A mild southern breeze finds its way across a meandering May River. A picturesque skyscape is effortlessly forming on the horizon. The view of marshes and oyster beds are beginning to be covered by a slow-rising tide in the distance. Soon that view starts to dissipate in the fading light as red brick fire pits are being lit before you on a vibrant green expansive lawn. As you sip slowly from a hand-shaken fig martini, you sit comforted on a cushioned sofa on an elongated veranda. Overhead, twirling blades of ceiling fans remind you that you’re in the South. But so does the refreshing breeze visiting across the May River, which passes gentle kisses to those who elect to relax and enjoy the sunsets from the veranda. Your intentions? Pure relaxation. Your location? The Inn at Palmetto Bluff.
Once arriving on the property, a scenic tree-lined miles-long driveway guides you toward your destination. The journey over the entrance bridge displays striking vistas of some of the most remarkable scenery the Low Country has to offer.
The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a renowned luxury spa hotel set amongst forested sanctuaries and river fronts positioned within the heart of a residential village. Along with its numerous awards presented by AAA, Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler (just to name a few), the property is also operated and managed by Auberge Resorts, known as ‘the world’s finest operators of small hotels’. Named as one of the top 500 best hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2011, the property was also recognized this year (2012) by AAA with its own Five Star rating, as well as by Forbes Travel Guide with a Four Star Award for 2012 in addition.
After checking in, guests are driven from the inn’s main building to their private cottage via golf cart by the friendly staff along a red brick pathway. Private, secluded and strategically placed in the midst of Palmetto Bluff’s comforting backdrop, the cottages overlook the calm waters of this area and prove that one can truly relax and release the world from one’s shoulders in this type of environment.
The guest cottages offer every amenity you can imagine. From the beautiful pine wood floors to the vaulted ceilings and private screened porches overlooking the May River or a water-filled artery lined with towering trees and migrating birds. Down bedding and Italian linens are a staple in each cottage, while a wet bar with a Sub-Zero refrigerator keeps your favorite beverages chilled to perfection. Also available is a plasma television, wi-fi access and a DVD/CD system. Another favorite amenity of the cottages is their deluxe bathrooms, which offer enormous steam showers, ample vanity space and a separate soaking tub that is guaranteed to wash away every stressful situation from your day.
We were sent the above welcome gift from the manager of the property…a Palmetto Bluff branded bottle of wine, two wine glasses, a very kind card to us from management and a colorful tray of gourmet tortilla chips and fresh salsa.
Whether you’re originally from the south, or just accustomed to the southern way of life, you’ll find that the spacious screened in porches attached to the guest cottages will aid in total relaxation and enhance your state of calm. (Above, cool-toned patio furniture on our private porch, rocking chairs in a corner and the exterior view of the cottage.)
Above, our view across the tree-strewn area where the guest cottages exist, a photo of bicycles placed beside each cottage for riding along the property’s manicured pathways and the scenic unending waterway behind the cottage.
The above photo collage shows our view from the front porch balcony, the side of our cottage and the brick pathway that leads from the main lobby to the guest cottages.
Below, Palmetto Bluff’s 260-foot dock right off of the pathways that guides visitors to and from the guest cottages from the main entrance. We’ve taken many walks here and enjoyed magnificent sunsets and an ocassional bottlenose dolphin swimming past.
The following photos are of various natural scenes on the property. Clockwise from top left, the spa and pool surrounded by southern foliage, the tide creeping up slowly just before sunset, an alligator spying on passers-by as he slides into the water and the marsh-lined May River.
The ruins below are the remains of the elaborate four-story mansion that belonged to the Wilson family. Elaborate parties and entertaining of heads of state once graced the halls of what used to lie here. Constructed in the early 1900s, it caught fire in 1926 and burned to the ground. These partial column are all that remains today. The smaller photos below the ruins are of the Palmetto Bluff fire pits and a charming bridge that crosses Palmetto Bluff’s internal waterway.
The main building of The Inn at Palmetto Bluff contains a wine cellar, main lobby, meeting and party rooms upstairs, River House Restaurant and a scopic screened-in veranda that allows for relaxed comfort and expansive views of the lawn and May River just beyond the fire pits.
The screened veranda just off the main lobby and main building of the inn is welcoming and inviting and offers its guests stunning views of the May River, its tranquil marshes and the fire pit-dotted manicured lawn surrounded by moss-draped oaks. We’ve spent many evenings on this veranda…reflecting, gaining clarity, and being inspired.
Warm southern breezes whisper to patrons beneath mighty oak trees, while on the veranda, the restaurant serves up one of my favorite southern cocktails…the Miss Grace Fig Martini. Sipping on this fine elixir and relaxing on this very veranda are two standard things my husband and I partake in when in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Craftily made with fig-infused Firefly Vodka, Grand Marnier, and lemon and lime juices, this beverage tastes as though you’re drinking an actual sweet fig instead of eating it…with a kick! It’s something you have to try at least once.
Above, photos of several Miss Grace Fig Martinis we’ve enjoyed, the River House “Porch Menu” beside a flickering candle, complimentary bar snacks above (caramel popcorn, cheesy bread twists, and sweet sugar-dusted pecans), and Fried Green Tomatoes and Crabcakes for appetizers.
Visiting the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is an experience worth taking a trip to the south. We’ve stayed several times, and will continue to call the property our ‘home away from home’ because of the staff’s friendly demeanor, prestigious service, exquisite and comforting accommodations and historic setting along the stunning May River.
- PROPERTY: This historic resort, which once consisted of 21 plantations on the property, will pull you into another era with it’s deep-in-history set roots, the southern screened porches and the breathtaking views overlooking the May River.
- SERVICE / STAFF: Impeccable service and staff. We have always been quite satisfied with the flawless customer service provided by the Inn at Palmetto Bluff.
- DINING OPTIONS: There are several dining options available on property when you are staying at the inn. RIVER HOUSE, part of the main building, offers an exquisite dining experience. Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner from 6PM – 9:30PM, River House also offers a Lounge Bar Menu available between 3PM and 10PM. Cocktails are served between 2PM and 11PM. BUFFALO’S is a casual dining venue just steps from the registration building. With views of the May River and the Palmetto Bluff Chapel, this restaurant is open daily serving breakfast between 7AM and 11AM as well as lunch from 11AM – 3PM. Wines, cocktails and local craft beers are also offered. An additional casual fare location on property is the MAY RIVER BAR & GRILL situated next to the award winning Jack Nicklaus gold course. You can enjoy lunch Tuesday through Sunday here from 11AM – 3PM and items from the bar until the last golfer finished his game. The fourth option for on-property dining while you’re a guest at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is the CANOE CLUB RESTAURANT at the Canoe Center. Between the Palmetto Bluff Water Trail and remarkable views of the May River, this contemporary grill offers a variety of succulent seafood options and beef offerings, among other things. Open Thursday through Mondays for dinner from 6PM – 9:30PM, the Canoe Club Restaurant also offers a Cocktail & Bar menu on Sundays and Mondays from 3PM to 6PM. IN-ROOM DINING is always available.
- LOCATION: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is located at 476 Mount Pelia Road, Bluffton SC 29910.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (866) 706-6565, Website: www.palmettobluff.com
- PARKING: Upon pulling into the front of the inn at Palmetto Bluff, there is resort valet that will take care of your vehicle during your stay.
- RESORT AMENITIES: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff offers Concierge services, which can assist you with setting up tours and cruises, classes and training and other activities on site. From spending a day at the equestrian center to taking a Breakfast and Mimosa Sunday morning cruise on Palmetto Bluff’s antique yacht, Grace, you can also indulge in sports such as tennis, golf, lawn sports, dolphin tours, archaeological and historic expeditions, kayaking and much more!