Arrival/Check-in: I try not to have any pre-conceived notions before entering a hotel, and it was easy here, as I was not at all familiar with South Carolina, let alone the Lowcountry, where the inn sits on 20,000 acres of lush wetlands between Charleston and Savannah.
I pulled up to a small guard house on a country road where a security guard checked our names against a guest list. We drove another five miles through the magnificent tree-lined approach. The inn, at the end of the road on the May River, was so picturesque that I felt like I’d stepped back 100 years, yet it had all the modern luxuries of a 5-star resort. A valet took my bags and showed me to the front desk.
After check-in, the receptionist really made this city girl smile: She showed me to my bicycle. Every guest is given one to ride around the property. I tried to remember the last time I was on a bike, but the old saying is true — you never forget! As I pedaled to my cottage, I passed fellow guests in formal clothes en route on their bikes to dinner, smiling and waving. I was in a different world yet only a 90-minute flight from New York City. I was already loving it. (30/30)
Guest Quarters: I stayed in one of the 50 guest cottages, where I felt like I’d walked into my own Southern living room. The entrance had a small alcove with a sink and refrigerator/minibar. The room opened up into a large bedroom with two armchairs facing a working fireplace. The large, screened outdoor terrace faced the May River. The bathroom had a separate shower that doubled as a steam room. Had I not been so intrigued to explore the bluff on my bike, it would have been hard to tear me away from the room. (29/30)
Services/Amenities: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff offered me every elegant service in a down-home Southern style that was hard not to love. On an initial bike ride through the grounds, I stumbled upon the spa in its own 9,500-square-foot Southern-style manor house and booked an appointment. My treatment room had a private veranda with a soaking pool where I listened to the nature around me and relaxed before my treatment. The spa experience is worth a trip back to the hotel due to the expertise of the therapists and the natural ingredients the spa uses, supplied from the hotel grounds: Palmetto Bluff mud, cornmeal, peaches, cotton, wild rice and red river clay.
The hotel also has its own gorgeous Jack Nicklaus golf course, a canoe and kayak club, an equestrian facility, a lawn and racquet club and plenty of hiking areas and guided tours on and off the water.
I ate one dinner in my room and another at the luxurious Canoe Club. The entire property catered to every luxury, but everyone was friendly and down-to-earth. After dinner at the Canoe Club, I roasted s’mores around a fire pit in the backyard of the main house, mingling with other guests and feeling like part of a community which shared a love for luxury and the outdoors. (40/40)
The Experience: I can’t speak highly enough about my experience. The combination of Southern charm and modern luxuries in a natural setting was perfect. Direct access to the water made the daily activities inexhaustible; and when I wanted to sit and read by one of the pools, I was made to feel like the only person at the hotel. It was a great escape from the city; I would highly recommend it for couples, friend getaways, families and corporate retreats.
Total Score: 99/100
The Inn At Palmetto Bluff
476 Mount Pelia Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
tel 843 706 6500
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Since 1970, Goway Travel has been committed to providing customized travel experiences for world travelers. Few things are better evidence of this commitment than being awarded the 2019 Trazees award for Favorite Tour Operator. Goway Travel heartily thanks the readers of Trazee Travel for this honor and for their confidence in Goway’s work in creating travel memories that’ll last a lifetime.
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