The star power still twinkles at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, just at a different wattage.
The ginger-haired woman I swapped pleasantries with in the parking garage — she was working on the sequel to the Anchorman movie, which was being filmed in Atlanta. And that man in baggy jeans and a parsley sprig of hair? He was also with the movie crew. During five floors of elevator conversation, I was tempted to ask if Will Ferrell was staying here, too.
As for names that you might recognize: On the first night of my May visit, Glenn Frey, of the Eagles, performed across the street at the legendary Fox Theatre. And for faces that you may one day see in the pages of US Weekly: any of the chosen ones selected for the weight-loss reality show, The Biggest Loser, which held auditions at the hotel.
During the youngster years of the nearly 102-year-old property, the celebrity guests sparkled more brightly than all the rings on Elizabeth Taylor’s fingers: Rudolph Valentino, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Lindbergh, Tallulah Bankhead. In 1939, the hotel hosted the world premiere of Gone With the Wind, with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh outdressing the drapes. For 75 years, the hotel provided beds for touring Metropolitan Opera performers, including Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. Impresario dancer Arthur Murray taught his fancy-shoe moves in the ballroom. Presidents No. 29 and 30 (Harding and Coolidge) slept here.
Admittedly, the quality of personalities has declined slightly, but the glam quotient is still high. The 326-room hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986, has preserved its original 10-story Beaux-Arts design of cloud-to-ground Palladian-style windows, heaving crystal chandeliers and swooshing marble staircase that transforms the plainest duck into a graceful swan. In the late 1980s, after a period of neglect, developers resuscitated the hotel with a 19-story wing and a 20-story glass atrium bridging the old and the new.
Unfortunately, my corner room on the eighth floor did not share the giant wing span of the public spaces. (Standard rooms measure 160 to 200 square feet; premier luxury rooms are 550 square feet.) I had to tuck in my toes when moving between the bed, the bathroom and the window. To avoid injury, I placed my luggage in a triangle of open space between the chair and the TV stand (the furnishings blocked easy access to the closet).
I had a host of fraternizing options. I could sip artful cocktails at the hotel’s Livingston Restaurant + Bar, or select a meal from any of seven main menus, including brunch, theater and terrace. Downstairs, old-fashioned bonhomie flowed from Proof and Provision, which the hotel calls a “community drinkery.” Cafe Mims, meanwhile, provides a casual kick of caffeine and calories.
The good news/bad news about the Georgian Terrace concerns its Midtown location. On the plus side, I could feasibly stay at the hotel for weeks and sample a new restaurant, bar or entertainment venue every night. The negative: For that same reason, parking is wicked: $25 per day.
• Georgian Terrace Hotel, 659 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta; 866-845-7551; www.thegeorgianterrace.com. Rates from $127.