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Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

San Diego...
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Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

We are accompanying my husband to a conference in Atlanta this June, and have to choose between the Hyatt and Ritz Carlton in Downtown Atlanta for four days and three nights (conference choices).

We will be traveling with my 3 and 5 year old children, so we would like to be close to attractions (Aquarium, Children's Museum), as well as public transportation so we may travel outside of the Downtown area for exploring as well. Also, we would like to be walking distance to shops and restaurants in the downtown area.

Reviews on both hotels look good, I just don't know which one is best for our family and our needs. We typicaly stay at Hilton/Hyatt/boutique hotels because we prefer modern, contemporary spaces (and I read the Hyatt is recently rennovated), but it would also be an experience to stay at a Ritz Carlton property, as we have never stayed in one before. Because of conference rates, prices for both are reasonable for us, so it is now just a matter of personal choice.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions, and if you have any family friendly places to visit outside of the Downtown area that is uniquely Atlanta, we would love to hear them too (we enjoy unique neighborhoods, farmer's markets, parks/gardens)!

Edited: 13 March 2012, 17:32
Georgia
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for Atlanta, Savannah
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1. Re: Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

If it were just me, I'd pick the Ritz for the luxury. But since you'll have 2 small ones, I'd pick the Hyatt. The main reason is the Hyatt is connected to the food court and shops of Peachtree Center via a skybridge - and you can get all over a large section of downtown via Peachtree Center and the skybridges that connect several downtown hotels. If it's raining, you can get around without getting wet. The MARTA station is right there. The Hyatt is a beautiful hotel - John Portman's showplace - and I like it a lot. The Ritz is very nice, but it's a Ritz (stuffier) and less flexibility for the kids. If the company is picking up your meals, then splurge on the Ritz. Otherwise, I think you and the kids would be happier at the Hyatt.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

There's just no substitute for the service and attention you get staying at a Ritz. They remember you and lavish you with attention. Plus, the toiletries smell really, really good :) If you have the opportunity, I'd seize it. The downtown Ritz has been renovated recently.

Now, for the bad news, being in walking distance of shops and restaurants is not really an option in downtown. There are a few restaurants downtown, mainly tourist traps like Hard Rock Cafe and Hooters, and no shopping to speak of. If you want to be somewhere more lively, I'd suggest staying in midtown and taking MARTA to the conference and attractions.

That said, in the office building adjacent to the Ritz is a new restaurant, Alma Cocina, and it is excellent. BLT Steak is very good too, though pricey and not really kid-oriented. Room at Twelve Hotel is quite good as well. There are also a number of fast food options in Peachtee Center + CNN Center, and chains like Johnny Rocket's and Mellow Mushroom close to the aquarium. It's just that you won't find many people in downtown restaurants, with the exception of Alma Cocina, who aren't either tourists or downtown workers on their lunch hours.

For farmer's markets, if you're here on a Saturday, you can't beat the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market. For something more eclectic and diverse, though not a true local farmer's market, Your Dekalb Farmer's Market has foods from all over the world and you'll see shoppers of every nationality, often in their native garb. Avoid that on weekends, though, as it is absurdly crowded and shoppers won't be that patient with tourists blocking their way.

The aquarium should be top on your list of sights. Also, Piedmont Park is a must - see. For a night-time activity, you might enjoy the Starlight Six Drive In if you have a rental car. Don't let the iffy neighborhood deter you - it's really popular. The Children's Museum is great fun for kids, but it's what you'd expect from a children's museum. World of Coke gets mixed reviews. Some find it too commercial, but, hey, it's a for profit business selling a commercial product so what can you expect? My nieces, 9 and 3, had a great time, especially in the tasting area.

Decatur, GA
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3. Re: Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

I agree with onemoreroad for the reasons noted.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

Wherever you sleep, definitely go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, especially their Children's Garden area.

Unfortunately although it isn't really far you would need both a MARTA train and a bus, so you may want to involve a cab.

5. Re: Hyatt Regency or Ritz Carlton Downtown

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