Monday, November 6, 2017

[UPDATE] The Whitley Accepting Reservations Starting February 1, 2018

The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead will officially cease to exist as of November 30.  The hotel, the longest continuously operating The Ritz-Carlton in the company, is being deflagged in favor of "The Whitley," an unbranded boutique hotel under Starwood's "The Luxury Collection" umbrella.  
The Whitley's exterior as seen on its website
The hotel's official name will be "The Whitley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Atlanta Buckhead" and while it does have a website up and will assume its new name on December 1, reservations are not being accepted until February 1, 2018.  

360 square foot standard rooms start at $365 per night with the 1,800 square foot "The Whitley Suite" starting at $2,740 per night.  According to The Whitley's website, the new hotel will feature 506 rooms, of which 55 are suites.  The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead currently features 510 rooms, of which 56 are suites.  This comparison seems to suggest that The Whitley will feature a few slightly larger rooms, perhaps in an attempt to address guest complaints about the size of the hotel's rooms.  

The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead is a "Tier 2" property in Ritz-Carlton Rewards.  This level translates to requiring 40,000 points for a single night's stay at the property.  Tier 5, the highest level, requires 70,000 points for a single night's stay.  

The Whitley is a "Category 5" SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) property, meaning members must use between 12,000 and 16,000 points for a night's stay.  Category 7, the top level, necessitates a nightly spend of 30,000 to 35,000 points. 

Although The Whitley website just launched, it's going to need some tweaking before show time.

A heading of  "Guest Services" features both Conceirge (spelled wrong) Desk and Concierge Service, fluff or faux pas?  Additionally, valet parking is described as $22-38 when in reality, the $22 rate is for self-parking and valet parking is $38. 

The Whitley provides a list of "Local Area Attractions" that includes Six Flags Over Georgia listed as 0.0 miles away (in reality, 20 miles away), SciTrek 8.6 miles away (unfortunately, the super cool kids attraction closed over 13 years ago) and mentions Underground Atlanta, (about ten miles away) as a shopping destination, but omits The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, which one would think is more in line with the clientele The Whitley hopes to attract, and is actually located in Buckhead.  

Additionally, the website refers to its in-house restaurant as "Trade Root," a Mediterranean-inspired eatery that restaurant employees claim is no longer happening. 

The website claims to offer 34 photos of rooms and common areas of The Whitley, but in reality, many of the photos are repetitive and/or from The Ritz-Carlton, making it difficult to get a true sense of what the hotel will actually be like.  As there is no rooms renovation underway, one has to wonder how the new operator plans to command such high room rates while still offering the same outdated rooms.

Will you give The Whitley a shot?  Have you already made alternative holiday plans in light of the changes to the hotel? If The Ritz-Carlton does return to Atlanta with a second hotel in the coming years, where do you think they should build?   

Please share your thoughts below. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a cluster just waiting to happen. I think Marriott has gotten way to big. You get too big and you lose control of the things that made you successful eh.

Beau Brooke said...

thank u

CloseOTP said...

I've read all of your posts about this hotel and to me, Marriott should just be embarrassed. Prime property in a big city should be treated as such. Obviously there is more to the decision (financial costs), but this hotel should have been thoroughly renovated - inside and out - and remained a Ritz. I don't see people paying the prices listed to stay at "The Whitley". I'd rather stay across the street at the W - or if I'm a Marriott rewards person, there are 2 other Marriott's literally feet away from "The Whitley". People pay for the Ritz name (& reputation). Will people pay for The Whitley at the rates listed? I suppose time will tell.