In keeping with the holiday season and the idea of looking out for our neighbors, both near and far (see last week's story on Passports with Purpose), this week's column brings you to the Jersey shore, which suffered tremendous damage from Hurricane Sandy (as did New York City). Much rebuilding is still needed up and down the shore; the Seaside boardwalk and portions of the Atlantic City boardwalk come to mind most immediately. If your love of the beach is not bound by season or temperature, the Jersey shore has its charms in the off season -- especially for those who seek some respite from holiday madness, midwinter blues or whatever else afflicts you. Before we dive into the deals, listed in geographical order from north to south, the shore still needs your love -- and your warm blankets, batteries, kids' clothing, you name it. Find out how you can help by visiting Restore the Shore.
The Breakers (tel. 732/449-7700; www.breakershotel.com) in Spring Lake is a Jersey shore classic -- a charming, historic place that's seen many a wedding, many a family vacation, and many a guest since it opened in the late 1800s. The town is quiet and laid back to begin with, and becomes an utter escape from the world during the off-season. There are a few specials, including the Warm up in Winter package. If you reserve any of its luxury rooms (which means one with a whirlpool and a fireplace) during the month of January, you'll receive 50 percent off your second night's stay; they'll also throw in a bottle of nice champagne and a late, 2pm checkout Â?valued at about $50. Luxury category rooms start at $210 for a king and go up to $265 for luxury superior rooms.
HomeAway (www.homeaway.com) is a great resource for home rentals around the world, including Long Beach Island -- all three homes listed here are available as of this publication. For $2,000 a week, this 5-bedroom house in Surf City is just four properties from the beach and sleeps 12 people. You could pack up the extended family for the week and enjoy the off-season's slower pace -- there's a game room, and the full-sized kitchen and wet bar provide ample resources for holiday revelry. For something a bit bigger, this renovated Cape Cod in Beach Haven sleeps 15 people among four bedrooms, and starts at $2,000 per week. Finally, if your crowd is smaller and you don't mind checking in on Christmas Eve (home rentals, after all, are typically Saturday-to-Saturday situations), you can relax at this duplex in Harvey Cedars, one of the most narrow parts of the island. The three bedroom beachfront duplex sleeps six and will set you back $1,500 for the week.
Revel (tel. 855/348-0500; www.revelresorts.com), the latest in luxury stays in Atlantic City, has a few different packages and options for those who want to experience the latest big splashy resort. Its winter Escape rates reflect standard ocean room rates (yes, with a view), starting from $129 for stays through December 25. The rate reflects Sunday-Thursday stays; rates for Friday start from $179 and Saturday from $199. The Â?Transformation for TwoÂ? package starts from $579 and gives you a night's stay in an ocean view room, a 60-minute facial for two, a 60-minute massage for two (is this a couple's massage?) $50 in-room breakfast credit, Valid for stays through March 31 but blacks out Friday and Saturday nights, two drinks at the indoor/outdoor lounge O2. It's a savings of at least $200 versus paying for all those things separately. Revel's home to outposts of Amada and Village Whiskey (Jose Garces), along with Central Michel Richard (home of the 72-hour short ribs), and a modern take on the steakhouse with American Cut (Marc Forgione). The resort is also home to other indulgences, such as burlesque, a casino (of course), and boutique shopping.