The combined talents of design visionaries Anda Andrei, David Bowd, Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture and Gary Handel recently joined forces for this the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel in New Jersey, another jewel in the crown of the multi-billion dollar redevelopment by iStar.
Picture a fantasy beach house: magical ocean views, hand-picked, one-of-a-kind furnishings, and lush greenery, with sunlight streaming through floor-to-ceiling glass — tranquil simplicity and natural beauty at every turn, just 70 minutes from New York City. Asbury Ocean Club Hotel brings that dream to life on Asbury Park’s vibrant waterfront.
An elevated beach experience, literally, the entire 54-room hotel is elegantly set on the fourth floor of Asbury Ocean Club, the luxury residential building opened last summer. The effect is a beach hideaway in the sky; ingenious design means every room at the hotel has a view of water or dunes from its own terrace.
Asbury Ocean Club once again brings together the distinguished and award-winning team behind The Asbury Hotel (America’s Best New Hotel by USA Today): Anda Andrei (11 Howard, Gramercy Park Hotel + Residences), the design lead for the multi-billion-dollar Asbury Park redevelopment project; New York’s acclaimed Bonett /Kozerski Architecture (Public Hotel New York, PACE Gallery); and hotel innovator and operator David Bowd of the sought-after Salt Hotels brand (Eben House, The Chequit). Together joined by the esteemed Gary Handel of Handel Architects (Dream Downtown Hotel in Manhattan, Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi), the hotel boasts unparalleled service, sophisticated amenities, and astonishing design, offering the Shore’s first luxury five-star boutique experience, just steps from the beach.
Years in the making, Asbury Ocean Club is the crown jewel of real-estate leader iStar (NYSE: STAR), a passionate partner in bringing the Asbury Park magic to a new generation, whose roots in town stretch back more than a decade. Innovative and design-inspired iStar CEO, Jay Sugarman, deliberately hand-selected partners like Andrei, Handel, Bonetti / Kozerski and Bowd to manifest his vision. iStar acquired 35 acres in the city and has spent more than $300m on its efforts to date. The developer is the force behind a 10-year, multi-billion-dollar redevelopment plan for a 1.25-mile stretch along the Asbury Park waterfront that includes The Asbury Hotel, Monroe condominiums, and the newly reopened Asbury Lanes, the legendary bowling alley-turned music venue christened by Bruce Springsteen last summer.
While previous developers had tried for years to renew the waterfront, Sugarman and iStar have fully succeeded with the landmark Asbury Ocean Club. Bringing to life his dream of effortless living, the long-awaited luxury residences that house the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel, are a milestone for the city, for New Jersey, and for the East Coast. The building stands coolly and confidently against the shoreline — a symbol of the new era it represents for the iconic Jersey coastline.
“Asbury Ocean Club is not just a building; it’s the resurrection of Asbury Park,” says Sugarman. “It is a symbol of the return of this town to its rightful glory and an opportunity for us to create the ultimate beach lifestyle for those who want the very best.”
Through its breathtaking architecture and design, Asbury Ocean Club Hotel captures the exciting sense of anticipation when you first arrive at the beach and delivers the pure joy and happiness that comes along with it. Handel Architects brought that exhilaration to life through the building itself — its long vertical plane rises from the ocean and sweeps towards the west, and its glass and natural materials infuse the experience with light and openness.
A visually striking addition to the East Coast shoreline, the hotel provides a refuge and retreat from everyday life, where every whim is anticipated, and expectations are exceeded. Asbury Ocean Club Hotel has a luxe, intimate residential feel — warm, welcoming, and alive with brilliantly understated design. After checking in through gleaming bronze doors on the ground floor, guests will be whisked up to the fourth-floor gallery – the opposite of a conventional lobby – and enter a carefree world.
“When you arrive, you’ll have a moment of relief, of escape from the noise — I’m here, I’ve arrived, and everything from that moment on will be taken care of,” said David Bowd. “Check-in will not feel like a transaction, but a welcome. This is truly a luxury, five-star experience in a modern way. Service is attentive, but a little less formal. It’s more suited to the personality of Asbury Park.”
Anda Andrei agreed. “There’s a kind of magic to being at the beach, in any season or weather, and that’s what’s captured in every detail of the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel,” she said. “The hotel conveys a feeling you usually have to travel very far to experience – the peace and relaxation of a one-of-a-kind oasis. With that in mind, our design is focused on connecting every guest with gentle dunes and tranquil reflecting pools.”
The lobby overlooks the pool deck, which serves as an extension of the property with deep sofas, sunken beds and floor pillows. Surrounded by trees and greens acting as the walls of the space, outside becomes an oasis. The 65 x 30-foot pool overlooks the ocean and is outfitted with a full-service bar and grill, where flora is entangled throughout the pergola that hangs above. With a roaming granita cart, guests can also expect fresh juice, smoothies, and tiki cocktails.
Uncomplicated luxury defines Asbury Ocean Club Hotel. The heart of the property is the Drawing Room — an awe-inspiring “glass house” floating on a glistening reflection pool at the centre of the property. Designed to feel like a home rather than a hotel, the space functions as a living room, open kitchen doubling as a bar, music room, and all-day retreat. Visible from anywhere inside the hotel – sunlit by day, illuminated by night – the Drawing Room is just as notable for Andrei’s design as for brilliant all-day programming.
A large fireplace, finished with olive green handmade tiles, serves as the heart of the room and the divider between the living room area and an open kitchen. A solid oak communal table makes for an ideal spot to sip afternoon tea or a classic cocktail made to order tableside. In the afternoon and evenings, a champagne cocktail cart floats throughout the room, offering guests the perfect pairing with delicacies of caviar or raw-bar items as soft tones waft from the Drawing Room’s black baby-grand piano. An ideal space for enjoying Asbury Ocean Club’s natural surroundings year-round, the “glass house” has an ocean view deck on one side while also offering views of the spectacular sand-dune landscape by garden designer Madison Cox (Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech).
Andrei and the Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture team source their furniture and accessories all over the world, much as a homeowner would layer their decor with personal touches that reflect their travels and passions. Shelves bearing hundreds of pieces of colored glassware, and warm hand-painted fabrics, complement soaring ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass, and striking design objects: A limited-edition leather chair by Charles Kalpakian, vintage Ultra Fragola by Ettore Sottsass, Jasper Morrison chairs, Paola Navone wicker love seats, and custom Apparatus Studio pendant lights.
Each guestroom at the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel feels like a private beach loft, with jaw-dropping 11-foot ceilings in wood that match the wood-panelled floors. All of the understated-luxe design choices by Andrei and the Bonetti / Kozerski Architecture team amplify the distinctive quality of sunlight, relaxing open space, and laid-back ocean front living that defines Asbury Park. Each room boasts a daybed or banquette where guests can recline while savouring ocean or dune views. Designing the balconies to extend out to accentuate the horizontal quality of views, Handel also added a gentle curvature to the building to reflect the shoreline. Enclosed in glass, showers let light in to replicate the sensation of showering outdoors.
Among the 54 rooms, four one-bedroom suites come fully equipped with kitchens, two full baths, and a dining area, with natural light spilling into a large, open living room and expansive terraces with spectacular views. Seven studio lofts are larger than the standard and executive rooms and include sofa beds. Many of the lofts have corner seating banquettes that serve as a working and dining surface.
Hand-picked in-room amenities reveal the attention to detail that Bowd is renowned for bringing to his hotel projects. Body wash and conditioner come from Manhattan brand MiN. Palermo Body, the beloved bodycare brand from New York, will provide soaps – its first hotel partnership. Australian-born organic skincare line Grown Alchemist will offer smaller amenities, like body sprays and scrubs. “We chose all of these partners because we love their products,” Bowd said. “Every other hotel offers one brand. Our guests mix products at home, so we’re having fun with that.”
A first for Asbury Park: the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel will pair each guest with a Beach Bellperson, there to take care of any whim. The Beach Bellperson will set up a guests’ towels, chairs, and umbrellas on the beach, bring lunch, or deliver cold bottles of water, enabling guests to fully enjoy a sunny day on the beautiful, wide sandy beaches.
Guests will enjoy a clean, Mediterranean-inspired all-day menu served in the Drawing Room, at poolside, in guestrooms for 24-hour full room service and The Gallery, a casual-cool indoor dining space whose centre-piece is an enormous Italian table carved from a single piece of wood. On the ground floor, a fine-dining restaurant helmed by a high-profile chef, as well as 22,000 square feet of retail with a stimulating mix of local, and national brands, will debut in 2020.
Local partnerships remain an important element of the property’s culinary offerings and will include a bespoke gin from Asbury Park Distilling Co., a signature coffee blend from nearby Maiden Coffee, and a summer shandy from Asbury Park Brewery.
Unrivalled wellness offerings will make the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel feel like a rejuvenating escape. A wellness coach, part of the hotel’s executive team, worked with Bowd to create a state-of-the-art Technogym-equipped gym designed by Jay Wright of New York’s bespoke-fitness brand The Wright Fit, pampering spa, and daily classes like yoga, meditation, tai chi, and Pilates, along with guided shoreline runs and even aromatherapy. A tablet in each room will allow guests to have everything at the touch of a finger including streaming classes from sources like Peloton. And partnerships with local gym and spa operators ensure that “whatever else you want, we’ll find,” Bowd said.