The Glenn Hotel: Atlanta's First Downtown Boutique Hotel

The Glenn Hotel, which opened in 2006 in a restored 1923 office building, is located in downtown Atlanta overlooking Centennial Olympic Park. Nearby attractions include the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Dome, CNN Center and Philips Arena. The Glenn can be accessed from either Interstate 20 or the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector. MARTA, Atlanta's public transit system, has a train station in the adjacent CNN Center. Bus lines also serve the area.

The 10-story, 110-room Glenn Hotel occupies a 1923 office building that was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. In 2003, Central Atlanta Progress, an economic development group, listed the Glenn Building as one of downtown's biggest eyesores. Four years later, the building's owners won an Excellence in Rehabilitation Award from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for their restoration efforts in turning the building into a viable property again. The Glenn was the first independent boutique hotel in the city. The president of the company that owns the hotel said in the Atlanta Business Chronicle (ABC), "For travelers looking for a more intimate experience, it represents something quite different from those `big-box hotels.''' The hotel maintains its Neoclassical exterior while replacing the interior with ultra-chic, contemporary dycor.

The hotel's rooms come in four grades - Superior, Luxe, the Dream Suite, and the Sweet Suite. The Superior room, at 220 square feet, and the Luxe room, at 260 square feet, comprise most of the hotel. Luxe rooms are on the front of the building and overlook the park or view the Atlanta skyline. The 15 Dream Suites are 450 square feet and come with two televisions and a separate parlor. Some suites have an open glass shower that is only separated from the bedroom by a glass wall. The hotel's one Sweet Suite, on the top floor, is 850 square feet and comes with one-and-a-half baths, a large living room, a spectacular park view and a dining table. All rooms have complimentary wired and wireless Internet access and Herman Miller Aeron chairs at the work desk, along with standard amenities.

Other features of the hotel include a small fitness center and a new business center that was added two years after the hotel opened. The ABC describes the center as having "wireless Internet, lounge seating, computer stations and an LCD flat-screen TV displaying real-time airport arrivals and departures. ... `It's similar to a first-class lounge in the Delta Crown Room,' said [a hotel representative].'' As for dining, the Glenn is already on its third restaurant, the first two, both from out of town, having failed. This time, local restaurant group Concentrics, owner of several popular spots in Atlanta, has opened 30 Tables, which will serve contemporary American fare all day long. Concentrics is also revamping the rooftop bar of the Glenn, which offers a hip, young "scene'' for the after-work crowd.

Internet reviews of the Glenn Hotel have been mixed. A little over half of reviewers on one popular travel website rate the hotel "Excellent'' or "Very Good,'' but fully one-third rate it "Poor'' or "Terrible.'' One guest complimented the staff, saying, "To a person, they were genuine, helpful, pleasant, funny.'' Another "love[s] the rooftop bar at night. It is very romantic and the view is great.'' Many people complain about the noise, however, from both the street and the rooftop bar. The small size of the rooms is also an issue. Some guests love the dycor, the rooms and the "peek-a-boo'' showers, while others find those same things tasteless. There seems to be no consensus on this hotel. The New York Times said, "While the Glenn is not a bad place to stay, it could do without some of its tedious affectations.'' On the other hand, the Professional Travel Guide thinks that "the glamorous and spacious suites are among the nicest in the city. ... This place is ... the pinnacle of cool hostelry in Atlanta.''

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