Is it wrong to fantasize about a pool deck? Because that’s all I’ve been able to think about since I got back from my weekend on the Jersey Shore. It’s probably because of the fact that of the 52 hours I spent outside New York, 40 of them were recorded poolside at the month-old Asbury Ocean Club.
It wasn’t that I foreseen spending my entire long weekend on a leather lounger, strategically rolling over from belly to back or sneaking into the pool when the sun got too hot. I knew there was a lot going on in Asbury Park, especially on a summer weekend. There’s a concert series at the legendary Stone Pony and seaside town staples like mini-golf and hot dogs smothered in mustard and relish along your arm. (Okay, one of them pulled me away from my lounge chair in the late afternoon, and it was totally worth it.) But the pool deck was so delightfully relaxing. They even gave me a hockey puck sized “server button” with my towels when I claimed my lounge chair. When my frosé needed a topper, all I had to do was press it down and…voila! Another glass of melting rosé appeared.
The pool has a fully stocked bar under a canopy of lights, baskets of magazines and soothing bossa nova and trip hop played at an ideal volume (soft enough to hear, but not too loud to drown out conversations or, worse, again, elicit cries). I hadn’t realized it at the time, but eating eggs and sausage in a bathing suit at 10:30 a.m., sitting on a padded lounge chair a stone’s throw from a sparkling azure pool, was exactly just what this exhausted, sun-deprived New Yorker needed. Three daiquiris later, I realized I was still happy in the exact same place, as happy hour rolled around and a new crowd moved in to grab the bar stools nearby.
The pool is the centerpiece of the sleek and airy Asbury Ocean Club. The hotel is the latest upscale retreat from Master Developer iStar, operated by Salt and designed by Anda Andrei, a team on a mission to bring historic Asbury Beach to life. Three years ago, they put the seaside town on the map for weekend Brooklynites with their Asbury Hotel, which has pool tables and a legitimately awesome rooftop bar. This was followed by the club at Asbury Lanes, created inside the bones of an old bowling alley with six lanes and a stage for rock concerts. When it comes to easy weekend seaside getaways from the city, Asbury is a home run — just an hour and a change by car from New York City. And there are at least four summer weekends left. To my fellow New Yorkers, I highly recommend spending at least one there. And if you end up missing the music, bowling, bars and boardwalk because a certain pool deck was just too hard to leave, I won’t judge.