GEORGIA Travel Guide
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
The beachfront King and Prince Resort is the crown jewel of lodging on St. Simons in Georgia. It is a member of the Southern Living Hotel Collection, a testament to the resort's Southern personality, hospitality, and charm. Last year, it finished up a multi-million dollar makeover that saw the pool, restaurant, and lobby all completely overhauled. Rates are currently hovering at about $250 at the end of March, which is not bad for what is an almost entirely new spot.
Let's take a look at the before and after to see how things have changed in the major public spaces:
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]
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The 151-room Hyatt property is located in a former AVIA Savannah hotel building smack in the middle of the city's historic downtown area, across from Ellis Square. It's been renovated with a new restaurant and lounge, adding to its current Andaz splendor. The restaurant 22 Square (appropriately named after one of the oodles of squares in Savannah) guests can partake of the "market to table" menu with fresh coastal foods, and snack on free candied bacon. Drool. You can’t get any more Southern than that.
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:
We could have spent hours playing with the Interactive Media Board at the newest Atlanta-area Hotel Indigo. We could make weird faces and take goofy pictures of ourselves standing in the hotel’s lobby. A few taps on the touchscreen gave us restaurant locations and attraction info, and stuff to do in College Park.
Set to open on July 12th, this five-story 142-room property, the third Hotel Indigo in Georgia, is owned and managed by College Park Hotels LLC under a license agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Construction for the Indigo actually began back in 2008, but the project stalled when the economy tanked. But in a sign of (somewhat) changing times, now the hotel's opening date is just two months after the opening of the airport's new billion dollar international terminal. Isn’t that convenient?