A Building with a Past
The Courtyard Tulsa Downtown by Marriott is in the Atlas Life Building, once owned by Atlas Life Insurance Company and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Within three years of the company starting, business was booming and they were in need of their own building. In 1922, the Atlas Life Building celebrated its grand opening and has served as a focal point for business in Tulsa ever since.
The building was not only home to the insurance employees but provided office space for more than forty oil companies as well. As things come full circle, Waitte Phillips – the founder of the Philbrook Museum we visited – once had his offices in the Atlas Building.
As we walk up to the exterior of the building, we cannot miss the four-story vertical neon sign adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott sign. The red and green “Atlas Life” words glow along with the Titan on top holding the world on his shoulders. It was installed in 1946 as a representation of strength and endurance and has been rehabilitated to its original appearance when the building was converted to a hotel in 2010.
The first floor is reminiscent of the Art Deco features so prominent in Tulsa.
We are told to head up to the second floor to check in. Getting our room key and information on the city went smooth as the staff were friendly and provided great customer service. We make a mental note for our stay that the second floor also has The Bistro where one could pick up drinks or snacks throughout the day.
The first thing we notice when bringing in our luggage is the spaciousness of the room. In cities, you never know what size room you are in for but the layout is perfect. We open the door, walk down a short hallway with a mini-fridge and coffee maker set in an alcove to the opening of our room.
To the right is a large desk with surplus lighting and outlets, a super bonus when working on the laptop. I notice the old black and white photos of Tulsa back in the day above the desk on the shelf. Nice touch! Not that we are going to have much time to watch television, but I see that it is a good size flat screen.
To the left is the bed with fluffy pillows and luxury bedding which is super inviting since we had a long day. No naps for us though, it’s time to hit the town! The bathroom across from the main doorway, stocked with Paul Mitchell products and a hair dryer, is quite roomy. The room is an ideal base for the few days we are here exploring Tulsa.
The Historic Seventh Floor
I read that the seventh floor of the building was something to see so I asked the woman at the front desk if we could get access to it. When the rehabilitation project began in 2010 the designers found it unchanged like the rest of the building. It was found with the original corridor layout from the twenties: “historical elements such as the terrazzo floor, marble wall panels, office doors, windows and even the plaster ceiling were found intact.” Even the doorknobs were undamaged! So what did they do? They integrated the design of the guestrooms with the office space. It’s like stepping back in time when getting off the elevator.
Breakfast at the New Atlas Grill
With a mix of pop art and black and white photos adorning the walls, the retro diner is a throwback to the days when Route 66 meandered through the city.
You can take your pick of sitting at the counter or grabbing a table inside. Our server was welcoming and friendly, suggesting the best menu items and always having our coffee topped off. The omelettes and breakfast burritos were delicious but the morning potatoes are what set the meal apart. They come with breaded and fried onions and jalapenos! Yum.
Open Monday through Fridays for breakfast and lunch with a great atmosphere, Atlas Grill is a perfect way to start the day.
Would you stay at the Courtyard Tulsa Downtown? Tell us in the comments below!
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*Thank you Visit Tulsa and it’s associates for hosting us in the city. Like always, all thoughts and opinions, however, are my own.*
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