Charleston and the May River in South Carolina to the hills of Tennessee and an inspiring inn in New Orleans, this week I tapped into the expert travel advisors at SmartFlyer to get their advice on their favorite southern getaways.
1. Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
Nestled along the scenic May River in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Montage Palmetto Bluff is set within a vibrant 20,000-acre community between Hilton Head Island and Savannah.
Las Vegas-based luxury travel advisor Addie Bell recalls her recent arrival to the property feeling like she was “turning on low country mode” sharing that even just looking out from her room was as if “Montage Magic is in full force.”
The resort encompasses an extensive nature preserve, two picturesque villages featuring nine Southern-inspired dining options, a riverfront marina, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
With Savannah and Hilton Head just minutes away, you might be drawn to explore, but it will be difficult to find a reason to leave Montage Palmetto Bluff.
Jacksonville-based luxury travel advisor Anastasia Regas adds, “I love this spot for my clients seeking a true southern feel and sense of place. It’s ideal for couples, multi-generational groups, and families thanks to its abundance of activities.”
This is a sporting paradise with golf, tennis, boating, biking, kayaking, fishing, sporting clays, equestrian activities, and more.
After your activity of choice, rejuvenate in the world-class Spa Montage; try the signature Palmetto High Cotton treatment, complete with a stimulating scalp and body massage and soothing foot scrub.
To cap off the night, the Octagon Bar is a central gathering point at the Bluffs and it welcomes guests to come together to enjoy the lively atmosphere.
SmartFlyer tip: Montage Palmetto Bluff loves pets, so bring yours along!
The property offers guests 200 cozy accommodations designed in its historical Colonial charm, there’s something for all travelers. The Main Inn offers rooms and suites while the rest of the property is dotted with beautiful cottages.
The SmartFlyer favorite is the River View Cottages with charm and gorgeous views over the May River that is incomparable.
Montage Residence 1003
Located walking distance to the Inn, this luxuriously appointed 5,732 sq. ft. five-bedroom, five and a half bathroom Montage Signature Residence offers lagoon views and has its own private boat dock.
Residence 1035 at 3,522 sq. Ft. features three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, an expansive covered rear porch, and sweeping views of the lagoon waterway just outside the front door.
Graced with magnificent views of the inland waterways and 2,500 sq. ft. of generous living space, the Presidential Suite is the pinnacle of the resort’s accommodations and can be configured with a second bedroom.
Two-Bedroom Cottage Suite
The 1,250 sq. ft. Two-Bedroom Cottage Suite is the largest cottage offered, with a second bedroom along with added privacy and serene waterfront views.
2. Hotel Zero George, Charleston, South Carolina
Named after the property’s actual street address, Hotel Zero George offers a sense of intimacy and warm personality, honoring the buildings’ solid 1804 bones and graceful architecture with measured, timeless design.
At Zero George, you’ll find both period millwork and Charleston’s best contemporary art, original heart pine floors and rooms full of heart.
Los Angeles-based travel advisor Michelle London shares, “I fell in love with the chic neutral décor and abundant natural light, welcoming and attentive service, and spending each afternoon sipping on a cocktail or iced tea on my veranda — definitely what I envisioned for my romantic weekend escape to Charleston. The courtyard feels magical and peaceful with fountains and palmettos overhead. Not to mention, the beds are so cozy that they make you want to sleep in late, the room keys are actual keys — so charming!”
Dallas-based travel advisor Hillary Taylor adds, “The restaurant & bar at the Zero George, aptly named Zero, transports you to a whole new culinary dimension with its elevated yet comfortable cuisine, not to mention the incredibly romantic and cozy atmosphere. Zero is a gem in every sense of the word, and Chef Petrillo leaves nothing to be desired with his bold flavors, creative dishes, and impeccable wine pairings that fit so perfectly in the foodie mix of Charleston.”
The team here aims to delight, spoil, and surprise guests as we serve up Old World authenticity with contemporary upscale hospitality. From lush guest rooms to cozy piazzas, Zero George redefines luxury—not as opulence but understated, authentic elegance.
They have restored this historic property to reflect all the wow of old Charleston while setting new standards of style and comfort. Charleston has been seducing visitors and residents alike since the 17th century, and Hotel Zero George is ideally located for exploring the city.
SmartFlyer tip: Don’t forget to use the hotel’s fleet of classic bicycles to explore Charleston.
Hotel Zero George is comprised of sixteen lush guest rooms and studios in three painstakingly restored historic residences and two brick carriage houses that surround the property’s private garden courtyard.
The Anson Suite is located in the original residence house on the top floor, with a king bedroom and anteroom desk parlor.
A hand-laid marble and tile shower, marble countertops and handcrafted armoire accentuate the European-style bathroom. A fully furnished piazza affords a secluded outdoor sitting area with limited views of Charleston harbor. Classic architectural elements including heart pine floors, high ceilings, and period millwork can be found throughout the suite.
The Garden Suites are located in the original carriage house of Zero George Street and feature a living parlor, a separate study area, a king bedroom, custom furnishings, a mini-bar with coffee machine, and a mini-refrigerator stocked with juices and water.
The Garden Suites each have one king bed and a pull-out sofa bed. A hand-laid marble and tile shower, marble countertops, and handcrafted armoire accentuate the European-style bathroom. A fully furnished oyster shell garden courtyard affords a secluded outdoor sitting area. Classic architectural elements including heart pine floors and period millwork can be found throughout the suite.
3. Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain, Walland Tennessee
A 4,200-acre working farm and romantic hideaway in the heart of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is an idyllic Relais & Châteaux gem.
Guests are invited to explore the property on horseback, via old-fashioned carriage, by canoe and mountain bike, or on intimate walking trails.
In the words of Nashville-based luxury travel advisor David Bragg, “Blackberry Farm is the perfect place to be socially distant.” Quieter pastimes include a massage at The Wellhouse, reading in a hammock or fly-fishing in Hesse Creek, one of the best spots in Tennessee.
For those seeking a culinary experience, food and wine take center stage at The Barn, where multicourse menus feature the bounty of the farm’s bakery, butchery, creamery, and extensive wine cellar of 160,000 bottles. Be sure to take part in one of Blackberry Farm’s cooking schools’ or wine events.
Just about twenty minutes away, the owners of Blackberry Farm have opened their sister property, Blackberry Mountain. Wellness, outdoor adventure and inner serenity are prioritized at this immaculate lodge where rooms take the form of cabins and cottages designed with nature in mind. This is truly a place to unplug from the world and reconnect with oneself.
Justyna Della Valle shares, “Having just returned from Blackberry Mountain, I cannot get the magic of it out of my mind and cannot wait to return. The views from each private cottage trick guests into believing they are in Northern Italy or Switzerland until experiencing their warm southern hospitality.”
Atlanta-based travel advisor Heidi Hyland adds, “Blackberry Mountain is one of my all-time favorites in the South for a romantic getaway – whether you choose a Watchman cabin or a Thunderhead cottage, you’re in for a treat. The property offers understated luxury with interiors and views that appeal to everyone. Actually, my husband who rarely wants to visit the same place twice has asked to visit for a second time.”
SmartFlyer tip: If you’re undecided, Blackberry Farm is ideal for multi-gen trips with its rolling hills, pond, garden, spa, barn and fine dining. For those of you seeking wellness and enrichment programming, head for the mountains!
Atlanta-based travel advisor Heidi Hyland adds, “Blackberry Mountain is one of my all-time favorites in the South for a romantic getaway – whether you choose a Watchman cabin or a Thunderhead cottage, you’re in for a treat. The property offers understated luxury with interiors and views that appeal to everyone. Actually, my husband who rarely wants to visit the same place twice, has asked to visit for a second time.”
Watch the sunrise in one state and set in another. Located at the peak of the Mountain and just steps away from both the Firetower and a 20’ outdoor heated soaking tub, these secluded spaces evoke a feeling of past meeting present. Relax within walls of reclaimed wood, floor to ceiling windows, a scenic outlook deck, and a modern twist to the wood-burning stove. They are 675 sq. ft. with the option for either one king or two queen beds. The Watchmen Cabins are about a 10-minute drive from the Lodge and Hub at mid-Mountain.
Carefully designed to tuck into the mountainside, the four 1,475 sq. Ft. cottages offer grand views of The Great Smoky Mountains. Crafted with materials from the Mountain, you may have a hard time knowing what to focus on first. Stacked stone archways. Iron windows. Reclaimed oak floors. White rough-sawn walls. Or the lime-washed oak ceilings. An outdoor patio with a wood-burning fireplace completes the picture. It’s an idyllic setting to enjoy the cool mountain evenings of any season. There are two types of Stone Cottages: Thunderhead Cottages and Clingmans Cottages. The differences between the two can be viewed below.
Farm House at Blackberry Farm
Inviting and familiar, the three-bedroom classic farmhouse serves as one of the anchors of the FarmStead, recalling the engaging architecture and style of America’s early rural homes. Crafted of antique materials from an 1800s Pennsylvania bank barn, with exceptional care taken to add modern comforts while preserving historic character, the design includes three comfortable bedrooms, each with their own spacious bath, and a welcoming living room with fireplaces. Perfect for families and small groups, the Farm House will also include a fully-equipped kitchen for on-site chef service.
4. Maison De La Luz, New Orleans, Louisiana
A fully private guest house located in the heart of New Orleans’ Warehouse District, Maison de la Luz is sure to elevate any NOLA stay, whether it’s your first time visiting your city or you’ve lost count of your stays in The Big Easy.
Amanda Poses reflects on her recent stay divulging, “This unique property was created so guests feel like they are coming home! It is your own private, luxurious oasis in the Crescent City.”
A few blocks from the Vieux Carre, all spaces in the hotel, including parts of Bar Marilou, are for hotel guests only, making Maison de la Luz a quiet luxury respite. Guests are welcome to enjoy the neighborhood perks, including full access to the adjacent Ace Hotel’s amenities, including signing privileges at all of their outlets.
Whether enjoying breakfast in the Breakfast Room, or complimentary wine, cheese, and charcuterie in the afternoons in the living room, or making a drink at the Honor Bar, the line between hotel and residence is beautifully blurred.
Designed by celebrity interior designer Pamela Shamshiri, Maison de la Luz boasts 67 guest rooms and suites. The vast majority of rooms boast large bathrooms including a separate shower and soaking tub, with a combination of both designed and vintage furniture in our beautifully appointed bedrooms and parlors.
Susan Andrzejewski, concludes, “This exclusive hotel has a truly special vibe and leaves guests feeling both spoiled and indulged while under the illusion of being right at home. And of course, there is Bar Marilou to cozy up in late into the night. The live music with one of their artisan cocktails in hand creates the ultimate New Orleans vibe.”
SmartFlyer tip: Visit Bar Marilou’s secret guest-only lounge to enjoy the full menu in privacy.
Grand Studio Suite
Our second floor Grand Studio corner suites boast spacious 17 foot ceilings, four grand windows flooding in natural light, a luxurious soaking tub with a separate shower, dual vanities and bespoke amenities. Grand Studio Suites can interconnect with a One Bedroom Suite for shared accommodations.