Once a Warehouse in Savannah, Georgia
Long before this impressive old building housed guests as an inn, it was filled with raw cotton.
Savannah was the world's second largest cotton seaport and warehouses lined the riverfront.
It's hard to grasp this hotel set-up. The huge brick and stone building seemed to grow from a high bluff. On the rear side, it looked way down on the waterfront.
Bridges and Stairs
All these levels meant we dealt with a lot of bridges and stairways, some with signs of caution, due to their age.
That added to the excitement!
A Grand Line up!
Our building was connected to others, just steps away from the beautiful Savannah Cotton Exchange building.
To find the hotel entrance, we crossed a bridge and entered on an upper level, facing the city.
Once inside, it was hard to detect the age of the building.
The lobby felt classy and uncluttered, with a beautiful model ship here and a lovely riverfront painting there.
It wasn't until we viewed the building from the rear that we got a good feel for the age. In 1817, the warehouse had only 2 stories, built of recycled ballast stone.
By 1853 they needed to expand and built upward, with 3 more floors. All these floors had outside access for removal of cotton bales. The bluff in front, along with additional alleys and walkways, allowed for that.
Entering from the lowest floor on the river side, we were better able to visualize the building as a bustling warehouse.
The ballast stone walls met up with thick, brick arches and the stairs and walkways connected the floors and walls.
Up to the Skylight
The climb upward took us away from the rustic stone and brick, to wallpaper and pastel paint and wall murals, depicting historic river scenes. I loved having a little help imagining Savannah 200 years ago.
When we traveled all the way up, we found a small sitting area with potted plants and a wall of bookcases. The skylight, even with gloomy January skies, brightened the space.
The halls gave a good view of the brick arches.
The wooden floors were filled with dark lumps and bumps, but smoothed so perfectly over time. I don't think you could get a splinter, if you tried.
Since the lobby didn't have much in the way of lounging space, it was nice to discover some areas where guests could gather. There was a fitness area and a recreation room with TVs and pool table, but we did our relaxing in the Hospitality Bar.
I wish I'd gotten a photo of the cute little bar that served complimentary wine and the gracious spread of "snacks". We got a seat by the window and nibbled on hummus and guacamole, yummy cheeses and nuts. And even though I think of beignets as breakfast, I couldn't resist when they came around offering piping hot, powdery treats, fresh from the kitchen!
Fresh Looking Room
Our room was spacious and felt nicely updated. It was hard to believe our comfy hotel was actually in a warehouse state as recently as 1987.
Our windows let in lots of light, but not much in the way of a view... unless we wanted to wave to all the people going by on the walkway.
I'm not sure how this space was used in 1853, when they added the new floors. I like to picture the factors, those professionals who graded cotton, warming their hands at this fireplace.
If we'd gotten a river view room, we might have had a small balcony. That's where the factors kept an eye on the cargo ships arriving and unloading.
Staying Warm and Dry
It would have been fun if the fireplace had worked. It turned chilly that night and a fire would have been a treat.
The next morning we woke to rain and suddenly realized how handy that umbrella in the holder could be.
The hotel had two restaurants overlooking the river. We had a decent and informal lunch at Tubby's, on the upper deck.
But one perk of the hotel is that you really can walk anywhere. For dinner, we found the delightful "Boar's Head Grille & Tavern", just steps away in another old warehouse.
I will remember less about our comfortable hotel room than I will the idea of what our hotel once was.
And maybe even more memorable than our warehouse/hotel itself, was what it was sandwiched between. I will always remember how our hotel opened to the busy river on one side...
...and cozied up to the bluffs and brick and stone on the other side. Pretty nice combination!
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!