Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independence Day Weekend in Atlanta

Amy and I decided to take a little staycation in town, since neither of the kids wanted to enjoy the traditional Independence Day Braves game. So, we booked a hotel room in the Perimeter Center area, rather than downtown, close to MARTA so we could take the train to the game and made a long weekend, Saturday-Monday, of it.

Staying at Perimeter Center, saves some time (keeping us closer to home) and saves some money since, obviously, these hotels are geared towards business travelers and are about 50% less on a Holiday weekend than if we stayed downtown. Not as many choices, but, enough.

Anyway, we settled on the W Perimeter Center, since it was a "four star" hotel, was in our price category (more on that later) and had an outdoor pool. Amazing how many nice hotels in this area do not have outdoor pools (most have indoor), so that really limits you. We were all set to stay in the Marriott, which is right across from the Dunwoody MARTA station, but I waited too long, and it was booked.  My other thought was - since parking isn't a problem in this area, we'd also save the $20 downtown hotels charge per day for parking. Wrong! Despite having plenty of parking, the W charges $12/day to park there. I negotiated that to $6, but, they really should include that on their web site (other hotels do, and you should know that for a downtown facility).

Anyway, we checked in early Saturday, and that was slow (I am not thrilled with the W, if you can't tell). The room, though, was as expected, and the hotel is nice, if not truly a 4-star affair (3.5 maybe). The pool was decent, though cold. How a pool could be cold when every day for the last 2 weeks it's been 95 degrees here, I don't know, but it was. They must change the water daily.  The a/c, while it wasn't broken, never seemed to really cool the room down.  The nights were cool, so we just kept the balcony door open at night anyway.  I would put the W's "wonderful" king beds a notch below the best we've stayed at - the Beacon Hotel in Miami Beach and the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta.  It's going to take a pretty nice place to top the Beacon (#17 of 199 in Miami on Trip Advisor).

At the pool, we met a woman who visits Atlanta often (to visit step-kids), and she uses Priceline, and her rate was 50% below ours. Now, we wouldn't have been able to assure ourselves of the outside pool using Priceline, but, if you're flexible, you should use it for hotels.

Saturday we just hung out at the pool, then we ate dinner at the Atlanta Fish Market, one of the Buckhead Life group restaurants, in the Buckhead entertainment district. This area of Atlanta is undergoing major renovations to improve pedestrian safety (and to destroy the rotten establishments), so, it's not nearly as much a destination as it was years ago. The changes came at a time when the clientele in Buckhead was changing to a demo that really didn't suit the upscale residents of the area, if you know what I mean. So, we'll see when it's all done what happens. The Fish Market is a pretty good place. It was a nice night to sit outside and enjoy a long dinner. We went back, enjoyed our room, and prepared for the next day (July 4th) by sleeping and renting one of those hotel movies (Brooklyn's Finest) that you sleep through for your twelve bucks.

July 4th was pretty much a pool day and then the Braves (5pm start time - thanks ESPN). The Braves played well, but lost, and the fireworks show was 15 minutes and lame. The team does fireworks every Friday home game, and this was the same show, with patriotic music subbed in.  They filled in the time from the end of the game until dark with a local cover band, Yacht Rock Revue.  It was 1979 for an hour or so.

We pretty much just rested today and then went to granma's pool, as it's bigger and less crowded than ours, after doing some window shopping at Perimeter Mall, and actual shopping where we can afford it (Wal-mart).

I had decided finally I was going to buy an iPad, but when I went to the Apple Store to get one, I discovered (doh!) that the wait is 2 weeks. Time to rethink it.

Ran's boyfriend just got a 4G iPhone, so he has loaned her his 3G until she can get her own when her contract allows in January. I am jealous. But, I still think I prefer the iPad. Now I have another couple weeks to think about it...

Well, that is it.  3 more work days until vacation!

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