Located opposite the beach, the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel provides a sophisticated oasis that some might not associate with the Jersey Shore. This light-filled property (home to over 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 atmosphere. And while the expansive pool deck—replete with dining tables, daybeds and lounges between black pines and honey locust trees—is a dynamic, grown-up playground during the height of summer, during winter it’s the Drawing Room that’s unrivaled.
The first thing guests notice when exiting the elevator will undoubtedly be the vintage Ettore Sottsass “Ultrafragola” mirror. Beyond the wide corridor-like space called The Gallery (where the buffet breakfast is served), the sun-drenched, impeccably decorated Drawing Room reveals itself. With floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s a multi-purpose space filled with floral couches, jewel-toned armchairs, tiled tables, a glossy work bench and more. Though it might sound like a lobby, it feels like a lounge. “In the Drawing room, there’s a great collection of art, photography and travel books,” Andrei says. “We read paper books less and less in our days, but when on vacation, at the beach, most of us go back to books. We added books in every guest room to take on the beach. Just another great way to recharge and get inspired when on vacation.”
The textured, patterned and brightly colored furniture—some of which is custom-made or one-off—is balanced by plenty of natural wood. With velvet armchairs by Space Copenhagen, aged iron floor lamps by Kelly Wearstler, wooden stools by Bram Vanderbeke, colorful vases by artist Scooter Laforge and various custom rugs, coffee tables and lights, it’s brimming with character.
“During the construction of the building we had the time to find and collect some unique pieces of art and furniture that are placed in the public spaces of the hotel,” Andrei says. “The amphora vases on top of the fireplace are by artist Scooter Laforge. I love the fact that they are whimsical and fun, and such a great blend between pop art, cartoon art and his great sense of humor.”
Perhaps most charming of all, the room is remarkably modular, and transforms in the evening into a hybrid bar, restaurant and—as its name implies—drawing room. Staff members, who provide incredible—but relaxed and friendly—service, move the seats and tables around the room in order to accommodate various guests’ dining and drinking plans. The Gallery, with its banquette seating and marble tables, also transforms at night to provide a more restaurant-style experience.
The hotel’s kitchen is helmed by chef Kate Gagliardi, who focuses on seasonal ingredients and elevates humble produce to impressive levels. During winter, while the beach might be empty, the hotel hosts holiday experiences—through to Christmas—including a seven-course dinner set in the Drawing Room that’s paired with wine. Dishes include everything from pork belly with a parsnip puree and hints of vanilla, pear, maple and bourbon to broiled oysters with bacon jam. While the holiday menu changes, everything is centered on seasonal, local produce and clever takes on traditional, festive favorites.
While lounging on the beach might be unappealing during the colder months, a stroll on the boardwalk followed by a pre-dinner cocktail near the fire pit on the terrace, and a holiday dinner inside the vibrant, cozy and art-filled Drawing Room certainly has plenty of allure.
Images courtesy of Nikolas Koenig