Plenty of rooms, but Atlanta hotels are holding out for top dollar

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Credit: Jennifer Brett

The great thing about having Georgia play the the College Football Playoff National Championship against its next-door neighbor in downtown Atlanta is most fans are likely within driving distance.

That's not great news for hotels, of course.

"What's good for the city's economy and what is good for the city rah-rah are too different things," economist and Emory University finance professor Tom Smith tells AJC Unofficial Business columnist Matt Kempner. "It would be much better for the city if it had two teams from out of town that would draw people in for a long weekend."

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A little searching finds lots of rooms at the inns, with price tags that suggest hoteliers are hoping fans coming in from, say, Alpharetta to Birmingham, might prefer to bunk

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Credit: Jennifer Brett

here rather than fight traffic.

If you do decide to stay rather than drive, search a number of sites before you pull the trigger. Hotel Tonight, usually a reliable site for bargains, has the Marriott Marquis for $590 - supposedly discounted from $1,024.

But Marriott's own site give a rate of $429 per night for a Sunday-Tuesday stay. Book for the same duration one week later and your bill shrinks to $146 per night.

I think that's where Alabama's staying, BTW, unless their buses are parked behind the hotel for some other reason.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta would be $254 per night if you stayed next Sunday-Tuesday (Jan. 14-16). There's no availability this weekend.

The Hyatt Regency, where UGA players, coaches and staff are staying, is $506 per night this Sunday through Tuesday. Rates start at $179 per night a week later.

Here's video of the team arriving:

Pro tip: security surrounding the team is formidable. Only credentialed reporters were allowed in the arrival area, and then we had to exit from doors in the lower level. Don't book a room thinking you and Kirby Smart are gonna be taking selfies and stuff.

Speaking of reporters, members of the media are encamped at the Sheraton Atlanta - you know, in case you're looking for a cultural event for your children and don't feel like going to the zoo. (Actually they have us roped off, too).

Rates are $359 this Sunday-Tuesday and $165 a week later.

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Credit: Jennifer Brett