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Personality on Parkway

Personality on Parkway

The Darwin brings a stylish new option to Old Fourth War!

The library suite offers a cozy chair and reading nook with an eclectic library of books.

I have lamented the lack of boutique hotels in Atlanta. When visitors who prefer smaller hotels ask where to stay, it’s been the same handful of options. Now, with the arrival of The Darwin, there’s one more independent hotel to add to the list.

The Glam Night Out suite has ample getting ready room for groups.

Located in Old Fourth Ward in what used to be the two-star, dated Stratford Inn, The Darwin exemplifies all the changes going on in the neighborhood, a point woven through the visual storytelling of the hotel. Origami cranes, which represent change, are stenciled across the hotel’s facade, for example, and a John Lewis mural by local artist Lauren Pallotta Stumberg greets guests above the main lobby lounge area. There’s art by Atlantan Travis Love, a coffee program featuring Decatur’s Radio Roasters and a custom bar by East Point-based woodworking company B10 Union. All were concepted by owner Shyam Patel and carried out by Brookhaven-based architecture and design firm C+TC Design Studio.

Speaking of transformations, I am in search of a good night’s sleep in my old neighborhood, so I head up to my accommodations. The Darwin has 111 rooms, including five themed suites. From options like the Glam Night Out (lots of mirrors for getting ready) and the Audiophile (records and record player), I’ve chosen the Library Suite overlooking the hotel’s central courtyard. It’s a large room with floral wallpaper, channeled headboards and plenty of space for me to stretch out, including a nook with two swivel chairs and a small bookshelf. If I had more time here, I could see myself curling up in one of the chairs and browsing Arthur Blank’s Good Company, which I found on the shelf.

Whimiscal paper planes and warm wood tones great guests of The Darwin.

Instead, I head down to Ponce City Market, a mere half mile away. The Darwin offers electric bikes, but I choose to walk my old stomping grounds. After securing a delicious falafel sandwich from Bibi Eatery on the first floor, I enjoy the short walk back, marveling at how much the neighborhood has changed in the four years since I’ve lived here.

When I reach the hotel, a large Labrador mix greets me with his owner, which is a pleasant surprise. While I’ve opted not to bring my four-legged friend, The Darwin is a dog-friendly hotel, complete with a small dog park on site. And while I’ve brought neither my husband or child, a family-friendly bunk room screams intown family sleepover that I mentally clock for next time.

A John Lewis mural by local artist Lauren Pallotta Stumberg demands attention above the main lounge.

Upon waking, I grab a pastry (fresh from Alon’s Bakery) from The Darwin’s Baked and Brewed menu. There’s also a night-time cocktail and tapas program featuring snacks such as a charcuterie board, truffled popcorn and pizzas. Rested, well-caffeinated and well-fed, I’m ready to confront the rest of my day back in Buckhead. It might have only been a 5-mile trek, but it felt like I was on planet cool, if only for a night.


STORY: Lauren Finney Harden

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