by Lissa Poirot
Just 20 minutes from Hilton Head Island is a plantation that is just as charming as any you will find on HH, but with a more remote and luxurious environment. Palmetto Bluff is a 20,000-acre area featuring 10,000 acres of preserved land and a collection of gorgeous inn, cottages, villas and homes to accommodate families of any size for a laidback getaway filled with lazy days and Southern Charm.
The plantation offers two villages, its original Wilson Village, which features shopping, dining and a small museum that highlights the area’s beginnings, and the new Moreland Village, which opened in 2017 to provide a more rustic area but features a village with wildlife conservation programs, bowling, billiards and more. The property features 48 guest houses and 74 rooms at the inn, which opened in September, 2016. Village homes with two to four bedrooms are available at Wilson, and the new Montage Residences provides offerings with two to four bedrooms and all access to all community and inn amenities.
At Palmetto Bluff, they have a simple word that describes the top thing to do: “porching.” This is when you just sit back on your porch, enjoying a cold drink and talking with the neighbors. And it’s what you’ll find yourself doing daily as the warm South Carolina sun begins to set into the marshy and palmetto-filled landscape.
Our Editor Loves
- Accommodations for eight
- Village-like setting
- Outdoor activities with Southern charm
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
These one-room suites feature a bedroom with a king bed and a living room with a sleeper sofa. The cottages provide 757 to 1,183 square feet of indoor and outdoor space with a screened-in porch, 55-inch flat-screen TVs, and views of the lagoon, forest or river. These accommodations sleep up to four.
Inn Rooms and Guest Houses
The inn features 74 tasteful decorated guestrooms with double queen beds or a king bed to sleep two to four people. These rooms feature marble bathrooms and a 50-inch flat-screen TV. Some rooms offer private balconies, and rooms are available with lagoon or forest views and average 450 square feet in size. A larger Forest Inn Suite can sleep up to five with a king bed, a living room with sleeper sofa and room for a rollaway bed or crib. These have nearly 970 square feet of space and provide one full bathroom.
Located next to the Inn is the Guest House with six to fourteen separate accommodations per building, featuring designs similar to the Inn. Rooms open up to the patios or balconies that offer waterway panorama, allowing guests to connect with the outdoors.
For larger families and more privacy, the Village Homes provide a home-away-from-home option with two-, three- and four-bedroom options. Two bedrooms range from 2,000 to 2,750 square feet and provide separate living and dining rooms and two bathrooms. Three-bedrooms are 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and can accommodate six people; it features a third bathroom, as well. Four bedrooms, which sleep up to eight, offer a fourth bathroom and are 3,300 to 5,000 square feet. All homes feature screened-in, fully furnished porches and are equipped with washers and dryers, Wi-Fi, LCD TVs and DVD/CD players, and come with daily housekeeping.
I highly recommend having your next event, retreat, or weekend getaway at Montage Palmetto Bluff! It is a luxurious, 5+star experience from start to finish! Beautiful settings, amazing food, and a wonderful staff make the perfect experience. Everything you could need including a luxury spa, high end dining, and endless activities are all in one place.
Palmetto Bluff, SC, is the most peaceful, relaxing place I have ever been to. The amenities are world class and the staff is outstanding. A great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. I highly recommend a visit to Palmetto Bluff.
This children's program for ages 5 to 12 provides full- or half-day programming. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance and evening programs are also available to provide adults with a quiet dinner.
Every evening, the River House Fire Pits are lit to provide families an opportunity to gather round and enjoy S'mores. The amenity is offered from 7 to 10 p.m. nightly.
Fishing poles and tackle are available at the Recreation Carriage House to enjoy around the property's many waterfront locations, of which there are 32 miles.
The Wilson Lawn & Racquet Club provides croquet, tennis and basketball courts for guests to enjoy daily. The club features eight Har-Tru courts, two croquet lawns and two bocce courts. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with complimentary usage. Often, during the summer and spring break periods, the area hosts fun family tournaments. Clinics and introductions are available, at a fee. Kayaks and canoes are available to enjoy the lagoon and river, and are complimentary for guests.
Visit the Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club, which provides a 40-acre forest with elevated and covered stations and a wobble deck to provide 15 shooting sites for sporting clay shooting. The course is good for all shooting levels and is available Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The resort hosts a variety of tours to nearby areas so guests can enjoy more of the South without having to worry about transportation and guides. Guests can catch water shuttles from the resort's Grace Dock to visit Savannah, Bluffton, Beaufort and Hilton Head. Each shuttle and tour is an additional fee and depends on the length of travel and duration of trip.
Preserving the land of Palmetto Bluff, the resort is home to a conservancy with operations out of a new building in Moreland Village. Programs for kids and families are offered.
Two treehouse play areas are located on the property: one near Wilson and one near Moreland. These 3-story treehouses include handcrafted furniture and multiple entry points. The three-story Mount Pelia treehouse at Wilson offers a rope ladder, a slide, a wooden boardwalk and a zip line to an adjacent tree, while the Moreland treehouse offers five stories with an observation deck.
Swimming Pools & Water Fun
Two family pools can be found at the main Inn Building, as well as the Guest Houses. An adults-only pool is available at Spa Montage. Kayaks and paddleboards are available to enjoy throughout the property's lagoons, riverfront and ponds.
Located at Wilson Village, Buffalo's is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is renowned for its Biscuit Bar or homemade Southern biscuits, and offers salads, sandwiches and pastries. Indoor, porch and outdoor seating is available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closing between 3 and 5 p.m. daily).
Evening dining can be enjoyed at the Canoe Club, overlooking the water at Palmetto Bluff. Dishes incorporate fresh seafood from the May River, including shrimp and oysters, as well as locally sourced beef, chicken and vegetables. The restaurant is open from 6 to 9:30 p.m., Thursday through Monday.
Another daily restaurant and located in the Inn, is Jessamine, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch only on Sundays. Named for South Carolina's state flower, the restaurant provides classic breakfast fare and steakhouse-style menus for lunch and dinner. Reservations are required.
Octagon Bar & Gathering Place
For cocktails and small bites every evening, visit the name, which is open daily from 3 to 10 pm. Located between the Lobby Lounge and Jessamine, the bar is a throwback to the Octagon House, one of Palmetto Bluff's first homes.
River House Lounge
Another place for cocktails and small bites, here, sandwiches and sharable plates are available with craft beers, locally-inspired cocktails and fine wines. It is open from 3 to 10 p.m. daily.
Fore & Aft
Fore & Aft serves lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here, you'll find light fare, such as sandwiches and salads, and a lovely view of the adjacent pool.
Located at the new Moreland Village, Cole's overlooks the marshes and serves up dinner from Thursday to Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations are not required for this casual spot featuring Southern comfort foods like fried chicken and smokehouse BBQ.
A neighborhood market is located on the resort to provide grocery items, wine and beverages, gift items and a gas station. Open daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In-room dining is available for all guests, even those in home rentals. The service is offered 24 hours per day.
Planning & Tips
The Art of Smart Timing
South Carolina's coastal weather is best at spring and fall, when cool breezes keep the heat and humidity of summer months at bay. Winters are mild, but are still chilly, and some restaurants and shops close for a brief season.
Palmetto Bluff is 23 miles from Savannah's airport, with rental car and taxi service available. Many flights connect through Charlotte and Atlanta. The area is also two hours from Charleston, S.C. and can accessed via car by I-95.
The expansive resort is often traversed by bicycle or golf cart, for a casual and relaxed setting for families. The resort provides a water shuttle directly to Hilton Head to connect to the island at Harbour Town. Reservations are required with a 9:30 a.m. departure and 3:30 p.m. return so you can enjoy shopping and dining in Hilton Head. The shuttle is $45 per guest (children are $30). Another water shuttle is available to Bluffton to provide a chance to dine and shop in the area on a more limited schedule. Traveling along the May River, it departs at 11 a.m. and returns at 2:30 p.m. Guests are $35 ($20 for children).
For Mom and Dad
The Spa Montage is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and provides a fitness center, wellness classes, massage therapies, facial and body treatments, and a hair and nail salon.
As Hilton Head is renowned for its golf, of course, Montage rests on a signature course. The 18-hole, 7,171-yard course was designed by Jack Nicklaus to meander through the forest and along the river. The course is closed on Mondays.