Living in the Ritz… like Nucky

Filed under: Boardwalk Buzz — Boardwalk Empire @ 6:16 pm

When it opened on June 21, 1921, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Atlantic City was the epitome of posh living. Every detail of the structure exuded wealth and status, from the faucets for fresh or salt water in every guest room to the private elevators for beachgoers to the grand staircase and elegant ballroom.

The Ritz-Carlton was designed by New York City architect Sir Charles Wetmore and constructed by the Thompson-Starrett Company. It was erected at a cost of $6,250,000 in the early 1920s (almost $70 million in 2010 dollars). Located at Iowa Avenue and the Boardwalk, the seventeen-story structure has 131 feet of Boardwalk frontage.

Ritz Carlton Hotel, Nucky Johnson's Home for Years

Many of the amenities the Ritz-Carlton boasted were state of the art or unique among hotels at the time.

In the early 1920s, the amenities included:

  • Fresh- and salt-water faucets for hot and cold water delivery to each guest room
  • On-site artesian well to supply spring water
  • Pantries on each floor for quicker room service
  • Bathers’ elevators to allow guests to access the beach without having to pass through the hotel lobby: elevator walls were made of hard rubber and the floor was cork to prevent slipping on water
  • Hairdressing salon run by a well-known dresser from New York City
  • Ballroom
  • Maude Earl Room, a writing room adjoining the parlor, decorated with rare and antique art
  • Three restaurants on the premises: Ritz Restaurant, Trellis Room, and Ritz Grill
  • Outdoor dining terrace overlooking the ocean
  • Merry-go-round shaped bar

Ritz-Carlton Terrace: performers in the 1920s included Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby, Red Nichols and Milton Berle

Read more about the early years of the Ritz Carlton and other aspects of 1920’s Atlantic City at The Atlantic City Free Library’s atlanticcityexperience.org.