Atlanta-Area Holiday Inn Gets a Stylish Makeover – First Holiday Inn in the World to Present “The Hub” Concept

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I know what you’re thinking: I live in Atlanta – why would I need to visit the Holiday Inn in Duluth? Maybe you’re planning on seeing a concert or a Gwinnett Gladiators hockey game at Gwinnett Arena and won’t want to drive home afterward. Or maybe you just want to check out their delightful renovation – the first of its kind in the world!

As part of a million-dollar rebranding, Holiday Inn is connecting to guests in a more social way – with a concept they’re calling The Hub. The Holiday Inn at Gwinnett Center is the first-ever of the Holiday Inn hotels to try out this new concept, and I was excited to get to preview it last week. Here’s what you’ll find when you visit:

Even though I live in the Atlanta area, I stay at the Holiday Inn at Gwinnett Center every March for RETechSouth, a real estate technology conference held at Gwinnett Center. Walking in to the lobby of the hotel last week, I was blown away by the transformation. The formerly dark interior is now light, bright and airy. The closed off restaurant/bar area is open and inviting. There’s an ample variety of seating – from low banquettes to communal tables, Ikea-inspired couches to benches and stools. It makes me excited to be back here in March: I want to gather here with friends for a drink or a bite to eat between conference sessions, my friends won’t mind printing off their boarding passes to fly home in the newly-imagined business center, we’ll have more comfortable space to hang out in this new space…in short, the staff may wish we’d just go back to our rooms already!

I had a chance to discuss the new design with Verchele Wiggins, Vice President of Global Brand Management for the Holiday Inn Family of Brands. She said that the redesign was in response “to the changing needs and behaviors of our clients.”It envisions the hotel as a true social hub – a coffee-shop-esque environment for today’s traveler and business person, as well as the leisure traveler. The Holiday Inn describes its guests as “people who want to relax and be themselves” and sees this new concept as a way to help them do just that. Organized into 5 “hubs” – eat/drink (breakfast, the restaurant, and the bar), relax (the multimedia area, with a TV, books, magazines, and board games), fun (the Wii gaming area) plus connect (the e-bar, a re-imagined version of the business center) and transition (the many needs of a guest as they transition from one part of their day or trip to another) – it’s comfortable, casual, relaxed but still seems to be able to efficiently meet the needs of a variety of guests.

The food and drink has been revamped, too. From the grab-and-go breakfast menu at The Hub Cafe to the lunch and dinner menu featuring everything from the expected (salads, steaks, burgers) to the recently introduced snacks menu, which features three kinds of sliders (burgers, pulled pork, and fish and chips sliders), grilled mac and cheese waffle sandwich, firecracker shrimp, and housemade hub chips with signature dipping sauces (see below for pics that will make you drool). Don’t expect a menu with an overwhelming number of choices – the rebranding concept focuses on doing a few things, but doing them well and consistently. The new menu proves to do just that.

When might you visit the Holiday Inn at Gwinnett Center to check it out? While it’s unlikely that you will just top in for a drink or a bite to eat, consider that overnight stay after a concert at Gwinnett Center or a sporting event. It’s a convenient hop, skip and a jump from the arena – why not check in before your event and then enjoy not having to drive home afterward? It’s a cool concept and I think you’ll have the reaction I had: “This is a Holiday Inn?”

WHERE: The Hub at Holiday Inn at Gwinnett Center – 6310 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097

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The e-bar - the Hub's version of the hotel business center is out in the lobby - instead of hidden away in the depths of the hotel. Its coffee shop-style atmosphere lets busy travelers feel like they're still part of the social setting.

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No longer hidden away, the e-bar is out in the open in the lobby - enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail while checking your email or printing your boarding pass!

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The restaurant and bar area is open and bright - gone are the dark walls and closed-off feel.

 

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Booths in the restaurant each have their own television and electrical sockets for charging electronics.

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Putting the fun in fun station - the Wii station beckons to kids of all ages.

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The Hubs's two signature cocktails - the Bee Sting and the Islandtini, perfect happy hour companions!

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Hummus & Pit - Mashed chick peas belnded until creamy, seasoned with sea salt and lemon and topped with pesto; served with pita wedges and crisp, sliced vegetables, crumbled feta and green olives ($8)

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Firecracker Shrimp - Ten jumbo shrimp, lightly fried and tossed in a sweet red chili sauce to create bite after exotic bite that pops with sweet Asian heat ($14)

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My favorite treat at The Hub, Grilled Mac-n-Cheese Waffle Sandwich - Waffle-pressed Texas toast, stuffed with creamy macaroni and cheese and slices of sharp Cheddar, grilled until the toast is crisp and the cheese is gooey; served with creamy tomato soup for dipping ($7)

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Pulled Pork Sliders - Tender-braised barbecue pork crowned with crisp onion rings and dill pickles for an unexpected sweet and spicy crunch, served with housemade Hub chips ($9)

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Belgian Waffle desserts - Belgian Berry'mores and Belgian S'mores for your sweet tooth! ($5)

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4 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Russ says:

    This review makes me want to stay there. Or any HI Hub!

  2. shay says:

    Do they ship those waffle sandwiches? Tim! Guess I’m going to have to stay there next time I’m in hotlanta.

  3. John Coley says:

    that’s where I plan to stay for #retso!

  4. Maura says:

    John – me, too! Look forward to seeing you there! :)

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