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Ice Skating Rink Opens at St. Regis in Buckhead on Wednesday

New model train display in lobby adds to luxury hotel's holiday experience

Ice skating in the heart of Buckhead returns Thursday when the l opens its popular Astor Holiday Rink for the third year.

Along with the rink, which now sits upon the hotel's sixth floor swimming pool intead of on the seventh floor terrace, the hotel has installed a model train display in the lobby, along with its Gingerbread House. A huge Christmas tree will also show the holiday spirit.

"it's hard to believe it's been three years since we've started this tradition in Buckhead," hotel General Manager Simon Rusconi said about the ice-skating rink. "The Buckhead community has really embraced it."

He said he decided to add the train exhibit, in which two model trains travel through a snow-capped Alpine holiday village, to enhance the holiday feeling. 'It'a all about creating a winter wonderland experience."

The ice rink has attracted more than 10,000 skaters the first two years, the hotel said. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the rink opens at noon Wednesday and continues through Jan. 3, from noon-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

The cost is $30 per hour for adults and $18 for children for an hour of skating. Reservations are suggested by calling the hotel's Holiday Desk at 404-563-7797. The St. Regis has a broad selection of holiday offerings, including tea with Santa.

This year's rink, placed besides the pool's bar, will also have more eating choices, including children's and adult hot chocolate and cocktails. For the children, and nostalgic older folks, 'smores will be made on an open fire.

The St. Regis holday rink tradition dates back to 1904, when the New York St. Regis placed a rink in its ballroom, Rusconi said. The famed Astor family entertained their friends, the illlustrious "Astor 400," with special evenings at the hotel, such as ice rink parties.

That spirit of old New York high society glows at the Buckhead hotel with the "Fire and Ice Dinner." For $1,500, a couple can enjoy a private feast on the ice rink, with six courses and Champagne served by skating waiters. Hot soup might be in order.

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