Savannah vs. Charleston: Which Southern City Has the Best Luxury Hotels? – Robb Report

6 minutes, 49 seconds Read

It’s a tale of two cities: Charleston, the coastal colonial dandy, has always played big sister to smaller, Southern Gothic, so-pretty-Sherman-couldn’t-burn-it Savannah. Just over 100 miles apart, but divided by state and subtleties of culture, these bastions of low-country luxury enjoy a not always friendly rivalry. With world-famous restaurants, top hotels, and oodles of investment, Charleston has the obvious upper hand. But is that finally changing?  

The recent debut of an urban resort dubbed the Bardo in Savannah brings the highest per-night rate ever to the city. Is it a sign of shifting momentum? A jab at Charleston’s solar plexus? We put both cities in the ring, head-to-head, bareknuckle, to see who is punching hardest in 2024. Who has the best hotels? Strike the gong. Fight!

The Dewberry vs. The Bardo

The exterior of the Dewberry

Retro in the extreme, but packed with the latest luxuries, the Dewberry is one of Charleston’s favorite inns.

Kris Tamburello

The basics: A temple to midcentury modern, the Dewberry occupies a brilliantly restored Federal building in downtown Charleston, radiating the best of the 60s. It has 153 rooms with rates starting at $500.

Meanwhile, the Bardo is Savannah’s newest hotel and arguably the city’s most unique offering to date. It brings a chic, design-forward experience to an iconic 19th-century Southern Gothic building. Spread across two acres, it’s an urban resort with a Cote d’Azur ambiance. The hotel’s self-described self-described “riot clash aesthetic” mixes bold vibrant pops of color, stylish furnishings, and beautifully restored historic architectural accents. It has 149 rooms, including 50 suites, starting at $450 a night.

The pool at the Bardo in Savannah

Bardo is a new urban oasis in Savannah.

Phillip Pond

The bars: The Dewberry has two bars—the rooftop Citrus Club Bar and the sexy Living Room lobby bar—both with award-winning cocktail lists. In fact, the hotel’s bar scene is its most touted amenity. The top order is the Dewberry Old Fashioned (Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve demerara, bitters, orange oil, cherry). In the morning, the house caffeine is oft served with bubbly. (Why not?) Offerings include Morning Dew custom blend coffee, brewed for the hotel by Second State Coffee, and Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne.

Tradition meets contemporary comforts in the Bardo.

Andrew Frazier Photo

Compare that with the Bardo Club, an exclusive social club for locals (who score a membership) and hotel guests (who purchase access as part of a booking). Perks include a swanky private lounge, personal training and small group fitness classes, and a personal shopping service. The house bubbles are from Louis Roederer. The cocktail here is the Theodora, a southern riff on a margarita, made with verjus, clarified passion juice, saffron, and tequila. Take the drink to the pool—which the Dewberry lacks—and into a private cabana or poolside suites. When you wake up, the coffee comes compliments of La Colombe (and we’re sure you could get some Champagne with it if you wanted). 

The spas: John Dewberry’s own Charleston carriage house was the inspiration for the Dewberry Spa. Here custom products by Natura Bissé made with scents inspired by the southern dewberry plant are incorporated into treatments, like a signature massage.

At the Bardo’s Saltgrass spa, Corpus Naturals created the hotel’s custom amenity line. The focus here is on holistic wellness and fitness with IV vitamin drip and breathwork sessions. Better still, you can schedule a poolside four-hands massage.

Round 1 winner: Savannah 

Zero George vs. The Drayton

The lobby at the Drayton

The Drayton boasts historic bones filled with stylish midcentury decor.

Courtesy of the Drayton

The basics: Located in Charleston’s historic Ansonborough neighborhood, Zero George is an intimate hotel set in a beautifully restored set of 1800s-era buildings. Sophisticated, with a focus on individualized services and culinary splendor, it’s a favorite stop for romance or a quiet getaway. The hotel doesn’t have a pool, but their lushly landscaped courtyard offers a change of pace. It has just 16 rooms starting at $299 per night.

Alternatively, Savannah’s the Drayton is a registered historic landmark dating back to the 1890s. It’s an almost equally intimate stay, and some of the city’s best singer-songwriters and musicians come here for “Sit in Sessions” in the hotel’s Vinyl Room. Located on the Savannah River in the walkable historic district, it offers easy access to shopping, dining, and nightlife. The hotel’s pre-arrival concierge service helps guests plan and book the most sought-after Savannah experiences. It has 50 rooms starting at $330.

The rooftop at the Drayton

The Drayton’s rooftop offers some of the best views in Savannah.

The bars: Zero George punches well above its weight class with a full on eight-seat caviar bar. Stop by for Regiis Ova Caviar service, weekly cooking classes in the restaurant’s original 1840’s cookhouse, and seasonal curated wine tastings. When it comes to Champagne, what else would do but Krug Grande Cuvee Brut (169th Edition). Cocktails won’t disappoint either: Their Reserve Old Fashioned is made with a 20-year aged Jefferson single-barrel reserve, barreled specifically for the hotel. Coffee is by South Carolina’s King Bean Coffee.

Drayton guests gather for the peerless views of City Hall, the Savannah River, and Historic District from the hotel’s rooftop, Pendant Terrace and Bar. The Slow Clap cocktail is a favorite (bourbon, spiced pear liqueur, orgeat, lime, orange) or sip a glass of Los Monteros Cava at St. Neo’s brassiere and raw bar. A brisk Counter Culture brew in the hotel’s coffee bar will get you going in the morning.

The spas: Neither hotel has a spa. 

Round 2 winner: Charleston

Hotel Bennett vs. Perry Lane

Hotel Bennett is a hot hub for group seeking a fun and central stay.

The basics: Located in Charleston’s historic downtown, Hotel Bennett offers traditional southern elegance bathed in seafoam greens and creams. The rooms are furnished with designer pedestal tubs, luxurious bedding, and local artwork. No wonder it’s a favorite for groups getaways, from extended families on holiday to bachelorette bashes. You’ll find the latter group lounging on the rooftop, enjoying spectacular views of Charleston at the city’s only poolside cabana experience. It has 180 rooms and suites starting at $509.

Savannah’s Perry Lane Hotel also brings a timeless Southern luxury aesthetic to the fore, while mixing in the city’s creative and slightly quirky spirit. Located in the city’s Historic District, every inch of the hotel is inspired by an imaginary character, Adelaide Harcourt, who is “a native Savannahian and world traveler” that’s “enthralled by the beauty of the world.” The hotel’s art collection—rivaling some museums with roughly 3,600 works of art—is inspired by Adelaide’s fictional travels. The hotel’s worldly meets small town charms draw couples and girlfriends on getaways. It has 167 rooms with 12 suites, starting at $302.

Perry Lane’s rooftop bar is a quality spot to take it all in.

Adam Kuehl

The bars: Access to Hotel Bennett’s King’s Club private lounge is purchased when booking. It includes chef-prepared cuisine, an open bar, and private concierge services. For something more casual, meet friends at the rooftop pool for a glass of Moet or a Honey, I’m Comb (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, lemon apple cider, maple, and honey). La Colombe coffee is the house brand.

Panoramic views from Peregrin, the Perry Lane’s newly renovated rooftop bar, are best enjoyed with Frosé. The adjacent lushly landscaped pool area (open year-round) is dotted with lounge chairs and daybeds for quality loitering. Champagne lovers can partake of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, and Perc Coffee is on hand for caffeine needs.

The spas: Hotel Bennett’s full service spa aims at “urban oasis” status, while offering a large menu of customizable treatments. The Calming Antara Treatment is a popular booking—a full body exfoliation and hydrating therapeutic wrap, followed by a full body massage.

The spa comes to you at Perry Lane, with a host of in-room services featuring Le Chemin by Byredo products. Local bliss maker Spa Bleu is the operator here, bringing facials, massages, and plenty more right to your door. 

Round 3 winner: Charleston

Belt Winner:

Charleston. It still has the chops, but shouldn’t rest on its laurels. These days, Savannah ain’t no easy knockout. 

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts