I’m no stranger to the charms of the South. Last year after spending just forty-eight hours in Charleston, I was googling real estate and convinced I belonged there.
There’s something just wildly charming about it, and I think I could pass for a native if I just indulged my inner Lemon Breeland a little and practiced my drawl.
So when I got an invitation to go to Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina and spend the weekend at The Montage Resort, I packed everything gingham in my closet and headed to JFK.
I’ve spent more nights of the last seven years in hotel rooms than my own apartment, but I had never had the pleasure of staying at a Montage property. Their resort in Bluffton, South Carolina is set among 22,000 acres of historical land that looks like it is right out of a storybook. There is a conversation of wildlife, a Revolutionary War cemetery, a shooting range, stables, bike trails, lakes, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, a s’mores truck (yeah, you heard me), even a canine ambassador named Mae that knows how to fetch her owner a cold beer on command… and that’s not even half of what they have to offer.
This is a place where there is something for everyone, and after three days taking in all the magic of The Montage, I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite hotels I have visited not just in American, but in the world.
However you want to stay, The Montage has an option for you. You can choose between the lovely rooms at their Inn, private cottages for two, Signature Residences, and homes throughout the property which can fit entire families or multiple couples. I feel in love with the Signature Residences that come with bicycles, a golf cart, and beautiful views. The different types of accommodations means there is something to accommodate every type of traveler and suit your needs.
Biscuits, cornbread, fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, banana puddin’, sweet tea… it’s no secret the South has the best food in America. The Montage takes your standard Southern Comforts and elevates them to a heavenly level. There are several restaurants at the resort so you need never leave, and no shortage of options for all palettes and diets.
I ate Southern Classics at Coles, a breakfast fit for a queen at Octagon Porch, a Mexican al fresco lunch by the pool, and even got to make fresh bruschetta with the chef lakeside using tomatoes from their garden.
That s’mores truck I talked about earlier, it’s parked every night outside one of the main restaurants and they have six types of marshmallows to choose from.
For those looking to try some southern comfort, there’s also an adorable little bourbon wagon you’ll find is the perfect spot to spend happy hour or grab a night cap.
I’ve never been to a hotel that offers “porching” as an activity before, and I LOVE that. But that’s The Montage ethos is a nutshell: it’s creative, diverse, and most of all FUN in what it has to offer.
I’ve also never seen a hotel that dedicated more time, thought, and effort to making unique experiences for their guests. You can do all the southern essentials – clay shooting, kayaking, horse riding, golfing – but then you can go a little outside the box and meet the archeologist at the on-property museum, talk Megladons with a history expert and see his teeth collection, take an apple pie baking class with the pastry chef, play in a five-story treehouse, or make your own beauty essence from scratch in the spa. I spent the weekend with a packed activity schedule and barely scratched the surface of what I could do.
Biking around the property was one of my favorite things. The Spanish Moss just makes for the most picturesque views and it’s easy to get everywhere by bike.
Upon seeing me admire a board of shiny, enamel pins meant for children who complete a Montage Milestone, the general manager came over. “What did you do today” I proceeded to tell him about our boat expedition, spotting bottleneck dolphins and catching a baby hammerhead shark. “Well, I’d say you earned these then…” he said as he handed me two pins – one for catching a fish and the other for seeing dolphins. I affixed them to my jean jacket, where they will remain forever, and walked away smiling.
There wasn’t a single encounter with a member of the staff that didn’t leave me grinning. There is nothing they cannot and will not do for you, and it seems like it is truly their pleasure to do it. I’ve never been at a hotel where the staff seem so genuinely pleased to be there, making sure your experience is perfect. After a few encounters, I honestly felt more like family than a guest.
I don’t use the word magic lightly. But it’s the only way to describe Palmetto Bluff. Spanish moss trees, sunlit porches, white picket fences, tranquil lakes and little chapels. I felt like I was let loose on the movie set of The Notebook. This place will capture your heart and make all your Americana dreams come true.
While this trip was courtesy of The Montage, I have already booked a return trip to spend Christmas there with my family! That’s how special this hotel is and honest my love for it is.
The Montage Palmetto Bluff is easily reached from the Savannah or Hilton Head airports.
They can arrange transport for you for the airport to the hotel. Once you arrive a fleet of Cadillacs is at your disposal to help you explore further afield.