Wellness travel is more than a trend. As travelers navigate their busy schedules and the demands of life, traveling to new destinations with wellness at the forefront is a must. On a recent trip to Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina, I got to experience firsthand the magical powers of staying at a property that is focused on the wellness of its guests. 

Exterior in Bluffton, South Carolina
Photo Credit: Montage Palmetto Bluff

Located in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Montage Palmetto Bluff sits beautifully along the May River, nestled between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia.

A private driver organized by the property awaited my arrival with a sign of my name in hand. Riding in comfort, we drove about 45 minutes from the airport to the charming 20,000-acre Montage Palmetto Bluff. The drive, filled with an abundance of greenery, prepared me for the rejuvenating stay I would soon experience. 

Well Living Program

This year, the property launched its “Well Living” program, geared toward helping guests tap into their physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. Each month, the property’s Well Living program has a specific focus.

“Our new Well Living program is well timed to feed the hunger that travelers have to transform themselves with enriching experiences that go beyond recreation and relaxation,” said Jon McGaunn, general manager of Montage Palmetto Bluff, in a statement. 

Amiri Farris
Photo Credit: Kelsey Marie

I visited in August, which was Artist Appreciation Month, and got to speak with artist Amiri Farris, whose large-scale indigo pieces beautify the walls within Montage Palmetto Bluff. Farris, who is of Gullah Geechee descent, depicts the everyday lives of Gullah Geechee people in his paintings.

“I feel very honored that they allowed me to have my work here [Montage Palmetto Bluff] and have a gallery space,” Farris tells Travel Noire. 

Checking In

In addition to Artist Appreciation Month, I spent my time on the property, fully immersing myself in all they have to offer. After checking in and being offered a chilled glass of sweet tea, I hopped into one of their golf carts and was ushered to my very own cabin.

The drive was less than five minutes long, but I immediately noticed how serene the property was. I saw families riding bikes, walking, and mothers pushing strollers under the shade of grand oak trees. Everyone looked so relaxed and joyful.

Montage Palmetto Bluff Property
Photo Credit: Montage Palmetto Bluff

In front of my cabin were two parked bikes I could use at leisure to get around the property. You can get around the resort by foot, bike, or golf cart. There is a shuttle you can call to pick you up and take you wherever you need to be on the property. Each shuttle driver I met was so welcoming and exuded Southern hospitality.

Where to Stay 

There are a variety of choices for accommodations on the property. Their collection of cottages, guest rooms, suites and village homes all have the southern charm of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. 

Cottage at Montage Palmetto Bluff
Photo Credit: Montage Palmetto Bluff

I stayed in one of the Lagoon View Cottages, which was super cozy and private and had a spacious screened-in porch, perfect for moments of solitude, with a cup of tea and my journal. The room was made for complete relaxation with a conversation area placed in front of a gas fireplace, a comfortable king-sized bed, a reading nook overlooking the porch of the cabin, two desks for writing and working, a huge closet space and a bathroom fit for a queen. The marble bathroom blew me away with its deep bathtub, perfect for soaking, double vanities and a steam shower. I would have been content staying in this room all weekend, resting, reading and taking in the calming views of the lagoon. 

What to Eat

Montage Palmetto Bluff has a robust collection of dining destinations on the property. Each restaurant is very attentive to any food restrictions or allergies you may have. On the first night, I indulged in dinner at Octagon, whose menu is filled with seasonally inspired cuisine with dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. The shrimp and grits were incredible. It had just the right amount of smoked tomato broth, nueske bacon and fennel. Octagon also serves breakfast and lunch and has a great weekend brunch. 

Shrimp and Grits,
Photo Credit: Kelsey Marie

Each night, outside the property’s Main Inn, there is a s’mores cart where you can roast a sweet treat at the fire pits along the lagoon waterways. This nostalgic dessert is the perfect way to end a magical evening at Montage Palmetto Bluff.

If you’re looking for a more elevated dinner experience, head to River House. Enjoy riverfront dining overlooking the May River, while enjoying the finest cuts of meat and exceptional wines. After dinner, head to the property’s speakeasy, Hush, and partake in a nightcap. River House’s best-kept secret is home to some of the best mixologists on the bluff. 

River House Dinner, Montage Palmetto Bluff
Photo Credit: Kelsey Marie

For lunch, head to Buffalos, which recently went under a menu refresh and complete renovation. The new menu boasts fresh produce from the Palmetto Bluff Farm, local seafood and a variety of oysters. 

If you’re feeling peckish throughout the day, head to the property’s Carolina Room for Porching, a Palmetto Bluff tradition. You’ll be able to sit back and relax with a refreshing glass of lemonade or sweet tea and freshly baked cookies. 

Buzz Latte, Montage Palmetto Bluff
Photo Credit: Kelsey Marie

Head to Buzz Coffee for pastries, handcrafted drinks, and freshly brewed coffee in the morning. I highly recommend ordering the Buzz Latte. It’s a heavenly combination of honey, cinnamon, espresso and oat milk topped with cinnamon. 

What to Do 

With 20,000 acres of property, there isn’t a shortage of things to do while staying at Palmetto Bluff. The best way to start a Saturday morning on the property is by heading to the Artisan Market. Located in the hallways of the Main Inn, you can discover art, produce and handcrafted goods. Everything is sold by local artisans and vendors. 

After shopping, meet the property’s naturalist, Cassie Beato, for a Lagoon Tour. You’ll get to explore the maritime forest, learn about Lowcountry wildlife, and you may even spot an alligator or two.

Lagoon Tour
Photo Credit: Montage Palmetto Bluff

One of my favorite things to do while at Palmetto Bluff is head to Spa Montage for a full body massage. The massage therapists will work magic on you and can target specific issues, such as stress, travel fatigue and aches. After your massage, enjoy the amenities of the spa, including a cold plunge, hot tub, sauna and steam room. In addition to massages, you can book body treatments, nail services and facial treatments. 

Massage Montage Palmetto Bluff
Photo Credit: Montage Palmetto Bluff

Other activities on the property include horseback riding, fishing, golfing, biking and more. 

After a weekend at Montage Palmetto Bluff, I felt ready to get back into the swing of things. It reminded me that proper rest is necessary for creativity and accomplishing goals.