Words by Cat Buchanan
The past couple of years, many of us have either fallen in love with our city more or picked up and started a new adventure—just because we can! For me, I’ve managed to fall in love with Atlanta more and more each day. And when it came to finally plan a vacation with my best friends, I thought there was no better way to spend it than at home. But there was a need to leave my loft, so we landed at Hotel Clermont. Built in 1924, Hotel Clermont has been thoughtfully restored into a piece of modern history, offering up something for everyone. The hotel features bunks, rooms, and suites, all elegantly designed—but the hip vibe isn’t the only reason to stay at Hotel Clermont. The food, the views, the location—dare I go on...
Location, Location, Location
Located right next to Ponce City Market, right off the Beltline, there are many things to do all within walking distance. Ponce City Market is filled with the trendiest shops and restaurants so that you can easily fill your day there. The Beltline, which is right next to Ponce City Market, is 22 miles of unused railroad tracks that circle the core of the city’s in-town neighborhoods. It makes it easy for you to see all of Atlanta while staying on one path.
Other local favorites include the Plaza Theater, airing the classics like little shop of horror and Labyrinth, and Manuel’s Tavern, where former President Barack Obama famously came and threw darts and hung out in 2015. There's also 8ARM, a Japanese-inspired restaurant with the goal of bringing Atlanta together as family.
The City Views
Hop on the elevator and press R, and it will take you all the way up to the rooftop. The rooftop has beautiful views of the entire city, so that you can get a glimpse of the skyline while enjoying your cocktail or snack. Open till late, it’s the perfect place to hang out before and after dinner. It has a full bar, unique drink menu, and snacks available at certain hours. While you’re up there, enjoy a close up of the famous lit up Hotel Clermont sign that beams from the top of the building. And believe me when I say—these are the best views in the city. There is no rooftop quite like Hotel Clermont.
In the downstairs of Hotel Clermont you will find a French-Brasserie restaurant called Tiny Lou’s, named after the popular 1950s dancer in the Clermont Motor Hotel’s “Gypsy Room.” I’ve tried everything on the menu, and the food is truly made with love by Executive Chef Jon Novak. Novak moved to Germany at age 3. During his time living in Europe, he picked up a variety of techniques and flavors that helped him develop the food at Tiny Lou’s. His restaurant career began as a busboy, but 14 years and a lot of hard work later, he found himself plating dishes instead of cleaning them. With Michelin Star experience under his belt as well, the dining room couldn’t be in better hands.
For dinner we let the chef serve us what he thought was best. We started off with the famous house made brioche, sea salt, and cultured butter. From there we moved into sonoma foie gras påté, gnocchi parisienne, steak tartar, and my favorite from the second course, tartine flambé—a country bread with housemade créme fraîche, carmelized onion, bacon lardon and gruyére. Then we moved into our third course, the ‘main’ dishes. We were served steak frites, the most popular thing on the menu, and the steelhead trout almondine, my favorite main from Tiny Lou’s. Very full but determined to go on, we ended with the crepe cake. Every bite felt like a warm hug.
You should always save room for dessert while at Tiny Lou’s. You won’t want to miss the treats created by Executive Pastry Chef Charmain Ware. Bed-ridden after a car accident, she spent her recovery time watching kitchen shows and developing a passion for food. After attending the 180 Kitchen Culinary Program, she began working as a pastry chef and never looked back—you can taste the devotion to her craft. You can also grab a cup of coffee and a pastry in the morning at Cafe Clermont. I had the biscuit, something I won’t soon forget.
Something for your eyeballs in every corner
As a graphic designer with a love of interior design, I can say they truly did not miss a beat with making sure every inch of this hotel was a treat for your eyes. Everywhere you look is Instagram worthy, even the lobby bathrooms are a good place to stop and snag a pic. The lobby bar beams with vintage coolness as a dark comfy place, with a menu filled with exquisite drinks that will have you feeling like a rockstar yourself. Keeping the charm from 1924, it brought its vintage rooms to life with hip furniture touting a good mix of style and luxury.
Next time you're planning a vacation—or staycation—look no further than Hotel Clermont. You're guaranteed to have a good time.