In the sea of downtown Atlanta hotels, the Georgian Terrace stands alone. While every major hotel brand imaginable has peppered this city with cookie cutter locations in Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead, for over 100 years the Georgian Terrace has watched it all in quiet observation. Like the way your grandmother enjoyed Christmas morning from her favorite chair by the fireplace. From its famous perch on Peachtree Street, directly across from the historic Fox Theatre, the Georgian Terrace has heard the numerous shouts of "Look what I got!" from the fledgling hotels that have sprouted nearby, and yet she's greeted them all with a nod of the head and a knowing smile.
Atlanta has come a long way in the century since the hotel opened its doors. From the oppression of Jim Crow, to the dream of Martin Luther King, and onward to the glory of the Olympic Games and the trainwreck of The Real Housewives, Atlanta has evolved into a world class city and the Georgian Terrace has been there to see it all. Like the city as a whole however, the hotel has worked through a few changes in identity of its own, briefly flirting with a conversion into condominiums, before emerging as a landmark hotel of Atlanta; a staple of every great city.
|The hotel's original entrance.|
Stepping through the front doors on this uncharacteristically cold Atlanta morning, my eyes were immediately drawn upward to the glass tower which soared overhead. The brick walls which surrounded the lobby at first seemed a little out of place, until I realized that they were actually once the exterior of the original hotel. An 18-story addition was built onto the hotel in the early 1990's, and the two buildings come together under the spiraling tower in a wonderful blend of old and new. A juxtaposition that repeated itself often throughout the many corners of this beautiful hotel.
|Playing into my love of atrium style hotels.|
A perfect example is Livingston restaurant. Found inside the hotel's original lobby, Livingston brings together the building's classical architecture with the modern touches of a 21st century dining room. The marble columns and exquisite trim-work flow perfectly with comfortable banquettes and butcher block style tables. Even the art work is a mixture of the times with old black and white photos from the hotel's heyday being intentionally blurred to give them a dash of hipster appeal. Most importantly, Livingston passed the mighty French Toast test, serving up an excellent start to my visit to the Georgian Terrace.
Just outside of Livingston I discovered two interesting - and probably overlooked - pieces of the hotel's history. The first was a small plaque near the entrance to the Grand Ballroom which commemorated the gala held for the premier of Gone with the Wind. At the time, the release of this legendary film was one of the most important events in the history of Atlanta, and it's said nearly one million people traveled to the city for the occasion. After the showing, the cast were escorted through a parade on Peachtree Street before arriving at the Georgian Terrace to celebrate in style. The Grand Ballroom was considered to be the most beautiful setting in Atlanta to host the historic event, and nearly 80 years later it's easy to see why.
|The Grand Ballroom|
Credit: Georgian Terrace
A few steps from the Grand Ballroom, I found another of the Georgian Terrace's overlooked secrets. The entrance located on Ponce de Leon Avenue is one that is seldom used by guests today, but in the early years of the hotel this was the main door for those arriving on Atlanta's trolly car. The foyer is somewhat cut off from the rest of the hotel, hiding its ornate architectural details and stained glass ceiling from those who don't get their kicks snooping around old hotels, like yours truly.
|Every hotel should have an entrance like this...|
While discovering the hidden corners of historic hotels is one of my favorite activities, for once it was the more modern amenities of the Georgian Terrace that registered higher on my list. 18 stories higher, to be exact. It was there that I found the hotel's pool, and arguably the best view in all of Atlanta. There's a soft spot in my heart for rooftop pools, especially when they're accompanied by this...
|The view of Midtown from the pool.|
After catching a mild case of frostbite at the pool - an oxymoron if there ever was one - it seemed like a good idea to warm up with a cocktail from Proof and Provision. This newest addition to the Georgian Terrace serves up hand crafted cocktails and small bites, and also came highly recommended by a trusted source: the bartender at Alchemy speakeasy in Tallahassee. Proof and Provision not only lives up to the hype, but brings an edgy atmosphere rarely found in 100 year old hotels. I must warn you, however... Be careful that your head doesn't explode when the bartender starts tossing out phrases like "barrel aged Manhattan" and "Confit Chicken Wings."
|The well-loved cocktails at Proof and Provision|
If I had realized there was a one bedroom suite waiting for me upstairs, I may not have spent so much time opening random doors and interrupting what I can only assume were important meetings. Still, this suite discovery turned what had been a great afternoon into a simply amazing one, and with perfect timing too. I had been up since 4am, and a little shut eye while listening to the sounds of downtown Atlanta was just the fix this hotel junkie needed.
|The living room of the suite.|
The suites at the Georgian Terrace are a little unique compared to other hotels, thanks in part to many of them once being sold as condominiums. Many of the suites feature full kitchens, in addition to their spacious separate living rooms. My suite was considered a "Junior Bridal" - which was really great for my ego - and included a huge parlor area that I'd imagine comes in handy for wedding parties.
Of all the great amenities in the suite, however, it's always the small things that make my fingertips tingly. Things like free Wi-Fi, a balcony, and the white duvet are nice to have individually, but when all three come together I'm bound to be a happy camper. Needless to say, the Georgian Terrace hit the trifecta.
|Yes....this will do.|
Atlanta's Modern Classic
What took this rambling travel writer over 1100 words to describe only takes the Georgian Terrace three. Atlanta's Modern Classic perfectly captures the essence of this historic property, and illustrates the delicate balance the hotel strikes between both old and new. Atlanta is a tough town with a hot new hotel, restaurant, or bar opening seemingly by the hour, yet the Georgian Terrace stands on her famous perch with that knowing smile that comes naturally with a century of experience. She's seen other hotels come and go, and the winds of change blow through this great city, but in many ways the center of Atlanta will forever be at the corner of Peachtree and Ponce.
Enjoy Your Stay