If you’re like most Ohioans, you’ve probably visited Hilton Head Island at least once. But if you’re looking for a Lowcountry experience that is more secluded, luxurious and intermixed with nature, you’ll want to visit Palmetto Bluff—just a few miles from Hilton Head.
We recently visited Montage Palmetto Bluff, a resort located within the sprawling 20,000-acre Palmetto Bluff community in Bluffton, South Carolina. With over half of the 20,000 acres in conservation or preservation, never to be developed, the number of wildlife far exceeds the number of people, giving visitors and residents a peaceful and serene experience.
Conservancy is a key part of life at “The Bluff” and guides every decision made by the developers. With 32 miles of riverfront and marshfront coastline to explore, guests will likely see an alligator sunbathing on the banks of the lagoon or a bottlenose dolphin swimming in the May River. Dozens of varieties of birds nest throughout The Bluff, including bald eagles. You may even catch a glimpse of an armadillo or white-tailed deer. Pets are also welcome to join in your stay.
Interspersed throughout this picturesque setting is one of the most luxurious resorts on the East Coast, Montage Palmetto Bluff. Montage is known for its ultra-luxury resorts in locales such as Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills and Kapalua Bay. Montage Palmetto Bluff offers 200 spacious suites, guest houses and cottages that reflect pampered luxury in an exceptional Lowcountry setting.
The resort expanded in 2016, from the original 50 cottages to encompass guest houses and an Inn, and every detail was carefully selected to maintain an authentic Southern charm as if it’s been there forever. The rooms throughout the resort feature upscale furnishings, marble bathrooms, porches with stunning views, and all the comforts of home. The staff even takes the time to learn guests’ names and greet them personally throughout their stay.
Dining at Montage Palmetto Bluff is more than just a meal—it’s the ultimate experience of Southern hospitality and gourmet food. The eight restaurants on property offer items from local farms and nearby businesses, and each features their own specialty ranging from upscale seafood to southern comfort food and everything in between.
Our favorite dining spot was Octagon Porch. At breakfast, they offer a la carte options or an impressive buffet. It’s also the perfect place for an afternoon cocktail. At Octagon Bar you can snack on truffle popcorn and spiced pecans while sipping on Chatham Artillery Punch, a southern beverage dating back over 200 years with a Montage-original recipe from the grandmother of the current food & beverage manager. Dinner options feature pasta that is handmade daily, local seafood, prime filet and the best shrimp and grits we’ve ever tasted. Such care goes into each entrée that our knowledgeable server even shared details of the Berkshire Pork Chop, which is widely recognized as the top hog breed in the world.
Guests are invited to relax and enjoy a slow, southern pace while at Montage Palmetto Bluff. Bicycles are available for rent and are the preferred method of transportation. An afternoon walk on paths shaded with moss-draped live oak trees and lined with gas lamps will take you past multiple bocce and croquet courts available for families. Kayaks are also provided free of charge so guests can explore the waterways.
The spa offers both couple and individual services including the signature Carolina Kur Experience, which incorporates a healing and detoxifying body mud masque with an exfoliating treatment and therapeutic mineral-soak. All guests are invited to enjoy complimentary use of the separate men’s and ladies’ spa facilities which include saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, plunge pools and relaxation rooms. There are also two heated adult-only pools and hot tubs on property and one family pool area.
Every day at 3:30 p.m. guests are invited to “porch” at The Inn, which involves sitting on one of the many patios while enjoying complimentary lemonade, sweet tea and treats. Each evening, guests can enjoy fire pits and complimentary gourmet s’mores featuring marshmallows in unique flavors like caramel, chocolate chip and lemon.
Golfers will love the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. This picturesque course was built with conservancy at its core to protect and preserve the natural elements at The Bluff. For tennis enthusiasts, the resort offers eight HarTru courts and complimentary use of their equipment. Horseback riding and sporting clays-shooting are also available on property.
Montage Palmetto Bluff is a perfect spot for both couples and families. Most activities available are kid-friendly, including a daily meet-and-greet with the resort’s canine ambassadors, three local Labrador Retrievers. Children will enjoy playing in one of the two treehouses on property and can even take a short ride on a zip line. The resort offers Paintbox, a day-camp program where children can participate in a variety of unique experiences on the property. Weekend evenings also offer programming for children to have their own “night out.”
If you’re looking for a truly unique upscale resort where you can unwind, slow your pace and reconnect with family and nature, you’ll want to include a stay at Montage Palmetto Bluff in your next trip south.