The Gayest Hotel in Atlanta?
When my family decided to head down to Atlanta for a long weekend—the main reason being my 25th college reunion, but more importantly, to take the kids to a Georgia Tech football Homecoming game—we picked the Aloft Atlanta Downtown property due to its convenient location that’s close to the campus, close to downtown’s tourist attractions and close to MARTA, the city’s subway system.
It wasn’t until a week or so before our trip that we realized that the weekend was also Atlanta Pride, something that we’d wanted to attend for years but had never had the opportunity to. So, I’m not sure what we expected when we walked into the hotel, but it seemed to be the gayest hotel in Atlanta—and we loved it.
The friendly front desk staff started it off by hilariously ranting to me that they were struggling to avoid the warm cookies being served to guests (better to be a snack than have a snack). In fact, I felt like almost every person I spoke with there was talking about Pride events or which drag queen was performing where.
And the hotel guests were fabulously queer, too. There were same-sex male couples, female couples, and plenty of singles and groups of gay friends in the lobby, at the pool and on the elevator. It felt like a big house party much for much of our stay—and we loved it.
We found so much to do within an easy walk of the hotel, too.
Peachtree Center, with its bevy of dining options, was a five-minute walk away. Centennial Park was five minutes in the opposite direction, with CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, the College Football Hall of Fame, the World of Coca-Cola, and other family-friendly attractions. We even walked over to the new home of the NFL’s Falcons, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, to check out the team shop and inquire about tours.
Within the hotel itself, we enjoyed drinks and some small plates at the W XYZ bar with some friends while the kids had a blast at the nearby pool table. The fitness facility was everything we needed, although we were disappointed not to find the muscle-bound fellow there who’d been rocking a shirt that proclaimed XXX—he seemed to be everywhere at the hotel earlier that day.
Our room was bright and quirky and the kids loved the modern, funky décor both there and in the public spaces. When they wanted to eat in one evening, we spoke to Geraldine, a dynamic staffer who we’d befriended, and she recommended a local pizzeria that we’d never have discovered ourselves. It turned out to be every bit as delicious as she had promised.
After the football game, we ran into an old fraternity brother who came out as gay a few years ago. I asked him where he was staying while in town, and when he responded he was at the Aloft Downtown, I chuckled and thought, “of course!”
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