Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel

The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, is a skyscraper hotel on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, adjacent to the Peachtree Center complex and the former Davison's/Macy's flagship store with 1,073 rooms. At 723.0 ft (220.37 m) and 73 stories, a total building area of 1,196,240 sq ft (111,134 m2)[5] and a 187 ft (57 m) diameter, the tower is the fourth-tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere, and the 30th tallest all-hotel building in the world.[6]

Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel
Westin Hotels & Resorts logo.svg
Atlanta (8215269237).jpg
Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel (2012)
Hotel chainWestin Hotels
General information
Address210 Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, Georgia
CountryUnited States
Coordinates33°45′34″N 84°23′19″W / 33.75943°N 84.38855°W / 33.75943; -84.38855Coordinates: 33°45′34″N 84°23′19″W / 33.75943°N 84.38855°W / 33.75943; -84.38855
OpeningFebruary 27, 1976
ManagementMarriott International
HeightRoof: 723.0 ft (220.37 m)
Antenna: 883 ft (269.1 m)
Technical details
Floor count73
Floor areaMeeting space: 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectJohn Portman & Associates
Ai Group
Other information
Number of rooms1,068
Number of suites40
Number of restaurants
  • Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View
  • The Lobby Bar
  • Sun Dial Bar
  • The Café
Parking300 spaces


Street level view of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel

The first building on the site was the first official Georgia Governor's Mansion in Atlanta, a Victorian-style home purchased by the state in 1870 at the southwest corner of Peachtree Street and Cain Street (later International Boulevard, now Andrew Young International Boulevard). After housing 17 governors of Georgia (each limited to a single term of office) until 1921, it was demolished in 1923 for the Henry Grady Hotel, named for Atlanta Constitution newspaper journalist/magnate and philanthropist Henry W. Grady. That and the Roxy Theatre were in turn demolished for the current building.

Designed by developer/architect John Portman, the hotel opened on February 27, 1976[7] as the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, managed by Western International Hotels. The hotel was Atlanta's tallest building until 1987, when it was overtaken by One Atlantic Center. It was the tallest hotel in the world for a year, until it was surpassed in 1977 by its architectural twin, the Detroit Plaza Hotel, the central tower of the Portman-designed Renaissance Center in Detroit. It was also the tallest building in the southeastern United States, surpassing One Shell Square in New Orleans. It lost that title in 1983, when the Southeast Financial Center in Miami surpassed it. It was the tallest building in downtown Atlanta for 13 years until it was surpassed by 191 Peachtree Tower, which in turn was surpassed by SunTrust Plaza (then One Peachtree Center). It still has more floors than any other building in Atlanta, as well as the state of Georgia.

Western International Hotels was rebranded as Westin Hotels in 1981, and the hotel was soon after renamed The Westin Peachtree Plaza. The hotel was heavily featured in the 1981 film Sharky's Machine starring Burt Reynolds. Stuntman Dar Robinson, doubling for Henry Silva at the end of the film, dropped 220 feet (67 m) from what appeared to be the Westin Peachtree Plaza, setting a record for the highest freefall (unrestrained) jump from a building in a film. In actuality, however, the stunt scene was filmed at the nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel, using its shorter but similar cylindrical-shaped Radius Tower.

Architectural detailsEdit

Inside the Westin Peachtree Plaza

The building is cast in reflective glass in a cylindrical shape that reflects much of the downtown skyline (though each of the around 5600 windows are flat and not convex). Another small cylinder runs the full height of the building on one side, and accommodates two scenic elevators. The uppermost floors hold the Sun Dial Restaurant and Bar, a revolving restaurant that offers panoramic views of the city and its environs. The top floor of the restaurant completes a full revolution every 30 minutes, and the bottom every 60 minutes.

When the building first opened in 1976, the seven-story tall lobby atrium rose out of a half-acre, fountain-filled indoor lake[8] known as the "lagoon.” The lobby bar was surrounded by large, oval "cocktail islands" which appeared to float on the lake[9] and the entire area was decorated with tapestries, sculptures, cages with live birds and over 100 trees.[10] According to a contemporary postcard, architect Portman designed this area "as a modern interpretation of a Venetian Plaza".[11] In a newspaper advertisement, the hotel called the lobby "more like a park" and claimed it was "a total departure from any other you've ever seen."[12]

Not everyone was impressed, however. In a humorous 1982 column dismissing the extravagance of modern hotel lobbies, George F. Will complained that "Atlanta's Peachtree Plaza has a lobby that Lewis and Clark could not have found their way across". He compared the "pond-like body of water" to "a Walden in everything but charm in which you can drown yourself, which you might wish to do".[13]

Eventually[when?], the lake was drained and lobby redesigned as a more standard hotel gathering place with carpet, chairs and sofas.

The hotel was also notable for its Peachtree Ballroom, which was the largest in Atlanta when it opened, seating 3,500 people.[14] It has since been surpassed by the Georgia International Convention Center, which lays claim to having the largest ballroom in the state of Georgia.[15]

Westin Peachtree, center, background, Atlanta skyline


Several local broadcasters have transmitted from an antenna mast atop the building, beginning when it became Atlanta's tallest, but declining since others have been built around it.

The original antenna once carried the signal of WUPA TV 69 from the time it first went on-air as WVEU, but that station moved because the Westin tower lacked space for an antenna to send the station's digital television signal. Two LPTV stations currently transmit from the top: analog WTBS-LP 26, and digital-only WTHC-LD 42.1.[16] As of 2009, WTBS-LP is moving to the Bank of America Plaza, from the same antenna as co-owned WANN-LP/WANN-CD, and possibly future digital WTBS-LD 30.

The main FM antenna (the four large elements seen at the top of the mast in both outdoor pictures on this page) recently belonged to WZGC FM 92.9 ("Dave FM"), while a smaller antenna still carries backup signals for that station and previously for WVEE FM 103.3 ("V-103"), both owned by CBS Radio. WWWQ FM 100.5 ("Q100", now WNNX FM "Rock 100.5") first used the same antenna when it moved to Atlanta, before it upgraded and relocated within the city, but it has since switched back. WSTR FM 94.1 ("Star 94") also shared the main FM antenna with 92.9 when it was originally installed, with the power from both stations' transmitters being combined into a single antenna through a diplexer. Both WSTR and WZGC still list this as their allotment location.[17]

There is also an XM Satellite Radio repeater.

2008 tornadoEdit

Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel tornado damage
Window repair as of March 2010

On March 14, 2008, the Westin, along with other neighboring skyscrapers, sustained moderate damage when a tornado tore through downtown Atlanta, with over 500 windows broken. It was the first tornado to have hit the downtown area.[18] The building reportedly swayed back and forth about two feet (more than half a meter) in either direction, as it was designed.[19]

By 2009, the Westin was the only building in Downtown Atlanta to have not replaced its broken windows, which instead were still covered with black-painted plywood on the outside, and drywall on the inside. This is because the ¼-inch (6mm) uninsulated glass was no longer made by PPG Industries, and even identical new windows would look mismatched because of weathering due to three decades of hot sunshine. Additionally, new building codes require insulated glass that can withstand winds up to 90 miles per hour (145 km/h) instead of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h), necessitating heavier and more expensive glass. Replacement of all 6,350 windows was expected to begin in June or July 2009 and continue from the top down until summer 2010 at a cost of over $20 million.[20][21][22] Like the original, the new windows are also mirrored, but feature a slight bronze tint. Each pane measures 52 in × 110 in (130 cm × 280 cm) and weighs 270 lb (120 kg) with four panes required for each room. More than 600 tons of glass were to be recycled.[19][23]

Skanska completed the Westin Peachtree Plaza exterior window renovation in September 2010.[24] On November 9, 2010, renovation of the Sundial Restaurant at the top of the building was completed, repairing tornado damage done to it two years prior.


  • On March 22, 2016, 61-year-old employee Carolyn Robinson died after becoming locked inside a walk-in freezer.[25] The hotel was fined $12,471 for exposing their employee to "entrapment hazards" and failing to ensure the exit door remained "unobstructed/unrestricted".[26]
  • On April 14, 2017, five-year-old child Charlie Holt died from head injuries sustained in the Sun Dial restaurant, reportedly after becoming trapped between a wall and furniture. Charlie Holt got up from his seat at the table unnoticed by his parents. When the parents noticed him he was already trapped against the wall and booth. The boy's parents tried to break him free but their attempts proved no avail and he received an injury to his head. The boy died an hour later at Grady Memorial Hospital.[27][28] As a result, the restaurant itself is still open, but the rotation feature has been indefinitely suspended.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel at Emporis
  2. ^ Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel at Glass Steel and Stone (archived)
  3. ^ "Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel at Structurae
  5. ^ "The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta". CrediFi. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  6. ^ "Official World's 20 Tallest High-rise Buildings (Hotel use)". Emporis. 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  7. ^ "Westin Peachtree Plaza celebrates 40 years (SLIDESHOW) - Atlanta Business Chronicle". www.bizjournals.com.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Kalina, Mike (November 20, 1979). "Peach of a Hotel Shines in Atlanta". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh. p. 21. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "Peachtree Plaza Postcard - lagoon". Atlantatimemachine.com. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Look Up, America. The World's Tallest Hotel Just Opened in Atlanta". The Evening Independent. Sarasota. February 12, 1976. p. 7C. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  13. ^ Will, George F. (November 28, 1982). "Modern Hotels Go Far Too Far". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota. p. 2D. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  14. ^ "Peachtree Plaza Hotel postcard". Atlantatimemachine.com. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "Floor Plan - Georgia International Convention Center". Gicc.com. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 18, 2002. Retrieved March 8, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "FM Query Results -- Audio Division (FCC) USA". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  18. ^ Tim Eberly and Paul Shea (March 15, 2008). "Tornado Kills 2, Pummels Downtown". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Westin Fun Facts" (Press release). Sundial Restaurant. August 28, 2009. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  20. ^ Bill Torpy (October 10, 2008). "Drywall used in Westin's storm-damaged windows". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  21. ^ Bill Torpy (June 2, 2008). "Drywall used in Westin's storm-damaged windows". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  22. ^ Alexis Stevens (April 23, 2009). "Window pains: Glass on the way for Peachtree Plaza". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  23. ^ Douglas Sams (August 31, 2009). "Storm-torn Westin to be reborn". The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  24. ^ Jarred (September 21, 2010). "Through the looking glass". Bisnow Atlanta. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  25. ^ Foreman, Lauren (March 22, 2016). "Woman's death in hotel freezer a mystery". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  26. ^ Tagami, Ty (September 20, 2016). "Atlanta hotel fined after worker freezes to death". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  27. ^ Price, Mark (November 20, 2017). "Charlotte boy was crushed by rotating restaurant. The restaurant had operated for forty years with no injuries from the rotating floor.Lawsuit details his parents' horror". The-Charlotte-Observer. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  28. ^ Gangraw, Sarah (November 20, 2017). "Sad New Details Revealed About The Death Of 5-Year-Old Boy Who Was Crushed At A Rotating Restaurant". Your-Tango. Retrieved February 15, 2018.

External linksEdit