New Jersey’s Asbury Park was once an abandoned Salvation Army building and has now been transformed into The Asbury – a reimagining of the classic beach hotel by David Bowd and Anda Andrei.

Asbury Park, New Jersey, where personality practically wafts off the ocean breeze, now has a hotel with character to match. Launched in June, The Asbury is the shore town’s first new hotel to open in more than 50 years.

The youngest jewel in the crown of a multi-billion-dollar redevelopment by real estate company iStar, The Asbury mashes up Asbury Park’s Victorian-era history, rock-n-roll present, and shiny future into a new kind of social hub.

“This historic building is a beautiful blank canvas for us to create a special place that adds to the unique spirit of Asbury Park”

The project is a collaboration between renowned hotel innovator David Bowd, recognised for creating the sought-after Salt Hotels brand, and Anda Andrei, iStar’s creative lead for the entire Asbury Park redevelopment project, and the former design director for the Ian Schrager Company.

“This historic building is a beautiful blank canvas for us to create a special place that adds to the unique spirit of Asbury Park,” says Anda, who hand-picked architects, designers, and hotel operator David Bowd to bring the project to life.

“I love collaborating with immense talent, and knew instinctively David had to be involved. He has a wonderful gift for connecting the hospitality experience with one-of-a-kind communities and we bring out the very best in one another.”

David, who will programme and manage The Asbury, agrees: “We have spent a great deal of time in Asbury Park and have completely fallen under its spell. The Asbury is our labour of love.

"Black-and-white beach and music scenes adorn the walls, along with classic music posters that reflect Asbury Park’s rock-laden past and spectacular sea side views"

“The end result is a collection of rooms, amenities and experiences that show the world that The Asbury is for all kinds of people, just like Asbury Park itself – the mix is what creates a sense of fun and adventure.”

Inside The Asbury, a happening lobby is the action-filled centre of the hotel, with everything designed for perpetual motion. The front desk and check-in double as The Counter, a grab-and-go kitchen where guests can fetch keys, order coffee, or buy something from the retail store.

A ground floor lounge acts as The Asbury’s rec room, with ping-pong, pinball machines, board games – and a communal table for travellers who want to feed off the energy and get some work done.

Upstairs, the 110 guest rooms are available in an unusually wide range of sizes to suit all kinds of travellers, from queen rooms and king rooms to family rooms and suites to bunk rooms that can sleep up to eight. 

Simple, clean, and functional, the rooms nevertheless feature many thoughtful touches – bathrooms light and bright, huge closets, custom-made mattresses with great linens.

Black-and-white beach and music scenes adorn the walls, along with classic music posters that reflect Asbury Park’s rock-laden past and spectacular sea side views.

A quintet of new venues make The Asbury a compulsive hangout for guests, locals, and visitors. Inspired by Central Park’s Great Lawn, The Baronet is a rooftop garden featuring stunning town and ocean views where guests can throw down a blanket and lay with a book or enjoy the oversized games and paddling pools. By night, The Baronet becomes a carless drive-in with classic and cult films projected on a 20ft wall.

"Salvation, designed solely in black and white and located on the hotel’s upper roof, is the East Coast’s most dramatic outdoor social space"

The pool – with plentiful seating and a large deck – offers guests space to take a dip, soak in the sun, or grab a drink at the bar. On Sundays, the pool will be open to the public for a pool party featuring local DJs and speciality cocktails.

Food and beer trucks in the Beergarden – adjacent to the Asbury’s outdoor pool – serve authentic street food, craft and local beers, and signature drinks. The Beergarden, meanwhile, is a fun and relaxed meeting place for locals and guests to grab a bite.

Salvation, designed solely in black and white and located on the hotel’s upper roof, is the East Coast’s most dramatic outdoor social space. The monochrome décor, lit only by candles and lanterns, also makes it the most romantic, with cosy corners to hide away or relax.

Even meeting spaces have a twist at The Asbury. Asbury Hall & Lawn is a 2800ft2, flexible indoor-outdoor event space unlike any other on the Jersey shore. Elegantly designed, with the most advanced AV equipment and divisible into two or three smaller spaces, The Hall will serve social and corporate gatherings of all sizes.

Stonehill & Taylor Architects, known for game-changing adaptive reuse projects like Manhattan’s Ace and NoMad hotels, oversaw The Asbury’s transformation. Bonetti and Kozerski, whose clean, understated interiors have won fans like André Balasz and Donna Karan, designed The Asbury’s ‘bungalow-on-the-beach’ guest rooms.