Atlantic City, NJ: Boutique (and budget!) retro glamour breathes life into the boardwalk
Atlantic City is a schizophrenic town these days, the atmosphere skewing either nouveau Vegas (as at blown-out megahotels like the Borgata, where you'd never know you were near the ocean) or passÃ© playground (nearly everywhere else).
But there are a few spots helping to breathe new life into old AC. The boutique Chelsea hotel is one such property, smartly taking its cues from the getaway's heyday: The vibe is midcentury chic with plenty of Rat Pack glamour, from the sign (hooray for real neon!) to a swank supper club (Chelsea Prime) and an the upscale-diner restaurant (Teplitzky's). You can thank names whose credits include LA's Standard Hotel for the perfect balance of retro and modern.
And while the Chelsea proudly flaunts its oceanside location, should you not want to frolic in the actual surf, you can take a dip in the saltwater spa pool (a nod to resorts of yore, who used to pipe saltwater directly into their pools and guest rooms), sip old-school cocktails and survey the boardwalk from the Cabana Club, a 15,000-square-foot deck on the fifth floor.
Perhaps the most old-school of touches is the price: Room rates start at $130.