The hotel, in the former Mandarin Oriental Atlanta space, has amplified programming to introduce itself to our city.
It might not look like there’s been any difference in the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead since opening in December—there’s still art on the walls from Bill Lowe Gallery; the garden is still the same—but there are some distinct changes afoot. A recent visit helped me get a better grasp on the hotel as it stands. It’s still one of the premier luxury hotel properties in the city, and it’s very much still an enjoyable escape in the middle of Buckhead.
What’s the same:
The rooms and design, for now, are staying the same, offering sweeping Buckhead views, some with a private terrace. All have upgraded bedding accessories. A deep soaking bathtub—becoming a rarity these days, even in luxury hotels—was complemented by Salvatore Ferragamo bath products. My spa treatment at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead Spa was a HydraFacial was expertly performed by spa staff, many of whom have stayed on from the Mandarin days. Service is impeccable as always, and if you’ve been a regular at the hotel, you’ll see many familiar faces that have stayed on since the change.
The Cafe and Bar is now under the tutelage of chef Christophe Truchet, who comes to Atlanta from the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. He’s updated the menus to reflect contemporary American cuisine with a Southern spin, including partnerships with local farms. The hotel is bringing back the Sunday brunch buffet beginning Sept. 22; a new afternoon tea menu available is available now (including Waldorf chicken salad sandwiches); and a new power lunch menu, just to name a few of the culinary changes.
Of particular note for Anglophiles is an event delightfully dubbed Afternoon Tea with the Crawleys. On Sept. 7, in celebration of the new Downton Abbey movie, there will be a special tea with plenty of surprise giveaways, including free screening tickets to the film’s Atlanta premiere. (The film debuts Sept. 12.)
The programming I enjoyed most was the Summer Wine Series. These supercasual wine tastings are meant to bring together an unusual pairing, curated by the hotel and Emmanuel Faure, head sommelier and wine expert from One On Wine. Our particular pairing was pinot noir and burgers. Faure’s expertise (he’s French) was incredible to witness as he went from cocktail table to cocktail table, engaging with guests. Additional Summer Wine Series programming includes Sushi and German Riesling and Syrah and BBQ, both of which you should book in advance. If you have more of a sweet tooth, try the weekly ice cream social. Serving up 21-plus ice cream (and virgin, non-non-alcoholic versions as well), the Cafe and Bar will make a mid-afternoon delight out of red wine floats, The Mudslide (made with rum); WA Peach Treat (made with peach liqueur); and more on Thursdays from 3:30-5:30pm.
The Waldorf Astoria brand—since opening its first flagship property in New York City in 1893—has always been associated with luxury, and its newest property here in Atlanta, is no different. Room rates from $245 , 3376 Peachtree Road, 404.995.7500
Photography by: Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead | wine photo by Lauren Finney