Lowcountry Lodging

At this Montage, get cozy in distinctively Southern residences

BY DON NICHOLS — Winter 2018 

ranquil trails for cycling, running, and walking stretch for miles alongside picturesque lagoons and through centuries-old maritime forests with towering moss-draped live oaks. With its sense of peacefulness and quaint neighborhoods, South Carolina’s Palmetto Bluff residential community and conservation preserve, on the May River between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, evokes thoughts of nirvana with an authentic Southern twist. Even if you don’t own one of the 900-plus homes already built in this exclusive 22,000-acre enclave, you can now cocoon in one, even if just for a few nights. As a bonus, you’ll get all of the five-star perks that come with a luxury resort.

The Montage Palmetto Bluff, the 200-room hotel nestled in the community, started offering its “branded residences” for nightly rental in November. So far, nine of the community’s homes have been built as Montage residences and marketed to buyers looking for hassle-free ownership, meaning the resort handles most all the duties associated with owning a home, from interior design down to regular routine maintenance. Three are now available for overnight stays and have prime locations fronting a lagoon.

Good news for families or friends traveling as a group, given these spacious, single-story residences range in size from 2,200 to 4,200 square feet and come with two to five bedrooms. Bright and airy Great Rooms combine a decked-out kitchen, dining room, and living room with fireplace into one large, open-concept gathering space. They also ooze Southern charm — think antique heart pine floors, vaulted ceilings, plantation shutters, and large screened porches looking out onto lush green lawns shaded by live oaks. The resort describes them as “relaxed luxury.”

Plans call for 35 of the residences to be built over time. Construction commenced on them as part of a major expansion project begun in early 2014 when Montage took over an existing 50-room property that had been operated by Auberge. That project, which was completed in fall 2016, cost more than $100 million and increased the room count to the current 200. Just a short walk from the residences, a new main building called the Inn, designed to resemble a grand Southern home, houses 74 of the new rooms, a restaurant, bar, library, spa, and fitness center. Other accommodations — cozy cottages and cottage suites, all with screened porches —
dot parklike grounds behind the Inn. In all, Montage guests now have access to eight restaurants and bars, three pools, a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, and a bowling alley throughout the community.

Rooms from $305; residences from $1,535. 866-706-6565; montagehotels.com/palmettobluff

2 Must-Dos at the Resort

Outdoor activities abound at Palmetto Bluff, but our favorite: a two-hour sunset kayak tour with a knowledgeable local guide on the May River. Exerting and blissful at the same time.

Rev up one of the Mercedes-Benz courtesy cars that Montage offers guests and drive into nearby Bluffton to check out this small town’s eclectic art galleries and shops.

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