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Southern comforts: Enjoy an elevated escape in Atlanta

Atlanta has a thriving cultural scene and diverse restaurants, plus high fashion in Buckhead, making it a getaway that will be one to remember. | By Paul Oswell | August 2, 2022

There is a wealth of high-end experiences to be found in the Deep South’s high-powered hot spot. From boutique fashions to gourmet Atlanta restaurants to a proud intellectual heritage, the Georgia state capital is enjoying its own renaissance. Make the most of your trip by experiencing:

  • High culture: Explore Atlanta’s excellent museums and galleries

  • High fashion: Head to the boutiques of Buckhead for the latest looks

  • High tea: Enjoy a traditional tea service followed by a restorative spa treatment

On display

The High Museum of Art has been welcoming visitors since 1905 and has evolved from its stately home beginnings into one of the South’s leading museums. Its galleries boast some 18,000 works of art, with names such as Boudin, Modigliani and Toulouse-Lautrec all represented. The High also houses an impressive collection of African art and antiquities, including pieces from Djenne, one of Africa’s oldest cities. The Dress Circle at Atlanta Symphony Hall in the Woodruff Arts Center has the best seats in the house for their rousing concerts.

If opera is more your style, then snag front row balcony seats at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Atlanta Ballet also performs there, and the talented troupe has been mesmerizing audiences since 1929, performing classics and contemporary works alike. Seeing such beauty in person might leave you inspired to take some art of your own back home. If that’s the case, look no further than the historical works on paper and contemporary paintings found at Thomas Deans Fine Art in Miami Circle. Deans has written and lectured on the fine and performing arts for many decades and his collection shows it.

Fashion forward

Buckhead is considered one of Atlanta’s most upscale neighborhoods, and its retail options certainly reflect this. Three large shopping arcades house outlets for several designer names. At Buckhead Village, you’ll find exclusive footwear by Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin, as well as the latest offerings from Hermès and Dior. Lenox Square has some 250 stores, among them exclusive brands such as Alex and Ani, David Yurman and Louis Vuitton. You’ll also find larger department stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus.

Your dream accessories are likely to be found at Phipps Plaza, where haute couture brands such as Fendi, Gucci, Prada and Versace are all on show. Best of all, Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead is only steps away from these luxury retail centers, meaning you can shop till you drop without having to travel too far. Prefer the shops come to you? Your personal concierge can easily arrange a customized shopping excursion.

Buckhead is also home to some of Atlanta’s very own independent stores, such as Abbey Glass for women and Miller Brothers Limited for men. If your shopping tastes run more toward interior design, not to worry. There are vintage gems aplenty to be found at the antique shops along Bennett Street and in Miami Circle. Interiors Market on Bennett Street is a particularly popular spot for statement pieces of furniture and art. There are more than 35 dealers in the complex, offering everything from 19th century European antiques to midcentury modern furnishings, all staged in striking showrooms.

Fine dining

Being in the South, Atlanta rightly celebrates its own gastronomic traditions, and there are some tantalizing options for fine dining. One of the city’s most celebrated restaurants is Bacchanalia, where guests can savor an outstanding caviar service. Chef David Blackmon delivers some of the region’s best modern American plates within the sleek, industrial chic dining room. Marcel is an exceptional steakhouse with that charming, old-school aesthetic. Dark woods, plush leather booths and antique furnishings make for an evocative experience, and its aged beef and craft cocktail menu (not to mention cigar menu) is one of the city’s best.

For the ultimate in sophistication, though, there’s nothing like high tea, and the afternoon service at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta is a refined delight. Let the silver-service staff present the hotel’s irresistible menu of artisanal loose-leaf teas, delicate finger sandwiches and a sumptuous spread of scones and confections. A glass of Champagne makes for the perfect finishing touch. Continue your evening of feasting at Brassica, the property’s French restaurant where you can enjoy such culinary delights as whiskey-steamed mussels with lemon preserves.

There’s never been a better time to visit Atlanta, as it rides high on its revitalized arts and culture scene. Combine that creativity with a high-profile culinary scene, and you have a dynamic, decadent and daring city just waiting to be explored.

Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer, and has been reporting from all seven continents for over twenty years. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small.”

Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead

Our location in Atlanta’s stylish Buckhead neighborhood places you in the center of the city’s cultural, dining and fashion scenes. The boutiques and restaurants of Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square are a five-minute walk away, and our indoor pool, Waldorf Astoria Spa, and private English gardens provide a tranquil escape. Your stay includes a personal concierge to ensure that your stay is unforgettable.

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