There are great hotels, and there are exceptional hotels; Mandarin Oriental properties tend to fall in the latter category. Atlanta's first Mandarin arrived on the scene in 2012 in the former home of the Mansion on Peachtree to rave reviews. From valet to check-in to the bellhop, the service is impeccable. And even though it's situated right on busy thoroughfare Peachtree Road, the exterior is so well-designed, you'd think you're arriving at a country retreat when you pull up through the garden entrance. The entire hotel—all 42 stories of it, 18 of which are private residences—provides a very Zen experience with its soothing-yet-stark white and gray color palette, beautiful artwork, and orchids and bamboo carefully used as accents all around. Rooms are well thought out with great lighting, Art Deco touches, comfortable beds, and other smart additions such as ample outlets for your electronics (so many hotels skimp on charging stations). Bathrooms are enormous, with separate stall showers and deep tubs. The 15,000-sq.-ft. spa, whose therapists specialize in holistic practices, features 14 treatment rooms, an indoor lap pool, steam room, sauna, vitality pool, and fitness center. On the food side, there's The Café & Bar, a gourmet-yet-casual dining experience, and Taipan, a lounge with great cocktails and free jazz every Saturday from 8pm to midnight. There's also a complimentary house driver if you need a ride anywhere within a two-mile radius. My only gripe with the Mandarin is if you're paying this much for a hotel, the internet ought to be free. Still, overall, this is a far better option than the neighboring Ritz-Carlton, which is just tired and worn. (Although there's ongoing construction here, it didn't detract from my last visit one bit.)