PHOTOS: The Asbury Hotel Brings High Style — and Big Fun! — to the Jersey Shore
Lobby Living Room
Asbury Park on the New Jersey Shore is undergoing a major rebirth, and the hip new Asbury Hotel is right in the center.
When guests walk into the lobby, which doubles as a tomato-growing greenhouse, the relaxation sets in. And that's before they even encounter this comfy couch in the lobby's chic, sunken "living room," says creative director and design lead Anda Andrei. "It's a room-within-a-room, and gives an intimacy to the space."
The billiards table sits in another sunny section of the spacious lobby. "The lobby is the center of activity in the hotel, it has so many things happening," says Andrei, "but at the same time it has lots of nooks and crannies."
The Soundbooth, one of the hotel's three bar areas, gets its inspiration from Asbury Park's historic music legacy. "The essence of Asbury Park is music," Andrei says. "We dedicated a whole wall to all the ways we used to listen to music, with vinyl, cassette tapes and CDs."
"We really wanted a design that allowed you to be connected to the local community," adds David Bowd, partner and operator of The Asbury. "Every night there's a different performance in the lobby, and it's about bringing in incredible local talent. There's always something going on."
That includes tonight, when the hotel hosts its official launch party.
The whole hotel strives for a laid-back, playful vibe — so of course there's a turquoise blue van that dispenses beer. "We found this truck on Ebay, and had it retrofitted with seven different local beer kegs," says Bowd. "We've got six-person ping-pong, giant Jenga games, and a food truck where you can grab a hot dog or burger. Now that summer's really here the space is packed!"
"The idea was to make it feel like a bungalow on the beach," Andrei says of the hotel's bedrooms. "Very airy, very beachy, very simple, but with a touch of luxury." This room works for families with kids or a group of friends, with the couch in the back that can turn into two day beds. "It's a little oasis within this super busy town," Bowd says.
Outdoor Movie Theater
"This is my Alice in Wonderland version of the Central Park lawn," Andrei says of the hotel's fifth-floor rooftop movie theater. "You have this white picket fence, with this green lawn, and this amazing view of the ocean." Outfitted with the historic marquee sign from the neighborhood's old Baronet Theater, the space also doubles as a yoga studio in the mornings, and can even be rented out for weddings.
Bedroom with a Tent
The Asbury fulfills every little kid's fantasy with their tent beds. "When you come with little kids to a hotel, you get a cot from the basement of the hotel and it's always in the way and ugly," Andrei says. "So instead of that, we gave them these little tents for them to sleep in." Bowd says they're a hit already, and one mom said she's going to have to buy them to have at home.
The Salvation bar on the hotel's eighth floor offers up the best views in town, says Andrei. "The furniture is all black and white, because it's not about them. It's about what you see outside — the sunset and all the stars in the sky."
No matter the group, the Asbury can accommodate them, especially with their unique bunk-bed rooms. "They're perfect for groups of friends coming together, or for families," Andrei says. With four- or eight-bunk options and two bathrooms, the rooms are spacious but can fit a crowd. "It's pure fun," she says.
"I was trying to stay away from the elegant, fancy resort, and make it more casual," Andrei says of the expansive pool area. "The trellis is made out of the metal scaffolding you'd find in New York City, and the plants are going to take over them soon." Bowd adds that the pool is one of the few areas exclusive to hotel guests during the day. At night, when it becomes a bar, Andrei says, "it could be one of the most romantic places in the hotel."