Hotel Indigo Makes Blue and Green Splash on West End

If you’ve driven on West End Avenue between I-40 and Vanderbilt at all in the last few months, you’ve seen it. Big and blue and neon green and, well, kind of ugly… it’s the new Hotel Indigo at the corner of West End and 18th Ave. The former office building (and, as some of you may remember, home to a gentlemans club on the top floor) has been completely repurposed by Atlanta’s Wesley Hotels Group and is home to the boutique concept Hotel Indigo as of last Friday. The girlfriend and I had lunch at Atlanta Bread Company across the street on Saturday and therefore had the chance to look around the place.

First of all, kidding about the blue and green stucco aside, the exterior of the hotel isn’t particularly inviting. There’s no focal point at the building’s front, so it’s hard to tell where the main entrance is. The front doors look like the front doors of any average retail shopping center – certainly not the impressive entryway a hotel charging $250 per night should posess. Also, with all the money they spent on the renovation, they didn’t spend money to fix the roof of the solarium next to the front entrance. Seeing broken roof flashing before you walk in the front door of a hotel is never a good sign.

Upon entering the building, however, things improve dramatically. I’ve been in this building before when it was mainly office, and the transformation of the space is nothing short of dramatic. They’ve added an impressive staircase to the second floor directly in front of the entrance, and filled the walls with colorful, music-oriented murals – a nice touch. The softly colored wood floors were another plus, though you could tell they were a little cheap. Overall the lobby felt very hip, exuding a bright, casual but crisp ambiance that definitely impressed me.

To the left of the main entrance (inside the unfixed solarium) is the hotel’s restaurant, which features a coffee and pastry bar, a martini bar, and “bistro” seating for about 50 guests. The menu looked relatively impressive, but we didn’t try anything. I did like the curved bar, with a big flat-panel TV and some very cool lighting features. Seemed like a cool place to grab a cocktail. After chatting with the bartender for a couple minutes, we (I) convinced her to give us a tour of one of the hotel’s new rooms.

One of the primary reasons I wanted to see the rooms is this: the building’s upper floors have very low ceilings. I wanted to see how the hotel’s redesign crew handled this issue. We were escorted to an upper floor and, when we walked off the elevator, I was again impressed. Very wide hallways and light wall coverings did a good job of masking the low ceiling height. Our guide told us that the average room is over 500 SF (very large for a hotel), so I was eager to see what the rooms had in store. Upon entering a corner room, I was both surprised and disappointed. The room was very large – with a full sitting room with separate flat panel TV, expansive bathroom with exquisitely tiled shower, and a very tastefully decorated bedroom. But oh how low were the ceilings! It was depressing. Part of the ceiling couldn’t have been higher than seven feet. And the room also didn’t have a closet – just an open corner of the room with a couple built in drawers and a hanging bar.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this hotel does, and whether it’s still here five years from now. There’s only 140 rooms in the place, so filling it up won’t be as difficult as some of the larger hotels in town, but the unappealing entrance and the dismally low-ceilinged rooms won’t help the cause. The very friendly employees will, though. And one more thing: Our tour guide mentioned that there’s a rooftop event room with a large deck that has expansive, unobstructed views of downtown. It’s $2000 a night to rent out, but I can’t imagine a better place for a party. Maybe the next time I’m throwing an event, I’ll have it at the Indigo – I just won’t let my tall friends stay the night.

3 Comments so far

  1. Ginger (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 10:40 am

    I can’t get over how ugly it is. It looks like an unfinished renovation. yuk.

  2. (unregistered) on October 30th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    I spent ten years of my business life on the tenth floor on the 1719 side of that building. Our offices occupied the entire tenth floor and I can’t imagine how it could be transformed into a hotel.

    I don’t recall a gentlemen’s club on the top floor as the writer does. There was a partial eleventh floor, but it was where all the mechanicals were housed.

    The Executive Club restaurant and bar was located on the basement level for a number of years, however.

  3. Jack (unregistered) on November 17th, 2007 @ 10:59 am

    The exterior is absolutely atrocious during the daylight. I can’t believe Metro Council approved such a gaudy structure in the heart of Midtown. Then again, we’re treated to the Ghost Ballet on the Cumberland. Whatever.

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