Whether you’re spending the night or you are a curious local, there are unique experiences that can be found only at one of these Atlanta’s hotels. Check in is not required to enjoy these places in every corner of the city.
Atlanta’s Original Tiki Bar
Long before the recent revival of tiki bars nationwide, there was Trader Vic’s. Established in 1934 in Emeryville, Calif., the chain of Polynesian bars is considered one of the originators of the mai tai cocktail. The drinks were inspired by the South Pacific craze after World War II. Franchises opened nationwide including the one in the Hilton Atlanta, which was established in 1976. Stop by for tropical decor, live music and mai tais. The hotel is connected to Peachtree Center by sky bridge and is easily accessible by MARTA.
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta is a Downtown icon, designed by famed architect John Portman. It’s home to Polaris, a restaurant in a blue revolving dome once frequented by the likes of Jim Morrison. But that’s not the only unique element of the hotel. The hotel takes advantage of its rooftop space with hives with thousands of bees that create the restaurant's own label of “Blue Dome Honey.” Guests can enjoy the honey in dishes and cocktails or bring it home in a jar from the Hyatt’s onsite market.
Secret Burger Bar
The Loews Atlanta Midtown Hotel is the perfect place from which to explore the city, whether for business or pleasure. The property has its own restaurant, Saltwood, which specializes in charcuterie and Southern ingredients. But that’s not all. Walk through the kitchen and you’ll find a chef’s table where a totally different culinary experience awaits you. For a fixed price, diners get a burger, homemade potato chips and the option of a boozy milkshake or dessert. Reservations are required because of the limited seating.
Japanese Zen Garden
The Grand Hyatt in Buckhead is in the heart of the neighborhood, within walking distance of MARTA and the surrounding shopping centers. The restaurant and luxurious rooms have views of the grounds. What makes this hotel so unique is its Japanese Zen Garden, designed by an award-winning architect from Kyoto. A 30-foot waterfall cuts through the space that is filled with Japanese plants. There’s also an authentic open tea house surrounded by a bamboo fence. It’s the perfect place to unwind from a day in the city.
Priceless Art Collection
In 2017, the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead was transformed into The Whitley, named for Buckhead founder John Whitley. The more than 500 guest rooms were renovated with a theme of Southern hospitality. Another element that was added to the property was custom artwork, which now features heavily throughout the lobby and Trade Root Lounge restaurant as well as in guest rooms. Many pieces pay homage to local history and were curated with SOHO Myriad, a local art consulting firm. Highlights include the life-sized buck sculpture by Kevin Chambers and mixed-media butterfly collage by Suzanne Creighton.
The Porsche Experience Center in Hapeville is located on the campus of the luxury car company’s North American headquarters with exhibits and a test track. It’s also next door to the Kimpton Overland Hotel, the city’s first hotel from the brand. After trying their luck on the test track, guests can dine in Apron, named for the car feature, or relax in the rooms that include decor related to the car’s designs. It’s a great place to stay if you’re catching a flight at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, located right next door.
Caroline Eubanks is a writer, author, and metro Atlanta native. You can see her work on ThisIsMySouth.com and CarolineEubanks.com.