Hotel Group: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Booking Type: Points Booking
Room Type: Superior King Room
The Mandarin Oriental is located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. It’s a AAA four-star hotel with 96 rooms and 31 suites. The hotel offers a private garden, fitness center, spa, and one restaurant named The Café Bar. They also have a house car (Tesla S) that will take you anywhere in a two-mile radius.
Valet parking is $40.
I needed one more night in Atlanta and wanted to stay at a hotel brand I haven’t yet reviewed so I decided on the Mandarin Oriental. Base level rooms (superior) were going for $396.74. Instead of paying $400 I decided to book through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal using Ultimate Rewards points. I ended up using 30,000 points and then paying the difference which was $21.74.
When booking through Chase you’ll only get 1.25 cents per point unless you have the Sapphire Reserve credit card. I always get more value out of my points than that but this is, after all, a hotel review site, so I decided it was worth it in this instance.
One thing to note is Chase books through Expedia so don’t expect to get loyalty benefits from the hotel.
I pulled into the circle driveway and was immediately greeted by Darrel, the valet guy. He was friendly and welcoming. He assisted with my luggage and showed me the way to the reception desk. Before he headed back out to assist others, he gave me a bottle of water and said a bellhop would have my luggage up soon.
The reception desk is located just past the foyer on the right. I had no problem getting an early check-in at 1pm. The receptionist was friendly and checked me in promptly.
The first thing I noticed when I got off the elevator was the smell. It smelled of fresh flowers and a hint of young paint, in a good way. The first thought that came to mind was it smells new.
They advertise the room to be 484 square feet. In the entryway are the closet, safe, and mini bar.
There were plenty of nuts, candy, and chips on top of the mini bar with several alcohol options including beer and wine in the mini refrigerator.
The prices are what you’d expect, a little high, especially for soda.
Past the entryway the room opens up to a king bed, two nightstands, a work desk, and a comfortable chair for seating.
The bed was semi soft with plush pillows.
One of the nightstands had outlets on top of the alarm clock, the other had zero access to outlets.
The work desk had plenty of space and easy access to outlets under the flap on the back of the desk.
The velvet chair with ottoman went beautifully with the design of the room and was actually comfortable. I’m so used to these types of chairs in hotel rooms being stiff and uncomfortable. Nice to see this one was not one of those.
If you’re wanting a good view, I’d stay away from this room. It was absolutely terrible. This is the type of view you get when you don’t book direct with the hotel.
The wi-fi was the strongest I’ve seen at a hotel, but you only get it for free if you book direct with the hotel.
Despite the horrendous view, I really enjoyed the room. I’m a big fan of the décor and the bed was pleasant.
The highlight of the room, the white marble bathroom, features a soaking tub with TV, stand-alone shower, and a separate room for the toilet.
The toiletries are from the Pomélo Paradis collection by Atelier Cologne. They were ok, nothing to write home about.
The hairdryer is a Registry 1875. Much better than most hairdryers you see in hotels.
The robes were on the back of the door in the bathroom and were a little on the small size.
Last thing I’d like to mention about the bathroom is the bath towels or, a better description, the beach towels. They were colossal, like 6 ft x 3 ft huge. One way to my heart is for hotels to offer oversized bath towels. It makes me forget about the other shortcomings of the hotel. I just love them.
Located on the fourth floor it’s open from 5:30am-9:30pm. I find it weird it’s not open 24 hours a day. Nonetheless, the fitness center has cardio equipment, weight machines, and free weights as well as an open studio for fitness classes.
Beside the entrance is where you’ll find towels and some chilled water.
Nothing over the top here but they do give you decent options.
Located on the 3rd floor the spa offers an array of treatments with locker rooms and a lap pool that guests can access for free.
The men’s locker room has a ton of lockers and vanities to get ready as well as access to a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and relaxation room.
Overall, I’d consider this spa decent at best. Not exactly what I have in mind when I think of a five-star hotel. I’ll touch on the spa in the overall section a little more to explain.
The lap pool is 60 ft and is heated to about 84 degrees. There are great lounge chairs around the pool that have some good views out of the French windows overlooking the private gardens.
The garden is located on the backside of the hotel. The hallway you go down to get outside is beautiful. I love the marble floor throughout the hotel. The garden isn’t typically something I enjoy at hotels. I could see this as a great place to get married or just take a relaxing walk I suppose but that’s about it for me.
The Café & Bar/ Room Service
The restaurant is located just to the left after you enter the hotel. When I think of cafés I don’t think of marble floors, white tablecloths, and fireplaces but this is exactly what you get here. It feels very luxurious.
I ended up having lunch and a light dinner snack in the bar area. It’s located just past the café dining tables.
They also have a small outdoor seating area.
For lunch, I had the turkey club with fries, Caesar salad, and a $7 bottle of water. The club was pretty good and the Caesar was a big disappointment. The romaine lettuce needed to be cut up more and there were only two white anchovies on the salad. I really was expecting something much better.
I thought about splurging for the Louis XIII but at $160 per ounce I figured I’d stick to my $7 water. 😉
For dinner, I had crispy rice with spicy tuna. 5.1/10 The spicy tuna was great, but the crispy rice was too tough.
Next was the salmon poke. 8.8/10
After that I had the uni hand-roll. 9/10. You can put uni on anything and I’m going to be a fan. I apologize for the photo quality. It was dark and I was in a rush.
Later that night I ordered the chicken pad Thai from room service. It was one of the best things I had at the hotel and it only took 25 minutes for it to arrive.
One thing to note, they do charge a $40 corking fee if you’d like to bring in your own bottle of wine into the café.
The service here was hit and miss. The valet guy Darrel and the bellhop gentleman were fantastic and the two receptionists I encountered during my stay were friendly and accommodating. The service I received the night I was at the café wasn’t as polished as you’d expect from a five-star hotel. I had simple questions about some menu items and she didn’t know the answer. I had to wait several minutes for her to go find out and this happened a couple of times. I blame this mostly on management not informing their employees better. Later that evening they had a band playing in the bar area and I came down to listen at 10pm. It wasn’t busy at all, there were plenty of open seats and I sat there for 24 minutes and not one person came over to greet me or offer me a beverage. That’s unacceptable for a place like this, it was very disappointing. So with that in mind I’d have to give them a 7.5/10.
A couple of things that need to be mentioned, the pool area and around the jacuzzi were filthy. You could see brown stains on the floor and the sides of the pool wall looked dirty.
The jacuzzi area was shockingly dirty, especially the ceiling. It was downright pathetic. Paint was chipping off and several places on the ceiling had stains and rust spots. There was rust around the jacuzzi and between the tiles there were brown streaks in a lot of areas. You can see some of it in the photos.
If this wasn’t a Mandarin Oriental I wouldn’t have given it much thought but for a place that charges a premium and claims to have five-star accommodations, this is unacceptable. I spoke with Till (one of the managers) about the service the night before and about the spa. He said they were working on getting some areas of the spa updated so I hope they address these issues.
The question I always ask myself when I leave a hotel is, would I stay here again? I really tried, but I can’t think of a reason why I would. They charge about the same price the St. Regis down the road and that hotel blows the Mandarin out of the water.