When you arrive at SOUTH CAROLINA’s Montage Palmetto Bluff and are greeted warmly by a gentleman in Nantucket red pants, a crisp white button-down and a navy-blue blazer, you’d be excused for thinking he was just a dapper guest at a wedding taking place on-site. But instead, he’s the first touch point of your brush with genteel, Southern hospitality—the kind romantic comedies based in the South are ripe with.
And, while service with a capital “S” may be paramount on every inch of this 20,000-acre resort property, you’ll find its effect is far from saccharine, particularly at the Montage Palmetto Bluff’s Inn, where the South’s signature charm meets grand, Lowcountry luxury thanks to a $100 million expansion that added 150 rooms and suites, restaurants, a spa, pool and fitness center, completed in September of 2016.
Residential touches, from vaulted ceilings and fireplaces to airy verandas with a view, abound, but as with most memorable Southern homes, it’s the setting that truly defines (and determines) the guest’s experience. The Palmetto Bluff community is essentially a centuries-old maritime forest surrounded by 32 miles of riverfront; that rugged natural splendor affords opportunities to explore South Carolina’s coastal marshland in spades (whether fly-fishing, kayaking or paddle boarding) or from afar (think heels kicked-up with a drink on a screened-in porch).
Exploring Palmetto Bluff’s endless waterways, in fact, is what the resort was designed for, whether inshore or offshore, from the saltwater or freshwater. Paddling a canoe through the lagoon, for instance, will likely reward you with a glimpse of a stoic blue heron; biking the trails from beneath the property’s ancient live oaks grants access to gems like Wilson Village’s intimately scaled chapel, designed by Georgia architecture firm Historical Concepts, or the three-tiered treehouse for children playfully constructed around a live oak.
Beyond the resort’s bountiful beauty (be it raw or man-made), contributing to its grand sense of place are gems such as the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course on May River; intimate restaurants such as the Inn’s Jessamine; and first-class wellness centers like Spa Montage. Like a tall, cold glass of iced tea, this is one resort that’s served well by its supporting sweet spots.