Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Starr Leaves the Chelsea

Bad news for the Chelsea: Stephen Starr is leaving the building.

Can I say that I'm not surprised? Well, I'm not. While Chelsea Prime got great reviews, Teplitzky’s was a mixed bag. I said it before, and I'll say it again: I do not think the nightlife plan put in place for this summer was a good idea. I think it alienated a lot of people from the Chelsea, which is truly a beautiful hotel, and out from the restaurants. Would you want to have a nice steak dinner next to this? (scroll down to "The crowd at the Cabana Club was, um, interesting...")

It didn't fit. Still doesn't. I haven't been back since late June.

Hopefully this will be a wake up call for the Chelsea to go back to what seemed to be the original plan for nightlife: an upscale bar experience, not butt dancing and bottle service. It won't bring Starr back (and, to be fair, he seems to have lost is interest in AC overall), but it'll be a start.

The Cape Resorts team certainly has the tools to make this happen: the Blue Pig Tavern and Ebbitt Room are superb locations, and I'm liking the Rusty Nail. The Brown Room? A knock out bar that I recommend to everyone who visits Cape May, and what seemed to be the goal of the Game Room, which is what the entertainment area of the Chelsea was originally called.

If they can bring THAT experience to Atlantic City, I think these spaces, no matter who manages them, will do well. Use the fall and winter as a transition season, re-group and start again.

I like the Chelsea. I think it's needed in AC. I hope that this change, whatever PR smear it leaves, is a place for them to start from again.

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