Great Atlanta Staycations
Get Away From It All While Staying Close to Home
By Hope S. Philbrick
Planning a vacation can be a daunting task, especially when you’re stillrecovering from the financial and physical toll of moving to a new city. But you deserve a relaxing break, and a soothing “staycation” can be just the ticket, allowing you to recharge your batteries while also getting better acquainted with your new home. Whether your ideal escape involves pampering room service or rustic camping, a grown-up retreat or fun for the whole family, getting away from it all doesn’t have to involve lots of time at the airport or on the road. These five destinations offer a range of options to help you feel better than you did when you arrived.
Don Carter State Park
Enjoy an ideal beach vacation at Georgia’s newest state park, about 60 miles north of Atlanta. Situated on the north end of Lake Lanier, this 1,316-acre park offers access to a quiet section of the normally busy lake and is a haven for water lovers with its large sandy beach, bath house, boat ramps and docks, and fish-cleaning station. A 1.5-mile paved multi-use trail and 2-mile hiking trail lead explorers through the hardwood forest. The park offers several choices for overnight getaways: One modern campground is designed specifically for RVs, while another primitive camping area is just for tents and hammocks. For those who prefer a soft bed, eight two-bedroom rental cabins are perched on wooded hillsides near the lake. The rental cabins boast rocking-chair porches and fully equipped kitchens. The park welcomes visitors of all ages.
The Ellis Hotel
Celebrating its 100th anniversary as a hotel in 2013, the Ellis offers proof that history can be respected even when it’s extensively renovated. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the 1913 landmark once known as the Winecoff Hotel is now a boutique-chic destination. The décor pleases the eye without compromising comfort or function, while the hotel’s eco-friendly practices have earned National Green Seal certification. Dine on upscale sustainable fare, soak in a deep bathtub and sink into a luxurious pillow-top mattress. Visitors can also enjoy an in-room treatment from the skilled therapists of Flavours Spa. From the rain showerhead to the ostrich leather headboard and LCD television, the Ellis offers a refined respite from the hubbub of the city.
The Glenn Hotel
Originally built as an office space in 1923, the building that houses the Glenn Hotel was converted to its current state in 2006 and is now part of Marriott Hotel Group’s Autograph Collection. Recognized on the National Historic Register, the building celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2013. Located in the Luckie Marietta District, it’s just steps from Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, Philips Arena and other key attractions. Named to honor John Thomas Glenn, a prominent businessman and the 31st mayor of Atlanta, the eco-friendly hotel offers 93 guest rooms, 16 suites and a penthouse. All rooms boast sleek décor, luxurious linens, “peek-a-boo” showers, iHome docking stations, flat-screen TVs and original artwork. Dine on seasonal American fare at the street-level Glenn’s Kitchen or head to the rooftop SkyLounge to sip a cocktail while admiring the stirring view of Atlanta’s skyline.
Atlanta’s only intown bed and breakfast, Stonehurst Place was originally built in 1896 and renovated in 2008 with eco-friendliness and energy efficiency as key considerations. The result is a spectacular mix of old and new. Located in Midtown Atlanta, the 19th-century mansion is close to Piedmont Park, the Fox Theatre, the High Museum of Art and other attractions. You won’t find doilies or stuffy antiques at this luxury B&B, but you will find original, museum-quality works of art, landscaped gardens and lavish modern amenities. All six rooms and suites offer pillow-top mattresses, private en-suite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, LCD flat-screen TVs, plush robes, an iPod docking station and more. A two-course gourmet breakfast is included with each stay. This is the perfect pampering spot for grown-ups.
Located in the heart of Buckhead, which is ranked as one of the nation’s 10 most affluent communities, the W Atlanta-Buckhead places you close to the shopping havens of Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza. It’s also convenient to several sophisticated restaurants, including the new Cook Hall (located on its ground level), which features craft cocktails and contemporary cuisine. A glass-elevator ride to the top of the hotel brings you to Whiskey Blue, a hip bar that’s rivaled only by Living Room, located in the lobby—both are helmed by skilled mixologists, boast cool vibes and offer long lists of tempting libations. Exercise in the fully equipped fitness center, lounge near the only infinity-edge pool overlooking Peachtree Road, or doze on the signature W bed. Relax in the hotel’s country-club atmosphere. Push the Whatever/Whenever button on your phone and the W team will deliver whatever you want, whenever you want it (as long as it’s legal). It’s like having a personal assistant on call.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Don Carter State Park
5000 N. Browning Bridge Road, Gainesville
The Ellis Hotel
176 Peachtree St. NE
The Glenn Hotel
110 Marietta St. NW
923 Piedmont Ave. NE
3377 Peachtree Road NE