Monday, July 13, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] W Atlanta Buckhead to be Deflagged, Become Autograph Collection Hotel

The W-Atlanta Buckhead will soon be reflagged as an Autograph Collection by Marriott property.  Located at 3377 Peachtree Road in Buckhead, the hotel debuted as the W-Atlanta Buckhead in 2008, and has in the decade since gone though at least two multi-million dollar renovations, most recently in 2019.  The hotel was sold  in 2017 by longtime owner Noble Investment Group to Woodbine Development Corporation for $73 million.  Woodbine's 2019 renovation represented a reported $20 million investment in updating the hotel.  
As a property, the hotel dates from 1988, when it made its debut as a Days Inn.  In subsequent years, the hotel was reflagged as a Holiday Inn and later a Crowne Plaza, before its 2008  renovation and conversion to the W brand which debuted in 2009.  While it has been confirmed by several sources within the hotel that it will become an Autograph Collection hotel, the property's exact name seems thus far not to have been shared with staff.  Although not immediate, especially in light of current events, a re-branding of the hotel's restaurant, Cook Hall, is likely as well.  

Sources say the hotel will end its era as the W-Atlanta Buckhead August 19.

There are currently four other Autograph Collection hotels in metro Atlanta including The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta, Glenn Hotel in Downtown Atlanta and the Twelve Hotels in Midtown at Atlantic Station and Downtown.  

The deflagging of the W-Buckhead leaves the Atlanta market with two W properties, W-Atlanta Midtown and W-Atlanta Downtown.  The W-Atlanta Perimeter, the first Atlanta area W property when it opened in 1999, was deflagged in 2011, before reopening in 2012 as Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter.  W, Le Meridien and Autograph Collection are today all brands owned by Marriott International.  

The deflagging of the W-Atlanta Buckhead follows the deflagging of fellow Marriott brand The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, which became The Whitley, a Luxury Collection Hotel, another Marriott brand, in late 2017.  Moreover, the W is the third former "chain" hotel to drop their corporate branding in favor of a more local flavor.  In addition to the Ritz/Whitley conversion, owners of the Wingate by Wyndham late last year became The Burgess Hotel, a boutique hotel within Trademark Collection by Wyndham.  Trademark, like Autograph, allows for otherwise independent hotels to gain access to larger companies' reservation systems and loyalty programs.  

Several other boutique-style hotels are planned, under construction, or being converted in Buckhead.  One of those, is The Thompson, a small chain now owned by Hyatt, that is under construction at East Paces Ferry Road and Buckhead Avenue as well as the Element Hotel, a Marriott brand, along Piedmont Road across from Ameris Bank (formerly Fidelity Bank) headquarters.  Kimpton Hotels, a division of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is converting the former SoBu Flats condo building at 374 East Paces Ferry Road into a Mid-Century Modern-styled boutique hotel. Behind Lenox Square, work is underway to turn a former vacant lot and adjacent former drive-thru ATM into a Hyatt Centric with plans still being ironed out to redevelop a Roswell Road shopping center currently home to The Big Ketch restaurant into a huge new Dream Hotel & Residences.  

Are you surprised that the new owners of the W-Buckhead are dumping the name brand in favor of an independent approach?  What is your favorite hotel in Atlanta?  What is your favorite hotel or hotel brand in the world? 

Please share your thoughts below.  

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