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Located within the Westport entertainment district with an interesting array of nightclubs, restaurants and shops within walking distance, the Q Hotel and Spa can only be described as a friendly, fun-spirited, eco-conscious boutique hotel. The hotel hosts a manager’s happy hour each evening in the Quench bar off the lobby. Each morning, you can head to the downstairs dining room for complimentary breakfast, which includes a waffle bar and made-to-order omelets. The property underwent a renovation in 2009 that outfitted all 123 rooms with an eye toward sustainability and minimized the footprint of the hotel and of its guests, including adding energy-efficient lighting and water-saving shower heads. The bathrooms come with Aveda products and refillable bath gel, shampoo and conditioner in the showers. The coffee and tea service uses cups made from recycled paper.
If you want to stick to your exercise routine, get passes to the Gold’s Gym across the street, though if you’re looking to get pampered, the Q does manicures, pedicures and massages onsite. The hotel offers free shuttle services and bicycles. The comfy rooms are a tad on the small side, but the large framed mirrors on the walls help make them feel bigger. The beds have fun, round decorative pillows; soft, comfortable linens; and a light cotton throw to ward off any nighttime chills. Other amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi Internet and free bike rentals and shuttles.
The Raphael Hotel overlooks the renowned Country Club Plaza and underwent a top-to-bottom multimillion-dollar renovation in 2009. The result is an elegant but updated boutique hotel that has a comfortable, Old World feel and a staff that’s eager to please. The property was built in the 1920s as an upscale apartment residence and many of the 120-plus rooms are unique and cater to different desires, including a dining suite and a Jacuzzi suite that also has a separate glass-wall, walk-in shower with two large rain-style showerheads, one of which is mounted on the ceiling. The rooms are spacious and have an elegant, understated atmosphere with comfortable seating areas, flat-screen TVs, luxurious linens and down pillows. The bathrooms feature black marble and cherry wood vanities, extra-deep soaking tubs and European toiletries, including bath salts.
The Chaz Restaurant and Lounge has also been completely renovated and offers a cool respite for those weary from a day of shopping and sightseeing. The Raphael is steps away from the shops and restaurants of the plaza and is especially popular during the holidays, when more than 80 miles of holiday lights are set ablaze on Thanksgiving night.
Gardening to most is a leisurely hobby. In Atlanta, however, with its ideal climate and affinity for all things coiffed and manicured, Southerners take blooms quite seriously.
There isn’t a flower quite as beautiful as an orchid. Nor is there one quite as temperamental. Through April 14, the Atlanta Botanical Garden combines living plants with an artistic movement for the dreamlike exhibit, Orchid Daze: Surreal Beauty.
Inspired by the surrealism movement in art, Surreal Beauty builds from the creative genius of Salvador Dali, Jean Arp and Rene Magritte and intersperses those whimsical notions with elegant orchids. Colorful elements — like stilettos suspended from the ceiling holding planted, jewel-toned slipper orchids — are playful and beautiful attempts at taking the plants out of their everyday existence.
The delicate flowers, alive in a variety of hues, are enhanced by creating object displays like rain made from pink and white dendrobium blossoms with umbrellas suspended nearby. The usual seriousness that comes from the sophisticated plant is stripped down with the exhibit, bringing amusement to gardening.
In addition to Surreal Beauty, on Thursday, February 14, the Atlanta Botanical Garden hosts Valentines in the Garden from 7-11 p.m. Sip cocktails and taste a variety of chocolates while exploring the lush exhibit. For some, the unreal display might require a little more detail, and every Saturday at 1 p.m. those visitors can take a guided exhibition tour to get the natural attraction’s full effect.
- The Ocean Room
Romance abounds at The Ocean Room, a dark and lovely steakhouse oozing with Southern Antebellum charm and tucked inside The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, a Five-Star hotel. While the ambience is classic and formal, it also has a relaxed and warm vibe that can be attributed to old-fashioned Southern hospitality. The space itself is decked in dark woods and has special details such as antique footstools and chairs, and satin fabric peeking out from under heavy tablecloths. The most romantic tables are those that hug the back windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. These tables are situated a few steps below the main dining area and are separated with an ironwork railing — ideal if you’re seeking a little candlelit seclusion at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant.