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Hyatt Regency Atlanta Named Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau Member of the Year for its legacy, hospitality
ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE
By Janet Jones Kendall - Contributing Writer
During its first days in business, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta became part of the rich history of the Civil Rights movement. In August 1967, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) were the hotel’s second customers, when no other Atlanta establishment would host them.
Afterward, King called the hotel his “Hotel of Hope.”
"In the decades since, ours has been a home to those who carry Dr. King’s mission, including his widow Coretta Scott King," said Peter McMahon, Hyatt Regency Atlanta general manager. "She was such a loyal customer that in 2017, we renamed one of our executive suites in her honor."
In addition to being a historical landmark, the hotel is an architectural icon. Designed by famed Atlanta architect John Portman, Hyatt Regency Atlanta was the first contemporary atrium hotel in the world and the first Hyatt Regency hotel.
"Because of its groundbreaking design, hospitality leaders at the time called us a 'concrete monster that would never fly.' But when we opened in May 1967, people lined up around the block just to look up in the atrium and ride the elevators," McMahon said. "Hyatt Regency Atlanta is an Atlanta institution, part of the soul and story of the city."
For this reason, Hyatt Regency Atlanta is a finalist for the second annual Spurgeon Richardson Member of the Year of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Hyatt Regency Atlanta is an iconic Atlanta hotel, from its proud civil rights heritage to the important role it has played in building our city’s convention business,” said William Pate, ACVB president and CEO. “Throughout its history, Hyatt executives have always provided leadership on ACVB’s board and have played a key role in shaping Atlanta’s hospitality industry.”
Today, Hyatt Regency Atlanta is the city’s second largest hotel and host of landmark events from Super Bowls and Final Fours to the Southeastern Conference and Dragon Con.
"Frankly, there probably wouldn't be a Dragon Con today if not for the Hyatt in 1997,” said Pat Henry, Dragon Con founder and president Pat Henry. “We were asked to leave the hotel we were in and the Hyatt manager made a deal with us there, from 1997 to 2000."
That deal allowed Dragon Con to experience its first wave of growth. Then, when the Hyatt increased its rates in 2001, the two entities negotiated another deal. The convention brings more than 85,000 people to Atlanta on Labor Day weekend, up from its original 5,000 in 1997.
"They meet and exceed expectations," Henry said. "We now are so big we use five additional host hotels, but the Hyatt will always be the center of Dragon Con."
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta has also served as the headquarters hotel for the Southeastern Conference's football championship game since 1994.
"We see so many familiar faces in all departments [of the hotel] year after year," said Kathryn Poe-Switzer, who joined the SEC staff in 1996 and serves as executive associate to the commissioner. "Those staff members recognize and remember us as well, which makes the Hyatt feel like a home away from home.”
As the game has grown, “our needs have grown, and the Hyatt has always been able to offer creative solutions to improve guest experiences,” added Poe-Switzer.
With 1,260 guestrooms, the Hyatt boasts 180,000 square feet of meeting space and what the Hyatt said is the largest hotel ballroom in Georgia. The hotel is also home to Polaris, the famous skyline Blue Dome, and the city’s first rotating restaurant and lounge.
Each February, the Hyatt recognizes history with its Heritage Celebration. In the last 17 years, the Heritage Celebration has honored Coretta Scott King, Ambassador Andrew Young, Rep. John Lewis, Mayor Shirley Franklin and other Atlanta leaders.
"Hyatt’s purpose is caring for people so they can be their best, and Hyatt Regency Atlanta has worked hard to extend that commitment to our community, from helping establish the Center for Civil and Human Rights to building Habitat Homes, funding Georgia State University scholarships and supporting the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta Pride, among many other worthy organizations," McMahon said. "Our hotel just recently celebrated a remarkable 50 years in business on Peachtree Street. We’re committed to being Atlanta’s ‘Hotel of Hope’ for many years to come."
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Hyatt Regency Atlanta Named Top 10 Meetings Hotel.
Cvent has ranked Hyatt Regency Atlanta #7 on the 2019 list of Top 100 U.S. Meetings Hotels. This is the 8th year in a row our hotel has been named to Cvent's prestigious list. We are the only Atlanta hotel ranked in the Top 10.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta has 180,000 square feet of meeting space, the most in the Atlanta market, as well as a 30,000 square foot exhibit hall and the largest hotel ballroom in Georgia.
Our hotel is just blocks from Atlanta's Convention Center, arena, top attractions and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will host the NCAA Men's Final Four in 2020.