You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re on a Greek island when staying at coastal resort Asbury Ocean Club on the Jersey Shore. This modern, glass-walled hotel is one row from the sand – where you’ll find a slick, members-only beach club that certainly beats the jacket – and has a sprawling ocean-facing pool for merpeople who simply can’t be that far from a body of water. You’ll also find a mod-American restaurant, a pair of Atlantic-edge bars and a serene spa. New York who?
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of wine in your room – your choice of red, white, rosé or sparkling
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £235.34 ($286), including tax at 14.625 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $41.58 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don't include the Continental breakfast, which can be purchased at the hotel.
Want to work up an appetite for the Continental breakfast spread? The hotel gym is kitted out with treadmills, Peloton bikes and weights; and fitness classes are held regularly in the adjacent studio.
At the hotel
Free WiFi. In rooms: a flatscreen TV, Bowers & Wilkins Bluetooth speaker, air-conditioning, minibar and tablet.
Our favourite rooms
We’re partial to a sea view (even a partial one) – especially out of floor-to-ceiling windows – so we’d happily snag a south-facing Partial Ocean View Loft Suite or an even more spacious Ocean View Suite.
Sunning itself peacefully at the ocean-edge of the property, the serene pool is surrounded by a lounger-lined deck and garden terrace. Soak up some vitamin D and sip on some vitamin C (in fruity cocktail form from the adjacent pool bar). There’s also a shade-providing (and hydrangea-draped) pergola and an alfresco fireplace (for warming up winter nights).
The Asbury Ocean Club Hotel Spa has three treatment rooms – including one for couples – and uses plant-based, eco-friendly Osea products throughout. Choose from Swedish and deep-tissue massages, cleansing facials, mamma-to-be massages and more.
Channel Santorini blues and whites, and don’t skimp on the sun cream.
All common areas are wheelchair-accessible, there’s a lift to all floors and there are specially adapted guest rooms.
It’s best to leave the younger Smiths at home; this seaside getaway is geared towards grown-ups.
Food can be served in the Gallery, Drawing Room or poolside (weather permitting); when the sun’s up, we’d always go with the last option.
Drape yourself in breezy resort wear – break out your Tory Burch and Alice + Olivia best.
The Gallery dishes out modern American fare (golden-brown brick chicken and thick burgers served with Old Bay-seasoned fries), Italian-inspired offerings (butternut squash ravioli and creamy risotto) and coastal cuisine (fresh fish and even fresher oysters).
The Continental morning buffet – a spread of fresh fruit, muesli, yoghurt and pastries – can be supplemented with orders of hot breakfast favourites (fluffy French toast and eggs-many-ways).
There are two. The colourful Drawing Room is decked out in vintage style and has floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean glimpses. The Pool Bar is shaded by a hydrangea-draped pergola and sits right on the pool terrace. Both pour out seasonal cocktails – gin fizzes, assorted sour things and frosty fruity numbers – and have a substantial list of wines and craft beers.
Continental breakfast is served from 7am to 11am, lunch from 11am to 5pm and dinner from 5pm to 10pm (11pm on weekends). The Gallery Bar is open from 3pm to 1.30am, the Drawing Room from 5pm to 1.30am and the Pool Bar from 10am to 9.30pm.
Order anything from the restaurant menu – from poached eggs to burgers to bar snacks – up to your door any time of day or night.
The hotel is a block from the beach in the seaside town of Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Newark Airport is just under an hour away by car.
Trains from New York pull into Asbury Park station, which is a mile away from the hotel.
Cruising in on your own set of wheels? Valet parking is available for $35 a day.
The Seastreak ferry sails between New York City and Highlands, New Jersey; the hotel is 30 minutes by car from the ferry terminal.
Worth getting out of bed for
The pool’s calling, but it’ll have competition for your attention in the form of the members-only beach club, a sandy spot with cool drinks, light bites and shade-providing cabanas.
Architecture buffs can get a full dose of Victorian grandeur with a tour through the town and the Great Auditorium. Looking for live music? If it’s good enough for the Boss, it’s good enough for us – swing by The Stone Pony to catch that night’s gig and you may see the next Springsteen in action. If you’re feeling competitive, try to strike it lucky at Asbury Lanes bowling alley (bonus points for sporting style, of course).
Take a stroll along the Asbury Park Boardwalk for some salty sea air and a taste of Jersey Shore culture. Prefer a quieter stretch of sand? The beach in neighbouring Ocean Grove draws a more reserved crowd – perfect for sun-soaked siestas.
You’ll find much more than the headline suggests at Toast City Diner – brunch like a champion on Irish-style eggs Benedict topped with corned beef, crab meat potato hash or a trio of grilled cinnamon buns. Rich coffees, fruit-filled juices and morning-acceptable adult beverages are on offer, too. For leisurely lunches and decadent weekend brunches, look no further than Cardinal Provisions (closed Wednesdays). Tuck into Nashville hot chicken served on a soft brioche bun, cacio e pepe scrambled eggs with Italian breakfast sausage, sweet ’n’ savoury chicken and waffles, and comforting grilled cheese sandwiches served with tomato soup. Stella Marina specialises in rustic Italian fare: book in for dinners of aubergine rigatoni, garlicky linguine with clams and pizzas with all manner of toppings. Figs and goat’s cheese? Check. Calamari and spiced aioli? Double check. Portobello mushrooms, thyme and truffle oil? You get the picture.
Toast to your brilliant holiday at cocktail bar Watermark, where a team of mixologists shakes up mixes with made-in-house infusions and shrubs. Say cheers with a citrusy, vodka-based Englishtown Iced Tea, or the Mermaid and the Walrus – a warming blend of bourbon, grapefruit and Angostura bitters.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel on the Jersey shore and unpacked their almost-empty bottle of sun cream and stylish sandals, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Asbury Ocean Club in New Jersey…
The seaside town of Asbury Park, which was developed during the 1920s and 1930s as a resort destination for city-weary New Yorkers, remained a hotspot for Big Apple sunseekers through World War II – and it’s seen a resurgence since the days the Boss played in its most famous music venue. But this is no relic of a bygone era: Asbury Ocean Club is a modern marvel of glass walls surrounded by photogenic gardens, dunes and sprawling alfresco deck with an ocean-facing pool and a bar. Laze about with leisurely breakfasts, soak up some sun at the private beach club, have your city-centric stresses bashed away in the spa and enjoy sundowners overlooking the Atlantic in either of the two bars. No need for airbrushed T-shirts here – this is Jersey Shore done good.