ASBURY PARK, NJ—The Asbury has opened. As the first new hotel here in more than 50 years, this marks the next chapter in the city’s rebirth. The 110-room property is part of the multibillion-dollar redevelopment plan for the area by master developer iStar, a 10-year proposal hailed as one of the most significant redevelopment plans on the Eastern Seaboard, according to the company.
To transform a long-vacant Salvation Army building into The Asbury, iStar tapped Anda Andrei, the firm’s creative director and design lead for the entire Asbury Park redevelopment project, who previously served as design director for the Ian Schrager Company; and David Bowd, partner and operator of the hotel, as well as creator of the Salt Hotels brand. The Asbury will become the fourth hotel in the Salt Hotels portfolio.
With The Asbury, the duo are breaking all the rules and bringing a Jersey Shore postcard fantasy to life—part Tim Burton, part Bruce Springsteen and 100% Asbury Park, according to the company.
The lobby doubles as a tomato-growing greenhouse and public space, offering a sunken seating pit upholstered in velvet silk on one side and bright blue bleachers on the other. A welcome desk doubles as a grab-and-go counter for checking in, ordering locally baked donuts and purchasing an Asbury beach towel. Nearby, on a large marquee wall, there are emojis broadcasting the weather, hotel happenings and more.
“Hotels are usually structured and planned. With The Asbury, we created a place that sparks joy and spontaneity,” said Andrei, who handpicked the architects and designers involved to realize her vision. “You can’t have a boring moment here. It’s the same spirit of fun that makes Asbury Park such a treasure.”
Bowd added, “The Asbury’s about everything that makes Asbury Park special, from the incredible mix of people to its great music, art and food scene. We want everyone to have as much fun at The Asbury as we did creating it.”
Collaborating with Andrei on the interior design was New York City-based firm Bonetti Kozerski Studio, whose clients include Donna Karan and André Balazs. Tapped to transform the derelict Salvation Army building into The Asbury was Stonehill & Taylor, known for adaptive reuse work on hotels such as Manhattan’s Ace and NoMad.
The ground-floor hangout, The Pit, is a sun-lit living room with oversized sofas, board games and well-stocked bookshelves. Just opposite the Pit, the Asbury’s Soundbooth serves signature cocktails from a platform made of stacked bathroom tiles. Vinyl LPs, cassette tapes and CDs will fill a feature wall next to the bar, which is a tip of the hat to Asbury Park’s rocker DNA.
A passage nearby leads to the outdoor Beer Garden, where a specially outfitted 1960s truck will dispense five kinds of ale from outside taps and a hot dog truck will offer different varieties of hot dogs.
In addition, there will be two separate rooftop venues—The Baronet and Salvation. The Baronet, outdoors on the fifth floor, provides 4,300 sq. ft. of green space, with wraparound views beyond a white picket fence. Salvation is the hotel’s 4,000-sq.-ft. monochromatic cocktail lounge on the seventh floor, which at night, is lit with hundreds of lanterns and candles and offers tunes from skybox DJs.
Beach-bungalow-inspired guestrooms come in a variety of categories, including bunk rooms for up to eight people. There are water or city views from nearly every room, from standard, superior and deluxe Queens and Kings to Family Kings with convertible sofas and ocean-facing suites.
Every piece of furniture has been custom-made for The Asbury. Whitewashed walls, pale wood furniture and checkerboard floors contrast with pale blue sofas. Navy macramé-backed chairs and custom- molded green seats are among the design highlights.
There are no traditional hotel ‘rules’ such as check-in times. Whenever a guest arrives, The Asbury’s team works to get them a room. The hotel also provides the option to text-communicate with The Counter for any items from the grab-and-go. This will be The Asbury’s only F&B option as there is no dedicated restaurant or room service—the hotel will encourage guests to patronize great local restaurants and bars, according to the company.