Smith Travel BlogTravel tales and hotel news from the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith

Julia Reed, creative director of TaiganThis week, we’re delighted to bring you a guest post from Julia Reed – the shopping guru, travel addict and creative director of luxury lifestyle site Taigan and its online magazine, Fetch. She truffles through the best of Stateside cities’ boutiques, food halls and artisan markets to bring back super-stylish address tips (and sometimes further afield – as in her Provençal diary from stylish Smith stay Château de Massillan). Luckily for us, she has been generous enough to share her selection of what’s hot in Atlanta right now (it’s not just the weather, folks!)…

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In my early twenties, I did a brief stint in Newsweek’s Atlanta bureau and took up residence in the Hyatt Regency on Peachtree. Designed by local star John Portman, its revolving rooftop lounge was considered the height of glamour. Pretty much the only shopping in the city was at chain department stores like Saks and Bloomingdale’s and Neiman’s, all located in the sprawling Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls. I could count on one hand the restaurants that warranted a return visit.

ATLANTA TODAY

Stonehurst Place hotel AtlantaIn the two-plus decades since, I am happy to report that things have changed dramatically. These days the city is home to an astonishing number of fabulous boutiques, artisans, and interior designers. And some of the most talented chefs in the country —  including James Beard award-winner Anne Quatrano — have opened restaurants. And there are boutique hotels, too: one of my favorites is upscale inn Stonehurst Place, a Southern belle on Piedmont Avenue (left).

Herewith, a highly personal list of the best places to shop—as well as a couple of swell spots at which to dine (and drink) in between:

ATLANTA’S BEST BOUTIQUES

Two of my favorite women’s boutiques anywhere, G. Gilbert and Sabot, are in Atlanta. Both are extraordinarily well edited, and both carry clothes and accessories by newish, hard to find, and/or cutting edge designers.

Susanna Galanis jewelry at G. Gilbert, AtlantaG. Gilbert’s roster includes Danish designer Malene Birger, Harvey Faircloth (designed by a hip young American duo), jewelry designer Susanna Galanis (left), and Samantha Sung, who makes really pretty, Asian-inspired dresses.

Dusica Dusica shoesSabot is heavier on shoes and accessories, featuring cool leather goods by Pura Lopez, Colleen Cordero, Pedro Garcia and Dusica Dusica (right), just to name a few. But they also have terrific jewelry and frocks by Chilean-born Maria Cornejo, a current darling of the fashion set.

Ann Ziebell jewelry, shopping in AtlantaFor more accessories, there’s Ann Ziebell, who takes art deco, Edwardian, and Victorian components and fashions them into gorgeous new pieces with a modern edge (left). Think leather belts with buckles that were once bejeweled art deco compacts, chunky chain and crystal necklaces, stone-studded alligator cuffs befitting a rock star. Ann Ziebell is available at several shops around town (including, usually, Sabot) – or you can buy online.

Jewelry of a more refined sort is found at the venerable estate jeweler Richter’s. Their own drop-dead beautiful art deco and Edwardian Richter's fine jewelry, Atlantapieces are the real thing, from an unusual deco platinum and diamond lorgnette to a sapphire and diamond ring that rivals Kate’s. All the greats are also on display, from Van Cleef and Cartier to Verdura and Schlumberger.  Even if you think it’s beyond your price range, drop in anyway: it’s like browsing through a well-curated jewelry museum.

Two of the best design/home stores in Atlanta are, not surprisingly, owned by interior designers themselves. At South of Market, Kay Douglass pairs gutsy upholstered pieces with one-of-a-kind finds from her many trips to France and Belgium. At The Mercantile, Barbara Heath searches out great artisans—from painters and potters to lamp designers and soap makers. The store itself is so beautiful you’ll want to make yourself at home on one of Barbara’s lovely custom sofas.

Talented husband and wife team, Sid and Ann Mashburn each have an eponymous store in the ultra cool Howell Mill Road shopping complex, located in a former industrial area that’s also home to the aforementioned G. Gilbert (think NYC’s meatpacking district moved South).

Sid Mashburn menswear in AtlantaSid has worked for men’s clothiers ranging from Ralph Lauren to Land’s End, and now his own line of shirts, suits, shoes, and accessories shares store space with a few other well-chosen pieces that he deems worthy. His staff – both the tailors and the very hip (and good looking) sales team – is terrific, and the turntable is always spinning excellent tunes.

Ann, who was a fashion editor and stylist in New York, does the same thing for women: her shop is the place to go for great staples: the best cotton shirt, the perfect summer skirt or ballet flat, along with a Barbour coat or a Sid Mashburn oyster-shell belt buckle.

EATING & DRINKING

Star Provisions in AtlantaWhile you’re at the Howell Mill Road complex, take a break at chef Anne Quatrano’s Star Provisions. The store sells everything from fun seasonal tabletop items and paper goods to cured meats and a dozen different types of sea salt, while the adjoining café offers up everything from great salads and frittatas to fried shrimp po-boy sandwiches and yummy tarts and cupcakes for dessert.

Quatrano’s latest restaurant, Abbatoir is so good, it’s worth extending your shopping trip until dinner, or at least through the cocktail hour. Situated in a former slaughterhouse, the space is open and airy with reclaimed heart pine paneling, and the Moscow Mule with home-made ginger syrup is the best cocktail in town, followed by the restaurant’s elderflower gimlet. The menu is divided into sections like ‘Snacks’ (velvety steak tartare, beef jerky like you’ve never had), ‘Plates’ (the best braised rabbit ever), and my favorite, ‘Food in a Jar’, which includes picked shrimp and duck rillettes served in old-fashion French pickling jars that you can take home for an extra dollar.

JULIA REED’S ATLANTA ADDRESS BOOK

G. Gilbert 1198 Howell Road, 404-355-3713
Sabot 45 Irby, 404-816-0077
Richter’s 2300 Peachtree, 404-355-4462
South of Market, 345 Peachtree Hills Avenue, 404-995-9399
The Mercantile 1430 Dresden Drive, 404-816-0060
Sid and Ann Mashburn @Howell Mill Road 1198 Howell Mill Road
Star Provisions 1198 Howell Mill Road, 404-365-0410
Abbatoir 1170 Howell Mill Road, 404-892-3335

Find more exciting Atlanta hotels, restaurants and more in Mr & Mrs Smith Atlanta destination guide

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