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Atlantic City: An Affordable Winter Escape by the Sea


The Chelsea Hotel, Atlantic City, NJ.

By Shari Hartford

The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is not exactly a winter wonderland. On a good day it's peppered with hearty folks out for some sea air intermingling with street-wise locals looking to make a few bucks. But when the winds are howling and the temps are plummeting, everyone is hunkered down at the craps tables.

But not me. I recently spent a tranquil weekend with my BFF at the Chelsea Hotel — the only hotel on the Boardwalk without a casino. This boutique property now boasts a sea spa that is just right for a mid-winter pick-me-up.

We arrived from New York City early on a cold, but clear, Sunday morning. The Chelsea's lobby puts a smile on your face as soon as you walk through the door. It's beach-chic with a twist: giant purple pillows on the sofas, a corner fireplace and sea shell accents complement a decor that is reminiscent of a classic Atlantic City era. Don't miss the lamp on the reception desk — it's made of eyeglasses.

Our gorgeously modern room in the hotel's 20-story tower had an ocean view, a flat screen television, a luxurious bathroom and the softest, fluffiest duvet this side of the Alps.

After settling in, we headed down to the spa for some serious r&r. I opted for the expertly administered Go-Go Girl Glow/Scrub and Buff which left my reptilian winter skin soft and shiny. The other spa facilities include a heated saltwater pool, a large Jacuzzi, steam rooms, saunas and sublime relaxation areas. (Beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures and facials are coming this spring.) During the summer months, the hotel also boasts a rooftop pool with private cabanas and a full-service ocean beach.

Now that our spa experience was over we decided to bundle up and hit the Boardwalk. But first we needed to carb up for the great outdoors. Lunch was at Teplitsky's, the hotel's funky restaurant serving diner-inspired fare.

Sated, we strolled in and out of the massive hotels and casinos dotting the ocean-front Boardwalk. Win a little; lose a little all at the penny slot machines. In the end, I came away a big winner of $1.13.

Since the winnings were burning a hole in my pocket we spent the better part of the next day cruising the outlet center in town looking for winter sale bargains.

We felt as if we had been away for days, when, in reality, it was a little over 24 hours. Now that's a good getaway.

Doubles from $83. For more information, visit The Chelsea Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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