Called the “Hostess City of the South,” Savannah, Georgia, is built on centuries of history, mystery, architecture, and the arts. Its charms draw antiques buffs, water enthusiasts, and visitors seeking a good story filled with intrigue. Visitors can find all of this and more at the Mansion on Forsyth Park and its sister property, Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront. (Yes, these are part of the Kessler Collection and in the same family as Birmingham’s own Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook.) Typical of other Kessler properties (there are currently nine, with more under way), each exhibits a one-of-a-kind personality that begs exploration. For convenience, a complimentary trolley runs between the hotels for quick access to both. But since they are only just a little over a mile apart, you may want to take the route on foot and enjoy the beautiful stroll through Savannah’s historical squares and gardens.
The Mansion on Forsyth Park is housed in a renovated 1888 Victorian Romanesque home. A new addition accommodates hotel rooms while maintaining the historical architecture that graciously blends in with the grand homes surrounding it. Rooms and public spaces are decadently appointed with Louis XV-style chairs, velvet upholstery, and hundreds of pieces of original art—many of which are for sale. Can’t-miss hotel activities include afternoon cocktails in the Marble Garden or poolside, a treatment in the tranquility of The Poseidon Spa, and a very entertaining and delicious meal with the oh-so-charming Chef Shahin in the hotel’s cooking school. As part of the cooking school experience, Shahin takes guests to the farmer’s market in Forsyth Park to navigate the open-air vendors and learn from local growers about micro-greens, who makes the best honey, and what on earth you do with Lion’s Mane mushrooms. Once back in the hotel’s kitchen, Shanin puts everyone to work chopping, dicing, and learning the proper techniques in order to earn your meal.
The romantic and moody Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront offers a completely different vibe with a historic maritime theme. The best part? The location. Cocktails at the rooftop restaurant, Rocks on the Roof, come with mesmerizing views of the busy Savannah River, where barges the size of cruise ships ferry goods to and from the Atlantic and beyond. Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the City Market, a district filled with casual dining, shops, and tour operators ready to peddle you through Savannah’s most historical districts.
It’s easy enough to fill an entire stay with activities and offerings at the two properties. However, any visitor would be amiss not to take a day trip to the beaches of Tybee Island. Just 20 minutes from downtown, the island remains as one of those rare, old beach towns where hi-rises are banned and T-shirt shops are plentiful. Climb the circa-1736 Tybee Lighthouse for panoramic views of the beaches and Atlantic, or better yet, get up close and personal with the water on a sea kayak tour with Sea Kayak Georgia led by nature enthusiasts (and sometimes a dolphin or two).