Things move slowly in the South, which make it an excellent spot for two high-stress New Yorkers to take a weekend getaway. From the moment I exited the plane in Savannah, Georgia—after a kind gentleman with a Southern drawl helped me with my luggage—I could feel my stress and anxiety start to dissipate. The Savannah airport also happens to be impossibly clean, and I was greeted by another kind Southern gentleman with a sign with my name on it. Things were off to a good start.
After a quick 45 minute drive through the beautiful low country, we arrived at the Montage Palmetto Bluff, a true Southern oasis situated on 20,000 acres of land inclusive of gorgeous marshes, riverfront property, historical vistas, bike trails, delicious restaurants, pools, golf, racquet clubs, and more. It sits on the May River, which allows for river cruises, fishing, and a generally pleasant vibe that makes you want to sit in a rocking chair and stay awhile. We were here to explore this stunning new Montage property, to eat, and to decompress, all of which we did with gusto—albeit at a slower, leisurely pace appropriate for the South.
This is the first, and flagship property, for Montage Hotels on the East Coast, and the property marries the elevated luxury and style of Montage Hotels with the charm and culture of South Carolina impeccably. I’ve got a keen interest in hotel and hospitality marketing and design, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed with the rooms, amenities, service, and signature details throughout our weekend.
It was the last hurrah girls’ weekend with my best friend, Lindsey, who is 8 months pregnant with her second child. If there’s anything Southern ladies love, it’s a pretty pregnant person, and the staff at Montage Palmetto Bluff were quick to coo and assist, ferrying us around the property in golf carts rather than the property’s complimentary bicycles, and gifting her with toys to take home for the baby.
We were there to relax, eat, and sleep—and we found comfort in the massive, fluffy beds and peace with overlooking the gorgeous May River from our patio window. The rooms were massive, and truly luxurious—with modern technology (charging portals, a flat screen TV, USB ports for music), and the patio was the perfect place for me to work remotely.
After living in small apartments in Washington and New York for many years, I relish the large bathroom, bath tub, and fluffy robes that come with hotel life. No bath tub? No deal, as far as I’m concerned. Fortunately, the bathroom and the tub at the Montage Palmetto Bluff was massive, and gorgeous.
The property’s willow-lined paths made for pleasant afternoon strolls, as we explored the restaurants, activities, shops, and history across the massive property. Golf carts and bicycles are the mode of transportation—available complimentary to guests to explore Palmetto Bluff. We spent most of our days alongside the pristine pool, lined with striped deckchairs and cabanas reminiscent of Las Vegas hotels but with that Southern touch. The poolside menus were spectacular—I’d go back merely to sit by the pool.
Now, there’s nothing I love more than eating and activities, which is why I appreciate a good resort. (Some of my favorites being Woodstock Inn in Vermont, Cobbler’s Cove in Barbados, and Salamander Resort in Middleburg, VA, and the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill) Montage Palmetto Bluff offers more activities than anywhere I’ve visited—with a booklet of by-the-hour things to do that run the gamut from boat rides to kayak tours to visits with the property’s three on-site pups. The Wilson Lawn & Racquet Club offers tennis, croquet, and bocce ball, of which I did all three. There’s also a well-respected golf course and a shooting range.
By Saturday morning we were in full relaxation mode after a great night’s sleep, cruising on the May River on the Grace, a vintage wooden power boat that was built in 1913. We arrived at the boat through a long dock that looks exactly like a scene out of Dawson’s Creek, and boarded the gorgeous wooden boat for a late morning cruise. The Captain regaled us with the history of both the boat, Grace, and the area, which has a nasty history linked to plantations and slavery.
Montage Palmetto Bluff offers some signature touches for guests, including flavored water in every lobby and alongside the pool, complimentary coffee and tea in the mornings, and afternoon “porching,” inclusive of complimentary lemonade, sweet tea, and cookies from 3-5 in the afternoon daily. At 5 p.m. daily, there are culinary heirlooms, when the Montage chefs come outside and cook up classic Southern fare like smoked oysters and low country stew. S’mores are available each night by the fire pits. It’s adorable—and easy to get excited about these little touches.
We dined at three of the property’s restaurants while there: Octagon Porch, Buffalo’s, and Fore & Aft. We were looking to eat healthy, and each restaurant offered a signature menu of healthy as a brand-wide collaboration with health blogger Be Well Kelly. We obviously appreciated being able to drink Super Greens smoothies with collagen while poolside—because 30 is no joke, my friends.
Octagon Porch, the property’s best restaurant, offers elevated Southern fare, crafted from local ingredients with a great wine program. We so enjoyed our dinner of local oysters, an incredible free-range roast chicken, grass-fed steak, and beautiful, hard-to-find California wine. The service was incredibly sweet—and it didn’t hurt that the sommelier was good lookin’.
On Sunday, we closed out the lovely weekend with a day of brunch at Octagon Porch, a visit to Spa Montage, and another afternoon by the pool. We started brunch with coffee and signature smoothies—I’m a smoothie addict and pretty judgy after living in New York, so I was impressed that we could order smoothies with almond and coconut milk and collagen protein—as well as an acai bowl.
My Eggs Benny was divine, served on corn cakes with a perfectly poached egg and a Hollandaise of just the right consistency. It was a beautiful brunch dish.
The best thing to do after brunch? Head to Spa Montage, for a truly divine experience. Beautiful, white, and serene, Spa Montage offers the different temperature treatments I force myself to ensure while at the spa—hot tub, cold tub, sauna, and steam room, as it’s incredibly good for inflammation and overall wellness. (Lord, do I hate the cold tub!) My 90-minute signature massage including foot reflexology and a scalp massage, and alleviated my back aches and anxiety substantially.
Montage Palmetto Bluff is a quick, direct flight to Savannah from Washington, D.C. and New York. Find out more about reservations, packages and specials, here.
Thank you to the Montage Palmetto Bluff for hosting us this weekend.