Debra Bokur 2016-09-01 12:34:23
A peek behind the freshly hung curtains of Montage Palmetto Bluff ’s grand debut unveils a tribute to the Lowcountry in ambience and design Set within the charming panorama of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Montage Palmetto Bluff has atmosphere to spare. Radiating the hospitality and peaceful pace associated with so much of the South, this luxurious resort has shaken off the wraps of its recent expansion and thrown wide its doors, welcoming guests in search of a unique blend of upscale services, exclusive surroundings and singular Southern hospitality. The classically Southern architecture and design of the resort’s recently unveiled Inn is a nod to the elegant Wilson Mansion and its 12 individual plantations that sprawled across the property during the early 1900s. Though the mansion didn’t survive a devastating fire in 1926, some of its original features have been incorporated in the present-day Inn. The property has been both enhanced and expanded and now features a total of 200 guest accommodations and boasts an inviting lagoon-view lobby lounge, the new Jessamine restaurant as well as Octagon Bar & Gathering Place. The resort also includes a spacious new Spa Montage and salon, three distinctive pool venues, six dining experiences, Paintbox children’s programs, 35 private Montage Residences and meeting and event space, all situated along the property’s scenic waterways. Additionally, the resort features two chapels, one of which is newly built, a new retail boutique and new fitness center and movement studio. TIMELESS TALES AND CHARM Happily, these new developments haven’t come at the cost of warmth or residential intimacy. Kyle Lott, director of design at The Athens Group, which is the developer of Montage Palmetto Bluff, explains that from the initial stages of the project’s concept and design, he and his team knew that the story of Palmetto Bluff was indelibly linked with the story of the old Wilson Mansion. Today’s collection of guest houses and renovated cottages is a nod, in part, to the location’s historic antebellum days— a modern take on those long-ago individual Southern plantations. “We wanted to tell of the story of Palmetto Bluff by re-creating the ambience and continuing the tradition of Southern hospitality,” Lott emphasizes. “To that end, we have built a classic Southern mansion taking inspiration and details from the Gilded Age Wilson Mansion that once graced Palmetto Bluff. Guests will notice the columns across the front of the ... [Inn], the long graceful porches, the cooling effect of white, high ceilings and pine floors. We want the hotel to reflect the Lowcountry region’s gracefulness, richness of detail and character.” Arriving at Palmetto Bluff’s new front entrance, it’s easy to imagine Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone With the Wind” gliding through the mansion’s main door all decked out for a summertime soiree or a cocktail party. The new Inn includes traditional Southern guest accommodations and suites designed to emulate the charm of the property’s free-standing cottages, fitted with separate showers and soaking tubs, a furnished terrace or balcony on many rooms, and up to 800 square feet of interior space. Views of maritime forest or lagoon waterways are devised to induce a feeling of privacy and enchantment, while the lobby lounge and its octagon-shaped bar provide plenty of opportunities for socializing. “We designed around the river and waterways to give as much exposure to those great assets as possible,” Lott adds. “We have a pier and dock at the ... [Inn], and it’s our hope that guests and owners will find it equally as convenient to access the resort from the water as from land.” PAMPERING INSIDE AND OUT While the Wilson Mansion may have been the former centerpiece of the property, the current focus for a relaxing Southern sojourn may well prove to be the new 13,000-square-foot spa retreat. Design inspiration came from the setting, with heart pine floors, a color palette reflecting the coast, traditional crown molding, views of the interior lagoon forest and locally crafted wrought-iron gates. Along with a full-service salon, movement studio for yoga and other classes, a cardio and strength area, 13 treatment rooms, and a full menu of wet and dry treatments and therapies, the space includes private men’s and women’s relaxation areas with redwood saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms and outdoor patios with cold plunge pools and jetted tubs. Besides the holistic Kerstin Florian skin care line, the spa will be the exclusive East Coast address for the opulent Jacqueline Piotaz Switzerland Cosmetics collection of products. After relaxing treatments, indulge the palate at the Inn’s new Octagon Bar & Gathering Place, a new poolside bar and grill, Fore & Aft or Jessamine, serving Southern charm and chops for lunch and dinner in addition to classic breakfasts. Each dining option is overseen by Executive Chef Nathan Beriau, who showcases the freshest local fare in each of the resort’s culinary operations. From these inspired dining venues to luxuriously appointed accommodations, the resort’s spaces—both old and new—radiate the charismatic charm, hospitality and peaceful pace that reflect the very essence of the South. HOW TO WHILE AWAY THE DAY MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR STAY AT MONTAGE PALMETTO BLUFF WITH THE RESORT’S MANY ON-SITE ACTIVITIES. Spread across 20,000 acres, Palmetto Bluff is ideally suited for a host of activities. Thanks to the proximity of the May River and 32 miles of waterfront, guests can enjoy cruises aboard Grace, an antique 60-foot pre-World War I gas-powered yacht; or explore deserted hummock islands, unspoiled streams and coves in the company of Boo Harrell, the property’s expert water guide. Other exciting watery pastimes include paddleboarding, fishing along the community inland water trail, kayaking, canoeing or simply relaxing along the river’s edge with a gourmet picnic. If you prefer to keep your feet dry, additional outdoor pursuits range from horseback riding at the pristine Longfield Stables equestrian facility, playing 18 holes at the state’s No. 4-ranked Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, hiking through the scenic nature preserves, or honing your skills at the Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club’s 13 sporting clays stations located within a serene 40-acre hardwood bottom. The Wilson Lawn and Racquet Club has croquet, tennis and bocce courts, plus a full-service pro shop. Ongoing art and history programs are also offered through the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, allowing guests an additional experiential choice for becoming familiar with the surroundings. … WE HAVE BUILT A CLASSIC SOUTHERN MANSION TAKING INSPIRATION AND DETAILS FROM THE GILDED AGE WILSON MANSION THAT ONCE GRACED PALMETTO BLUFF. —KYLE LOTT
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