There’s something uniquely enchanting about the US South. Its warmth extends beyond the climate, touching every aspect of its culture and landscapes. When planning my daughter’s first vacation, I wanted to find something easy, luxurious, and memorable. We wanted to stick to the East Coast to avoid dealing with a long flight and time change, and we wanted it to be warmer than Ohio (which is not a hard thing to find in December). Some colleagues recommended I look at Montage Palmetto Bluff, and I was sold.
Stepping into Montage Palmetto Bluff is like entering a world where time slows down and elegance takes center stage. This stunning property, nestled along the serene May River in South Carolina’s picturesque Lowcountry, perfectly blends Southern charm and luxury. Positioned conveniently between the vibrant life of Hilton Head Island and the historic allure of Savannah, it promises an escape that’s both secluded and connected. In this post, I will tell you all about my experience and the property.
As a note, while this review is largely a raving endorsement, this post is not sponsored by the property and all thoughts are my own.
Upon arrival to the sprawling property, we checked in with security before being given a pass and directions to the inn. The drive to the inn was like entering another world – a pathway full of southern live oaks covered in Spanish Moss. When we pulled up to the inn, the staff was waiting to help us inside and didn’t even bat an eye at our COPIOUS amounts of luggage. Like seriously, how does something so small require so much stuff?
The check-in was smooth and warm, and perfectly complemented by a brief tour of the building with a glass of bourbon spiked tea. Everyone was incredibly warm and welcoming, setting the scene for a wonderful stay.
We opted for an entry-level room, but let me tell you, the term ‘entry-level’ (and the picture) do not do it justice. The room was huge! It boasted a walk-in closet that was so spacious we could comfortably fit a crib in there while still being able to store and access our clothes and luggage – a game-changer when you’re traveling with a little one. The bathroom was gigantic, complete with luxury touches, and the workspace and sitting area made the room like our own little apartment for the week. The large window bathed the room in natural light, adding to the airy feel. And the bed? Like sleeping on a cloud. They even decked out the room with a crib and a diaper genie, and were super accommodating in finding us an extension cord for the baby monitor.
I also had the opportunity to see and learn about the other accommodations that are offered, and there truly is something for everyone. In addition to the rooms and suites at the inn, Montage Palmetto Bluff also offers the following:
For those seeking a bit more serenity away from the bustle of the inn, these are where it’s at. Imagine waking up to serene green spaces and lagoon views, enjoying your morning coffee on a screened-in porch. These 970 sq ft suites are equipped with king bedrooms, comfy sitting areas, sleeper sofas, gas fireplaces, and marble bathrooms.
The Cottages offer a quintessential Southern charm experience. They’re all about privacy and stunning views. Each cottage stretches over 1,200 sq ft, featuring king beds, cozy conversation areas, and gas fireplaces.
For the ultimate in luxury, the River View Cottage Suite is an excellent choice. It’s a sprawling 1500 sq ft of indoor/outdoor space with a king-sized bed and breathtaking views of the May River.
For families or groups, the quaintness of Village Homes and Montage Signature Residences can’t be beaten. These 2–5-bedroom homes come with gourmet kitchens, open living spaces, and screened porches – perfect for a family or group stay. The Montage Signature Residences take it up a notch with exclusive perks like complimentary bicycles, a golf cart, and daily housekeeping. These luxurious homes are privately located, offering a unique blend of comfort and opulence.
The property has a large collection of fabulous dining options to choose from, including:
Open for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner, Octagon is a symphony of seasonal cuisine and Southern charm. The dishes are a fresh take on Carolina heritage, made with locally sourced ingredients. Their award-winning sommelier and mixologists work magic with their signature barrel-aged Artillery Punch and an array of locally crafted beers. We popped in here multiple times and were consistently impressed by the friendly staff and amazing cocktails.
Tip: ask for off-menu specials or let the mixologists surprise you – they never disappoint!
This adults-only fine dining spot is a celebration of the region’s bounty. We dined here one evening, and while the ambiance was lovely, we found ourselves gravitating towards the more laid-back dining options. Still, it’s a must-try for those seeking an elevated dining experience.
With the best coffee on the property and housemade pastries, Buzz is the perfect start to any day. Don’t expect your typical chain coffee shop pastry – the croissants were perfectly buttery and flaky. I am a croissant snob so you can trust me!
Pizza, but make it gourmet. This outdoor dining experience in front of the inn offers Neapolitan pizzas and a great selection of beers and wines on tap. Quick, delicious, and utterly satisfying.
Over in Moreland Village, the Canteen is ideal for a quick bite. We biked over one morning and enjoyed breakfast sandwiches and coffee on the porch, soaking in the view.
A classic ice cream parlor that’s a must-visit. We stopped by during our wanderings in Wilson Village and were delighted by their freshly churned ice cream and array of toppings – perfect for crafting your dream sundae.
Hands down, the best room service I’ve ever experienced. Prompt delivery, perfect temperature, and flawlessly cooked dishes.
Note: I was too hungry after our drive to get a picture 😂
Though we didn’t get to try Fore & Aft (it was closed for the season), Hush (it was booked for a private event the night we had a nanny), Cole’s (it was booked for a private event the night we were in the area), or visit the Boundary Bottle Company, we wrapped up our stay with dinner at the on-property restaurant Buffalo’s. The cocktails were a highlight, adding a fun twist to our last evening – my husband especially loved the s’mores themed mocktail that he spiked! In addition to the restaurants and bars scattered around, there are also daily sweets provided by the inn in afternoons and evenings.
While the lodging was great, Montage Palmetto Bluff is really all about the activities. They offer an entire world of activities and amenities that cater to every whim and fancy. Here’s a breakdown of what we indulged in and some of the other offerings that caught our eye:
Spa Montage is a haven of nature-inspired luxury treatments. It’s all about wellness rituals that use local elements, providing an authentic sense of place. With 13 treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite with teacup soaking tubs, the spa is a realm of relaxation. We opted for a couples massage, which was pure bliss. The relaxation rooms were a serene escape, and the Art of Spa in both the ladies’ and gentlemen’s facilities, with a heated whirlpool, cold plunge pool, eucalyptus
steam room, and a red cedar sauna, was very difficult to drag my husband away from.
We explored the property’s bike paths, which was a delightful way to see the sights. The paths are well-maintained and scenic and provided us with a great way to explore all the little neighborhoods. The treehouses, especially the 5-story one, were a hit with my husband. We also did the Veuve Clicquot Picnic + Pedal which was a unique experience – cycling around with a touch of luxury in the form of a fabulous picnic.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on our Dolphin cruise. After popping the baby in an infant life jacket, we struck out through the estuaries (I think that’s the right term?) and saw swimming shrimp, a couple of dolphins, and lots of oysters. We had a great time learning about the area and its history, and even convinced our guide to let us try some fresh oysters right from the source! He hunted down a good bunch, cleaned them, shucked them, and then let us try them right then and there. While I am usually not a huge oyster fan and need lots of lemon juice to cover them up, these were actually surprisingly delicious.
The shooting club offers shooting and archery lessons. Since I have always wanted to try archery, this was my chance! They brought us out to a range with a ton of different targets spread around a field and let us go, giving us helpful pointers as needed. I have to brag a bit here – turned out I was a natural at archery!
One of the amenities that the hotel offers is a free session with The Photography Concierge. Lindsey captured absolutely stunning lifestyle photos that we’ll cherish forever. While you do have to pay for the images, it is totally worth it.
We used Hilton Head nannies on the inn’s recommendation and were thrilled with our nanny, Lisa. She was fantastic with our daughter, allowing us to have a couple of nights free to enjoy massages or date nights. We highly recommend this service to any parents visiting!
While we drove and brought more than enough stuff, I loved that they offer UPPAbaby gear rentals. Super convenient for families who prefer to travel light.
We immersed ourselves in the local culture and holiday spirit with activities like s’mores, porching, menorah lighting, and pictures with Santa. I love that the offerings change month-to-month and season-to-season so you can keep coming back and have a different experience each time.
While I would love to have been able to take the entire week off, there were still some things that needed to get done during our stay. I didn’t want to miss out on the lovely weather and ambiance so the concierge team was a lifesaver, helping me find the perfect spot to work outside with a laptop. FYI, the loveseats on Octagon’s patio were ideal, and they even supplied cocktails to ease the workday.
While we couldn’t try everything, Montage Palmetto Bluff offers a plethora of activities we’re itching to try next time – things like kayaking, paddleboarding, and more.
The service and hospitality at Montage Palmetto Bluff were, in a word, phenomenal. It’s not just about the high standards they maintain; it’s the personal touch that sets them apart. From the moment we arrived, it felt like we were among friends. The staff knew us by name, a small but significant gesture that made us feel valued and special. It’s this level of personalization that elevates the experience from great to extraordinary. The resident pooches also added a welcome touch of comfort as we always miss our dogs when traveling.
And let’s talk about how they treated our baby – she was like a little celebrity! Every staff member we encountered, and many of the guests, were incredibly friendly and engaging with her, showering her with smiles and gentle attention. It’s one thing to accommodate young guests, but it’s another to make them feel as cherished as the adults.
The willingness of the staff to assist with anything we needed was remarkable. Whether it was arranging activities, offering dining recommendations, or just providing directions around the property, their eagerness to help was evident in every interaction. It never felt like just service; it felt like genuine care.
Cultural and environmental sustainability are core values that I hold dear, especially in the context of travel. Montage Palmetto Bluff doesn’t just pay lip service to these ideals; it actively embodies them in various aspects, making it a destination that aligns closely with my principles.
Montage Palmetto Bluff’s commitment to preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area is evident in its conservancy efforts. The naturalist programming provides guests with an insightful look into the local ecology, fostering a deeper appreciation and understanding of the environment.
Their initiative in sustainable farming, notably “The Farm,” showcases a dedication to environmental stewardship. This approach not only ensures fresh, locally sourced produce but also minimizes the carbon footprint associated with food transportation.
The resort is beautifully integrated into the Lowcountry landscape, demonstrating a keen awareness of the importance of preserving the natural beauty and integrity of the region. The resort’s celebration of Lowcountry culture and cuisine is another way it honors and sustains the local community. This approach allows guests to genuinely connect with the region’s heritage.
Montage Palmetto Bluff collaborates with local businesses, like the Photography Concierge and the boat captains and guides on our dolphin cruise. This not only supports the local economy but also ensures that guests receive an authentic experience of the area.
While Montage Palmetto Bluff excels in many areas of sustainability, there is always room for improvement. For instance, the use of single-use plastics is something that could be further addressed. Alternatives like biodegradable materials or reusable options would significantly enhance their sustainability efforts. Additionally, expanding renewable energy sources and further reducing waste throughout the resort are other areas where they could continue to make positive changes.
While Montage Palmetto Bluff is a destination in itself, the surrounding area offers a treasure trove of experiences that are well worth exploring. Here’s a glimpse of what you can discover just beyond the property:
Just a stone’s throw away is the charming town of Bluffton. This delightful place is a perfect blend of Southern charm and modern amenities. Its streets are lined with quaint boutiques and art galleries, inviting you to wander and explore. The town is also a culinary hotspot, boasting an array of great restaurants that serve everything from traditional Southern fare to contemporary cuisine. The warm and friendly atmosphere of Bluffton makes it a must-visit for anyone staying at Montage Palmetto Bluff.
A short drive will take you to Hilton Head, known for its beautiful beaches and world-class golf courses. This island is a hub for outdoor activities, including biking, kayaking, and fishing. The vibe here is laid-back yet vibrant, making it a great day trip for those looking to soak up some sun or indulge in some recreational sports. Additionally, Hilton Head’s dining scene is not to be missed, with a variety of restaurants offering fresh seafood and other local specialties.
And let’s not forget about Savannah, a city steeped in history and culture. Just a short drive from Montage Palmetto Bluff, Savannah is a city where the past and present coexist beautifully. Its historic district, characterized by cobblestone streets and Spanish moss-draped trees, is a living museum of Southern history and architecture. Take a stroll through the charming squares, visit the historic homes, or enjoy the vibrant arts and music scene. Savannah’s culinary offerings are as rich and diverse as its history, ensuring a delightful experience for any visitor.
Reflecting on my time at Montage Palmetto Bluff, it’s clear that this isn’t just a resort; it’s a destination hat encapsulates luxury, cultural richness, and a commitment to sustainability. From the moment we arrived to our reluctant departure, every aspect of our stay was imbued with a sense of elegance, comfort, and warmth.
Our accommodations were a dream – spacious, beautifully appointed, and catering to every need. The dining experiences were a delight, each meal a celebration of Lowcountry flavors and culinary craftsmanship. The array of activities, from the serene to the adventurous, ensured that every day was filled with new discoveries and joys. The spa was a haven of relaxation, providing a perfect balance to the outdoor excursions.
The service and hospitality were unparalleled. Being known by name, seeing the joy in the staff’s interactions with our baby, and their ever-present eagerness to assist made us feel not just welcomed, but truly cared for. Their commitment to cultural and environmental sustainability resonated deeply with me, adding an extra layer of satisfaction to our stay.
Whether you’re a family looking for a memorable vacation, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or anyone in between longing for a relaxing retreat, Montage Palmetto Bluff caters to all. It’s a place that’s just as perfect for a quick weekend escape as it is for an extended month-long sojourn. The charm of the surrounding towns, the beauty of the Lowcountry, and the allure of the resort itself combine to create an experience that’s truly exceptional.
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