An idyllic Lowcountry hideaway
48 Cottages and Cottage Suites / 152 Rooms and Suites
Surrounded by rivers, marshes and maritime forests, Montage Palmetto Bluff is the bucolic, Spanish moss-draped setting for a picture-perfect getaway.
In the fall of 2016, the resort debuted a massive expansion that included a 74-room inn, a 13,000-square-foot spa, a lobby lounge and pool. Of course, these fresh amenities are to be enjoyed on top of already-established dining options, charming boutiques and a multitude of activities.
What Montage noticed in Palmetto Bluff aligned with what previous innkeepers saw — stunningly green landscapes, abundant waterways and screened-in porches that look like they sprung right from a Margaret Mitchell novel.
After serving as a plantation during the antebellum era, the property was owned by a New York banker, Richard T. Wilson. With an eye for entertaining, Wilson had a mansion built on the bluff in 1910. The structure mysteriously burned in 1926. In a move to honor the site’s vivid past (as well as offer a modern spin on the Southern plantation aesthetic), the façade of the newly added Inn was designed to replicate the original Wilson Mansion.
When you step to the water’s edge, you’ll notice all manners of wildlife. One of the stars, of course, is the alligator. They drift on the waterways and position themselves along banks on sunny days. Montage Palmetto Bluff ensures that guests are well informed about their scaly neighbors while the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy does an exceptional job of monitoring the reptiles’ behavior for everyone’s safety.
Turtles, egrets and other critters readily scamper about, too. Most times you’ll be so enthralled with taking a picture of a vintage bridge or one of the charming chapels that you won’t even notice the lizard that just scurried across the town square.
Once you step inside one of the inn’s rooms, you’ll find many of the creature comforts you’ve come to expect from the Montage name — hardwood floors, freestanding tubs and beautiful verandas. (You’ll see a gator as well, but this time it’ll be in the form of a plastic toy; it’s the resort’s mascot.) Units have a coastal-chic feel that’s only enhanced by neutral tones, fabric chairs and footstools.
Hallways and public spaces’ walls are filled with images of the Wilson Mansion and paintings from beloved South Carolina artist West Fraser.
The cottages and cottage suites were already in place prior to the resort expansion. Thankfully, the Montage made sure their relaxed essence continued to shine through with porches, fireplaces and vaulted ceilings. Paths surrounding the picture-perfect spaces almost beg for you to hop on a bike and go for a leisurely trip around the lagoon.
Tucked adjacent to the lively Octagon Bar and Gathering Place, Jessamine serves as Montage Palmetto Bluff’s signature restaurant. The simple space isn’t necessarily fine dining, but its polished service and serious seafood selections command respect. Fennel-sprinkled crab cakes, black bass Veracruz and crispy-skin salmon come out bursting with flavor on plates that have nary a drop of bacon jus out of place.
Buffalo’s is a 10-minute walk away at Village Park Square. A relaxed eatery with an all-day menu (note: the restaurant does close between 3 and 5 p.m.), Buffalo’s shows its love for the sea as well with shrimp po’boys, fish tacos and crab-cake-topped salads. The restaurant can reel it in from the Atlantic, too, with table-pleasing barbecue wings, buffalo burgers and artisan pizzas.
Another tasty option is Fore & Aft. As you may have gathered from the name, this laid-back spot near the water is a great place to meet before a stand-up paddleboarding trek or after a round of golf. Expect lighter fare (shrimp quesadillas and turkey wraps) that’s tastefully paired with a Palmetto Punch (rum, Curacao, fruit juice, syrup and bitters) or a glass of pinot.
The drink options are also impressive at RT’s Market. Like some place you’d picture The Andy Griffith Show’s Aunt Bee to be a frequent shopper, the cute market is the go-to place for Montage Palmetto Bluff visitors and full-time residents (the Palmetto Bluff community includes 35 private Montage Residences), to pick up essentials like milk and meats. RT’s also carries souvenirs and basic kitchen items. There are even a few gas pumps for filling up.
While lounging the day away on a hammock is perfectly justified at Montage Palmetto Bluff, the property offers lots of other activities. The May River Golf Club is an Audubon-certified layout that keeps golfers and nature always at the forefront of its mind. Two resident bald eagles (and, yes, the occasional gator) prove as much.
Basketball and tennis courts are available. So, too, are miles of Mother Nature-friendly paths. Of course, if you want to learn even more about the whitetail deer or birds in the area, the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy can organize guided tours.
Should you need a closer look at the local bottlenose dolphins or largemouth bass, reserve your spot on the restored Grace, a 103-year-old yacht that Captain Ed uses to take guests out two or three times a day. The easygoing skipper will give a quick history lesson and, if you’re being really nice, show you where the manatees occasionally hang out.
One other splendid feature birthed from the hotel brand’s entry into Palmetto Bluff is the all-new Spa Montage. The retreat has a similarly calming air as other parts of the campus. That could be the result of the coastal-cool color palette or waxed pine floors. It might be because of a menu of tranquil treatments like the Deluxe Caviar Facial and Warm River Stone Massage. Whatever the source, the 13,000-square-foot spa, much like the rest of Montage Palmetto Bluff, bursts with Lowcountry luxuriousness.
DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel
DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel