What is it about the South that’s so enchanting? The pervasive scent of marsh? The amazing food? The slow and elegant pace of life? The thick, sultry air?
Last week we visited family in South Carolina for the July 4th holiday. Natty Guy had to work Wednesday afternoon and we had a Hyatt free night certificate (categories 1-4) to burn so we decided to spend our last day in Savannah at the Andaz hotel, a Hyatt category 4 property. He was able to work in the quiet and air-conditioned comfort of the room while I stayed cool by splashing around poolside.
Andaz Savannah Pros:
- Location, location, location. The Andaz has it! Very short walks to the riverfront area, city market, Broughton Street, etc.
- The hotel staff. From valet to front desk and concierge, we were never left waiting. Very friendly and accommodating and took a lot of time to explain nearby sites, hotel features, etc.
- Breakfast at 22 Square. Incredible selection at the buffet and fantastic a la carte options (I’m looking at you, chocolate chip ricotta pancakes)! Farm-to-table dining with local and organic options.
- The pool terrace. Small and lovely place to find respite from the summer heat. Towels and lounges were plentiful when I went however guests that I spoke to at the pool noted that locals were let in on the weekend and July 4th holiday, packing the area to the point that there was no room for hotel guests.
Andaz Savannah Cons:
- Standard rooms struck me as a bit small.
- The bathroom was pretty poorly laid out with the door opening right into the middle of the room and between the double sinks.
When we booked our certificate, rates for the night were about $229. Considering the $79 annual credit card cost, it represented a decent value. Full disclosure, I did cancel this card earlier this year as the Category 1-4 restriction on annual free night certificates makes them a bit difficult to use but we still had last year’s free night certificate available.
Hyatt recently revamped their Chase credit card offer from 2 free nights at ANY property after meeting spend requirements to 40,000 bonus points after meeting spend. To me, the value in the Hyatt card was the 2 free nights anywhere. It made sense to sign up for the card if you could plan to use the two nights at a top property like the Park Hyatt Vendome Paris or Park Hyatt Tokyo, both regularly over $1,000/night. To some, the points may represent a more attractive bonus option. For now, I plan to wait a while before deciding whether or not to reapply for this card.
Read more about how we used our 2 free night bonus here.
Other Places to Stay
If you are not staying on points, there are several historical hotel properties that merit consideration when visiting Savannah. On my radar are The Bohemian (a Marriott level 9 property), The Kehoe House, The Gastonian and The President’s Quarter’s Inn.
There’s no shortage of great food in Savannah. From the iconic Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House to the newer fame of Paula Deen’s restaurants, you will eat well here. A few recommended fine dining properties are listed below if you are looking for a special night out.
The Grey – We had wanted to eat here on Wednesday night but in a sad turn of events, the GM had been killed the night before in an incident at the City Market area and the restaurant was closed for the day.
Circa 1875 – This is where we ended up. Great atmosphere, food and service.
Things to Do
Walk the historic district. Or, if it’s as hot is it was when we were there, take a trolley tour instead. You’ll get great views of the architecture, learn a bit of Savannah’s history and can hop on and off at numerous stops.
Tour an historic home. Former Girl Scouts might be interested in the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace while fans of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil may want to take a peek at the Mercer Williams House.
Bonaventure Cemetery. Made famous by “The Book”, this remains an amazing place to walk around and explore.
National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. Whether or not you’re a military or aviation buff, this museum is superbly done and worth a visit!
Broughton Street Shopping – the main historic area shopping street featuring popular mall stores along with some rarer (at least in the North) finds like Vineyard Vines and Kendra Scott. Be sure to also check out local gems like the Paris Market and Leopold’s ice cream shop.
If you are planning an extended stay, consider day trips to Tybee Island, Hilton Head, Bluffton or Beaufort. Alternately you could combine a few days in Savannah with a few days in Charleston, stopping at one of those cities along the way!