Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A serene, distinctly southern luxury retreat in Carolina Lowcountry
People will often describe the Carolina Lowcountry with words such as mystical, ethereal, and hauntingly beautiful. That's because this region along the southern part of the South Carolina coast, home to wetlands, rivers, saltwater marshes, and mossy forests, is all of those things. It's a place that feels at once exotic and distinctly American, a place where time seems to have stood still; the Gullah inhabitants and language (a blend of Creole and English) still thrive, historic architecture has been preserved, and the magical natural beauty has remained relatively untouched.
Palmetto Bluff, a 20,000-acre real estate development about 20 miles east of Hilton Head Island, and 20 miles north of Savannah, embodies some of the best of what Lowcountry has to offer. It sits along the May River, a tributary to the Atlantic Ocean, and is blissfully tranquil: Visitors will drive along a private road (blocked off by a security gate) under a canopy of trees to reach the main square of the picturesque Palmetto Bluff Village, and the development's facilities -- including the golf club, fitness club, boat house, and pools -- never feel crowded.
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is the gem of this development, and offers what are among the most luxurious accommodations on the entire east coast. The property includes the main River House, which offers sweeping views and plenty of cozy common spaces -- a wide front porch, a library, and a small lobby; numerous small white cottages dotting the landscape; a chapel; and ample recreation facilities (which are shared with the residents of the village).
The River House looks like a classic southern mansion, with a two-story porch, gabled roof, and off-white wood siding, and in front of it are the ruins of an actual, historic southern mansion. The crumbling columns and brick foundations of the grand Wilson Plantation House, built around 1910 and burnt to the ground in 1929, evoke the bygone days when guests arrived to Palmetto Bluff by steamship and train for lavish parties. In fact, the whole property in many ways feels stuck in time: Guests can travel around by bicycle or even horse, the grounds are lit at night with flickering gas lamps, and the pace of life is wonderfully slow.
Part of the Palmetto Bluff real estate development in Carolina Lowcountry
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is located in Bluffton, South Carolina, about 20 miles west of Hilton Head Island and 20 miles north of Savannah -- but a world away. It's part of a peaceful, beautiful region along the South Carolina coast known as Carolina Lowcountry, where salty marshes meet mossy forests. The hotel is part of the Palmetto Bluff real estate development, which features a small, picturesque village, private homes, an 18-hole golf course, and numerous recreation facilities.
This "inn" in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. The multi-bedroom Village Homes are also luxurious, but lack some of the nuances of the cottages. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, , tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming (in the two pools), and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. It's not an overstatement to say that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is one of the most special properties in the entire country.