This was our first visit ever to the colonial city and we lucked into a stay at a landmark hotel with lots of its own history.
Once the John Wesley Hotel
This 60-room hotel, in the heart of Savannah's historic district has an interesting past. It was built in 1913 on the site of the first parsonage of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church.
The parsonage burned in a disastrous city fire in 1796 and In 1812, two identical homes were built on the site. The south-side home was demolished to build this hotel. There are stories/rumors of a brothel and ghosts and another fire... all after the successful early years. In 1984, the hotel reopened as the Planter's Inn.
The hotel looks across to Reynolds Square, one of about 20 squares that make up the historic district.
In the center is a statue of John Wesley. Like the hotel, he had a few secrets. It was an unfortunate love affair that forced him to leave Georgia. But he did refer to this very area as "Utopia", so that's what I chose to focus on!
The Hotel's Connection
One (or two) more quick thoughts on the exterior! You can see the house that appears to be glued to the side of the 7-story hotel. Please ignore the building on the left, since that is a parking garage.
That 3-story brick structure is the Oliver Sturgess home, built in 1812. The rear view makes the home look oddly dwarfed. It's curious to imagine this tall hotel taking the place of the "mirror-image" home that Mr. Sturgess built next door for one of his twin daughters.
One More Building to Mention
I must admit, one of the real reasons we chose Planters Inn, was because of it's proximity to The Olde Pink House.
That is another story for another blog. But this fine old restaurant was just across the street from the Sturgess home. There was no restaurant at Planters Inn, but you could get room service from the Pink House!
Inside at Last!
There's nowhere to park in Savannah, so you have to appreciate the valet service. Our very welcoming bellman loaded our few bags onto a cart and in we went.
The first thing to greet us was the coffee set up, next to the vases. No silver tea services or teacups, but I never complain if there is coffee available!
Then we headed around the coffee wall...
There was something distinctly formal about the lobby, although the staff was quite relaxed. Even though we'd booked the least costly room, we asked if we might get a room with a view of the park.
The pleasant desk clerk found polite words to sincerely explain that the cheaper rooms get parking garage views. Then she actually tried to see if she could offer a complimentary upgrade, but was unable to find an available room. Oh well.
Columns for All!
That was fine. We hadn't expected an upgrade. Plus the columns were there for all guests to enjoy. And those were some pretty dazzling columns and moldings!
To the Room
We followed our bellman down the 3rd floor hallway.
I peeked out the windows and spotted the Olde Pink House, where we were planning to have dinner. I wouldn't have minded that view.
Granny and Granpop's Room!
I knew we weren't exactly getting the honeymoon suite, so I wasn't surprised. Don and I spend so many nights in hotels, that we book whatever is cheapest. In this case it meant single beds. I chuckled to the bellman that we'd gotten the room for the old folks.
(What I really meant was Ricky and Lucy's room, but figured he was too young to get it) He innocently put me in my place when he answered graciously in a slow southern drawl, "Yes Ma'am, but all the rooms are beautiful here."
And he was so right. How dare I poke fun at our lovely room. I chimed in with total agreement. The hotel was lovely and I rambled on about the beautiful lobby and he seemed genuinely surprised when he received a tip. But when we closed the door I had to laugh again. "I don't remember single beds being that narrow." There was something that reminded me so much of my grandmother, Daw's decor... which was comforting. Everything was neat as a pin, with formal drapes and knit bed spreads. She would have loved the green walls.
View and a Bath
In the blog, I always share a peek out the window and into the bathroom. Okay the parking garage was pretty bad.
I angled the camera to show more of the view. Please focus on the distant tower only. The bathroom was fine. The wallpaper said 1984, which is when the hotel reopened. But I was pleased with lots of counter space, which is never expected in old hotels.
Don and I are always pleased to find real glass in a hotel. Even the nicest boutique hotel might try to get away with disposable plastic and that just bugs me.
But this was a pleasant surprise to have these retro frosted water glasses to sip our water. I so wanted to assume these were like the soaps the we are allowed to take home. But they stayed behind.
Wine and Cheese
Our cozy lobby became the gathering place around 5, with a complimentary spread of wine and cheese. I don't think there was a guest who missed this event, so we were lucky to find seats.
I'll try not to be negative, but once again, I was reminded of "old". Not the building this time, but that Don and I seem to travel with a lot of oldsters. It was kind of odd to look around the small crowd, murmuring over their wine. They seemed so old, these retiree travelers. And sadly we are not younger than all of them. I kind of felt like I was at my Grandmother's retirement/nursing home happy hour... which was quite lovely. But still.
Our hotel was old, not in an iconic, memorable way, but a neat and tidy way. The hotel guests were kind of old, too. Savannah is also very old, but in the perfect way!
That is the notable thing about this hotel, it was within walking distance of the very best of Savannah! What surrounds the hotel, is what I will remember most!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!