10 Zen Retreats for a Weekend Getaway in Atlanta

How to find your Zen in Atlanta's hotels and other getaway spots.
  • The beautiful English Garden behind the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Atlanta provides a perfect respite.
    The beautiful English Garden behind the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Atlanta provides a perfect respite.
  • Play chess or enjoy the fire pit at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain Park.
    Play chess or enjoy the fire pit at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain Park.

Want a scenic getaway that will chill you out, help realign your chakras and assist you with being at one with the universe? Zen out. Here are 10 Atlanta getaway ideas that will balance your energy and help you refocus your life.

  1. The Grand Hyatt Regency in Buckhead has 439 luxurious rooms and suites with views of Stone Mountain and the Atlanta skyline. Are the state-of-the-art amenities and Southern charm the reason to have a serene getaway here? Well, they help but mostly we recommend the Grand Hyatt Regency because it has its very own Zen Garden. Take a moment to reflect in the Hyatt’s Japanese Zen Garden, that was designed by an award-winning Kyoto architect. It’s a green feng shui escape in the middle of Buckhead with a main gate, bridge, Azumaya (open tea house), bamboo fence in the traditional Japanese carpentry style, Kakeni (well-type basin), Karesansui (dry landscape) and rock arrangements. Water runs east to west through the garden, symbolizing luck and prosperity.

  2. The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is a five-star boutique hotel right in the the heart of Buckhead. And, yes, its 15,000-square-foot spa, indoor lap pool and fitness center go a long way in providing a relaxing stay, but we particularly love the English garden behind the hotel. The bustle of Atlanta is seemingly far away as the garden, with green bushes and blooming flowers, providing the perfect backdrop to reflect, meditate and be at one with the elements.

  3. Located 75 miles from Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee offers visitors an escape from the pressures of daily life. The lakeside resort is a place to have peace, exploration and connection. There are many ways to get your Zen on, and The Ritz-Carlton Lake Oconee offers plenty of options including playing golf, having Southern-inspired spa treatments, fishing and kayaking, but we prefer just walking in nature and enjoying views of the lake as we stroll beneath Georgia pines.

  4. Barnsley Gardens is the perfect place to get away from it all. Take an indulgent bubble bath in a claw-foot bathtub, cozy up next to the fireplace in your room or simply spend the weekend in the charming cottages and rooms as you read a book and decompress. Set on 3,000 acres of beautiful North Georgia wilderness, Barnsley is a great place to enjoy the great outdoors while riding horseback, hiking through the woodlands, biking the nature trails or taking a relaxing boat ride on the lake. 

  5. Serenbe is perfect for a Zen retreat as it is focused on providing a well-lived life with arts for inspiration, agriculture for nourishment, health for well being and education for awareness. Serenbe is reminiscent of a time when life was simpler, with less mental stress and more optimal physical health. Located 40 miles south of Atlanta, visitors can enjoy the artist-in-residence program, horseback riding, yoga (even outdoors), plays and farmer’s markets. The Inn at Serenbe has 27 guest rooms located among six buildings on the grounds of the inn as well as 22 homes available for rent.

  6. Foxhall Resort is the perfect place to unwind in the stone and timber lodges and lakeside villas. Although many go for the outdoor activities such as the golf driving range, kayaking, tennis, ATV riding or shooting sporting clays, we suggest just hiking amid Foxhall’s 1,100-acres or taking an early morning walk or run along the Chattahoochee River Walk.

  7. Artmore Hotel is the perfect place if you find your Zen in the arts as the High Museum of Art and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are located across the street at the Woodruff Arts Center. But the Artmore also offers its own moment of Zen with its outdoor courtyard and fire pit. Sink into the lush cushions, listen to the water bubbling down the fountain, order a glass of wine and just breathe.

  8. The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort is nested deep in the natural beauty of Stone Mountain Park, about 16 miles from downtown Atlanta. The 311 rooms and 25 suites with private balconies are surrounded by 3,200 acres of lush greenery as well as a variety of activities including hiking. We like to enjoy the outdoors and challenge our minds so we particularly like playing an outdoor game of chess with giant chess pieces and then sitting by the fire pit contemplating how to better move the queen.

  9. It’s not a hotel, but the Carter Presidential Center is a perfect oasis of peace, quiet and meditation. Located in a wooded, 35-acre park in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood, five minutes from downtown, the center’s grounds include formal gardens, sculpture and waterfalls nested in between two small lakes. Visitors can stroll through the Rose Garden and enjoy the 40 varieties (including the coral Rosalynn Carter rose) or become one with the serene Japanese garden, designed by master gardener Kinsaku Nakane. The Zen Garden contains many species of azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese maples and barberry.

  10. Atlanta Botanical Garden screams Zen (although that’s very un-Zen-like) but you will certainly find peace among the flowers and special exhibits in this Midtown gem.

Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications. 

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