I love it when a big-city hotel is more than just a comfortable home base for sightseeing — it’s a destination in its own right. The St. Regis Atlanta fits the bill admirably. Elegant and sophisticated, yet infused with a wonderfully Southern air of warmth and hospitality, it’s such a delightful family retreat that it’s hard to leave the cozy confines to explore all that the city has to offer.
My 10-year-old son and I spent two glorious spring days at the St. Regis Atlanta, and emerged feeling pampered, refreshed and recharged. Here’s what we enjoyed most about the hotel:
The St. Regis is tucked along a venerable street in Buckhead, one of Atlanta’s prettiest and most upscale enclaves. This area is perfectly positioned for exploring the city — most of the major attractions are within 20 minutes’ drive and it’s easy to get almost anywhere in town from here. In addition, the hotel is walk-out to a handful of excellent restaurants as well as an upscale market, and the surrounding neighborhood is residential, with lush tree-lined streets that make for a lovely stroll in good weather.
The St. Regis brand has always been synonymous with 5-star luxury, and the Atlanta outpost wears its opulence on its sleeve. The soaring lobby is crowned with a magnificent glass chandelier and flanked by sweeping staircases that call to mind an antebellum estate. It’s clear right away that a special stay is in store.
Although the St. Regis Atlanta has 150-plus rooms and suites, it feels incredibly intimate (in fact, my son pointed out that not once did we encounter another guest in the elevator). I prize silence in a hotel above all, especially with kids at bedtime, and the St. Regis delivers; we scarcely heard a peep beyond our room. Soothing palettes of cream, gray and pale green enhance the quiet effect.
Accommodation options for families range from connecting rooms to the grand two-bedroom Empire Suite, which includes a full kitchen. We stayed in one of the three Caroline Astor Suites, each comprised of a bedroom that opens to an expansive sitting area. These suites offer king beds only, but rollaways and/or cribs are available, and my son actually found the sofa so comfortable that he ended up sleeping on it. (The hotel’s Metropolitan Suites are similarly configured but offer a choice of two queen beds as well.) Our spacious marble bathroom featured an extra-deep soaking tub, a rainfall showerhead and an in-mirror TV.
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By far the best part of each Caroline Astor Suite is the furnished private terrace overlooking the pool piazza. The weather was perfect during our stay, and we spent a lot of time soaking up the spring sunshine on our terrace’s comfortable chaises, books and beverages in hand. Some other room categories feature small Juliet balconies, which are not as ideal for very young children.
We found service at the St. Regis Atlanta to be a highlight across the board. Each and every staff member we spoke with was courteous, efficient and well-informed, and exceptionally kind to kids. The brand has long been known for its butler service to accommodate guest needs and requests; all suite categories come with Signature Butler Service, which includes unpacking/packing and garment pressing, in-room beverage delivery and other niceties.
Although kid-specific amenities at the St. Regis Atlanta are limited, the younger set will find plenty to keep them entertained. The heart of the hotel is the resort-like pool piazza, an oasis that’s served by butlers and anchored by an enormous heated swimming pool (open seasonally) and a hot tub. Complimentary frozen fruit skewers and iced coconut water keep everyone cool during Atlanta’s steamy summers.
In winter, the pool is transformed into an ice-skating rink, and the piazza’s outdoor fireplace becomes a gathering spot for roasting s’mores on chilly nights. The adjacent Grand Terrace has an expanse of grass that’s perfect to toss a ball around or play lawn games.
Kids are welcomed with special touches at check-in as part of St. Regis Family Traditions — a brand-wide program that caters to young guests and ensures their comfort during a stay. We were given a voucher for an in-room movie, popcorn and soda, a relaxing end to a busy day of city sightseeing.
Parents can indulge in a treatment at the hotel’s Remede Spa, sample a flight in the Wine Room, sip a signature Bloody Mary at the St. Regis Bar, or squeeze in a workout at the bright, well-equipped fitness center. Although the hotel doesn’t provide in-house babysitting, they partner with local childcare services and can arrange for a sitter upon request.
The onsite Atlas Restaurant is among the finest in the city and draws as many locals as hotel guests. Outfitted in dark, sultry colors, lush textiles and mod top notes, the space feels both swanky and casual. Atlas is adult-oriented — I wouldn’t bring a preschooler here, but with older kids it’s fine. Service is warm and friendly, very accommodating of special requests for picky palates.
While the menu isn’t large, it’s thoughtfully curated to make the most of the region and the season at hand. My son went straight for the Atlas Burger, a full half pound of dry-aged and Wagyu beef topped with housemade American-style cheese. My Potato Crusted Blue Ridge Trout, accompanied by baby morel mushrooms, English peas, asparagus, fondant potatoes and Meyer lemon, was one of the best dishes I’ve had in recent memory — the essence of springtime on a plate. As a bonus, the restaurant’s art collection is a feast for the eyes, including works by Chagall, Picasso and other notables.
Be sure to make time for afternoon tea, served in Astor Court Restaurant overlooking the lobby. The wait staff presents a box of canisters filled with each available tea blend so that guests can sniff and make their choices, then delivers a basket of scones still warm from the oven and a tiered stand of sweets and savory bites. These change seasonally; our selection included caviar-topped smoked salmon sandwiches, lemon tartlets with blueberry meringue and more. For little ones, a kids’ tea menu offers simpler snacks such as turkey sandwiches and almond-butter-and-jelly rollups.
Astor Court also serves daily breakfast and lunch. If you’re spending a lazy day by the pool, there’s no need to leave at mealtime; the Poolside Cafe and Bar offers light fare such as salads and sandwiches. Room service is available around the clock as well.
One of my favorite sights in the city with kids, the Atlanta History Center, is an easy walk down the street from the hotel. Its showpiece is the 1920s Swan House, a grand mansion with a grassy courtyard and lawn where kids can run off energy, plus a tearoom to revive everyone with nibbles. Families also will love the Smith Family Farm, a 19th-century homestead transported from rural Georgia and staffed by costumed interpreters that bring it to life.
For rainy-day fun, head to the Legoland Discovery Center at nearby Phipps Plaza, or do a little shopping at the vast Lenox Square Mall. Big-name sights such as the High Museum of Art, Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park and World of Coca-Cola are a quick drive downtown. And if you have sports fans, don’t miss the College Football Hall of Fame — opened in 2014, it is a stellar addition to Atlanta’s list of family-friendly attractions, with tons of interactive displays that can engross kids for hours.
Editor’s Note: Photos by Lisa Frederick.
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