Legend has it at one time in the basement of this historic Downtown Atlanta office building, behind two-foot thick, armor plated vault doors, was one of Atlanta’s best kept secrets.
The secret The Candler Building allegedly held was the closely guarded recipe for Coca-Cola. Today, it holds a new secret that is spreading like the very best juicy gossip, The Candler Hotel, a 265-room boutique hotel that is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.
Historic Figures are Carved into the Marble
The 17-story structure is the namesake of its developer, Asa Griggs Candler, the founder of the Coca-Cola Company, and former mayor of the city. The Building is stunning inside and out. At one time it was the tallest in Atlanta.
Take time to walk around the outside and be sure to look up to see carvings in the marble, which was quarried in North Georgia. See if you can find the busts of William Shakespeare, composer Richard Wagner and Michelangelo.
Turn of the Century Luxury
The Candler is on the National Register of Historic Places, but it feels luxuriously modern too. A clear glass overhang protects guests from the weather as you wait for you car, or Lyft. Hilton has a partnership where you can earn honors points with every Lyft ride. As soon as you get out of the car, the doorman, dressed in top hat and coat, immediately makes you feel like you are in for a special evening.
Johnnie Cochran’s Office was in The Candler Building
The showpiece of the lobby is a grand marble staircase presided over by winged lions that are the logo for the hotel. As you wind up the stairs, you’ll pass Tiffany glass windows and busts of Candler, his mother and other folks I don’t remember. But that’s ok, because beneath each carving is a QR code to scan for a full history.
If you’d rather take the elevator, be sure to peruse the directory next to the banks. As I mentioned, the Candler was originally an office building. Before renovation, tenants were mostly law offices. The names of the final office tenants are still on the directory, including that of Johnnie Cochran, OJ Simpson’s lawyer.
In the basement was a law library. Those law books are scattered throughout the building, including a nook on the second story with a unique half-moon window overlooking downtown, an excellent place to pause with a cocktail.
The Story Behind Restaurant By George’s Name
One of the original office tenants was Central Bank, which is now the hotel’s restaurant, By George. By George is headed by Hugh Acheson and serves classic cuisine with a French influence. The restaurant name comes from the buildings original architects George Murphy and George Stewart.
Our group was treated to a delicious five course meal that included steak tartare, pate en croute, salmon and a hazelnut filled pastry. My favorite was the second course, a plate of baby carrots, vadouvan and fromage blanc. The flavors mixed together were decadent, yet healthy.
If you aren’t a foodie, don’t worry, I hear they have one of the best burgers in the city too. To work off your meal, there are Peloton bikes in the hotel gym (as well as free weights).
Spacious Rooms with Historic Touches
The rooms at The Candler are spacious and the bathrooms are down right huge. As you would expect with a luxury hotel, the beds swallow you in fluffy pillows and soft linens, and a keriug type machine supplies morning coffee. The backdrop for these modern conveniences is historic window casings and when possible, original hardware.
The Safe will be a Private Dining Room
And what about the safe that used to hold the secret Coca-Cola recipe; plans are to turn it into a private dining room, where no doubt new secrets will be shared.
Beyond The Candler: What to do Downtown
The Candler Hotel is situated in Downtown Atlanta, less than a mile from Centennial Olympic Park and the ring of attractions – The Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Civil Rights Museum, CNN Center Tour, Football Hall of Fame, The Children’s Museum, Mercedes Benz Stadium, Skyview Ferris Wheel, and The Tabernacle concert venue. The perfect location for a long weekend in Atlanta.
Other Atlanta Hotels for an Adult Staycation Getaway
Thank you to Hilton for sponsoring my stay. It was a luxurious getaway close to home and I can’t wait to return with some girlfriends. Pictures are a combination of Hilton photos and photos I took.