Downtown Atlanta is full of striking buildings, from the angular glass and metal of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to the colossal breadth of the Georgia World Congress Center.

A new hotel in the center of the city’s entertainment and event ecosystem aims to make its own distinct impression by being the tallest hotel built in Atlanta since the mid-1980s, rising 42 stories atop the former foundation of the Georgia Dome to dominate the area’s skyline.

Signia by Hilton Atlanta opened this month to conventioneers and travelers who want easy access to Atlanta’s largest sports and concert venues. Hotel officials, who gathered Thursday afternoon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the building’s interior is meant to equally match its grand facade.

“This very much a flagship for this brand,” said Danny Hughes, Hilton’s executive vice president and president of Americas. “I want people to walk away saying, ‘Wow, this is a game changer. This is not just a new hotel in Atlanta. Atlanta doesn’t have anything like this.’”

Located on the GWCC’s campus, the Signia is a joint project targeting business and convention travel as both recover from the doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel began construction in April 2021, the same month all adults became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines nationwide.

(**EMBARGO:  Do not use this photo until Tuesday morning, March 28, 2023** Hyosub) Aerial photograph shows construction site of Signia by Hilton Atlanta at Georgia World Congress Center, as construction crew prepare for topping out ceremony, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Atlanta. Plans are in motion for GWCCA’s new headquarter hotel Signia by Hilton Atlanta. Featuring close to 1,000 rooms, this premier full-service hotel will sit on the northwest corner of the campus, adjacent to Building C of Georgia World Congress Center. (Hyosub Shin /


icon to expand image


GWCC financed the hotel with $450 million in revenue bonds, while pitching in an additional $55 million. Hilton contributed $25 million once it agreed to manage the hotel’s operations, using the opportunity to establish the Signia brand with its first custom-built hotel. The hotel employs more than 800 full-time workers.

The Signia — now Atlanta’s sixth-largest hotel — joins a flurry of activity in downtown, which is undergoing several revitalization efforts as the city vies for international sporting events. Gov. Brian Kemp said the project should become another fixture of the state Capital’s tourism industry.

“As Georgia prepares to welcome iconic events and continues experiencing record-breaking economic growth in the years ahead, this facility is well-positioned to remain a key economic driver for our state,” Kemp said in a news release.

‘Approachable luxury’

Teri Agosta, the hotel’s general manager, said Signia aims to astonish from the minute travelers enter.

Boasting a hanging art fixture with lights that can change with the seasons, the expansive lobby is designed to deliver a sense of awe matching the skyscraper’s exterior. Other parts of the hotel are equally impressive in scale, such as the state’s largest ballroom at 40,000 square feet.

Floor-to-ceiling windows are featured in each of the hotel’s 976 rooms and suites. Some come equipped with Peloton bikes and walk-in rain showers among other in-room amenities, which many offer panoramic views of the hotel’s neighbor: Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“You feel like you’re right in the stadium,” Agosta said.

Teri Agosta is the general manager of the Signia by Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta. (Olivia Bowdoin for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Credit: Olivia Bowdoin

icon to expand image

Credit: Olivia Bowdoin

The 1.25 million-square-foot hotel includes three restaurants — including an upscale sports bar featuring a halo of TVs mirroring Mercedes-Benz’s iconic ring-shaped screen board. There are also multiple bars, a private membership lounge called Club Signia and a grab-and-go market, which Agosta said will feature a display of chocolates made by the hotel’s 16 pastry chefs.

The building also features a spa, wellness area, a rooftop pool, fitness center and more than 100,000 square feet of flexible event space. Hughes described the hotel’s amenities as “approachable luxury,” aiming to be high-end without being haughty or cavalier.

Increased travel

The hospitality sector was among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that hotel occupancy rates fell nationwide to 25% in April 2020, a 64% decline from a year prior. Hughes said leisure travel was quick to rebound in 2021, but business and convention travel has taken longer to recover.

Hughes said that’s beginning to change. Hilton reported that group booking revenue increased 8% during last year’s third quarter compared to the same time in 2022. Hilton doesn’t report its fourth quarter financial results until February. Hughes said an increase in group bookings will bolster convention travel and generate more leisure bookings.

“There’s pent-up demand from all the social events that didn’t happen in 2021 and 2022,” he said.

The Signia is also an attempt to attract new conventions to the GWCC, which Hughes said is working. More than half of the hotel’s group bookings so far had never held an event in Atlanta before.

GWCC Executive Director Frank Poe said in the release that the Signia combines with downtown’s event spaces to create “a package of facilities unrivaled in any city in the United States.”

Developed by Boston-based Drew Company, the Signia in Atlanta is the brand’s first location built from the ground-up. The brand features two converted hotels in Orlando and San Jose. Hughes said the Atlanta location is intended to make a statement and should prompt more Signia hotels to follow.

“If we all do our jobs right in (the next few decades), there’s going to be a lot of Signias in a lot of great cities around the world,” he said. “We’ll always be able to say this brand truly started... in Atlanta.”

What all is inside Signia?

The 42-story Signia by Hilton Atlanta includes 1.25 million square feet of guest rooms, meeting spaces, restaurants, bars and other amenities. Here are some of what Atlanta’s newest hotel calls home:

- 976 guest rooms, including 70 suites and 80 Club Signia rooms

- A spa, beauty bar, rooftop pool and fitness center

- Three restaurants, including Italian fine dining concept Capolinea, the Nest on Four sports bar and Southern breakfast eatery Homespun

- A Lobby Bar and Highball pool bar

- A grab-and-go market and cafe called Friendship Market

- A private membership program and lounge called Club Signia