Atlanta: St. Regis
St. Regis Atlanta88 West Paces Ferry Road 30305 Atlanta, GA 404/563-7900 stregisatlanta.com
The hotel's private blend of Woodford Reserve bourbon, or one of their signature Bloody Marys with a piquant pickled green tomato, at the cozy hotel bar.
A lesson in equine mastery at the hotel's partner polo club, Chukkar Farm.
The in-house Remède Spa, which offers a variety of luxury treatments exclusive to the St. Regis Atlanta.
Afternoon Tea, served daily in the hotel's Astor Court restaurant, the way that Mrs. Astor (hotel founder John Jacob Astor's wife) adored it best.
In the warmer months, lounge by the Italianate pool—which in the winter, is converted to a skating rink (with a large outdoor fireplace and the hotel's signature hot chocolate creations to ensure that no one gets too chilly).
- Signature butler service
- All-service spa
- 24-hour fitness facility
- Pool piazza with bar and lawn games
- Billiards room
But thinking back to my brief Atlanta sojourn at this stately hotel, what truly drives home the expertly tailored service is the memory of a handwritten note, an accompanying twenty dollar bill, and a quick trip through a drive-through window en route to the airport; when Miller Jackson, the hotel's public relations manager, found out that I'd never had one of the hallmark southern sandwiches before, she somehow found a way to make sure that I wouldn't leave her city without tasting one. While my first Chick-Fil-A experience may not have been as delectable as the seared scallops from my dinner in the hotel's dining room the night before, it was a uniquely warm, funny, personal touch that left me feeling like I'd truly been a guest somewhere, and not simply a traveler.
Should your tastes run more towards the traditional definitions of luxury, the St. Regis is more than happy to accommodate those as well—from the nightly sabering of a bottle of champagne outside the elegant bar to the wonderfully appointed suites whose every detail has been designed to pamper. (If there exists more flattering lighting than what I found in my delightfully spacious bathing chamber, I haven't seen it). I maintain, however, that what truly sets this resort apart is the genuine warmth behind these thoughtful additional touches. There are hotels whose grandeur seems chiefly designed to intimidate—but from the drifting scents of white blossoms in the lobby to the cozily den-like barroom, the St. Regis Atlanta wants you to feel perfectly at home—well, that is, if home came with a personal butler.
Signature items, as befits the bespoke nature of the hotel, are the order of the day at the St. Regis—and a real treat awaits you at the bar in the form of a very special bottle of bourbon. The hotel is the first in Georgia to offer a personal blend of bourbon, crafted for them by Woodford Reserve. Each bottling is unique, both in the world, and to the hotel, and when it is gone, it will never be replicated. Every new iteration is a reflection of the spirit of the hotel, the coming season, the craft of Woodford's Master Distiller Chris Morris, and of the many faces of bourbon itself. Sipping it slowly is a way to capture, however briefly, what the St. Regis Atlanta is truly about—a uniquely tailored experience, underpinned by lovely, lingering warmth. —Sarah Kanabay
IN THE AREA
- The Atlanta History Center: Within walking distance of the hotel, this indoor/outdoor museum is home to two historic homes (the Swan Mansion and the Smith Family Farm), historic gardens, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, and the Cherokee Garden Library, among other attractions. It's an excellent way to get intimate with Atlanta history, and to enjoy the city's evolution from pre-Civil War farming outpost to Margaret Mitchell-era glamour. The Smith Family Farm features a working Civil War kitchen and regular cooking demonstrations—be sure to sample some famously smoky southern ham. 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta; tel: 404/814-4000; atlantahistorycenter.com
- H & F Bottleshop: The brainchild of the team behind much-lauded Atlanta dining spots Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House, and H&F Bread Co., the bottle shop is a one-stop wonderland of unusual offerings, house-made mixers, artisinal bitters, and rare finds. In the unlikely instance that they don't have what you're looking for, they are more than happy to get it for you—and will eagerly offer up recipes, pairing suggestions, and cocktail tricks to take home along with your purchase. If you'd like to experience their expertise first-hand, be sure to visit one of their restaurants for a cocktail, whose colorful names befit the storytelling tradition of the region (fancy sipping on an "Arms ofAttrition," anyone?). 2357 Peachtree Road, Atlanta; tel: 404/841-4070; hfbottleshop.com
- Yonah Mountain Vineyards: One of an up-and-coming crop of North Georgia vineyards, Yonah Mountain is producing award-winning wines that taste like California—if Napa were located in the Appalachian Mountains. While I was visiting, the St. Regis was featuring a truly stellar chardonnay whose buttery, oaky nose took me straight back to Sonoma, with just a touch of southern sweetness. Wonderful wines in a stunning setting of high blue hills. 2454 Georgia 17, Sautee Nacoochee, GA; tel: 706/878-5522; yonahmountainvineyards.com