Atlanta’s skyline is dominated by John Portman’s iconic neo-futuristic buildings, but zoom in and you’ll find a city striking the balance between preserving history and embracing exciting design. “The beauty of Atlanta is change and progress. We’re not stuck in the past, and God forbid that we would be,” says Vivian Bencich, an interior designer and founding principal of Square Feet Studio, a firm that has designed some of Atlanta’s most beloved restaurants like The General Muir and Kimball House, Business Law.
The city has gained recent notoriety for its role in national politics and has a well-earned moniker as the Hollywood of the South. But it has long been a city of design interest as the home to such institutions as the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) and counts powerhouses like Suzanne Kasler and Michele Smith Boyd among its roster of interior designers.
Atlanta is made up of vibrant neighborhoods lined with craftsman bungalows juxtaposed with mixed-use developments, and there is no shortage of independent coffee shops and seasonally-driven restaurants. Atlanta also happens to have the Hartsfield-Jackson airport, one of the busiest in the world, making it easily accessible to travelers. The next time you find yourself in Atlanta, these are the best places to stay, eat, drink, and visit : Business Law.
Where to stay
The heart of the city is arguably Old Fourth Ward. It’s where historic treasures like the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and modern attractions such as the BeltLine trail are located—and the recently opened Wylie Hotel gives you a chance to immerse yourself in Old Fourth Ward. The boutique hotel is situated on the main drag of Ponce de Leon avenue, and has been many things in its lifetime since the 1920s: A hotel that housed Atlanta’s first gay bar, the dance club MJQ’s first location, and student housing. Today, the interior has been reimagined by designers Kendal Rogers and Maria Garza Gossett of Pixel Design Collaborative who gave it a residential feel with Art Deco flair. Just down the street is the Hotel Clermont which came roaring back to life with eclectic guest rooms and a rooftop bar in 2018 after sitting vacant for years (though the famed lounge downstairs has never quit).
The Bellyard opened its doors in May and brings luxe hotel rooms to the ever-evolving neighborhood of West Midtown. Part of the Interlock, a work-meets-play property, the hotel’s design subtly pays tribute to the stockyards and railroads that once made up the landscape of the neighborhood (look up at the ceiling in the lobby restaurant Drawbar and see lighting in beams reminiscent of railroad tracks).