Rooftop L.O.A. brings an oasis to the city.
Rooftop L.O.A., which stands for leave of absence, is a great excuse to play hooky. I could use a little me time, so I head to the new, adults-only, 38,000-square-foot rooftop space atop The Interlock building on the westside. An attendant gives me elevator access, and when I arrive at the top floor, I’m greeted by a friendly hostess who escorts me to my cabana and points out my assigned poolside lounge chair. It’s 88 degrees at 11 a.m., and I’m ready to dive in.
Designed by ASD | SKY and created by Slater Hospitality of Ponce City Market concepts Skyline Park, 9 Mile Station and 12 Cocktail Bar, L.O.A. is inspired by coastal-European locations, such as Monaco’s striped-cabana pool clubs and Mykonos’ lush garden lounges. The unique rooftop location with bold architectural forms is made up of three distinct areas: pool, the open air lounge Grove and the restaurant, called simply “Restaurant” (hey, when you’re on a leave of absence, keep it simple, right?). Reservations are encouraged for each.
The pool, which overlooks the cityscape on one side, is just the right temperature to cool off on a hot day (and I’m told it is heated when the weather reverses). I enjoy people watching and wonder at all the others—mostly couples and small groups of girlfriends—taking off in the middle of a Wednesday. I fly solo in my shaded, curtained cabana complete with a teal and white striped couch, coffee table and two accent chairs, but my attentive server brings a fruit bowl fit for six filled with several whole fruits. It’s so large I consider giving out cantaloupe wedges to other patrons. The flatscreen TV plays a promotional video with Pharrell Williams sipping an L.O.A. cocktail, and he beckons me to order a chilled Miraval Rosé from the pool bar, so I do, twice.
After soaking in some sun on my lounger, I live it up some more with a lobster roll and pommes frites from the poolside menu. The fries are perfectly crisped, and the succulent lobster, tossed in a light green goddess mayo, comes in a bun right-sized for bathing suit season. Full from this relaxing experience, I think how it would be fun to come back with friends for the all-day DJ sessions on the weekends as I make my way to the showers and locker room to freshen up.
On a separate visit, a girlfriend and I delight in the striking Grove cocktail lounge with its verdant containers that create barriers around vignettes with plush seating and fire features. The sun is setting on picturesque skyline views as we drink our herbaceous Celery French (St. George Terroir gin, lemon, celery, bubbles) and Garden Gimlet (house peppered gin, lime, basil, rosemary, tomato, EVOO, salt, pepper) cocktails, and agree that we need more places like this in Atlanta. It’s hard to pull ourselves away, but dinner awaits inside the neighboring 8,000-square-foot eatery that boasts a wraparound terrace and a menu inspired by coastal European flavors.
Encouraged to go big, we choose the cocktail tiers, a seafood tower with lobster tail, king crab, petite oysters and jumbo shrimp paired with a glass of crisp Louis Michel Chablis. Unwilling to get off the seafood train, my entree is perfectly seared scallops over a delicate cauliflower artichoke “risotto” with agrodolce, pinot grigio and nasturtium. The chef brings over a small plate of the grilled forest mushrooms with the savory pine nut pesto and leek, typically an entree portion, and it rivals its oceanic counterparts for best dish. But then again, there’s still a lot to try here including the wagyu tomahawk ribeye for an eyebrow-raising $399. We end the evening sipping a Patz & Hall pinot noir and texting friends and spouses about our new excuse to take a leave of absence.
Pool lounge chairs are $75 per person and cabana rentals are $600 for up to 3.5 hours.
Managing Editor and Wellness Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Blogger at Badass + Healthy.