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The Superb Boutique Style of Atlanta's Independent Ellis Hotel

I had some business meetings scheduled in downtown Atlanta, and I wanted to find a top rated hotel in the area that offered character, class, and quality.

The Glenn, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection chain, promotes a boutique-ish vibe and looked appealing.  Ditto the upscale Courtyard by Marriott and swank Ritz Carlton.  While all were within walking distance of my confabs and appeared to be perfectly fine choices, I hesitated on the chain thing:  given the uniqueness of Atlanta, my preference was for a truly local property that had more regional panache than what I’d likely find in a corporate brand.

After doing some more research, I discovered The Ellis Hotel, at 176 Peachtree Street N.W. – an address which is, amazingly and super conveniently, one block from where my meetings were to take place. The Ellis is situated near the Peachtree Center MARTA station (next door), a big CVS store (one block), a slew of restaurants and attractions, and major corporate offices.  Location-wise, it was ideal.


I also found that The Ellis Hotel has racked up a number of impressive industry accolades, including:

  • 2015 Top 5, Southern Living magazine’s Atlanta City Guide
  • 2015 Readers Choice Award, Convention South magazine
  • 2015 & 2014 #2 Best Hotel in Downtown Atlanta, U.S. News & World Report
  • 2015 National Green Seal Certification
  • 2014 Certificate of Excellence, Trip Advisor
  • 2014 Top New Meeting Site Award, Convention South magazine
  • 2014 Platinum Green Leaders Award, Trip Advisor


Most importantly, I learned that The Ellis is Atlanta’s first and only independent boutique hotel.  That was the closer for me, so I went to EllisHotel.com, got the essential booking details, and set up my stay.

Housed in a majestic, 15-story corner building designed in 1913 by famed architect William Lee Stoddart, The Ellis opened in 2007.  Since then, its accommodations and dining offerings have accumulated rave reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Oyster, Orbitz, and Urban Spoon, and Google.

When I arrived, I found the multi-window lobby to be bright, modern, and comfortable: deep couches invited tired butts (like mine) to plop down and chill, and a satellite radio soundtrack featuring old school R&B classics definitely got a happening vibe flowing.


Check-in was fast and easy.  My plan was to unload and collapse for a few hours when I got to my room (I had taken an early morning flight).  But when the front desk manager told me about the Ellis’ nightly "Wine Down" from 5:30 to 6 pm*, which features $1 glasses of wine for hotel guests, I suddenly discovered a burst of energy – and after tossing my luggage onto my bed, I headed down to the Ellis’ Terrace Bistro Restaurant to get down with the wine and take advantage of the hotel’s hospitality.

ACCOMMODATIONS

My room at The Ellis was clean, cozy, and chic, with the on fleek vibe of a hip downtown apartment.  The wi-fi was free, the flat screen TV was huge, and the bed’s mattress/pillow/sheets/blanket were lavish and indulgent.


The rainfall showerhead in the bathroom was AWESOME, and the complimentary shampoo, lotions, and soaps were by Gilchrist & Soames, an exclusive manufacturer of luxury bath and body products.  The towels were thick and plentiful.  An unexpected bonus was the convenient magnifying mirror on the sink, which was invaluable in helping me get my shaves to be as close as possible.

I knew that the mania of my busy days would be calmed by this very quiet and very comfortable haven.

DINING

The Terrace Bistro Restaurant, which specializes in American southern bistro-style entrees, is the on-premises eatery.  According to the hotel’s site, “the Terrace Bistro captures fresh and fine flavors by incorporating organic ingredients sourced from local and regional farmers, fishermen and producers.”


From the hors d'oeuvres that I enjoyed at the Wine Down to the breakfasts that I had each morning and the entrées that I experienced each night, I was consistently impressed by the outstanding quality of the Terrace Bistro’s fare.  Every one of the “farm to table” selections that I ordered looked and tasted delicious.  Reviewers on Urban Spoon and Google agree:  the Terrace Bistro’s 4.5 stars on both sites are an accurate representation of the restaurant’s wholesome excellence and authentic cuisine.


My faves:

  • Egg white frittata (light yet filling, with plenty of fresh, nicely cooked vegetables and a side of smooth grits)
  • Seasonal salad with grilled shrimp (featuring mixed greens, toasted walnuts, feta cheese, apples, sherry vinaigrette, and a generous helping of plump, superbly prepared shrimp)
  • Stuffed eggplant (featuring a delicious quinoa pilaf, sautéed vegetables, and a savory basil tomato sauce)
  • Shrimp & grits (a superb and creative presentation of a traditional Southern favorite)
  • Consistently excellent service (especially from Net – short for Antoinette - a warm, friendly, and delightful bartender who provided great recommendations of the Terrace Bistro’s tastiest craft cocktails and the day’s best dishes)
  • Clean and spacious outdoor terrace seating area, where I enjoyed my dinners

ADDITIONAL HOTEL FEATURES

  • Exercise room – Adjustable dumbbells, cardio machines, and room to stretch out/warm up.
  • Business center – Multiple workstations and free printing!
  • Well-equipped meeting and event spaces – Excellent choices for business gatherings and life celebrations.
  • Complimentary morning coffee station in the lobby – Essential, fresh, and very much needed.
  • A private-access women’s only floor – I didn’t check it out (wrong sex), but it’s an innovative offering for women who seek pampering, luxury, and solitude.
  • A fresh air floor – Ditto on the non-checking out, but it’s a very savvy idea:  in an effort to maximize sleep and minimize allergens for guests, each room on the floor includes sealed mattresses and pillows, deep cleaned carpets, hard and soft surface cleaning to remove dust and germs, and its own 24 hour-running air filtering machine.
  • A pet friendly floor – I wasn’t traveling with my critter, but if I was, The Ellis would have welcomed him.


THE TAKEAWAY

The convenient location, attentive and friendly service, outstanding meals, sumptuous rooms, and innovative/creative/forward-thinking extras of the Ellis make it smart lodging choice for discriminating travelers who are seeking a novel and stylish hotel experience in the ATL.

*The Ellis also has a nightly happy hour from 5:30 to 6 pm - open to both guests and the general public – with $5 drink specials and $5 small plate appetizers.

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