I spent a weekend in Asbury Park and stayed in the Empress for two nights. The hotel has a great location close to the boardwalk (You just cross the road and you are on the boardwalk) and some excellent restaurants. The staff is friendly and helpful and the rooms are reasonably sized and clean. It was also great to have a balcony overlooking the ocean. The hotel also has a nice pool area.
The building is fairly old and some may say that it is a bit dated. Also, the Paradise bar is downstairs and it can get very noisy until 2 or 3AM, especially over weekends.