer a portion of the proceeds from its Give Hope Collection of T-shirts, jeans and key chains to Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Swarovski will also support Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its 2009 Pink Hope Collection that includes charms, pendants and earrings. Ten percent of the proceeds from the sales will be donated to The Libby House Foundation, and customers who spend at least $150 receive a Pink Hope keepsake box, including do-it-yourself crystal applications.
Oktoberfest at Taj
The Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort will hold its annual Oktoberfest for the 16th straight year noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, in the Grand Ballroom. German entertainers will highlight the festivities that also includes German food, a European market and more. Attendees can win round-trip airfare to Germany.
By Scott Cronick