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WITH GRACE AND CHARM, GUIDO PICCINNI ELEVATES ELEGANCE AND AN UNMATCHED GUEST EXPERIENCE AT ATLANTA’S HISTORIC GEORGIAN TERRACE HOTEL
Says the native Italian: “I come from a country with great regard for buildings such as this. I knew I had to work here.”
ATLANTA (Feb. 27, 2019) – Even after working a 14-hour day as the director of hotel operations at Atlanta’s historic Georgian Terrace hotel, Guido Piccinni occasionally requires a reminder to clock out. Last evening, I was discussing Italy with guests who recognized my accent when I got the text from my wife asking if I was ever coming home!” recalls Piccinni with a laugh.
Originally hired as the 108-year-old hotel’s food and beverage director in 2015, Piccinni’s passion for the historic property — and his innovative elevation of the hotel’s food and beverage — soon became apparent to Chesapeake Hospitality, which operates the flagship hotel for owner Sotherly Hotels. Piccinni was promoted to director of hotel operations in March 2018. Under Piccinni’s leadership, The Georgian Terrace’s impressive growth has continued, with revenue and profitability increasing by 50 percent. TripAdvisor currently ranks the hotel 11th in a hospitality-centric city of 177 hotel options.
On a recent morning, dressed in a crisp dark blue suit accented by a violet tie, Piccinni glided his impeccably polished dress shoes from speaking with guests in the lobby to joking with business travelers lingering over coffee in the Livingston Restaurant + Bar dining room.
It’s no surprise Atlanta’s oldest operating hotel was one of the first Atlanta landmarks that captured Piccinni’s attention when he moved to the city from his native Italy in 2005 to serve as general manager at Atlanta’s iconic Italian restaurant Pricci.
“I knew I had to work here,” he explains. “I come from a country with great regard for buildings that are 300 and 400 years old. I have great love and respect for The Georgian Terrace. This is where the cast of ‘Gone With the Wind’ celebrated the film’s premiere in 1939. This is where Enrico Caruso rested between his performances with the Metropolitan Opera at the Fox Theatre. It’s an honor to be a part of continuing this property’s great legacy.”
Piccinni and his highly trained 180-person staff’s impact was vividly on display the week of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta in February 2019. Even with blocked off streets and the city’s drivability compromised at points during the big game, The Georgian Terrace was at 100 percent occupancy, and the hotel’s 326 rooms were filled with professional athletes, celebrities and football fans from across the country.
“It should have been an exhausting experience,” reflects Piccinni. “But instead it was exhilarating. We had proactively planned for it for over a year so we were more than ready to meet our guests’ needs.”
The seasoned hotelier brings two decades of experience with him to his work at The Georgian Terrace. He previously served as chief operating officer of the Atlanta-based Southern Proper Hospitality Group, where he was integral in developing their existing restaurants and establishing new concepts. He was also part of the acclaimed Five Diamond Award-winning team at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, leading food and beverage at The Mansion on Peachtree.
In a city known for knocking down iconic pieces of its history, The Georgian Terrace’s continued growth under Piccinni, even as new luxury properties are added each year to Atlanta’s hospitality mix, is truly remarkable. “For me, it all comes down to excellent customer service and guest satisfaction,” says Piccinni. “Whether you’re here on business, needing dinner before a show across the street at the Fox Theatre or wanting to enjoy a nightcap downstairs in Edgar’s Proof & Provision, I want to make sure the doors of this hotel are open and welcoming to everyone who steps foot inside.”
Community outreach is a hallmark of the property, from a partnership with the equally historic and beloved Fox Theatre across the street to being ground zero for Atlanta Pride celebration each fall on the Livingston patio overlooking Peachtree Street and the hotel’s rooftop pool to hosting 192 weddings on the property in 2018 alone.
Piccinni’s commitment to excellence translates into a day that begins at 6 a.m. greeting staff in each department of the hotel and often ends only when guests exit across the street to the Fox Theatre in time for an 8 p.m. curtain. Often, the hotel’s staff will observe Piccinni out in front of the hotel’s Peachtree Street sidewalk gazing up at the 19-story structure, taking in the building’s grandeur. “Shortly after I was promoted, I took a photo of the hotel’s exterior and texted it to my mother back in Italy, telling her, ‘Mama, this is the hotel in America I get to run.’ She still can’t believe it.”
Each day at The Georgian Terrace, Piccinni utilizes life lessons his mother taught him as a boy growing up in southern Italy. “My mother taught me to get up each morning and choose to be happy. This attitude has always been inside me. A smile and kindness can become contagious.”
Piccinni also says he owes a debt of gratitude for his success to a no-nonsense Italian-French chef who took him under his wing as he started his career in hospitality as a sous chef in Italy. “One day, he pulled me aside and told me, ‘Guido, you’re a talented boy. You’re so good that you could one day do my job. But you talk too much! What are you doing in the kitchen? You belong out front talking to the guests.’ At first, I was offended but today I thank him for that blessing. He was right.”
As guests from across the country swirl around him each day, Piccinni says his ultimate goal for The Georgian Terrace is to make the historic hotel a world-class hotel in the United States while ensuring the property is as big a destination for Atlantans as the Fox Theatre or the literary events hosted at the Margaret Mitchell House. “I want people to walk in here and surround themselves with all of this beauty,” says Piccinni. “That’s what I believe in and what I strive for each day.”
ABOUT THE GEORGIAN TERRACE HOTEL
A Midtown icon, The Georgian Terrace Hotel is located in the heart of Atlanta’s business and cultural district, across from the Fox Theatre. The hotel delivers a brand of service rarely found, even in the South. The business facilities are state of the art, with a world-class conference center, an impressive boardroom, classic ballrooms and secure onsite parking. Livingston Restaurant + Bar and Edgar’s Proof & Provision serve award-winning American cuisine and signature drinks. The Georgian Terrace Hotel is located at 659 Peachtree Street NE. For reservations and more information, visit thegeorgianterrace.com or call (866) 845-7551.
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