Tim Cahill, director of sales and marketing for The Seaview Resort and Spa in Galloway, N.J., pointed to an aerial view of the property and told me to look to the upper right hand portion of the scene.
“That’s the biggest element in what makes this place so unique,” he said, “the attractions and entertainment that nearby Atlantic City has to offer. We are only seven miles from the boardwalk and an easy 15 to 20 minute drive most times of the day.”
He continued, “The new resort hotels like Borgato and what the Tropicana is doing has forced the other big casinos to reinvest in their properties during the last several years. The gaming has been here for a while, but it is the other things surrounding the gaming that are starting to resonate with the public, like great restaurants, shopping and entertainment. If you asked people what their thoughts were when you said Atlantic City five years ago it would be a place to gamble. That is all changing and more and more families and couples are coming to enjoy what is here.”
And what better place to serve as a base of operations than the Seaview Resort and Spa, a magnificent 297-room complex that features two championship golf courses, a Faldo Institute Golf Academy and practice range, one of the best pro shops in the state, an Elizabeth Arden spa, tennis, workout room and much more.
“We consider ourselves an upscale hotel, right below Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons and on a par with Hyatt,” said Bob Schmeck, general manager of the Seaview, which was acquired by the Marriott Corporation in 1984. “We take care of our guests in a personal nature, ensuring that we identify what their needs are and once we do that, put a plan into place and help our customers meet their needs.”
The Seaview’s grand hotel is a wonderful structure with tons of history. It is imbued with a turn-of-the-20th century charm, something that is obvious the moment you drive up to the entrance that is surrounded by a myriad of flowers. Marriott invested considerable money into a fruitful restoration of the resort, while going great lengths to retain the property’s original country club ambiance. Several U.S. Presidents and well-known celebs, such as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Grace Kelly have stayed at Seaview over the years.
Each room at the hotel is well appointed with antique furnishings that fit nicely into the ample living space. To meet the demands of the today’s visitors each room is individually climate controlled and outfitted with high-speed Internet connections and full cable TV programming. There is fine dinning available as well as a cozy grillroom that is magically reminiscent of an old English pub that specializes in classic American favorites.
The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa encompasses 20 treatment rooms and 12,000-square-feet of state-of-the-art splendor. It’s perfect for couples who want to unwind after a long day of golf, shopping or gaming and ideal for a significant other who would rather wave goodbye to his or her partner as he or she heads for the golf course and then run over to the spa for a few hours of serious R&R.
Of course, the centerpiece of The Seaview is its two fabulous golf courses--The Bay and Pines courses. The links-style Bay Course, which is home to the annual LPGA’s ShopRite Classic and hosted the 1942 PGA won by none other than Sam Snead, was designed by the legendary architect Donald Ross.
The Bay Course is loaded with superb holes and offers stunning views of Reed’s Bay and the Atlantic City skyline across the bay. Several of the holes either end or start near the bay or run along it. While not overly long at 6,247 yards from the tips, the Bay Course nonetheless is a supreme test of course management and proper club selection. Tall fescue grasses line many of the fairways during the warm months and there are ample bunkers and occasional wetlands or water to catch the wayward shot.
One of the most demanding holes is the 434-yard, par-four second that can be brutal when the wind is blowing hard off the ocean. The approach is to a green that borders marshland and gives the best look at Atlantic City.
There is, in fact, a pleasingly eclectic mix of holes on the Bay Course, which opened in 1914. From short par-fours and meaty four pars to testy par-fives and brutish par-threes. Take the mix of par-threes on the back side for instance. The 11th is a 230-yarder that some players will hit driver to. Number 15 is another par-three measuring over 200 yards, but the 17th is a 115-yard wedge shot that is more dangerous than it appears. Miss the green and you are in deep bunkers.
During the spring, summer and fall and even into the early winter the Bay Course is perhaps one of the prettiest layouts in the Garden State.
Members of Seaview (the facility is making a concerted effort to attract more golf memberships, but more about that later) have the good fortune to have the Pines Course located across the street from the Bay Course. The Pines offers a completely different look and feel than the Bay Course and is a classic woodland/parkland layout that first opened in 1929.
The brainchild of the design team of Toomey and Flynn, the Pines Course was carved from woodlands surrounding the resort and features tight fairways and well-protected landing areas. This track is almost as pleasing to the eye as its sister course because of its superb conditioning, rambling fairway bunkers that frame holes, and stately pines and deciduous trees that grace most of the fairways.
Longer (6,731 yards from the tips) than the Bay Course, the Pines demands precision off the tee and steady approaches to the ample greens. Three of the four par-fives can be reached in two by big hitters, but there are five par-fours--including the monstrous 468-yard 17th--that play over 400 yards from the tips. The back side features three par threes, including back-to-back short holes on 15 and 16, both of which measure well over 200 yards.
Spray the ball at the Pines Course and you are in for a long day. Keep it straight and stay out of the fairway and greenside bunkers and you can score.
Six-time Major winner Nick Faldo partnered with Marriott to create the Faldo Golf Institute, with Seaview one of only four U.S.-based Marriotts to house a Faldo Golf Institute. Sign up for an hour or several days of lessons to hone your skills during a visit. The practice facilities, club fitting shop and video swing analysis equipment are all first class and state-of-the-art.
The resort recently established a new concept to its golf membership package that allows members reciprocal playing privileges at over 30 Marriott golf resorts around the world. Members receive free greens fees, paying only cart fees, when they stay or vacation at such prestigious resorts as Camelback Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, Desert Spring Golf Club in Palm Desert, California, and Hawk’s Landing Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.
Full membership at Seaview is almost a steal. Steve Schaller, director of golf at the resort, said the top level of membership costs $2,995 a year, which includes access to both courses, discounts on variety of amenities and food, unlimited range balls, handicap service and a locker. There is no initiation fee and no cart fees.
The club offers other packages, such as a twilight package for $1,595 that allows card holders to play unlimited golf after certain hour of the day (after 2 p.m. during the summer), while receiving the same benefits as full membership with the exception of a locker; and a $399 associate rate that drops the 18-hole fee down from between $100 to $125 to between $75 to $90 for an allotted number of rounds.
“Our goal is to bring Seaview back in the game when it comes to membership,” said Schaller. “We will soon be the only 36-hole golf facility in the Atlantic City area and our campus is second to none.”
GM Schmeck is also proud of the “kid’s camp” that Seaview offers parents who visit with their children.
“The parents can play golf or one can play golf while the other visits the spa and the kids can attend activities at our camp. We’re really making a strong appeal to the family market and we feel there is so much to do here besides golf for the family to enjoy.”
Cahill said Seaview draws predominantly from the northern New Jersey, New York metropolitan area down into southern Jersey, Philly and the Washington, D.C.
“The fact is that Seaview has an awful lot going on for itself, we’re in a great location with basically zero traffic most times of the day, and you don’t have to expose yourself to the Atlantic City Expressway all the time to get into the city.”
For more information about Seaview, please visit www.seaviewmarrott.com
or call 609-652-1800