Friday, October 3, 2008


Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Atlantic City, N.J.
Thursday, October 2nd, 4:00PM

Words, Images by Judith Ecochard and courtesy of the Trump Casinos website

To utter the words “Donald Trump” and “understatement” in one sentence- is like an attempted mash-up of oil and water.

It does not mix.

Donald Trump and the Trump Entertainment Resorts served up quite the swank well-attended party yesterday- to celebrate the opening of The Chairman Tower at the humongous Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.


Smack dab on 17 acres of primo ocean front real estate in the evolving resort destination, Atlantic City, the shiny second tower of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort stands tall.

And it’s enormously tall…hovering 467 feet high in the sky.

The upscale structure-who’s construction was overseen by the best builders in the biz, Bovis Land Lease- contains a sleek bar/lounge “Ego,” a roomy branch of the mouthwatering Italian restaurant Il Mulino New York- and an adjacent casual café child, several meeting spaces with all of the state of the art audio/visual gizmos tech heads need, 708 plush standard rooms, and 74 spacious/glamorous suites that will make the average Manhattan apartment dweller drool with envy.

Like us.


We jumped at a press invite to cover the ribbon-cutting opening – though technically speaking… this high-end establishment has been welcoming hotel guests since late August.

We did not know what to expect but we knew it would be first class- from soup to nuts, run efficiently, hiccup-free. After all, we saw how “the Donald” managed to circumvent NYC’s nonsense and get Central Park’s Wollman Skating Ring constructed in three months.

And we’ve seen a few episodes of NBC television’s reality show, The Apprentice---and figured that all Trump employees are top notch--- or are FIRED.

Guess what…everything really was flawlessly executed. Duh.


Impressively, the “first” concrete was only recently poured, in 2006. Given the size of the Tower and its posh interior design (warm color palette, luxurious finishes)-that swift schedule puts most construction projects to shame for on time delivery.


Thanks to Ralph, our steady limousine driver, we made it through the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey- and down the Garden State Parkway-to Atlantic City, without incident. The sunny skies perked us up right away and allowed us to get illuminated views of the recent developments that have meaningfully rejuvenated Atlantic City.

Meaning, we haven’t been here in years and were amazed at the number of shops – including a large number of retail outlet stores stocking top brands (Coach, Addidas, Ralph Lauren), open for business…and ensconced in art deco buildings on stroll-able tree lined streets.

It got us thinking about Atlantic City as a kind of place to seriously work our credit cards –and not at the slot machines!

PLUS: New Jersey has no tax on clothes.

We then pulled into a nearly football length circular driveway lined with gargantuan water fountains that made us feel like we’ve arrived at some place special.

Violà- we’re at the oceanfront Taj Mahal Casino Resort.

Uniformed attendants, hosts and hostesses, and suited security were everywhere -no wandering aimlessly around looking for where to check in.

So even though WE were warmly greeted and whisked through check-in by the wonderful Mary R. Moyer- a Public Relations Manager for Trump Taj Mahal…we suspect all guests are treated with the utmost courtesy…i.e. NO ATTITUDE.


After we settled into our spacious room in the older Taj Tower (YEAH-view of the Atlantic Ocean)-we walked over to the elegant Chairman Tower for the ribbon-cutting event.

Our first WOW moment came when we saw the striking line-up of white-gloved waiters proffering glasses of champagne to invited guests, government dignitaries and the press.

Our second WOW moment occurred when we listened to the welcoming remarks and speeches made to commemorate the occasion- delivered by Rosalind Krause, General Manager of Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Mark Juliano, CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans, Donald Trump-the Chairman of it all, and Governor Jon S. Corzine.

Truthfully though, we were most eager to chat with Ivanka M. Trump, V.P. of Development and Acquisitions for the Trump Organization-and quite the entrepreneur in her own right.

IMHO: After listening to all of those DCers endlessly expound on these shaky economic times-it was a pleasure to hear SHORT, to-the-point remarks on the importance of investing in the Taj Mahal, (successfully), creating permanent jobs for locals, and naturally, providing a superior locale for business and leisure travelers to (temporarily) hang their hats.


Mark Juliano spoke about his and his employer’s “commitment to make this Tower a reality” and “transforming it (Atlantic City) into a resort destination…and the driver of that will be rooms...”

He concluded with the sentiment shared by all of the speakers:

We are believers in Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey.”

Mayor Scott Evans expressed his gratitude with a few brief words declaring “Trump’s commitment stands above and beyond…” and concluding with “...thank-you Mr. Trump for stepping up.”

The Donald, ever the engaging orator, opened with a joke…informing us that the due to the windy weather conditions, they decided, “to move it (the ceremony) indoors so my hair doesn’t blow all over the place.”

FYI: The hair is real, baby fine, and white blond.

“Atlantic City has a place in my heart,” he added.

And when bombarded by hordes of reporters after the official ceremony was over, he commented on the obvious-that “we are in the worst financial times since the 1930’s,” and acknowledged how The Chairman’s Tower completion was a “great thing for New Jersey…” how loyal he felt to it’s residents…and in turn, “they’re very loyal to me.”

Governor Corzine graciously (politically-smartly) congratulated Trump on his “vision, will, tenacity…and remarkable achievement.”

He acknowledged the difficulty in constructing hotel rooms “in a tough environment”----and remarked---

“Jobs will make a difference in our world… that gets displayed when you cut a ribbon in a great building like this.”


We figure Ivanka Trump’s bros are used to being referred to as “the spares” as we think she has such a positively strong presence, period.

She commented that the market niche for The Chairman Tower is “designed for high-end though it’s for everyone.”

Ms. Trump herself dressed very high-end, clad in a chic Brioni dress accessorized by swingy chandelier-type metal earrings from her eponymous collection, and black patent leather, spiked heel pumps.

When we served up our two cents:

“You’d do better than Sarah Palin as Vice President…” we got a smiles and chuckles from our hopeful candidate and those in close proximity.

OK: we are not Joe six-pack or hockey moms though we like going to hockey games…and shed tears of joy when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in our lifetime.


The third WOW!

A reception sized white tent was erected on the Spice Road level of the resort property--- and was chock full of some of the tastiest food we ever ate.

Various Taj Mahal restaurants set up table stations laden with their specialties, in addition to a groan inducing dessert table, and uniformed wait-staff circulating with delicious canapés and hor d’oeuvres.

Favorite picks of our press coterie included the Kobe burgers from Burger “so good we didn’t need catsup,” the Mac and Cheese, and the Lobster Bisque.

What stopped us all in our tracks were the huge ice sculptures and solid ice cups that were used to serve drinks in.

After our gorge fest, we stole a few minutes with Mary Moyer, the PR leading light. She clued us in on how the Taj Mahal is morphing into an upscale resort destination that’s attracting a more sophisticated, world savvy customer.

She pointed out that much of the colors used to decorate the “old” Taj were (naturally) pink and purple. Now, there is a “new level of luxury” at The Chairman Tower with contemporary, residential style rooms splendidly toned in a “color palette inspired by the spices of Asia,” encapsulated with custom-design doors made from exotic woods embellished with African Macassar Ebony inlays, and furniture made from East Indian Rosewood.

Upgraded comforts also include large bathrooms with double sinks recessed into Brazilian granite counter tops, walk-in showers, a ‘cell’ that glows when said facility is occupied (so cool), a concealed coffee service area, pillow top mattresses, premium linens, an eye busting 50 inch HD Plasma TV, an iPod® docking station, and WiFi.


We did not need more food- but we did not want to miss a morsel of the tasting menu yet to be had, courtesy of the in-house Il MULINO New York restaurant.

Though we attempted to jog off a few calories on the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk, truth be told, it was like our grandmother would opine, “…like spitting in the ocean.”

We had a center table at the casual Trattoria Il Mulino that is a new concept for the powers that be-helming the aforementioned gourmet mainstay.

The meal started off on the right note with specialty cocktails- including the house signature Testarossa - (Italian for Redhead) that’s made from Vodka, Grand Marnier, ripe strawberries, Cranberry Juice and fresh Basil that is “mowed” in the bottom of the glass.

The handcrafted pizzas and crisp Arancini (Italian Rice Balls) were our dishes du jour---until we sampled the winner- the Homemade Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and Parmesan cheese- with bread sopping worthy tomato basil sauce.

We were in a coma by the end of the meal---and we skipped the dessert course- that we heard was AMAZING (cheesecake, chocolate… and a nip of house Grappa)…because we wanted to catch the Vice Presidential debate.

Ugh…should have Tivo-ed.


On the government bailout: “A tough call…I don’t know if it’s going to make things worse… but we have to do something about the price of oil…”

“Atlantic City will be the only place in the USA with a total smoking ban that will do more to harm Atlantic City than any single thing over the past fifteen years.”

“Looking ahead…what happens with the smoking ban…it will take tens of millions of dollars of taxes away.”

And this from a man that does not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol but is REALISTIC.




Reservations: 609.449.6066