Don’t call it a comeback, the Heritage Ball has been for years. If Thursday is any indication of how the weekend is going to turn out, GDI is in good shape. The Thursday night set in the Marquis ballroom was packed with some of the best Steppers in the nation, and DJ Shorty Smooth and DJ Iceman did an awesome job playing the hits. There was an after set at Ellery’s that lasted until 4am, but I couldn’t hang and there is absolutely no way I’d be up banging this story out at 7am if I had gone.
With regard to the new location, the transition to the Marriot Marquis hotel has been seamless, and I’ll be the first to say that I actually like it better. While the Marriott Gateway was closer to the airport, I actually feel like I’m in Atlanta now. Whether it’s looking over the city from the 47th floor hospitality suite, or seeing the Coca Cola sign from my bedroom, this new location is lively. I should also say that you can take the elevator straight from your hotel room down to the Marquis Ballroom, so in that sense, getting to the actual party is simpler in this hotel.
The Marta train to the airport really would have been as simple as 1, 2, 3 if I’d actually taken the time read the directions before I got down here. Basically, you buy a $6 round trip Breeze card, take the Marta to Peachtree Center, and walk through a few hallways until you get to the hotel. Now, you do have follow the right hallways or you’ll end up at the Hyatt, but it’s all pretty simple.
The hotel has a central food court with two of my favorite places to eat (Chic-Fil-A and Firehouse Subs), and countless others like Diary Queen and Benihana. One thing that takes a little getting used to is the size of the hotel. The hotel is massive, so you’re going to take a nice walk to anywhere that you have to go. A number of Steppers are still trying to find The Hang Out Spot in the hotel. In the previous hotel was there was one central lobby, so it was easy to locate most of your fellow Steppers. In this hotel however, there are bars and lobby areas on multiple floors, so Steppers are a little spread out and the intimacy is missing.
All in all however, I haven’t heard any serious complaints. The GDI Heritage Ball customer service is as good as it’s ever been and I’m looking forward to a fabulous weekend. Check out the pictures of the first day on ChiStepper’s Facebook Page.