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Where should we stay? First Night

Galveston, Texas
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Where should we stay? First Night

Hi, Mum and DD21 coming to Atlanta, in late May. We arrive in at ATL at around 7pm, after a transatlantic flight, I'm looking for where we should stay the first night, before embarking on our roadtrip.

The plan is, dinner and sleep on the first night , then in the morning at nice local place for breakfast, then an Atlanta attraction [either the World of Coke, CNN Studio or Aquarium],, thinking most likely World Of Coke [we will get the chance at the end of the trip to see the others] before then driving to Asheville, NC that day. No plans in Asheville that day.

I was thinking should we either just find a cheaper hotel by the airport, or somewhere in midtown. I've read that downtown isn't the nicest place to stay. We looking to spend $100 for the night.


Dunwoody, Georgia
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1. Re: Where should we stay? First Night

Since I live in Atlanta I may be able to help you. If you arrive at 7 pm you will not leave the airport until at least 8 pm. If you stay at the airport don't sleep cheap. Stay at the Hilton or Marriott. Both have decent restaurants and you won't want to go looking for food late at night. An alternative would be to stay in the Perimeter Mall area. 40 minutes north from the airport with lots of hotels and restaurants. This makes more sense if you were coming in earlier in the day. Staying downtown is a no-no unless you stay at the Omni or the Embassy Suites near CNN, World of Coke, Aquarium. The Marriott Marquis, Hyatt and Hilton are also fine choices.

The World Of Coke is Fun. The GA Aquarium is a must see. CNN would be a third choice.

Asheville is beautiful. See my reviews of Biltmore Estates, The Corner Kitchen, Neos Southwestern. Lots of good hotels in Biltmore Village. Try to spend an hour or two on the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of town. Have a great time y'all.

Asheville, North...
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2. Re: Where should we stay? First Night

I would opt for a downtown hotel rather than stay by the airport...unless you will be to worn out to get to there.. by the time you get through customs, grab your bags traffic should be better. The downtown hotels will put you near the place you want to see the next day.. I would try to see the Aquarium after lunch schools groups tend to leave after noon..your price point may be a bit low for the big downtown hotels..Buckhead area around Lenox is another choice..consider a drive up 400 getting on highway 441 through Clayton, Highlands, Cashiers,Brevard to Asheville ...it a beautiful drive through the mountains rather than a dash on I-85 with semi-trucks to view.. it will take more time but be 100% more interesting ... enjoy

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Where should we stay? First Night

You really don't want to stay in a cheap hotel near the airport. There are plenty of safe and comfortable hotels near the airport, but the cheap ones are generally neither. You also might have a tough time finding something for $100/night in either downtown or midtown, unless it's a weekend night (if you do find something that cheap in downtown, check the reviews here very carefully before booking it). It's not that downtown's "not the nicest place to stay" per se, but that (1) the hotel market in downtown tends to be either business/convention traffic or tourists looking to be as close as possible to the Aquarium/CNN Center/World of Coke, etc., and consequently the rates tend to be higher, and (2) there's not as much to do in the way of restaurants and nightlife in downtown as there is in Midtown or other parts of the city, so there's no reason to pay a premium unless you particularly want or need to stay in downtown.

Just checking arbirtrary weekdays and weekends near the end of May, since I don't know your specific travel dates, downtown/midtown/Buckhead hotels are running around $130-$140/night and up for Wednesday night; some of the more upscale properties are actually as low as $90/night for Saturday night (Sheraton, Hyatt Regency).

On the other hand, if you are planning to spend part of the next day doing attractions like the Aquarium, it probably doesn't make sense to go too far north of town, since you'd be backtracking quite a bit to get back to the attractions in the morning before turning around and heading north again to head out to Asheville. The suggestion to stay in the Perimeter area isn't a bad one, but be aware that you'd have a certain amount of traffic heading back into town in the morning if you do that (particularly if you're trying to go to the aquarium, as it's always best to be there when it opens to beat the worst of the crowds).

If it were me, I'd probably try to stretch the budget to cover the extra $40-$50 bucks for a downtown or midtown hotel for that night -- less driving after you leave the airport worn out from an overseas flight when your body's 5-6 hours ahead of local time, and where there are more good options for places to eat both for dinner and breakfast, and where you'd be close to the attractions you'd want to see. I might also suggest the Atlanta History Center or Atlanta Botanical Garden as alternative destinations for your Atlanta attraction on the first day -- the Aquarium is always crowded, and jostling through the crowds might not be the most relaxing way to spend your first morning here, and it really makes the most sense to do CNN and the World of Coke the same day you do the aquarium, as they're all right next to each other. The History Center is rarely crowded, but has plenty to see and do and will give you a good sense of what Atlanta's about. It's consistent the place I take out-of-town guests that they're surprised by and glad they went to, even if it wasn't on their list of must-sees before they came. You have plenty of options for both breakfast and lunch in the Buckhead area. If you decided to do that, you could also check out hotels in the area -- they're likely to be comparable in price to downtown and midtown hotels, though. Also, note that some of the cheapest options (the more downmarket chains, usually) will have "Buckhead" as part of their name/location, but really aren't in Buckhead proper, being in dodgier areas nearby.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Where should we stay? First Night

I agree with the suggestions to pay a little more if you can and stay in midtown or downtown. If you don't care which hotel you get or the type of beds you get, you might get a deal on Priceline.

I would disagree with the general statement that downtown isn't the safest place to stay, but I think for your purposes you might enjoy midtown more. You'll be arriving late, and downtown does not have many decent dining options anymore. You'll have more options at all price ranges and the streets will be livelier if you stay in midtown.

Now, if you are more concerned about location, staying in downtown is more convenient given your sightseeing plans. If you just want to eat and get to bed, there are plenty of places downtown that are good enough (Room at Twelve, Stats, Taco Mac, the restaurant at the Glenn Hotel-has great rooftop view). There's a chain Irish pub downtown that's decent too - Meehan's Public House.

5. Re: Where should we stay? First Night

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