I recently completed a 2-night stay at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta. This was a business-related stay, and the Omni happens to be the absolute closest hotel to my Atlanta work site. Given that I’ve done about as much as I can do with my usual hotel programs, and my need to maximize my office time for such a short trip, I booked the Omni. I’ll talk about Omni’s frequency plan later, but for now, let’s focus on the stay itself which was flawless.
The hotel, as the name implies, is located at the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. The south tower is located within CNN Center, and is attached to the north tower via a bridge which is completely climate controlled. The hotel is easily accessed from the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport via Atlanta’s subway system, MARTA, and the Georgia Dome/Phillips Arena/CNN Center Station.
Check-in was friendly and would’ve been swift were it not for my corporate credit card. It seems that my purchase of a MARTA roundtrip at the automated fare machine at Hartsfield tripped off JPMorgan-Chase’s fraud sensor. Nevermind that every trip I’ve ever taken to Atlanta starts with the same purchase after touchdown, and my airplane ticket to Atlanta had been purchased with the same card for travel that day. Oh well, a phone call and a few questions answered and I was back in business and on my way to my 10th floor room.
Access to rooms on all floors at the Omni Atlanta requires insertion of your room key in the elevator. My room, 1021, was located a the very end of the coridor and was a nice Deluxe King. Equipped with all the furnishings one might expect, the room was comfortable and quiet, just the way I like them. If I could improve one thing about the room, I would’ve liked a little brigher lighting at the desk. Otherwise, it was just fine. I was offered a mini-bar key at check-in which I turned down, but a review of the iventory list revealed that the mini-bar was equipped with your basic sodas, a few beers, liquors and snacks. Complimentary wi-fi is provided to Omni Select Guest members, and worked fine as far as I could tell. I thought the bathroom was larger than usual, but that could’ve been due to my corner location. Granted, it was a corner with a view a large building, but a corner room nonetheless.
Around the Hotel
The hotel is connected to CNN Center which is home to a few restaurants and bars, a Starbucks, and of course, CNN. My work schedule typically doesn’t allow for a tour of CNN, but I hear it’s a nice one. I know I really enjoyed the CNN New York tour I once had the opportunity to take. The hotel is steps from the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola and Centennial Olympic Park. You can always catch a Hawks game at the adjacent Phillips Arena.
Several restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel, and a few are located within CNN Center itself. A favorite of mine is Dantanna’s. The restaurant markets itself as an upscale sportsbar, and I guess that description fits the bill. I tried the filet this visit, and while I wouldn’t say it was up to Ruth’s Chris standards, it was VERY good, and a great value. Ruth’s Chris happens to be located a block away, and that’s another dining option if you’re on the prowl for great steaks. Another nearby restaurant that I highly recommend is Peasant Bistro, which I’ve written about before. If you’re looking for a quick drink at the hotel, Latitudes Bar is an excellent, is somewhat crowded, option. If you can’t find a seat there, Dantanna’s offers a full service bar as does McCormick and Schmicks which is also located within CNN Center. If you want to work off those calories, the hotel offers a reasonably well equipped fitness center on the 6th floor of the north tower. There’s also a full-service spa, which is located adjacent to the fitness center.
Omni’s Loyalty Program
Given that this was only my 3rd stay at any Omni property, I thought a quick word on their loyalty program was in order. Omni Select Guest is not a points based program like Hilton HHonors or Marriott Rewards. Select Guest is pretty basic, you can either choose to earn 1 free night for every 10 nights stayed, or 500 airline miles per stay. Select Guest’s domestic airline partners are limited to American AAdvantage and United Mileage Plus. Amtrak Guest Rewards is also an option. The list of partners can be viewed here.
Although not in line with your more traditional points schemes, their program does have some unique features which I think make Omni worth considering. One of my personal favorites, Select Guest members can have fresh brewed coffee delivered to their door each morning. Not a huge deal, but I still like it. And yes, in-room coffeemakers are still provided. Select Guest offers 3 levels of membership, Gold, Platinum and Black, with better perqs coming with each level. With only 3 stays or 6 nights required, the middle status level (Platinum) is quite attainable for most and offers the added benefit of upgrades and late checkout privileges up to 3pm.
The Bottom Line
I really liked the hotel. Service was great, and the location, unbeatable for me. Easy MARTA access, and a location reasonably close to downtown Atlanta make the Omni a compelling option for Atlanta-bound travelers. I’ll be back.