A Gorgeous Hotel Just Opened in Savannah, Georgia’s Most Charming Neighborhood — With a Beautiful Pool, Private Club, and Frozen Cocktails

Hotel Bardo Savannah just opened in Georgia, and T+L articles editor Denny Lee was among the first to stay.

<p>Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo</p>

Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo

Savannah is known for its antebellum architecture, Southern hospitality, and fabled ghosts. And now, there’s a luxury resort that channels all three.  The Hotel Bardo Savannah opened in February, occupying a Southern Gothic terracotta mansion on Forsyth Park, a 30-acre village green surrounded by historic homes and Spanish moss–draped oak trees. It is arguably the quaintest neighborhood of Savannah.

During a pre-dinner stroll, I explored block after block of restored Victorian homes without seeing a single bachelorette party or horse-drawn carriage (common sights in the city’s more touristy areas to the north). On my return, the hotel beckoned like a private urban oasis, with friendly valets in olive-green uniforms welcoming me back by name. I was greeted by a festive scene in the lobby, which was warmly furnished with circular club chairs, marble-topped tables, and potted palms. The xennial-friendly decor continues in the 149 guest rooms and suites — think pole-wrap headboards, rattan wardrobes, green velvet chairs, and brass lamps.  My “Bardo” suite was particularly huge. It had a full kitchen, six-person dining table, and plush daybed under a 12-foot-high turret.

Hotel Bardo Savannah

  • A beautiful location across from Forsyth Park, a lush lawn and garden with majestic trees, tennis courts, and historic homes.

  • The modern, bright decor that feels youthful and sophisticated — in both the common areas and

  • The hotel attracts a fun mix of visitors and locals. Members of Club Bardo get access to the pool, gym, and a private lounge above the Saint Bibiana restaurant.

After a steam shower (a nice feature) and outfit change, I made my way to Saint Bibiana, the hotel’s hot-ticket Italian restaurant, housed in a separate, three-story mansion. Built in 1888 as a family residence, it became a funeral parlor in the 1950s and served as Savannah's finest mortuary for decades. I can happily report that the only spirits conjured during my stay were in the cocktails, served with a large cube of clear ice.

<p>Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo</p>

Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo

After a delightful dinner of fresh oysters, silky burrata, and perfectly cooked pasta, I tracked down more spirits at Club Bardo, a members'-only lounge on the second floor. Hotels often try to make their guests feel like locals, and Bardo has succeeded here by adding convivial neighbors into the mix. By 10 p.m., the club was buzzing with well-dressed couples, flirty singles, and young professionals sipping wine and Negronis. Savannah has a wealth shortage of cocktail bars, but I found no reason to leave this one.

The Rooms

<p>Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo</p>

Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo

The hotel has 149 guest rooms and suites, all designed with modern furnishings rendered in warm woods tones and muted pastel shades like sage green, coral pink and robin’s egg.  Most of the rooms (129) were remodeled from the previous occupant (the Mansion on Forsyth Park hotel),  and some of the marble tilework and tubs in the bathroom are holdovers. My “Bardo” suite is among those rooms. Covering more than 1,200 square feet, it has separate areas for dining, sleeping, lounging and TV viewing. (Standard rooms, by contrast, start at 410 square feet.)  The 20 suites that face the swimming pool are newly built, and many have private patios or balconies for entertaining.

<p>Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo</p>

Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo

Food and Drink

<p>Denny Lee/Travel + Leisure</p>

Denny Lee/Travel + Leisure

The Saint Bibiana restaurant occupies the first floor of the property’s original mansion from 1888, with several handsomely appointed dining rooms.  The breakfast and brunch menu includes a trio of freshly baked croissants (one stuffed with nutella that was still warm), and various egg dishes served in cast-iron skillets.  At night, the lighting dims and the menu switches over to fine coastal Italian. Dishes included a scallop crudo with yuzu, lemon oil, mint, and pistachio; and a grilled branzino with oven-dried tomatoes and anise-infused butter. There is a nicely edited selection of Italian wines and cocktails, and an impressive list of 20 after-dinner amaros. For a night cap, head upstairs to Club Bardo, which has a circular marble bar, several lounges, and a terrace overlooking the park.

<p>Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo</p>

Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo

The two-acre property also includes Bar Bibi, a casual poolside restaurant that serves ceviches, brick-oven pizzetas, salads, and frozen granitas. It is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  And the Green Room lobby bar has morning coffee and evening cocktails, which can also be enjoyed in the adjoining courtyard, covered by a glass canopy.

<p>Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo</p>

Andrew Frazier Photo/Courtesy of Hotel Bardo

Amenities and Experiences

If the sun is out, the action moves to the swimming pool, which is surrounded by palm trees, flamingo-pink umbrellas, white lounge chairs, and moss-green tiles. It’s an inviting place to sun tan, read a book, and day drink. If you're looking for a pre-swim workout, there’s a well-lit gym in the basement with a decent assortment of free weights, exercise machines, and treadmills.  The hotel also has bikes and tennis gear for use. Guests have access to Club Bardo, the private club above Saint Bibiana, as well as a cooking school that teaches guests to make fresh pasta and other Italian dishes.

The Spa

The Saltgrass Spa is located in the hotel’s tranquil basement, and offers a variety of massages and treatments, including an Alchemist facial that uses Swiss skin care by Margy’s Monte Carlo enhanced with LYMA Laser therapy. An on-staff trainer leads regular group workout sessions, including yoga, pilates, HIIT, and bootcamp, some of which take place in the park (complimentary for guests). Personal sessions are available for an extra fee.

Family-Friendly Offerings

Adults can drop off their kids (ages 5 to 12) at Camp Bardo for supervised arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and other afternoon activities, while the grown-ups create their own fun.

Accessibility and Sustainability

Seven ADA-compliant rooms have wider doorways, roll-in showers, and accessible shower controls. The Bardo is an adaptive reuse project, and Left Lane, the hotel’s New York-based developer, tried to salvage as much of the original building as possible. Single-use plastics are also kept to a minimum, refillable glass water bottles are used in the rooms, and bathroom toiletries are in pump dispensers.


The Bardo is in the heart of the Victorian District, just south of Savannah’s busy downtown historic area. It has just as much architectural charm, but with fewer tourists and more of a neighborhood vibe. On Saturday mornings, a farmers' market is held at Forsyth Park across the street. Savannah is a very walkable city, and the hotel has complimentary bikes for exploring the city.

How to Get the Best Value Out of Your Stay

The Bardo is an independent boutique hotel. Check its website for special offers, including four-nights-for-three specials and spa packages. Bardo is also part of the Leading Hotels of the World, and members can get room discounts of up to 20 percent.

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