Being fashionable when traveling involves more than simply making the right selections from your valise de fabuleux. How you get there and where you stay can make the difference between style and vile.
In my periodic writings, I'll share with you some of my own away-from-home experiences, be they fashionable or otherwise, which determination I shall leave to you, my dear reader.
The St. Regis Hotel and Residences is nestled just off Peachtree Road in the Buckhead enclave, a mile or so down Paces Ferry Road from where Sonny Purdue, Georgia's Governor, calls home. A short pedestrian mall leads from the hotel to where the Streets of Buckhead — Atlanta's answer to Rodeo Drive — will burst forth onto the scene in 2011.
The St. Regis boasts 120 rooms and 31 suites, and is also home to fifty private residences on the top fifteen floors of the hotel.
Arriving at the St. Regis in mid-afternoon, we were greeted and quickly dispatched by the hotel valet, who offered bell service for our two small overnight bags, which we politely declined. The check-in process was quick and effortless and we were escorted to our room by the desk clerk himself — a very nice touch! Even nicer was the handwritten welcome card from the hotel's general manager along with a bottle of Merlot on a silver wine plate and three large chocolate bars packed in lovely gift wrapping.
We had been double-upgraded from a Superior room to a Grand Deluxe room, which included a huge outdoor balcony furnished with lovely cushioned metal furniture. The room itself was truly a feast for the eyes, decorated in what I call the "Contemporary Deco" style: furniture and walls in soft tones, custom polished-nickel lamps and chandeliers and huge gloss white mouldings; I think I heard Barbara Barry whispering in my ear!
On the nightstand is what looks to be — at first glance — a telephone. Further investigation reveals that it's actually a control center for nearly everything in the room: temperature, lighting, hotel directory...even the weather! And no, darling, you can't control the weather, you can merely display it!
The bathroom — a stone and tile-clad masterpiece — had dual sinks, a large floor-to-ceiling tiled shower and a separate deep, oval tub, which is separated from the sleeping chamber by a sliding door, affording the weary traveler the opportunity to relax in a hot bath while watching TV or even gazing out upon the world through the balcony doors. One of the vanity mirrors even has a television screen embedded in it; I loved watching the news while freshening up for a trip out into the surrounding neighborhood!
Room service was efficient and delicious, the menu a well-chosen subset of the hotel's Paces 88 Restaurant which itself provides both indoor and al fresco dining. The pool area at the St. Regis is a quiet, private oasis in a busy part of the city, and provides both comfortable lounge chairs and serviced tables. Just up a flight of stairs from the pool is a well-groomed outdoor event space which boasts a large, well-landscaped lawn area replete with bocce ball equipment, a very nice touch. The hotel also features a lovely outdoor area off the main lobby-level bar, where well-heeled travelers, local cognoscenti and other shaken-not-stirred types mingle under the stars.
The true standout at the St. Regis is its staff. We were unfailingly greeted with a smile by every single person we encountered, were always made to feel as if we were highly-valued guests, and every request we made was handled quickly and graciously.
In over fifteen years of near-constant travel, there is never anything that's perfect. Ever. But the St. Regis Atlanta was as close to perfect as a hotel can be without resorting to nitpickery. OK, I hear you all groaning that I must be "on the take" or what have you; I am forced to share one minor quibble: The bottle of wine that greeted our arrival in the room was, unfortunately, not accompanied by a wine opener. However a simple push of a button on the "control center" summoned our white-gloved butler with one in less than ninety seconds. Who's to complain?
The St. Regis Atlanta. Five Stars. Rooms from $340 midweek, $270 weekend. Discounts and packages available. See the St. Regis website for more information.
*fashionado Traveler Score: 9.5 (out of 10). Nothing gets a ten.
The fashionado Traveler has traveled extensively throughout the world, including forty-seven U.S. States and four continents. He holds elite status with multiple hotel chains and is quickly approaching the two million mile mark on Delta Air Lines. He lives in the Atlanta area and hails originally from California, where he spent his younger and admittedly less stylish years in the San Francisco Bay Area. He invites your comments and encourages invitations to your favorite away-from-home places.