This contemporary boutique hotel opened just a few years ago as AVIA near the buzzing City Market area. In 2011 Hyatt bought the upscale AVIA chain, but kept the hotel’s contemporary urban vibe intact. With 151 guest rooms, Andaz aims to draw a younger, hipper audience than the many bed and breakfasts in historic Savannah. Rooms are comfortable, if somewhat corporate, and come outfitted with stylish luxuries including flat-panel TVs and a well-stocked complimentary minibar. There is also a rooftop heated pool with private cabanas and a fire pit and restaurant 22 Square for all-day dining.
Azalea Inn & Gardens
Among the many mansions near Forsyth Park, Azalea Inn & Gardens stands out for its light and airy feel, with a cheery yellow exterior and broad, welcoming porch. Although the dining room, with its historic mural painted by SCAD students and crimson and gold curtains, is imposing, most of the rooms avoid the heavy palette of colors and fabrics found in stodgier bed and breakfasts, successfully respecting the local history while bringing in lighter, airier tones.
Owners Michael and Teresa Jacobson, who are originally from the Northeast, strive to make travelers feel like guests in their home. Breakfast, served twice each morning around a large table, is a highlight, with delectable offerings like ricotta quiche with fresh berries or southern grits soufflé, made from sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
Hamilton Turner Inn
Built in 1873 by Samuel Pugh Hamilton, this stately home on Lafayette Square has the distinction of being the first residence in Savannah to have gotten electricity, which was installed in 1883. Since then, the mansion has seen its share of inhabitants, from reputable ones like Savannah’s most famous jeweler to the infamous like Joe Odum (of Midnight fame), who threw wild parties in its parlor rooms. The inn's present owners have spent a small fortune restoring its former glory. Each of the 17 rooms, named after notable residents of Savannah, is decorated uniquely, with walls varying from deep crimson to vibrant yellow to exposed brick. Antique furnishings, including four-poster beds, cozy armchairs and plush Persian rugs laid atop polished wood floors, add to the elegance. Although the inn does not officially prohibit children, it is best for those over the age of 12.
Mansion on Forsyth Park
Since taking over this over-the-top hotel, Marriot has only slightly toned down some of its most decorative excesses. Entering the lobby, with its twisted marble columns, baroque mirrors and giant backlit slab of onyx serving as front desk, you may think you are in Las Vegas or Graceland rather than in the only five-diamond hotel in a town so genteel that it’s known as the Hostess City. The open-air courtyard off the lobby, which is tented in a white fabric and draws ladies for lunch and afternoon tea, may reassure you, but the bar, restaurant and 126 guest rooms are all theatrically decorated. Some feature red velvet curtains and black lacquer cabinetry, while others contain flamboyantly shaped chaises lounges upholstered in chartreuse chenille. The high-gloss-white headboards reach almost to the ceiling, creating an Alice-in-Wonderland effect.
Yet despite their exaggerated aesthetic, the rooms are comfortable and well equipped, with generous desks, large closets and marble bathrooms. Some have walls that can be opened up to merge bed and bath into one open room. Minibars, plasma-screen TVs, good reading lights and super-comfortable beds round out the rooms’ comforts. Other hotel amenities include a small pool, a spa, a lounge, a restaurant, a business and fitness center and a tastefully done cooking school. Seven Hundred Drayton, the hotel restaurant, boasts a black-and-orange color scheme, with black leather banquettes, dripping orange chandeliers and shiny pumpkin-colored chests.
But the draw of Savannah is its history rather than its hotels, and the Mansion offers a comfortable central location for exploring. A nice perk is the complimentary shuttle, which guests can request to drop them off and pick them up throughout the Historic District. The front desk or van driver will give you a number to call when you are ready to be picked up and brought back to the hotel.
Originally built as a hotel, the Marshall House served as a hospital for soldiers during the Civil War. After languishing unused for decades, it underwent a multi-million dollar restoration, and is now once again a Historic District hotel that offers some of the conveniences of a larger property with a sense of history.
Don’t expect fine antiques in the 68 rooms—not that those traveling with kids would want them. Rather, you’ll find more of a Bombay Company aesthetic with hand-block, indigo dyed fabrics, hardwood floors and beautiful. The hotel is within walking distance to the river and most major landmarks.
Perry Lane Hotel
Stephen Williams House
Locals rave about this little gem of an inn in a Federal style town house that was awarded the Preservation Award in 2003 by the Historic Savannah Foundation for its painstaking restoration. The proprietor, Dr. Albert Wall, is a true Southern gentleman who invites guests to make themselves at home in what he proudly declares is “the grandest of the Federal houses that have survived in Savannah.” A successful doctor with a love for antiques, Wall bought the house almost fifteen years ago and spent two years restoring it before filling it with his collection of antiques and opening it as a five-bedroom inn. He spent 50 years amassing the museum-worthy treasures that fill the rooms, though no pieces of furniture bear velvet ropes. Rather, guests are encouraged to have tea in the parlor, sit on silk damask side chairs under the gaze of oil portraits of Colonial grandees and lounge out in the restored back garden.
Most mornings, Wall serves breakfast to his guests. He is usually sporting a bow tie and blazer when he sits down at the dining room’s gleaming early-19th-century mahogany table, which originally belonged to the Marshall Fields family. He entertains guests with his encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s highs and lows. Each piece of furniture has a story; and the bedrooms are also furnished with pieces that Wall found at estate sales in the region or at auctions in London. Rooms have such up-to-date comforts as Frette sheets and Bronnley bath products.
Wall happily suggests his favorite spots in Savannah, sharing tips on antiques and restaurants. Given his engaging manner, it’s not surprising that his visitors are inspired to send him thank-you notes and holiday cards after a stay.