Located across from the beach, the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel offers a sophisticated oasis that some might not associate with the Jersey Shore. This light-filled property (housing more than 100 condos atop a 54-room, five-star hotel) features interiors by Anda Andrei Design, who masterfully blended timeless shapes and materials with modern elements to create a relaxed but elegant. And while the expansive pool deck — filled with dining tables, daybeds, and lounges among black pine and acacia trees — is a vibrant, grown-up playground in the height of summer, in winter it’s is the living room that is without equal.
The first thing guests will notice upon exiting the elevator will undoubtedly be the vintage “Ultrafragola” mirror by Ettore Sottsass. Beyond the expansive hallway-like space called The Gallery (where the breakfast buffet is served), the sun-drenched and immaculately decorated Drawing Room reveals itself. With floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s a versatile space filled with ornate couches, jewel-toned armchairs, tiled tables, a gleaming workbench, and more. Although it may look like a hall, it looks like a living room. “In the living room there is a large collection of art, photography and travel books,” says Andrei. “We read less and less paper books these days, but on vacation, at the beach, most of us go back to books. We added books to each room to take to the beach. Just another great way to recharge and get inspired while on vacation.
Textured, patterned and brightly colored furniture, some of which is custom-made or unique, is balanced by an abundance of natural wood. With velvet armchairs by Space Copenhagen, distressed iron floor lamps by Kelly Wearstler, wooden stools by Bram Vanderbeke, colorful vases by artist Scooter Laforge, and various custom rugs, coffee tables, and light fixtures, it has character.
“During the construction of the building, we had time to find and collect unique works of art and furniture that are placed in the public areas of the hotel,” says Andrei. “The amphorae vases above the fireplace are by the artist Scooter Laforge. I love that they’re whimsical and fun, and such a great mix of pop art, comic book art, and his great sense of humor.
Perhaps the most charming of all, the room is remarkably flexible, and in the evening transforms into a hybrid bar, restaurant and, as its name suggests, a lounge. The staff members, who provide amazing, yet relaxed and friendly service, move seats and tables around the room to accommodate the food and drink plans of different guests. The gallery, with its banquettes and marble tables, also transforms at night to provide a restaurant-style experience.
The hotel’s kitchen is led by Chef Kate Gagliardi, who focuses on seasonal ingredients and elevates humble produce to impressive levels. During the winter, when the beach can be empty, the hotel hosts holiday experiences — through Christmas — including a seven-course dinner in the Drawing Room that comes with wine. Dishes include everything from pork belly with parsnip puree and hints of vanilla, pear, maple and bourbon to grilled oysters with bacon jam. As the holiday menu changes, everything centers around seasonal local produce and cleverly revisits traditional and festive dishes.
Although lounging on the beach can be unappealing in the colder months, a stroll on the boardwalk followed by a pre-dinner cocktail by the fire pit on the patio and a holiday dinner in the lively Cartoon Room , comfortable and filled with art certainly looks great.
Images courtesy of Nikolas Koenig