Traveling to Atlanta recently for a wedding, my husband and I stayed in the uptown neighborhood of Buckhead, an area of wonderful hotels, top rated restaurants and upscale shopping centers, for a long weekend. The Best Of Buckhead is what I found to be some of best this area has to offer…from where to stay as well as restaurants that should not be missed if you are traveling to the southern city of Atlanta, Georgia.
Located just a thirty minute ride from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport, we chose to stay at the St. Regis Atlanta, a beautiful French Beaux Art designed hotel, as it is within walking distance to restaurants and shopping as well as being convenient for visiting the Governor’s Mansion, the Atlanta History Center and the Swan House. The hotel has a private courtesy car and, when available, can be requested for driving you to other destinations within a two mile radius of the hotel.
The elegantly designed two-story lobby with huge limestone columns, an impressive crystal chandelier, four large fireplaces, and two curved staircases that lead to the Astor Court on the mezzanine level gives you the feel of a grand southern mansion. Only one word comes to mind when describing the St. Regis Atlanta…opulent. It is no wonder that so many movie stars and other famous celebrities have been spotted staying here.
You enter your hotel room through a large entrance foyer that has two closets, a sit-down vanity and a marble topped Nespresso coffee bar. The rooms are beautifully decorated in restful colors with dark wood furnishings and have a large flat screen TV. The marble and tile bathroom is large enough for two people to comfortably use at the same time with its two sink marble topped vanity, a large soaking tub and separate walk in shower.
After a full day of walking around the Buckhead area to shop and have lunch, the colorful resort-style pool is a great place to come back to and relax for a while with a book and enjoy the sun. You can go for a refreshing swim, soak in the jacuzzi or have a snack or enjoy cocktail at the pool side bar. With its outdoor fireplace, the “pool piazza” as it is called, should be a very nice spot to relax almost any season of the year.
Friday evening, as we walked into the hotel’s St. Regis Bar and saw the well dressed crowd gathered at the bar, it made us feel that this is “the place” for locals as well as the hotel’s guests to enjoy an evening cocktail in Buckhead. The room has a warm and inviting club like feel with its dark wood paneling, rich colors, comfortable leather seats placed around tables and a large bar that features a striking mural, “Resurgens,” Claude Perreault’s painting depicting Phoenix rising from the ashes of Atlanta.
In the hallways outside the bar and restaurants, the hotel is decorated with beautiful antique pieces of furniture as well as outstanding sculptures, artwork and accessories.
The hotel’s restaurant Atlas is considered by restaurant critics to be one of the best places in Atlanta for upscale American dining and has received many well-earned awards. Whether you are in jeans or dressed to the nines, the servers make you feel welcomed as they show you into this comfortable restaurant with its plastered arched ceilings, high gloss walls and artwork by Picasso, Matisse, van Gogh, Lucian Freud, and Francis Bacon among others set into dining niches that create an ambiance similar to a European supper club. If you haven’t had a drink in the St. Regis Bar before dinner, the restaurant has its own with a display case of fine cognacs and brandies that serves as a divider between the bar and the dining tables.
Chef Christopher Grossman, formerly from the famous French Laundry restaurant in Napa, California has created a classic à la carte menu of beautifully prepared dishes featuring seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. You can dine on such offerings as truffle potato pierogi dumplings or crispy gulf oysters as starters and pan seared rabbit loin or sweet potato agnolotti with Italian sausage as your main course. If you are more inclined to something simpler, there is a freshly ground Wagyu beef burger with fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese served with fries.
The best lunch we that we experience while visiting Buckhead was at a Thai restaurant called Bangkok Station where we had the best Thai food we have had in years. Since it was lunch, we ordered the Pearls of Bangkok which included Chicken Satay, Thoong-Thong (crisp rice paper bags filled with yellow curry chicken, peas and corn), Fresh Basil Roll (avocado, basil, purple cabbage and cucumber) and Ka-Nom Jeeb (steamed shrimp and chicken dumplings) from their starter menu. We also ordered Larb Tob (crispy spicy pork meatballs with red onion, chili, scallion, cilantro, lime and roasted jasmine rice powder). Each of the starters came with their own special sauces to complement each dish. I only wish that the Bangkok Station was in my area of Florida as my husband and I could eat there at least once a week, it is that good.
Duke + King is just around the corner from the St. Regis and is one of the trendy new restaurants owned by Ford Fry. It serves lunch and dinner with menu items like a double stacked burger with all the trimmings, a grilled cheese with tomato soup, coal roasted onion soup, roasted chicken with corn muffins and grilled flatiron steaks served with tomato chimichurri and fries. We went there late on a Sunday morning to try out their brunch menu. Everyone seems to start with their donuts but we went with a southern inspired pork theme for starters. We tried their house made biscuits with country ham and honey, deviled eggs with Mangalitsa ham and chives and pimento cheese with crispy ham and pepper jelly on crostini. We also had a special of the day which was a lamb Benedict and salads with shaved vegetables.
For our last evening in Buckhead, we had dinner at another of Ford Fry’s restaurants called St. Cecilia, that has received accolades from all over the country for its design and wonderful coastal Italian menu of handmade pastas, roasted seafood as well as a seafood raw bar. It’s a large open space that is decorated with recycled wood, white and black tile and a large white marble crudo bar as its centerpiece. Floor to ceiling glass windows, leather banquettes, brass accents and large dome lighting give it a clean, modern feel. I had made reservations weeks in advance because of one particular item on the menu…the wood grilled octopus with pickled spring vegetables, citrus, baby mizuna and spring peas. It was a dish I knew my husband would have to order. He did and enjoyed it saying that the dish certainly did live up to its wonderful reviews.
Whether you are visiting Atlanta on business or pleasure, I believe that you would enjoy staying in Buckhead with its many wonderful hotels and restaurants. If you are looking for gracious southern charm and hospitality along with good food, I believe that Buckhead offers some of the best options for dining and accommodations in Atlanta. Even though my visit was short, it made for a memorable trip. I hope that you get a chance to experience all that it has to offer as well.