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Savannah’s Newest High-Design Hotel Is Inside An 1888 Mansion

Wait until you see the pool.

Savannah’s Newest High-Design Hotel Is Inside An 1888 Mansion

I’d been having some ghost problems before a recent trip to Savannah (namely, a handful of unsolicited supernatural experiences, but that’s another story for another time). When I arrived in what is regarded as the most haunted city in the U.S. to sleep in an estate-turned-hotel originally built in 1888, I was apprehensive. The property in question? Hotel Bardo—a Southern Gothic terracotta mansion across the street from Forsyth Park. Its imposing brick turrets spiral upward, soaring above surrounding palm trees and Spanish moss-draped oaks. It’s impressive.

The building was constructed at the end of the 19th century as a single-family home, but would eventually become a funeral parlor in the 1950s, then a hotel called The Mansion on Forsyth Park, and then—after a multimillion-dollar renovation—Hotel Bardo, which opened earlier in 2024. The independent hotel is from LEFT LANE, a real estate development and hospitality firm that specializes in transforming historic properties.

Strolling up to the hotel under the warm Savannah sunshine, guests are greeted by charming valets dressed in olive green uniforms who ooze southern hospitality. Inside, one has the sense they’ve stepped into a living room. This is intentional. The layout was designed to channel Savannah’s finest homes, with a "living room" that expands into a hidden courtyard and pool area. In lieu of a check-in desk, there’s a plush sectional sofa with printed ottomans and upholstered chairs all centered around nesting coffee tables with rounded edges. The vibe is approximately mid-century modern, with wood-paneled walls as a backdrop and light fixtures crafted in natural textures.

Across the way is The Green Room, a coffee bar by day and cocktail lounge by night. Also staged in front of wood-paneled walls, the space is anchored by a striking oval bar splashed in a soft sage hue with leather swivel chairs arranged around the perimeter. Overhead, ceiling beams are painted in a more vibrant green tone, with intimate seating nooks situated throughout the room. It’s the perfect spot for a martini, I’d later find.

I’m escorted to the actual check-in desk, located just down the hallway, and then to my guest room for the next few nights. There are 149 rooms sprawled across Hotel Bardo’s two acres (50 of which are suites). Mine is full of natural light and rich in color and texture. The first detail that catches my eye is the checkered shower tiles. After that, the pole-wrapped, tiered headboard that feels like a subtle nod to Art Deco. On the less subtle side, a private outdoor deck furnished with a flamingo-pink scalloped umbrella and two sun chairs on astroturf that overlook the pool deck. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the urge to shout out, “Hi, Barbie!” from my flamboyant patio chair. (I didn’t.)

After a quick shower, I head to Bar Bibi, Hotel Bardo’s casual dining concept that takes cues from coastal Mediterranean al fresco dining, for a light lunch outside. Setting the tone for the restaurant is a massive floor-to-ceiling mural awash in sherbet hues by SCAD graduate Juliana Lupacchino. (Several pieces of art throughout the hotel are by Savannah locals and SCAD graduates.) You can choose between cabana-style seating or poolside chairs to enjoy fresh bites like gazpacho and farm vegetables or heartier dishes like the La Foresta pizza with mushrooms and black truffle. This would also be an excellent time to order a spritz, which I did.

The pool is something to behold. I’m told the space it occupies used to be a parking lot. Now, it feels plucked from a movie with its two-story palm trees, row of peachy pink umbrellas, and green-and-white-tiled deck. A far cry from oil-stained asphalt and concrete blocks! Between the ‘living room’ and pool, there’s a dramatic outdoor atrium constructed from wrought iron and painted in a vibrant shade of green. Here, guests and non-guests alike can sit in woven chairs or soft sofas while reading the newspaper or enjoying a drink with friends. One particularly photogenic corner features a mint green bistro table beneath a scalloped-edge arc lamp. The setting feels like an Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-Art-Deco fever dream.

After a day of walking around Forsyth Park and exploring nearby areas via the property’s complimentary electric Moke (Hotel Bardo is conveniently positioned between historic downtown and the trendy Starland neighborhood), I head back for a treatment at Saltgrass Spa. The design feels like a calmer extension of the neutral tones, natural textures, and rounded curves from upstairs. A highlight was the assemblage of jungle-like greens in a corner of the waiting room, which rendered the space even more tranquil. Also of note are the Cora tampons in the spa bathroom!

My day concludes at the magnificent Saint Bibiana, Hotel Bardo’s coastal Italian restaurant, led by executive chef and culinary director Derek Simcik. This is the oldest corner of the hotel that dates back to 1888, and despite retaining its architectural bones (think: high ceilings, ornate fireplaces, and original wood floors), it feels impeccably modern. The LEFT LANE team emphasized mixing old and new when designing the space, and that concept hits its stride here. I dine at a long wooden table with navy velvet chairs and a towering, woven light fixture suspended overhead. There are Goliath plants all around and modern artwork for note-perfect pops of color. Instagram heaven.

Saint Bibiana

Afterward, I make my way upstairs to poke around Club Bardo, the property’s membership and social club. An art installation winds up alongside the staircase depicting Bacchus, the god of wine—the reference here being the interplay between the god of wine and Saint Bibiana, the patron saint of hangovers. Club Bardo guests enjoy a circular marble-top bar, plus several nooks and lounges for tucking yourself away in. (My favorite such nook is a floor-to-ceiling pink room with mid-century modern tulip chairs and an alcove adorned with a pink glass chandelier). Live music often plays, and there’s even a terrace overlooking the park for those perfect weather days.

After a few nights of sipping on spritzes and dining on fresh Mediterranean-focused fare—all from beneath a vibey umbrella or at a photogenic tablescape—my appreciation for historic spaces rendered anew has never been stronger. As for the ghostly apprehension? Completely dissipated after a restful, spiritless weekend of leisure at Savannah’s most exciting hotel opening of the year.

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