Sometimes we just need to be posh. And the rebranding of the former Mandarin Oriental as the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead about a year ago had specifically intrigued that particular part of us—though it wasn’t until this holiday season that we were actually able to sort out time for a visit.
The Waldorf brand does have a knack for forwarding a certain sort of classic elegance, standing athwart the MO’s more contemporary inclinations (without sacrificing anything in the way of modern amenities). And the moment we navigated the grandiose neo-classical columns flanking the entrance, it was clear this would be a very Waldorf sort of experience.
Here’s what we loved.
At 3376 Peachtree Road NE, The Waldorf is appropriately located in Buckhead, just north of Midtown, and fitted into a stunning, 42-story edifice designed by exalted starchitect Robert A.M. Stern. Buckhead is the city’s poshest quarter, teeming with high-end shopping opportunities and assorted upscale restaurants. Quite a bit of it is clustered along a short stretch of Peachtree Road NE, making it comfortably walkable.
View of Buckhead, from the room terrace
Right across the way was the very upscale Lenox Square shopping center, with outposts of Fendi, Burberry, Cartier, Vuitton, Prada, Ferragamo, even Ted Baker, Scotch & Soda and DVF. There is also a Tesla store, if you’re looking to make a zeitgeisty auto purchase.
Just up the road was Phipps Plaza, which rounds out the roster of luxury heavy hitters, with Dior, Bottega Veneta, Celine, D&G, Gucci and Tom Ford.
For open air shopping, we strolled The Shops at Buckhead, a six block stretch of Peachtree Road (yes, there are at least a dozen Peachtree Roads in Atlanta), featuring more boutiquey brands like Etro—a personal fave—Moncler, Bruno Cuccinelli, Ligne Roset and Davidoff. But it’s also where we found the area’s most trendy dining spots, with Doraku Sushi, Le Bilboquet, Gypsy Kitchen, Le Colonial and Biltong Bar offering a veritable culinary journey around the world. The Regent Cocktail Club was a happening spot for sophisticated tipples.
The Shops at Buckhead
Though traditionally adorned (we do love those uniforms), the charmingly affable doormen exhibited the energetic vibe of someone working a Hollywood premiere. They ushered us into a low-key lobby – marked by an artfully done gingerbread house for the holidays – on our way to a discreet front desk. (Celebs must love this place, one can check-in completely under the radar.)
We didn’t indulge, but there was a namesake spa upstairs, with Southern-charm inspired treatments like the Peach Indulgence (restoring body balance) and the epic Magnolia Retreat, which is nearly four hours of luxurious pampering.
Low-key luxury seemed to be the design philosophy, as our room featured stylish Art Deco furnishings, plush, high-backed chairs, a dark wooden/mirrored headboard, a swanky little mini-bar space (which actually really felt like a bar), and a generous dressing area with colossal closet space. And though the rooms have ample windows, we vigorously recommend requesting one of the Buckhead Private Terrace Rooms, to kick back on the wicker seating and survey the area buzz happening just below – before later relaxing with a mini-bar selection and a glorious sunset view.
The bathroom itself was worthy of royalty, with a flat-screen TV positioned above the duel sinks, a huge soaking tub with a view—we do love a bathroom window—perhaps for the exhibitionist in you. And we were definitely not at all unhappy about the Ferragamo toiletries.
The room featured intriguing abstract art pieces – and we were informed that the hotel has near-future plans to engage more actively with the art world.
We especially loved the layout of the hotel’s succinctly named Cafe & Bar, with minimalist furnishings, a strikingly patterned marble floor, and tables tucked into various nooks surrounding the elegant lobby fireplace lounge – where it felt like chance encounters with interesting strangers were almost guaranteed. Further tables were lined along a window in an elongated side room, that led down to the classy little bar area – an intimate spot for sophisticated before dinner cocktails.
We missed it, but there’s Afternoon Tea (with a few Southern twists) from Friday to Sunday, and an extravagant Sunday brunch buffet just teeming with seafood and dessert options. It’s so popular they have two seatings, one at 10:45am and another at 1:15pm.