Atlanta Travel Guide
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.
Here's yet another hotel that's playing off the success of the erotic E.L. James novels, Fifty Shades of Grey,-- W Atlanta in Buckhead , who is offering up its own Fifty Shades of Stay with two different packages. And just in case you happen to live under a rock, characters in the Fifty Shades of Grey novel participate in bondage, dominance and other naughty adult-themes.
The press release promoting the deals promised that you’ll be able to get your own naughty release from either package. How? Well. both packages include a copy of the novel, a bottle of Bollinger Grande Année Rosé, and a stay in an Extreme WOW suite (to get your WOW on) but the first package--at a cost of $3,240--includes a helicopter ride with a luxurious car ride to and from the airport, (sadly, Christian Grey does not pilot the chopper for you), a diamond tennis bracelet, a consultation from a personal shopper, and lacy lingerie, and a silk-eye mask for the turn-down service.
Get ready. It’s coming. Aloft Atlanta Downtown, formerly a Days Inn, will open in the spring of 2013 with 263 rooms and 2,000 square feet of meeting space.
This new Aloft hotel will be in a prime location in Atlanta, close to the thriving hub of Georgia State and Georgia Tech as well as tourist attractions like the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca Cola. The CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Dome are also in the neighborhood.
As with all Aloft Hotels, you can expect a room that looks like the one above, a w xyz bar, the re:fuel 24/7 pantry, the re:mix lounge, a pool, free WiFi and affordable rates. It's too early to know the specific hotel rates for this location yet, but Aloft rooms usually start at about $125 per night.
While you wait for Aloft Atlanta, the newest Aloft in the U.S. is set to open at San Francisco International Airport on August 30th. Rates there start at around $200 a night.
We told you back in March how Mandarin Oriental hotels will manage the Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta. Well, now the deal is done. The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is in effect and we are ready to report some of the changes around there, starting with the spa.
Formerly called 29 Spa, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta has changed up its treatment offerings to include an Oriental essence massage and a Peaches and Cream treatment with cream, peach oil, and a red clay scalp massage. (We love the way the Mandarin gave that treatment a local focus.) Other Asian touches are also on the horizon like the Mandarin Oriental foot ritual which goes a little something like this:
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Starwood Hotels had sold off the Atlanta Perimeter Hotel and Suites which you may remember best by its former name, the W Atlanta Perimeter. (Hat tip to Tomorrow's News Today for directing us to the change-up)
The W moved out of the hotel last year which was no big loss as W has three other hotels in Atlanta. Yet even though Starwood is no longer the hotel's owner, (that distinction belongs to RockBridge Partners), it will still be the hotel's operator.
And thankfully for all of us but especially for you Starwood Preferred Guest members, the hotel will undergo 18 months of upgrades and renovations and will turn into a Le Meridien Hotel. Tomorrow's News Today reports: