Lillian and Philip Cusimano, who were at Resorts Casino Hotel on Wednesday to celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary, peeked through the curtains and marveled at what they were able to glimpse.
“They tell me it’s going to be beautiful,” Lillian Cusimano said. “It does look nice, from what I can tell.”
Today, the curtains will be drawn back for all to see. When they are, Resorts’ cardholders will be able to enjoy two new VIP lounges that are a key part of $60 million in upgrades planned this year at Atlantic City’s oldest casino.
The Cusimanos, of Manchester, Ocean County, have been customers at Resorts since it first opened in 1978. The new VIP lounges are not only designed to pamper regulars such as the Cusimanos, but to also draw new customers to the Boardwalk property, spokeswoman Courtney Birmingham explained.
“We want to create a memorable guest experience every time,” Birmingham said. “It’s also reinvesting in our customers who have been loyal to us for 35 years.”
Equipped with bars, dining areas and buffets, the VIP lounges essentially serve as private clubs for the Resorts customers who hold the casino’s loyalty cards. They are decidedly more upscale than the two VIP lounges that Resorts used to operate, Double Down and Club 1133.
The new lounges are called Epic and Paramount. Their design is similar, although Paramount is larger and slightly more elegant. Paramount will serve Resorts’ higher-level customers, while Epic caters to mid-tier guests. A common entryway for both lounges is reminiscent of the quaint lobby of a boutique hotel.
Amid a color scheme of muted earth tones, customers will dine on walnut tables and sip drinks at bars featuring granite countertops. Contemporary furnishings, artwork that mimics sea coral and decorative light fixtures add to the ambiance.
“It feels warm and friendly. It feels sophisticated,” Birmingham said. “It’s a huge upgrade to what our players were used to. It was important for us to give them something that they wanted to come to.”
Frank Brooks, a room service manager and 30-year employee at Resorts, said the VIP lounges are an extension of the family atmosphere that Resorts has tried to create.
“We know our customers very well from them being here week after week. And a lot of our customers know the employees by name,” said Brooks, who will manage the service staff in both lounges.
The lounges represent the latest improvements at Resorts, all part of a $60 million makeover of the casino hotel. Birmingham declined to break out the cost for the lounges.
The centerpiece of Resorts’ overhaul is a $35 million Margaritaville-themed restaurant, bar and casino project scheduled to open on Memorial Day weekend. Work crews are installing the piles and pouring the concrete for the foundation for the Margaritaville complex’s beachfront LandShark Bar & Grill. “Coming Soon” signs on the Boardwalk tease the project.
Margaritaville’s tropical theme will extend inside Resorts’ main Boardwalk entrance, including a new 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar. Other improvements that are planned or have recently been completed include a high-limit slots area, a food court and new carpeting on the casino floor that will complement Margaritaville’s theme. Resorts will also refurbish the bathrooms in 259 guest rooms in the Ocean Tower.
Resorts has been a property in transition since last February’s death of its former chief executive officer and co-owner, Dennis Gomes. Just last week, Resorts appointed 30-year Atlantic City casino veteran Mark Giannantonio as the property’s new president and CEO.
Morris Bailey, the New York real estate mogul who owns 90 percent of Resorts, brought in Connecticut-based Mohegan Sun last fall to oversee the casino’s management. The Mohegan Indian tribe owns the Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and holds a 10 percent stake in Resorts.