Atlanta Travel Guide
Almost 50 years after it first opened in 1967, Atlanta’s famous revolving restaurant, Polaris, will rotate once again atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on June 10.
This is a big deal: to locals, design buffs, and to Hyatt Hotels, who are planning all kinds of pre-opening events. In Times Square celebratory fashion, the blue-domed spaceship that once had no taller buildings surrounding it was darkened, then officially re-lit in ceremonial pomp.
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Hotel Indigo is heading back to where it all began.
Ten years ago, the very first Hotel Indigo opened in Atlanta. Today, the hyper-local, on-trend design hotel has 55 hotels in 11 countries. But it can't get enough of A-town. The city's third Indigo, Hotel Indigo Downtown Atlanta, will open in the fall of 2015 at 230 Peachtree St. NE.
The hotel will takeover eight floors of a building first developed 50 years ago by architect John C. Portman. In a full circle move, his real estate development firm, Portman Holdings, now owns the building. And it looks like Hotel Indigo will capitalize on all the changes in the area:
“Downtown Atlanta is experiencing a surge in growth and development, and we look forward to connecting guests to the newly revitalized neighborhood,” said Mary Winslow, director, Americas Brand Management, Hotel Indigo. “The hotel will be located in the center of downtown and very close to the new Atlanta Streetcar line, making it easy to step out and explore. We are very pleased to be part of a new project in our hometown, and we’re excited about helping guests discover something new about the neighborhood every time they visit.”
Things haven't been so, er, bad for "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul since the show ended. He's got a new movie out--"Need for Speed"--and he got to indulge in the luxury hotel scene this weekend in Atlanta at the St. Regis Hotel.
Sources tell us that he was a guest of the hotel over the weekend, making good use of St. Regis Altanta Bar both on Friday and Saturday nights with his wife and several local Atlanta friends ("Need for Speed" was filmed there.)
Because the St. Regis is a respectable spot who won't dish on their celebrity guests, we don't know exactly what room he was in but if we had to guess, we'd say it was one of the hotel's nearly 700-sq.ft. Metropolitan Suites, which are the starting suite accommodations. Here's what's inside:
Back in April we told you that the Clermont Hotel, home to the much-loved Clermont Lounge strip club of can-crushing poet Blondie fame, was set to be reborn as a 98-room boutique hotel. Now, with the pesky rezoning business dealt with, things are moving ahead and the builders are set to move in, so, what better time for local writers to reminisce.
Jon Hamm has embraced Atlanta as his temporary second home while filming his new baseball movie, "Million Dollar Arm".
The “Mad Men” star was at the St. Regis Atlanta's hotel bar last Tuesday, not for a nightcap, but because the bar has been transformed (even its famous mural shown below) into a steakhouse for the film. Funny enough, Hamm isn’t staying at the St. Regis (we wonder why?), because at $440 a night, it seems pretty reasonable for an A-lister, no? Instead, we believe he's been laying his head at the Loews Atlanta Midtown, coming in at $329 a night.
Anyhoo, the day of the shoot, traffic into the St. Regis’ Buckhead area was quite a pain, but those accustomed to the ATL’s legendary traffic jams didn’t seem to mind this minor inconvenience, especially when learning it was due to Jon Hamm’s presence. After all, this is Don Draper we’re talking about—heartthrob and hero to many. Oh, and Denzel Washington (who happens to co-star in "Million Dollar Arm") and Colin Farell who was a guest, have been on site as well, so the St. Regis nabe has been a veritable celebrity-sighting scene as of late.
Traffic-schmaffick, Hollywood’s gorgeous men are in town!
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Hopefully it’ll be “second time’s a charm” for Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes, who remarried ex-husband Gregg Leakes this past weekend at the tony InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta.
The boisterous bride-to-be and reality-tv personality lived up to her diva rep, starting from her bachelorette vaca in Mexico all the way to the bizarre pre-wedding release and confidentiality agreement each of her 400 guests had to sign.
According to RadarOnline.com, rules to attend the southern soiree were as follows:
“[guest]...will not be under the influence of any medication or drugs that might impair my physical or mental ability to engage in the Activity or that might impair my judgment while engaging in the Activity.”
Also expected were folks to be in “…good health and have no medical, physical, or emotional condition that might interfere with my engaging in the Activity.”
Think that's all? There are more demands after the jump!
The last time we talked about Atlanta’s Clermont Lounge, it was during our review of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover”. In that episode we learned about this old-school strip club establishment whose aging dancers seemed to tickle the fancy of both Bourdain, Alton Brown and countless other celebs and tourists.
But there’s another part of the Clermont that’s been ignored--the Motor Hotel, which shut down in 2009. Built in the 1920s, the brick building became a hotel in the ‘40s and over the years fell into disrepair. It was ordered to close by health inspectors because of dirty linen, bedbugs, mold and unsanitary plumbing. It has sat abandoned while the downstairs lounge continued to operate.
In comes BNA Associates LLC, a team of Nashville and New York real estate developers determined to revitalize the Ponce de Leon Avenue place into a 98-room upscale boutique hotel set to open as early as 2014.
While some welcome the revitalization, others are more concerned about the future of the Clermont Lounge and its “talented” staff. Apparently they need not worry—for now.
"The Clermont is important to the Atlanta community, and the beloved Clermont Lounge is part of our redevelopment, as we do not plan on interfering with it," said Ethan Orley of BNA Associates.
[Photo: Clermont Hotel]
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor?
Seems like we're due for a cocktail-centered holiday, yes? Well, taking a peep at the calendar we're glad to discover we're just weeks away from Cinco de Mayo. Who else is glad? The St. Regis Atlanta, whose Food & Beverage Director, Robert Brandenberg will reveal the hotel brand's first signature tequila called The St. Regis Atlanta Herradura Private Selection Tequila at the beginning of the month.
The double barrel reposado was handcrafted in the heart of Mexico’s tequila country, Amatitán, which is home to Casa Herradura – a legendary distillery that produces custom reposado created with 100 percent blue agave roasted in clay ovens using the same traditional methods for more than 140 years.
The hotel will be using the tequila in a series of new spring-cocktails being served in the Bar & Wine Room Patio. So, far we're intrigued by the Magmargarita which is a blend of Jalapeno, Fresh Pineapple and Pink Peppercorn infused tequila, Cointreau, Fresh sour mix, and Passion fruit puree. Salute!
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After months of renovation work, costing around $20 million, Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter has officially opened inside the former Atlanta Perimeter Hotel and Suites. Of course, you remember the back story on this place, right? It originally opened as the W Atlanta Perimeter back in 1999, then Starwood sold it off in 2012, and it became an independent hotel.
Lots of work went in to transforming the hotel—including top-to-bottom renovations of all guest rooms, suites and public spaces, as well as a new Club Lounge, two club floors, and a new restaurant and bar. Biggest of all, the hotel took away all the balconies and replaced them with floor to ceiling windows.
But the hotel is nearing the end of its metamorphosis: on Thursday, the hotel officially re-opened as Le Meridien, with four out of twelve floors now open to guests. Though the restaurant is still under construction, the Longitude Bar is open, and the rest of the property is set to be completed by early June.
Anthony Bourdain is back for another season of “The Layover”, and we like it because he names the hotels in the cities where he'll be spending his precious time. We figure, he won't be laying his salt-and-pepper head just anywhere, after all, he's big time now. So, for entertainment and a dose of travel value, we’ll give you some details on the properties he picks, just in case you find yourself looking for a place to stay in a city that’s sanctioned by this travel personality/chef.
In this episode, our guy gets 36 hours in Atlanta, aka “The “A” the “ATL”, or if you’re truly looking to show you’re not from there “Hotlanta”. But Bourdain has thrown us a curve ball. For the first time in the series, he isn’t out and out boastful about his choice of hotel, so we were pretty much left guessing where he decided to stay, until we saw this pic and thought, "DUH!"
Though Bourdain mentions “there are a lot of hotel options in downtown and midtown” and gives us the two "official" mentions we list below, look where his ride is parked.
In Atlanta, eight luxury hotels opened in the past four years. Needless to say, tourism has been on fire in Hotlanta! Rosewood's Mansion on Peachtree's debut was promising though it ceased operation in May. Apparently, brand loyalty is especially huge in the deep south and, considering Rosewood was a relatively a newbie, the brand didn't catch on. So Mandarin Oriental Group decided to save ship, immediately taking over the property with a seamless transition.
Six months later, Mandarin is still captain of this prime piece of real estate in Buckhead (an affluent neighborhood), retaining all original structures but giving the property some major trademark MO influence. But, brand name aside, are they offering a better product?
We recently checked out Mandarin Oriental Atlanta to compare it with the former Rosewood Mansion On Peachtree.
We wanted to know, who is the fairest Southern belle of them all?
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It's not all in-room movies and #HurricaneSandy mania for all hotels. Others, like the St Regis Atlanta, are celebrating their fifteen minutes of fame in what many are hailing as the next movie to sweep the Oscars.
We received word that Denzel Washington filmed scenes for the upcoming Robert Zemeckis-directed film Flight, which comes out this Friday, November 2, at the Atlanta hotel. And if initial reactions at this month's New York Film Festival are anything to go by, then this is definitely a movie we want to check out.
An insider confirms that Denzel filmed three scenes for the movie inside the hotel, including the above shot, which was taken at the hotel's Wine Room. Additionally, the film will show the actor in the St Regis Bar, as well as the lobby. Even better: Denzel actually gets to call out the hotel in one of the scenes, with a quick one-liner, "Meet me at the St. Regis." We will, Denzel, we absolutely will.