Few know of the real life Hunger Games that occur every October. They are done in private, and they are brutal. The victors (because in this version there are more than one) loudly tout their success, while the losers go forth in shame and panic as they try to find an alternative route.
Okay, that last line may have been a bit dramatic, but it is true. DragonCon is a huge conventions (think 80,000 people) that happens each year in Atlanta. It spans across several hotels and pours into the city streets.
The hotels directly involved in the convention include: Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency, Hilton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, and the Westin Peachtree Plaza. That list seems extensive but there are thousands every year who make sure of Hotel Indigo, The Omni, Air BnB, and various other downtown hotels. Each of the host hotels have their own quirks and awesomeness.
Marriott- The center of everything. It is sandwiched between the Hyatt and the Hilton, specifically useful when you think of the skywalks (sidewalk bridges between hotels above street level). This is also a major spot to watch for amazing cosplays, and the night life here is always huge. It is surprisingly quiet once you get up higher though. The pro is that you are in the center of everything, and if you are like me (managing anxiety and a few other things) the ability to go up to your for a short span without it becoming a huge out of the way ordeal is extremely valuable. The downside is that you are definitely sharing elevators with people who aren’t staying there. It can be annoying, but still one of the best elevator situations I’ve had at con.
Hyatt- The Hyatt is a bit funny, almost mirage like at times. I know events happen there, but I can’t think of a single one I’ve ever gone to. I know I cross through it often, but I can’t think of a time I’ve spent a significant length of time there. The inside is gorgeous, and I will be honest I have never stayed there. It is a spot that you can see some good cosplay, but not to the Marriott level. Being that it is part of the skywalk set, it definitely has some solid nightlife. Veterans know this, but newbies here’s your heads up. It is nearly impossible to get in the Hyatt because they do Legacy vouchers. If you must stay here, your best bet is the look through the DragonCon rooms facebook group.
Hilton- This is the last of the big three as I think of them and this is the one I’d love to stay in. The Hilton doesn’t have the same look of grandeur as the Hyatt and the Marriott, however it does have one of my favorite spots at the whole con. The back part of the Hilton has a rooftop/patio type area. Many of the photo shoots happen here. There is music, bars, and food all right there. I love it because it is great people watching, a change to see fresh air, and it usually not too crowded. I went to quite a few panels there this past year. The trick is, Hilton does Legacy too. Or did. there is some confusion currently because there was a recent purchase of hotels. I believe it affects some of the other hotels. Anyway, I’d love to get in here, but it is a tough sale.
Sheraton- Many people love this one because it is where badge pick up is located. Its also been home to some of the great events in the last several years. I haven’t been to a single event there in 3 years of attending, despite being interested some.The pool parties for example. Most of the other hotels close theirs during the Con. There’s also the DragonCon Burlesque, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Why not attend? It is down the hill, and fairly far away from the rest of the conference. That isn’t enough to deter many though, because it has been a legacy up until this year and had no trouble staying booked.
Westin- I have stayed in the Westin multiple times and the thing is, its not that great. The view is awesome, but I had the worst experience out of any host hotel with staff, and elevators. There was very little I was interested in when we stayed there, though several of the movie rooms are there and their offerings this year (we didn’t stay there this year) seemed better than in previous years. They have the best view hands down, and what advantage they do have is being on the edge they have access to some of the restaurants downtown that are just far enough away the Con Crowd doesn’t make them impossible. Our favorite is right next door, Meehans. Also, this hotel is one of the easier ones to get into. They release blocks throughout the year, even relatively close to the con. Pretty nice.
So, in conclusion, I won the Hunger Games for a second year in a row. We will be staying at the Mariott again, though if I ever find a way to weasel into the Hilton, I’m on it. How I win the Hunger Game is a trademarked (not really) secret. May the odds be ever in your favor.