Around Atlanta {Buckhead Diner + Ice Skating at the St. Regis}

We try very hard around here to place value on experiences over things.  Every year Santa gives the kids four gifts – one of which is “something to do”.  The price tag on this gift has varied greatly over the years depending on a number of factors.  This year we stayed very close to home for the “do” gift and gave the boys dinner at Buckhead Diner followed by ice skating and dessert at the St. Regis!

First things first… Buckhead Diner.   This retro style restaurant in Buckhead is really, really popular and I’ve only heard rave reviews.  So, at the risk of being slayed by my fellow Atlantans, I’m sad to say that we didn’t love it.  At all.  This is one of the last Buckhead Life groups that we’ve tried and I think I like every other one on the extensive list better.

I loved the retro charm inside.  We had an early dinner and it was nearly empty!

Everyone raves about the blue cheese chips and they were good.  I do think this dish is better at Marlow’s though.

I got the grilled cheese and tomato soup and it was by far the best dish of the four we ordered between us.  It was good, but not fantastic.

I mean, dinner wasn’t awful, but it really wasn’t great.  But the good news is that our evening only went up from there!

The St. Regis is by far my favorite hotel in Atlanta.  It was really only rivaled by the Ritz, which has since changed hands and I haven’t heard great things.  The lobby was stunning in all of its Christmas splendor!

This cute little gingerbread house in the lobby sells all sorts of Sugarfina treats.

The Astor Ice Rink is built over the pool deck just for the holidays.  Every part of our experience was fantastic and I highly recommend it as my top choice for an hour on the ice in Atlanta.  You do need advance reservations and those are scheduled each hour for 50 minutes of skate time.  We were warmly welcomed, chose our skates, scouted out a table and chairs under a heat lamp and got ourselves ready!  They clean up the ice a little between each session as well.

The rink itself is quite small but it was not overcrowded.  You can see here that much of it was not even used for about half of the time.  People went on and off throughout the session.

Honey, John and I caught on quickly but I wouldn’t call us talented.  Whit spent most of his time rolling around on the ice on his back or belly.  We are thinking of going to New York next year and I had visions of us all elegantly gliding around the Rockefeller Rink like in all of the Hallmark Movies.  Hmmmm…..


There are heat lamps all around the ice, waitress service as available for snacks and drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic), Christmas trees twinkle around the rink and it is a lovely experience overall.  After our hour we ordered a round of hot chocolates and the boys made s’mores in the giant roaring fire!

If you go:

  • Make reservations in advance.
  • There are quite a few holiday events at the St. Regis so check out all of the offerings.
  • Dress warmly – we wore coats, mittens and such.  Of course, the boys ditched all of that once they warmed up.
  • Valet parking is complimentary.  Just be sure to have your ticket validated.

And, if you decide you want to stay the night, give me a buzz!  In addition to Disney destinations, I am affiliated with luxury hotel brands, including the St. Regis, and get exclusive amenities on behalf of my clients :-)

Thanks, Santa, for the memorable afternoon!!!

As far as their other Santa gifts, Whit got a book about Elsa for “read” and a hover board for “want”.  John got the Hunger Games books for “read” and some Adidas shoes for “want”.  For their “need” gifts we gave them sleds because they had been borrowing them for years every time it snowed.  (Fingers crossed we didn’t jinx all future snowstorms.)  Honey and I gave John some LAX gear with his team on it and Whit a mini robot.

This was the first time I can ever remember when I didn’t buy my own Christmas gifts.  It’s just usually easier that way and neither of us care much about it.  BUT, this year we shopped for each other and it was fun and interesting  :-).  Honey’s gift to me was an electric mattress pad.  I know… romantic, right?!  All jokes aside, it is seriously the most luxurious thing I think I’ve ever owned.  HAHAHAHA!  We can each make our side of the bed as warm as we want.  I don’t sleep with it on but I crank it up while I brush my teeth and such so my bed is nice and toasty every time I get in it.

I hope Santa was good to you.  I’d love to hear about your favorite gift!

St. Regis Atlanta  |  Astor Ice Rink at the St. Regis
Everything Atlanta

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11 thoughts on “Around Atlanta {Buckhead Diner + Ice Skating at the St. Regis}

  1. We will definitely have to go down to the St. Regis next year. My girls both skated competitively for years and this would be fun for them. I have a dear friend who takes their Santa pics there every year.
    Hubby and I’s gift to each other was an upgrade to the Breville Smart Air Oven. We are in love with the air fry feature!

  2. Thanks so much for the honest review!! It is so helpful and I’ve taken your advice on many things in Savannah and Atlanta. Have a fabulous 2018!! I think my favorite gift this year was having my two oldest boys home from FSU for the holidays, it was wonderful having the whole family under one roof!!

  3. My favorite gift this year could not be bought. Due to just plain old unfortunate life circumstances, this was the first year in seven years that my husband has been able to be with us on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had a beautiful, wonderful time. And this was truly an answer to many, many prayers.
    So glad you and your’s had a great holiday!!!
    Julia from SC

  4. How fun! Both of my boys and my honey can skate, but me… not so much! That said, we do go a couple of times a season to The Classic Center.

    Our “do” gift this year is a trip to the Okeefenokee swamp. Doesn’t that sound glamorous?! Seriously, it’s a trip we’ve been looking at for a couple of years.

    For myself, I don’t really have a favorite gift this time – I was actually pretty pleased with everything! xo

  5. I agree about the Buckhead diner. Friend & I had lunch there a few months ago. Fairly empty & nothing special. Perhaps living on their reputation from 20 yrs. ago.

  6. We love your 4 gifts from Santa so much that we switched to that when my daughter was born! It makes shopping so much easier!
    My almost 8 year old got:
    Want: Neft Nitro Blaster
    Need: Personalized Club Soccer Backpack w/ new ball
    Read: Illustrated Copy of HP Sorcerers Stone & his own wand (found on Etsy)
    My 3.5 year old got:
    Want: Barbie and Dream Horse
    Need: Personalized PBK Toiletries Carrier with Travel Size Items
    Read: The 75th Anniversary Edition of Madeline & Madeline Hat for Dressup (also found on Etsy)
    Both their something to do: cooking class at a local chefs academy with matching Personalized aprons

    Now to put up the remaining Christmas decorations and start planning our spring break vacation to Atlanta! Maybe we will look into the St Regis!

  7. If you head to New York at Christmas and want to skate at Rockefeller Center be aware of two things. 1. It’s $45 per person to skate on a very small rink. You’re looking at $180 for your family. 2. When we were there last month the line stretched all around the block and down the street. Crazy! I would suggest you skate at Bryant Park – also small with long lines but free with $12 skate rental or try Central Park’s ice rink – much larger and $12 per person on weekdays and $19 on weekends with skate rentals being $9. Also be prepared for incredibly dense crowds anywhere it is “Christmasy”. Our family of 6 got in a swarm at Sak’s Fifth Avenue and all got separated trying to see the lights. It was still wonderful to finally see New York at Christmas but just be prepared for craziness beyond belief. And for a reference point, we were there from Dec 26 through the 28th.

  8. Amanda, I have been promoting the heated mattress pad for nearly a decade! It is the best thing I own! Of course when my husband gave it to me as a Christmas gift we were living in a drafty cape cod style home where out bedroom was on the second floor (Pittsburgh winters can be rough) and now we live in an energy star certified home… but I still use it!

  9. Totally off the subject but I would love to know about your scarf. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday:)

  10. We live in Central Florida and we LOVE our heated mattress pad! My husband thinks it’s one of our greatest buys ever! Love all of your travel info!

  11. I’m going to suggest those 4 things to both daughters in law!! lol
    I simply cannot and will not live without my electric blanket. I cannot sleep if I am cold and this blanket does the trick!!!

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