The Westin Peachtree Plaza, one of the Atlanta skyline's defining buildings, is located downtown on Peachtree Street, the city's legendary main thoroughfare. Peachtree Plaza is within minutes of all of downtown Atlanta's attractions, including the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Dome, the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, Philips Arena, CNN Center and Turner Field. The hotel can be reached from the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector. MARTA, Atlanta's public transit system, has a train station one block away, and the area is served by several bus lines.
The Westin Peachtree Plaza is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. The 73-story, 723-foot high, glass cylinder was designed by Atlanta's most famous architect, John Portman, and completed in 1976. It was the tallest hotel in the world when it was built, and it remains the second tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere. The top level of the building is an observation deck, and the two levels beneath it are the hotel's famous revolving Sun Dial Bar and Restaurant. The Professional Travel Guide calls the hotel a "stunning tour de force of 1970s hotel architecture.''
The hotel's nearly 1,100 rooms, including 40 suites, all have floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the city. A $40-million dollar renovation recently upgraded the entire hotel, adding new features such as computerized temperature control and Internet access. In-room amenities include terry-cloth robes, Westin's signature Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath, high-speed wireless Internet access and a work desk. Suites add a separate sitting area and an expanded work area with a printer/copier/fax machine. WestinWORKOUT rooms are available upon request; these rooms come with exercise equipment, DVDs, fitness literature and runner's maps. All rooms in the hotel are smoke-free. The hotel also has an 11th-floor pool with a retractable roof, a full-service business center, a state-of-the-art gym and in-room spa service. Peachtree Plaza also has one of the largest convention spaces in Atlanta, with 80,000 square feet of meeting space. The largest single space is over 15,000 square feet, and there are 53 separate break-out rooms available.
Peachtree Plaza offers several dining options, including The Cafy, which serves a Southern-style buffet breakfast; Starbucks Coffee Bar, which serves a variety of pastries; and the Lobby Bar, which offers cocktails and light fare. The hotel's signature, however, in Atlanta and around the world, is its three-level, revolving restaurant, bar and viewing level at the top of the hotel. The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View is one of the most distinctive locations for a meal that most guests will ever experience. The food and wine list are excellent and frequently win awards for their high quality, but the Sun Dial is better known as an "event'' location - "Most Romantic Restaurant,'' "Best Date Spot,'' "Top 10 Atlanta Spots to Smooch,'' "Most Memorable Ambiance.''
For all its spectacular architecture, the Westin Peachtree Plaza seems to have fallen behind some of Atlanta's other premier properties. On a well-known travel website, 43 percent of reviewers rated the hotel "Excellent'' or "Very Good,'' but 38 percent rated it "Poor'' or "Terrible.'' Despite the recent renovation, comments included, "Horribly run down,'' and "Looks cool from [the] outside and lobby ... Once you enter the room things change.'' Most guests' positive comments had to do with the convenient location and the fabulous views. One said, "I'm a sucker for those floor-to-ceiling windows....'' Others seem not to have encountered any rundown or dingy areas and found the hotel to be very pleasant. All in all, it seems the hotel, now over 30 years old, may have some catching up to do, but for the "wow'' factor, nothing beats those views. (This writer stayed there on her honeymoon!)