Mandarin Oriental Atlanta

by Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Janice Dempsey is the Chef Concierge at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta, President of The Concierge Society of Atlanta, and a Member of Les Clefs d’Or Ltd, USA. Janice has worked as a concierge for a decade, having previously served in the airline industry for many years as a Flight Attendant. Born in Munich, Germany, and reared in Atlanta, Georgia USA, Janice considers Atlanta home, saying “There is something about the South that combines grace, charm and a sweetness that only comes from this part of the USA. Georgia is called the Peach State and we ladies are often called Georgia Peaches!”. Just adorable! Let’s explore Atlanta with Janice… 

Janice Dempsey.

Favourite locale when enjoying a day off

Taking in live theatre, music, concerts, sports and local gastronomy. Atlanta always has something going on, be it an art or musical festival, both professional and university sports or trying one of our great restaurants.

Where she takes her own guests when they visit 

Every concierge should be a ‘tourist in their city’. Explore new venues and revisit established ones. Take the time to enjoy the sights, sounds and the flavours firsthand in order to gauge the experience yourself. Take a guided tour, visit the wonderful museums and cultural options afforded in the city.

It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what we should do

Pemberton Place, which houses what I call the ‘trilogy’, is a great rainy-day experience. Start with the Georgia Aquarium, which is world’s largest, complete with whale sharks and various interactive aquatic exhibits. The World of Coca Cola Museum includes vintage advertisements, TV commercials, a sampling room and a great gift shop! The Center for Civil and Human Rights brings you, first-hand, into the strife for civil rights from the south and takes you into the world throughout history, including modern-day issues.

Her recommendations for night-time entertainment

Gastronomy in Atlanta has truly taken off.  Our tried-and-true restaurants still do not disappoint with quality and expert service! There are renowned Steakhouses, Southern style, Italian, Sushi and the wonderful, ethnic Buford Highway corridor, with Asian and Latin options. We also have new and upcoming chefs who bring great, innovative, fresh, farm-to-table ideas and concepts into their restaurant menus. Georgia is taking off as a great state for locally sourced farms for herbs, vegetables, and meats.

Any live entertainment from Atlanta Symphony, Alliance Theatre, Fox Theatre performances to our exciting professional and university sports teams. Our great, large, music venues, both indoors and outdoors, bring both old-school entertainers, as well as, all the top-name entertainers, year-round. Very diverse for everyone!

Key phrase visitors should learn

Y ’all come back now, hear!

The best shopping

Atlanta is known as the shopping destination of the south. High-end stores, including both nationally and international shops and boutiques, dot the city, especially here in Buckhead.  For trendy, vintage shopping, try Little 5 Points or Ponce City market for those fun and ‘on the fringe’ items. Antiques are always great finds at 14th Street Antiques, Miami Circle or Chamblee.

Souvenirs we should buy

Peaches, peanuts and pecan anything, from candy to pies. A speciality, artisan-glass-blown peach paperweight is a favourite gift from Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta.

A child-friendly thing to do or place to go

The Center for Puppetry Arts is a great place for children of all ages. It highlights Jim Henson’s Muppets, by showcasing his workshop, early puppets and the evolution and impact on children all over the world. Who doesn’t like Kermit, Miss Piggy and Big Bird? Of course, Zoo Atlanta is alive with everything from pandas to tortoises. Fernbank Museum of Natural History is chocked full of dinosaurs, nature trails, Imax Theatre and ever-changing interesting exhibits. Stone Mountain is the largest granite mountain in the world, with walking trails, picnic areas, laser shows and fun outdoor activities. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta allows children to learn through a variety of interactive play, with costumes and ever-changing themes.

Her best-kept secret or favourite hidden treasure

The Atlanta History Center offers a glimpse into the heritage of Atlanta from the American Civil War, civil rights era, through the golden age of the 1800s and 1920s, to 1996 Summer Olympics memorabilia. The gardens are magnificent as are the 1880s farm house. The regal and stunning Swan House, complete with period-costumed docents, tells the story of the house and will really give you a sense of the old south. The Swan Coach House Restaurant serves lunch that is a throwback to all things southern and elegant.

Something that most inspires her

Our special-needs guests are always a delight to assist with. Be it a motorized wheelchair, specialized medical equipment, setting up a tour guide for the visually impaired or just a reassuring inquiry is what makes my day. These individuals are what inspire and motivate me every day with their positive attitude, optimism, warm smiles and never-ending energy.

Best time of the year to visit

Anytime is great, but my favourite is springtime. Atlanta pops with the abundance of daffodils, varying colours of azaleas, irises and so many white Dogwood trees that look like snow in the trees. April showers certainly bring May flowers! Fall offers spectacular colours in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountain in north Georgia. Take a train ride to really capture the colours and the local foliage.

Anything else we should know when visiting

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the south. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. is so much a part of Atlanta heritage and the tremendous impact he had on our country and this city. The MLK National Historic Site preserves the places where he was born, lived, worked, worshipped and is buried. Sweet Auburn district includes his birth home, The King Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Curb Market and Dr and Mrs King’s Tomb. A wonderful tribute to the legacy that was created out of non-violent demonstrations.

 

Note: The Mandarin Hotel Group received notice of termination of its management agreement for Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta and will cease managing the hotel from 7 December 2018. Source: bisnow.com

 

Main image: @_StephenCook on Unsplash