Two glass elevators transport guests up 22 stories from the atrium to the restaurant, which sits 312 feet above the lobby, in just 19 seconds. The elevators go through the roof and into the sky before arriving at the Polaris.
The elevators were designed to serve as an artistic focal point for the building’s huge lobby. The Hyatt officially opened in 1967, and people visited daily just to ride the elevators from the atrium to the top.
The Polaris was Atlanta’s first rotating restaurant. It became an icon, attracting local residents, celebrities, politicians, and foreign dignitaries, even though it was not a part of the building’s original plan. It was added to get the public more invested in the project and to give people a chance to enjoy the hotel, even if they did not rent rooms there.
The floor of the restaurant rests on a track. Wheels are attached to the building, and a giant turntable allows the track to glide over the wheels. A motor with only three-quarters of a horsepower rotates the restaurant, offering a panoramic view of the city’s skyline. The restaurant completes a rotation every 45 minutes.
The Polaris has a famous blue dome that lights up the Atlanta sky at night. The dome was turned off and relit before the restaurant officially reopened to the public on June 10, after several preopening events.
Since the Polaris originally opened, other tall buildings have gone up in Atlanta that have obstructed its view of the city. Still, the Polaris is expected to draw many visitors to ride the elevators and take in the Atlanta skyline now that it has reopened.