Luxury staycations help Atlantans hit the reset button

Locals feel like they’re on vacation — without traveling and gas bills.

Credit: Hasndout

Credit: Hasndout

Marissa and Sam Rosenbloom have traveled the world, but they cherish their quick weekends to a fancy Atlanta hotel. “Are you kidding? I can have two nights with nobody asking me for a cheese stick. I can order room service,” she says. “And I get to sleep late!”

The couple has staycationed at a variety of upscale hotels including Avalon in Alpharetta, Loews in Midtown as well as hotels in Buckhead, at the Battery and in downtown. “We just need a break. Just the ability to get away and connect — the two of us — is nice. We’ll dress up one night and go to dinner; the next, it’s room service. And, sometimes we go because we need a break from the overall stress — life.”

They are not alone. Especially since COVID-19, couples and families are enjoying the benefits of a luxury staycation. Nearly 80% of respondents to were looking for vacations within 50 miles of their home. The high cost of gas is becoming another incentive to stick closer to home and spend money on five-star dinners instead of gas.

“You avoid all the trappings of travel,” says Rosenbloom. “You don’t have all that wasted time getting somewhere; you go straight to the relaxing points. Since it’s your hometown, you know the best places. And, in the back of your mind, if something happens to the kids, you know you can be right there.”

Just imagine a few days at a luxury hotel — champagne, chocolate strawberries, couple’s massages and bathtubs so large you could almost swim in them. Sometimes it’s a mental health necessity to have “alone time,” a romantic rendezvous, or even a bring-the-family for a quick getaway. Staycations are becoming increasingly popular. From the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, the St. Regis Atlanta, the Whitley, the Candler Hotel Atlanta, the Hamilton, Bellyard Hotel, Colee, the Burgess, Avalon, Epicurean Atlanta, Hotel Clermont and the Kimpton Sylvan, among others, Atlanta’s upscale hotels offer a way to recharge, relax and reconnect in unabashed luxury.

The newly opened Thompson Buckhead Hotel is benefiting from the staycation craze, with General Manager Lukas Grace saying that at least half of its guests are local. “It’s amazing,” he says. “Once we created Tesserae, we knew we’d get a better local following. But also, since people can now work virtually, we have Atlantans using the Thompson as a luxury place to stay, have business meetings, and then not go out in the traffic. It’s work and a little vacation.”

Tesserae is a rooftop private members-only club with its own bar, regional food specialties and stunning views. Those who book a premium suite have access to the club and its amenities.

His local guests “just need a change of scenery from all the stresses. They don’t want to get into a car. They want a pool and a great restaurant,” he says. “It changes the dynamics of life and breaks up the monotony.”

The Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown has several packages aimed at staycationers. Its Drive-In Package includes a complimentary in-room movie and late check-out while its High Museum Package includes two tickets to the museum and a $50 dining credit. They also cater to families with amenities including child-size bathrobes and private cookie-decorating experiences.

Credit: Hasndout

Credit: Hasndout

“Luxury is feeling welcomed,” says Ashley Svarney, director of public relations. “We want parents and children to feel at ease. Every child receives an oversized chocolate chip cookie upon arrival with their name spelled out in chocolate on the plate. Kids love it; my three-year-old licked his name off.”

When the topic of luxury hotels comes up, the name Waldorf Astoria quickly follows. The Buckhead hotel features true relaxation with a 15,000-foot spa, 60-foot lap pool, fitness center, yoga studio and English gardens. The hotel’s newly opened restaurant, Brassica, features a French menu with a Southern touch. For a blow-the-budget experience, book the Presidential suite, which features two terraces, a dining room that seats eight, a free-standing egg-shaped soaking tub and a whopping 2,340 square feet of living space — more than a lot of homes.

Credit: Hasndout

Credit: Hasndout

An escape from stress and a change of scenery are just some of the reasons why the Mapes have taken a quick respite at Serenbe since 2007. Serenbe is only 35 minutes “door to door” from their house but “there’s such a liberating sense of peace there that gives us all such joy. I don’t feel like I’m in Atlanta,” says Mary Mapes. “They have that dense forest, the smell of grass and it’s quiet. We feel like we’re off the grid.”

Even though she and her husband are empty nesters, when her 20-somethings come home, she is quick to call Serenbe to ask about availability for four (or five including Ella, the dog). When the children were young, they loved walking Ella to the waterfalls, played with the animals and met the newborn ones, had picnics in the woods, swam in the pool and sat around the bonfire doing s’mores, something they still love doing now. “You feel free,” she says. Adding, “We loved Serenbe when they were young and we love it now that they’re in college. My son the other day asked about going and mentioned the lemonade tea, which is really good.”

Some choose their staycation for a particular amenity, maybe golf at the Barnsley Resort in Adairsville or Chateau Elan in Braselton. For others, the Porsche Driving Experience is the draw, complete with a stay at the nearby Kimpton Overland.

Credit: Porsche Experience Center

Credit: Porsche Experience Center

“People love the Porsche driving programs,” says Lori Burden, director of sales and marketing at Kimpton Overland. “We’ve even had several couples come together with the ladies treating their hubbies to a fun day at the track while they relax, maybe have dinner and drinks on the patio or rooftop.”

To encourage such staycations, Kimpton ran Date Night Flight specials where a couple stays, has a dinner for two with a specialty cocktail and watches the planes at nearby Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport land and take-off with binoculars.

“Far, far away has never been so close” is the tagline for the Barnsley Resort. “With the proximity to the Atlanta metro area, more than half of our guests travel the short hour or so up I-75 to maximize their leisure time for a long weekend, holiday break or special occasion,” said David Friederich, president.

Credit: Hasndout

Credit: Hasndout

No matter which luxury hotel or resort, a luxury staycation seems to provide fun, connection and a mental health boost.

“It’s a reset button for us,” says Mapes. “Sometimes you need to get away from the demands of life and you need some quick and accessible serenity.”


Thompson Buckhead, 415 East Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-574-1234,

Four Seasons, 75 14th St., Atlanta.

Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, 3376 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-995-7500,

Serenbe, 9055 Selborne Lane, Chattahoochee Hills. 770-463-9997,

Barnsley Resort, 597 Barnsley Gardens, Adairsville. 770-773-7480,

Kimpton Overland, 2 Porsche Drive, Atlanta. 470-466-3300,