Auberge Resorts, responsible for glorious properties like the rustic wine-country retreat Calistoga Ranch, swanky Esperanza in Cabo, and Napa Valley’s European-styled stunner Auberge du Soleil, has a fourth property that deserves attention as a belle of the South. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff sits in the heart of South Carolina’s Low Country, a halcyon mysterious landscape ever-changing with the tides. Golden marshes, snaking rivulets, historic islands, and quiet country lanes canopied by oak trees draped with Spanish Moss set the scene. Nature permeates this 22,000 acre property where life moves at a slower rhythm. Languid afternoons call for lazing on your cottage’s porch watching river dolphins frolic in the May River, kayaking the coastal salt marsh with a naturalist or 18 holes on the Jack Nicklaus signature course. The spa, a lovely two-story Southern-style manor, stands nobly on its own private isle overlooking a bird rookery. At twilight, hundreds of winged creatures descend upon the lagoon, where sleepy crocodiles and snapping turtles float below.
Culling from the area’s best local ingredients, the spa menu features indigenous herbs, plants and riverbank mud for its innovative “high cotton” (upscale) treatments. Start with a soak in an antique bathtub set on the screened-in porch and let the juniper and cypress forest herbals detoxify your body, then go for a Auberge Head to Toe—a ninety-minute soothing foot, scalp and full body massage. The Spa Boggin’ treatment (2.5 hours/$395 per person) comes from the local tradition where townspeople would gather at the riverbanks to slather mud on one another. A perfect couple’s therapy, guests begin with a detoxifying pine and cypress steam, and a Pine Sea Salt Exfoliation. Then it’s time to paint each other with the mud and relax in bodywraps side by side. A Spanish Moss and Citrus bath and massage follows. Oysters, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries tip the indulgent scale.
Off property, check out entrancing Savannah, a mere 20-minute drive, and opt for a historic carriage ride through the beguiling land of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” or explore the endless beaches of Hilton Head Island also nearby.
Inn at Palmetto Bluff
476 Mount Pelia Road
Bluffton, South Carolina SC 29910