Hotel review

The Clermont Motor Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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It’s pretty rare to stay at a city landmark, but if you’re going to Atlanta, you can make it to one of its true landmarks when you book a room at the Clermont Motor Hotel. It’s immediately noticeable from the road thanks to its iconic radio tower — with the hotel’s name in big neon letters — atop its roof.

Not located either downtown or downtown, but rather in Poncey Highland – a bohemian part of town close to the university district and large Piedmont Park, the Clermont has been a hotel for a few century which makes it reasonably historical in American terms.

The Clermont, having been converted from an apartment block into a hotel, was originally called the Clermont Motor Lodge – supposedly a less than respectable stopover, where Al Capone was apparently a regular guest.

Once abandoned in a rather deplorable state, the hotel was bought by its current owners about ten years ago and completely renovated.

Also, this is the only hotel I know of that has a strip club in its basement.

Who for

The Clermont is one of the hippest and fanciest places to stay in Atlanta and so it’s not a budget buy. The hotel is carefully designed with well equipped rooms and a great atmosphere. Ideal if you are an out of town visitor who wants something different and special. If you’re more local, this is definitely a “second-hand” hotel.

Lodging

Clermont hotel room

The Clermont has 94 rooms, of several different types, determined by size and included amenities, but all have been finished in a retro, “swinging 60s” style — giving it an almost hippy vibe. That said, the beds are big and comfortable, the bathrooms are large, and overall modern technology is certainly at work.

It has won numerous accolades for the building’s style and visitor experience, including The Loved By Guests award for 2021 – a year that also saw it officially listed on the US Register of Historic Places.

food drink

Le Clermont is one of the few hotels I’ve been to whose entire rooftop is a cocktail bar. The rooftop, with its artificial grass floor, offers a great selection of cocktails.

There’s also great food to enjoy on the bar menu at the same time – as well as a fantastic view of Atlanta, especially at night, available to anyone who spends their time there. It also appears to be an ideal gathering place for travelers from around the world (well, it is, self-proclaimed, a motor hotel).

Although it has a brasserie – the famous Tiny Lou’s, which is certainly worth considering if you want to hole up in the hotel – Le Clermont doesn’t do breakfast as such, so it’s something you can either get from one of the many nearby eating establishments or buy items for, at the hotel cafe.

Facilities

There is a welcome drink upon registration and free coffee in the room.

The Residents Lounge within the hotel on the ground floor – not to be confused with the Clermont Lounge, (which we’ll get to later!) – and it has a cafe/souvenir shop which, by the way by the way, serves free coffee to residents. It’s always busy and there’s no doubt that Clermont is a “happening” place.

There is a good concierge service and the staff are extremely welcoming, but it took me three attempts to get a bellhop up to our room for our luggage, despite being told each time we would come right away.

There is valet parking – but I would also doubt its necessity if you have a car as the road out the side of the hotel has ample free parking within a hundred and fifty yards, so save the $40 per day with a short walk.

How many?

Starting at $170 + tax for the quadruple room with four single beds.

Starting at $202 + taxes for a Napoleon room with a king bed.

What’s nearby?

The Clermont’s location makes it a good base from which to explore some of Atlanta’s well-known sights. It’s where Martin Luther King lived and worked and the home of Coca-Cola and you can go behind the scenes of the factory to see how one of the world’s most popular drinks is made.

It’s also famous for being the filming location of the movie classic, Gone with the Wind, as well as the filming location of the walking dead and streaming TV sensation, Stranger Things. The world’s largest granite mountain, the aptly named Stone Mountain, and the multi-faceted park surrounding it, are also just a short drive away – for in the opposite direction are Downtown and Midtown, each with a wide variety of restaurants and watering holes.

Finally, although not part of the hotel itself, but definitely nearby, by dint of being in the basement of the hotel, is the famous “Clermont Lounge”, making it the only fancy hotel I’ve stayed in that has a strip club in its basement.

Surprisingly, that’s not what you’d expect from a joint of this nature. It is renowned for being the place where women who might have been expected to have retired as dancers still find gainful employment. They are truly beloved by punters – who knows what to expect at the “Clermont Lounge”.

Overall the “Clermont Lounge” had a surprisingly warm and wholesome feel – (which I appreciate seems somewhat at odds with the nature of such an establishment) tempered by interspersing the dance routines with karaoke shows in the other half of the bar.


VERDICT

Le Clermont is pleasant, friendly and different – with a healthy dose of romance running through it. You could easily get classier, but would you have as much fun?

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