ATLANTIC CITY — The Atlantic Palace has had a place in the striking skyline since 1987. But even if the time-share condo tower has contributed an irregularly shaped, 31-story chunk to the public view of the city for these past 28 years, the Atlantic Palace hasn’t made made enough use of its own spectacular, Boardwalk-front views, as the building’s new owners see it.
And those new owners should know. FantaSea Resorts, a time-share company, also is the old owner of the Atlantic Palace. Atlantic City-based FantaSea sold the building to Bluegreen Corp. in 2008 and bought that Florida vacation company in a deal that closed Jan. 1. Even while Bluegreen ran the show, FantaSea kept a block of suites for its own time-share members, said Atlantic Palace’s general manager, Michael Anderson.
Now that FantaSea has moved all the way back into the Atlantic Palace, the company plans to make better use of that view — and to generally upgrade and update the public amenities, Anderson added.
He said one major step in that process will be to add a “large, luxurious spa” — although that’s in planning stages so early the company doesn’t have architect’s drawings yet. Another planned addition is a family fun center, including a game room, arcade and more ways to entertain kids. FantaSea also wants to build a movie theater for guests, Anderson said.
For a more active crowd, there’s a “fantastic workout facility” on the drawing board, the GM said. The Atlantic Palace already has a working fitness center. The owners are proud of one of the building’s highlights, a swimming pool that overlooks the beach and ocean from three floors up on that skyline at New York Avenue, on a bend in the Boardwalk between The Pier at Caesars and Central Pier.
“It’s a great location that really hasn’t been taken advantage of,” said Nadya Rivera, a FantaSea spokeswoman who showed the 292-unit building that caters to both time-share owners and guests who just use it as a hotel.
Looking out the windows of an oceanfront suite on the 30th floor, she added that the company’s overall goals for its new/old property will emphasize “a celebration of this view.” But all those coming upgrades are a big part of the package.
“We feel that the new spa can only contribute to our efforts,” Rivera said.
Not every room in the Atlantic Palace has that straight-shot view out at the Atlantic Ocean. Because of the odd shape — it’s sort of a blunt arrowhead, with two long sides tapering in toward the beach — the great majority do, Anderson said.
“There are some city views,” he acknowledged — although given Atlantic City’s water-rich geography, those back-of-the-building city views include views of the bays that surround the town. They could be the best spots to enjoy sunset cocktails.
Speaking of which, the Atlantic Palace’s nearby neighbors include one of Atlantic City’s most popular cultural institutions, the Irish Pub. Even closer is an actual Boardwalk museum (of sorts). Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is just a few steps away from Atlantic Palace’s door to the boards.
FantaSea, the corporate owner, also owns the Flagship resort, just off the Boardwalk and Absecon Inlet at Maine Avenue, and LaSammana, off the beach in Brigantine. It claims 45,000 members and says it’s the biggest noncasino hospitality provider in Atlantic City.
And one more plan FantaSea has for the Atlantic Palace is to change that longtime view of the building as it stands on the skyline. Anderson, a veteran of Atlantic City’s hospitality business, points out that most of the tall buildings on that skyline have their names lit up in bright, red letters — apparently to catch the maximum amount of eyeballs.
To set itself apart in that tangle of towers, the company is waiting to pull down the old, red sign from the top of the building and put up its name in “brilliant, brilliant blue” letters, in Anderson’s description. The new sign will brand the building as “FantaSea Resorts at Atlantic Palace.”
While Bluegreen was running the property, that company renovated many of the suites, which run from studios to two-bedrooms. FantaSea also did the same to some of the time-shares it maintained for its members. By Anderson’s estimate, more than half the Atlantic Palace’s units have been upgraded in the past four years. The company has no plan to redo more individual units this year, he said.
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