Walk through the gleaming brass doors, held open by a genuinely friendly staff member, and the first thing that will catch your eye is the three story waterfall designed by Takeo Uesugi of TUA Inc. I perused the landscape architect’s site before coming here to Atlanta. You may see more of Mr. Uesugi’s work at http://www.tuainc.com/ especially in the portfolio section of the site. A little more detail on Mr. Uesugi’s life and work is available in a Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeo_Uesugi
We first became acquainted at the International Conference on Japanese Gardens Outside of Japan held in Long Beach, California, in March 2009. I have seen Mr. Uesugi’s work in Long Beach, San Diego, Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Malibu, but this was my first visit to one of his garden designs outside of California. This garden opened with the hotel in 1990 when it was the Hotel Nikko. Hyatt purchased the property in 1997 and put $5.6 million in to renovations in 2000.
The waterfall at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta is visible from the lobby, the Onyx Bar, the Cassis restaurant on a level lower than the lobby, from windows in a hallway connecting the elevators on the third floor to the pool area, from the pool area and a veranda outside the elevator area on the third floor and from several rooms facing that side of the hotel. It drops from a flat area that includes a small garden with several typical features: trimmed shrubs, tsukubai, bamboo thicket, machiai, dry stream bed, and well arranged stone work.
Update 2016: It is with deep sadness that we report Takeo Uesugi died 26 January 2016 at his home in California following a battle with cancer. He was 75 years of age. A link to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times listing his many achievements follows. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and coworkers.