Travel

By PK Greenfield

Sunset overlooking the Long Beach boardwalk
Photo Credit: PK Greenfield

It may be awesome, extravagant if not a little eccentric to plan a destination wedding in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Bora Bora, etc. Celebrities do it. Why not have an exotic wedding too? The truth of the matter is they can be exhausting for those “tying the knot” and taxing on the bridal party, guests and family members.

A waterfront ceremony is appealing to everyone, and you really don’t have to travel so far for your dream wedding on the beach.

While the Atlantic Ocean does not have azure waters, we do have white sand beaches and a natural beauty that is distinctly northeastern, beautiful and homegrown.

If you want to keep it real and local, this is one report of a series on several amazing shoreline properties to host the most memorable day(s) for a bride, a groom, and all of their guests.

Pack your bags for a closer destination. Here’s the latest news on beachfront wedding venues near NYC.

Allegria Hotel on the Long Beach boardwalk in Long Island, NY
Photo Credit: Allegria

First up: The Allegria Hotel.
Just a 1-hour train trip from Penn Station or a 30-minute car ride from Manhattan and all family members, friends and guests can arrive at this venue, relaxed and ready to celebrate.

The Allegria Hotel is a luxury property on Long Island’s south shore in Long Beach — it’s situated in the middle of the seaside town’s newly renovated boardwalk (major changes have taken place since Hurricane Sandy). The hotel is 9-stories tall and the banquette room accommodates up to 250 guests.

The vibe is amazing from the minute you enter: The lobby’s interior is beautiful with alabaster slate walls, earth-tone flooring, cocoa colored leather banquets and cobalt blue accent lighting. There is a relaxing and funky alcove lounge as well as a dress shop, florist and café.

Photo Credit: Allegria

Accommodations

The rooms at the Allegria are bright, contemporary and comfortable with blonde wood floors, plush king and queen-sized beds with many rooms facing the ocean. Guest rooms have a 37” flat-screen TV and a mini-fridge (wine cooler).

The baths are sleek with modern fixtures, a raindrop showerhead and a convenient two-way sectional closet — you have access to your clothing from both the room and the bath.

Photo Credit: Allegria

The ceremony itself can be held directly on the beach or inside the hotel, either way it’s a short walk in the sand or formally arranged at the hotel’s attractive outdoor deck and/or ballroom.
I recommend holding your cocktail hour at the rooftop lounge. It’s spacious, bright and the exclusive room is perfect for guests to mingle from the inside to the external pool area; the views of the beach are spectacular with the city skyline and bridges looming in the distance.

Photo Credit: PK Greenfield

The Ballroom

In one word: elegant. The banquet hall is traditional yet modern with tufted block walls and a menagerie of teardrop crystal light fixtures. While the décor is classic and sophisticated, the ballroom can be decorated according to the couple’s vision and particular requests. Any theme or pageantry can be created. There is plenty of space for dancing in the center of the room.
During my visit I witnessed several fiancés scoping out the room with approval.

Executive Chef Raed Jallad and cuisine options
Photo Credit: PK Greenfield

Aside from a bride’s dress, the next best thing has to be the food.
I’m going on a whim here, but my guess is if you truly want an oceanfront wedding, you probably also enjoy ai fruitti di mare, as the Italians say, (the fruit from the sea).

Executive Chef Raed Jallad is at the helm of the hotel’s Atlantica Restaurant. He will cater your banquet and, in my opinion, surpass your savory expectations. His culinary training, menu and creativity are an asset to this destination spot.

I’ve had the privilege of dining in many restaurants including Michelin and James Beard awarded plus Zagat rated establishments. Chef Jallad holds his own when it comes to inspired cuisine.

Photo Credit: PK Greenfield

Atlantica is located directly on the boardwalk with a striking interior and equally amazing views of the beach. Considering that most destination weddings last more than two days, the guests will likely dine here several times.

The mystical and ever-changing colorful light fixtures carry the theme of the sea into the interior — they resemble phosphorescent jellyfish. A large geometric wall-to-wall mirror compliments a long, plush, white banquet. This makes the room beam with daylight and slowly changes to a more tranquil atmosphere after dusk.

My dining experience was memorable. While the menu changes throughout the year, I was truly impressed with the quality of the cuisine and seasonal menu during this visit.

I started with the tuna tartar appetizer. The fresh fish topped a diced avocado salad, and served with tri-color fingerling potato chips, eel sauce & lemon fusion oil. The combination made this dish most satisfying. The chef also offers a delicious Baked Mediterranean Branzino, the European seabass comes with seasonal vegetables. Mouth watering. For those who want something other than fish, the menu is focused with specialties that include items from the land: steaks, lamb, Long Island duck and vegetarian options.

If the guests and wedding party are in the hotel on Sunday, everyone will be amazed by the brunch buffet. The spread is nothing short of a king and queen’s feast. The all-inclusive buffet is well on its way to becoming the #1 brunch on Long Island.

Under the leadership of General Manager, Nasser Samman, this venue offers a wedding and reception getaway near NYC in the very capable hands of his team.

Allegria in Italian means happiness or joy and I’m confident that this wedding destination will bring everyone joyful memories.

Make a visit:
Allegria Hotel
80 West Broadway
Long Beach, NY 11561
P: 516.889.1300?
P: 888.759.6219
http://www.allegriahotel.com

Originally published April 2014
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