ATLANTIC CITY — Overwhelming demand rendered Revel’s website nearly inaccessible for three hours Monday as the city’s newest gaming hall was scheduled to begin accepting reservations.
The $2.4 billion casino and resort planned to roll out the reservations system at noon on www.revelresorts.com. Instead, a visit to the website returned various error messages throughout the day, including one that featured a blank screen with only the words, “It works!” Similarly, the phone line dedicated to reservations initially experienced problems as calls went to a voicemail system directing customers to other numbers.
Revel spokeswoman Maureen Siman said both the website and a phone system for reservations were experiencing difficulties Monday due to demand. Phone lines functioned normally by 2 p.m. And the website was generally accessible — with intermittent interruptions — after 3 p.m., although not all links were working.
Siman declined to say how many rooms were booked Monday or answer questions regarding how much traffic the website can handle and how many visitors attempted to access the page Monday.
“We’re not going to go into details about our website and how it operates. However, I will say that you could liken today’s situation to what happened when Target launched the Missoni line on their website,” Siman said.
Target’s website crashed last September after the company began offering the Italian brand online for a fraction of its usual prices.
Unlike Revel’s situation, the website functioned at the initial launch but was brought down after about three hours. The company issued a statement at the time attributing the problems to an overwhelming amount of traffic.
Mike Kaco, of Wilmington, Del., was among those trying to book a room at Revel Monday.
“There’s nothing,” he said. “It’s really weird. All the website says is, ‘It works!’“
Just before 6 p.m., that error message disappeared for Kaco, but the site still was not accessible, leaving him without solid plans for Easter weekend. But he said the inconvenience would not stop him from trying to book a room later.
Revel is opening more than a month ahead of schedule, starting April 2 with an eight-week preview of 500 rooms. Five hundred more will be available within a week. The resort’s formal grand opening is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.
Revel is planning to add 309 rooms to its existing 1,090 by May 31. Eventually, the plan is for the casino’s 47-story hotel tower to offer 1,900 rooms.
On the low end, a room with one king-size bed on a weeknight costs $239 plus tax; rates for the same room on a Saturday climb to $439 plus tax. High-end rooms — two-story loft suites with 2,000 square feet of space — max out at $839 plus tax, employees answering the phone said.
All rooms come equipped with a “tablet device” that lets patrons remotely control temperature, curtains and lighting. The device also serves as a resort directory and comes with a handset that allows for phone calls to be made, according to the Revel website.
Siman said the tablets can be removed from docking stations, but guests are not supposed to remove them from the rooms. They can be used to make restaurant reservations, spa appointments and to browse the Internet.
Rates for a standard room are significantly higher than Revel’s competitors, with the $239-price tag more than triple what some rival properties charge. Basic rooms on April weeknights at Tropicana Casino and Resort cost $69 and max out at $259 on a Saturday.
Revel is the first casino to open in the resort since Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa opened in 2003. There, a basic room on a weeknight in April is less than half the cost of a room at Revel, with rates at $99 per night.
As of 2 p.m., a woman taking reservations said there was still plenty of availability for the first night, and rooms were selling well. During the preview period, single-night stays can be booked during the week, but reservations on a Friday or Saturday require a two-night minimum.
Revel is billing itself as a “lifestyle resort” rather than a typical casino, relying heavily on modern architecture and other attractions aside from gaming. In keeping with that theme, the website unveiled Monday included some of the first detailed glimpses of those attractions, some of which will be open during the preview period.
A description of a year-round heated pool dubbed the “InOut Pool” described food and beverages that can be ordered poolside.
“Escape to the play zone for pool tables and large screens showing big games and other entertainment,” the pool’s description read. “Or borrow a backgammon set to bring back to your chaise. Roaming cocktail girls with mini-margaritas and pool boys with misting bottles keep things cool.”
Contact Jennifer Bogdan