As a town that's always welcomed visitors (and their cash), Atlanta's had hotels from the very beginning. Whether they were stepping off at our brand new rail stop, in town to burn a few blocks or attending one of the year's countless conventions, out-of-towners have never wanted for a place to rest. Still, there's no denying that some local lodges do it better than others, especially when it comes to wowing right off the bat. We're talking about impressive lobbies, and Atlanta's got 'em. They're a relatively recent innovation here — thanks to John Portman and his dizzying design for the Hyatt Regency — but given Atlanta's hunger for everything "world class" they're pretty much a given at any new lodging facility that wants to compete for that tourist dollar. Here's a look at the most memorable hotel lobbies around town.
Atlanta Marriott Marquis: The Hyatt Regency set off an atrium craze upon opening in the 1960s, but architect John Portman really upped the ante with this 1985 structure only a few blocks away. Dubbed "the pregnant building" because of its exterior bulge, the Marriott sports what was once the world's largest atrium inside. Its undulating curves have drawn comparison to a whale's rib cage.
Georgian Terrace Hotel: While the Grand Dame of Midtown has always had a beautiful lobby full of old-school detailing, an addition in the early 1990s added a new entrance with a little more drama quotient. The intersection of classical architecture and hip styling is an interesting place, indeed.
The St. Regis Atlanta: At the moment, there is no classier lobby in the city, bar none. It's luxurious without being stuffy, light and airy but grounded in parquet flooring ... the perfect combination for 21st Century travelers with the right budget. What else would you expect on West Paces Ferry Road?
W Midtown and the W Downtown: The W brand is known for sex appeal, and both of these properties have that quality in big doses. The Midtown location is a little more funky and daring, while downtown the vibe is mysterious and a little naughty. Travelers looking for a little drama in their vacay couldn't go wrong with either.
Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta: At this point, the orange marble lobby of the Four Seasons is looking more than a little dated, but the grand staircase, massive chandelier, and general snob quotient of being the city's only five-star hotel still manage to impress.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright