Reformed Motor Lodge In the Poncey-Highland NeighborhoodBy: Lia Picard
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The ninety-four-room boutique Hotel Clermont is in the eclectic Poncey-Highland neighborhood, chockablock with historic Craftsman bungalows. The mammoth food hall Ponce City Market is down the street, and so is the Atlanta BeltLine, a railroad corridor that’s been converted into a walking trail.
THE VIBE: A 1920s apartment building turned motor lodge, the hotel recently emerged from a five-year renovation. The decor doesn’t kowtow to one particular aesthetic. Instead it pays tribute to the different eras of the hotel’s existence: The suites have vintage midcentury modern furniture, while the rooftop bar has an eighties garden party vibe. In the hotel’s basement you’ll find the gritty Clermont Lounge, Atlanta’s iconic and longest continually running strip club.
THE DIGS: Paying tribute to the lounge below, guestrooms have a feminine motif with bold floral wallpaper, soft pink hues, goldenrod couches, and fringed chandeliers.
DINING OPTIONS: Dinner is an elegant affair at the French-inspired hotel restaurant Tiny Lou’s (named after a dancer who allegedly refused to perform for Hitler). Plush pink banquettes, white marble tile, and brass accents harken back to the 1940s.
Start with the hors d’oeuvres section. Standouts here include the beef tartare with arugula, capers, mustard oil, whipped marrow, charred onion, and buttery brioche. Equally delightful are the diver scallops with potato mousseline and charred broccolini. For entrees, the l’abbatoir section shines with grilled lamb chops served alongside polenta and artichokes. Or, look to la mer for the trout almondine with haricot vert, almond milk, and sourdough. The dessert menu is playful (in a French way), as seen in the creme de fraises with strawberry mousse, black pepper crumble, basil-lime sorbet, and strawberry consommé. Ask to see the brass rolling cart, stacked with smaller nibbles like chocolate chip cookies, blondies, and chocolates.
Venture to the rooftop for an after-dinner drink at the rum-centric bar. The tropical Hawaii Five-Oh with coconut rum, orange, lime, pineapple, and mezcal is the perfect complement to those sweeping city views (a rarity in Atlanta).