If you're into an ostentacious environment, the Taj Mahal is for you....and that's the good news! Beautiful chandaliers, but generally overdone. However, let's look at the check-in ritual. First of all, we wanted to self-park and had read it was hard to find your way back to the hotel. That is TRUE! I had even read on this website that it was easier to cross the street because the signage wasn't adequate. The problem was....where was the street? Here are some hints: when you go through the parking gate, ask the attendant where the handicapped spaces are. That will help you get close to an elevator entrance. You don't have to be handicapped; just ask where the parking is. If you are handicapped, the parking will most likely be a problem for you in self-parking. (I am handicapped and never found a vacant space.) Also, when you pay your $5.00 parking fee, keep the receipt. The next day we showed an attendant that and our room key, and we weren't charged. Another time we were but had forgotten the receipt. Check with the attendant about the parking rules. Word of warning----there are no baggage carts available, so don't depend on using those. You'll have to lug everything with you. Getting everything to the hotel entrance and through two different sets of heavy doors (none of which are automatic), was great fun. :-( We breezed through check-in, however, which we had not anticipated. The room we received was adequate and overlooked the roof, although the ocean was visible. There was a new TV and really nice toiletries, and the room/bathroom were clean and comfortable. Getting up to the room, however, can be a challenge. Once you get past the security guard, you have to select an elevator that goes to your floor. Apparently, not all elevators are equal. Watch out for the "sharks" too! Sharks?? That's the name we've given to timeshare salesmen. They have a stand by the elevator and circle you the minute you stop to get your bearings before venturing out into the land of slot machines. Speaking of which, the odds of your winning any money at their casino are pretty slim. I used to think cruise ships were notoriously "cheap." The Taj Mahal's odds are the worst I've ever experienced. As for food: We had read how expensive breakfast was in the Taj Mahal, so we brought along donuts, juice, and milk. We are not big breakfast eaters and didn't want to pay the big price. That was a good move, for there was a mini-refrigerator in the room. There is a Dunkin' Donut on Atlantic, but we didn't discover that until two days later. The first night there we ate at Noodles, for we had read on this site that it was good and "reasonable." My husband loved it, but I was lukewarm. I had invisioned many types of noodles, like pad thai. Wrong! It is a form of Japanese noodles in a soup base. I'm not a soup person. My husband, who had lived in Japan, said it was super, and while the meal was not cheap (for mere soup/noodles), it certainly beat other restaurants. There is a Greek restaurant about half-way down the boardwalk that has great food. (We actually drove down there and found a parking place nearby.) Another night we ate at Los Amigos Restaurant. The food here was fantastic. It had dishes I had never heard of, and the salsa and chips were great. I highly recommend it. It is on Atlantic, across the entrance to the outlet shopping. We drove down to it and had no trouble finding parking on the street. We didn't go to any shows, but did explore the boardwalk. We found a stand which had rich, delicious ice cream at a stand by the boardwalk carnival entrance. It is right across the entrance to our hotel, the one on the boardwalk side. The carnival is interesting to visit, for it is like an old-fashioned "carnie" kind of place. It is not cheap, but it is certainly a great place for people-watching. There's even a place to take helicopter rides...real ones! Speaking of entertainment, they do have a nice, large pool, but it's not easy to find. I found references to it in the Taj Mahal hotel info book, but I had to call for its location. I believe it is on the 5th floor, but am not certain. You have to go to the spa desk and check in with your room number. Then, after climbing a set of stairs, you get to the pool. Go to the other end of the pool to get your towels and sign in. This "sign in" is more like an acknowledgment of receiving safety inofrmation. There was no attendant, so I took a couple of towels and sat down in a lounging chair to read for a while. There were so many young children in the pool that I too opted not to swim. It might be a better choice to swim later in the evening rather than in the daytime. You can always sunbathe, however. The pool area itself is quite lovely, and I could envision staying much longer were there fewer people. Checking out went quickly, and they have a speed check-out if you opt to do that. Again, we slepped down the hall with our luggage and mini-cooler until we reached the elevator. We took it down to 3. Then we walked past the Star Bucks and other stores until we arrived at the set of elevators that took us to the self-parking area. We took the elevator down to the second floor , which put us close to where our car was parked. Would I stay at the Taj Mahal again? Probably not. They make almost everything difficult. Even the location lent itself to that. The Taj is at the end of the boardwalk, so you have substantial walking to do if you want to get to most everything else. The staff at the reception desk did not know the meaning of "smile." (Although the staff of the security desk went out their way to be helpful when I lost my cellphone.) Basically, I felt as if I were there to accommodate their requirements and non vice versa. So, Donald Trump. You have lost another customer. I'm now uncertain that I would stay at any of your hotels.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.