Renovated Inn Within a Converted 1817 Warehouse
During his infamous 1864 March to the Sea, Union General William Sherman destroyed countless Confederate farms, railroads, and towns, but left the city of Savannah, Georgia, untouched. Historians, architects, and tourists alike are grateful for that decision, because present-day Savannah is rife with antebellum homes, forts, and other pre-Civil War landmarks. One such building—a former warehouse built in 1817 to store cotton—now houses the elegant River Street Inn, a member of Historic Hotels of America.
Set on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River, the inn combines period-style decor with 21st-century comforts and conveniences. And its location in the Savannah Historic District keeps several attractions within walking distance; Frommer’s writes, ”If night crawls among the bars and restaurants of River Street are a priority, there is no other hotel better positioned than this one.”
Guest rooms come with tall windows that provide either clear views of ocean freighters on the Savannah River to the north or large, moss-draped oak trees to the south. Polished brass fixtures adorn the bathrooms, whereas hardwood floors, iron headboards, and four-poster beds decorate the bedrooms to romantic effect. Each room also comes with WiFi access and a work desk, in addition to cable TV with on-demand movies.
Stepping outside into a central enclosed atrium, you can peer over the balcony into the lobby below, where there's a complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres reception every evening Monday–Saturday. Three onsite restaurants encompass a range of cuisines for full meals, including classic Southern cooking and fresh seafood. There's also a fifth-floor library where you can read up on local history before heading out to explore it for yourself.
Savannah, Georgia: Cobblestone Streets and Well-Preserved Historical Mansions
Known for its cobblestone streets and Spanish-moss-hung oaks, Savannah was founded in 1733 as Georgia's first city. The town retains much of its original layout, including its 22 famous public squares, or trustee lots, many of which contain a historic landmark or two. The Davenport House, one of the town’s most famous antebellum homes, is a five-minute walk from the hotel near Columbia Square. Daily guided tours take guests past its authentic period furnishings, including a cantilevered staircase. Head to the northeast corner of Oglethorpe Square to find the 1819 Owens-Thomas House, an English Regency–style mansion that’s now a museum. Tours here go past its charming English-style parterre garden and its original carriage house.
Open-air restaurants, antiques shops, and street performers contribute to a lively atmosphere along Factors Row, a riverfront district named for the cotton brokers or "factors" who once operated there. A five-minute walk west will take you to the Savannah City Market, a four-block public meeting space home to several working artists' studios, candy shops, a gelato café, lively taverns, and more.
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