My wife and I stayed for three nights in the Nathaniel Greene Suite on the second floor of the Hamilton-Turner Inn. The romance of historic Savannah was heightened by the building (reportedly the most photographed house in Savannah), the interior design, and the Southern hospitality of the innkeepers and staff. Fresh flowers, including fragrant lilies, decorate the halls and parlor, and had we stayed another couple of weeks, we would have been able to smell the magnolia blossoms around the front door.
Hospitality here is off the charts. All guests are greeted with a box of chocolates from Jim and Gay Dunlop, the innkeepers. The staff were Will, Ron, and Susan. Will directed us to a parking place and carried our heavy bag up to the second floor, and Ron brought it down three days later. The management made it a point to turn down the bed every evening, coordinated with the times we were out to dinner so as not to interrupt us. It was pleasant to return from dinner to our air-conditioned room and find romantic music playing on the CD player, a lamp showing the room in its best light, and a couple of fresh home-baked cookies waiting on the pillow. In late afternoons, two kinds of wine and three kinds of cheese were available in the parlor with a baked crab dip. When we wondered aloud if they might be offering coffee, Will made a pot of coffee especially for us and brought it up to our room. Later in the evening, after-dinner wine such as port was available. When we left, the innkeepers said goodbye to us and wished us safe travels. Jim and Gay seem born for innkeeping. We enjoyed being in the last shift of breakfasts because we could get to know Jim a little better. He has had a remarkable previous incarnation visiting many places in our part of the globe, covering most of Asia and East Asia for an agricultural products company.
The innkeepers are involved in the preparation and serving of the breakfasts in shifts so that everyone can be seated comfortably in the dining room. The main breakfast dish changes daily, but guests always start off with juice, coffee/tea, cereal, muffins, and yogurt. The generous main dishes were all new to us. We looked forward to those breakfasts in the bright dining room, singing birds, and a window facing Lafayette Square where tour buses appeared and paused in front of the Hamilton-Turner house while the leader said a few words about the original owner being a mayor of Savannah, the building being the first in the city to use electric lighting, and a former owner, Joe Odom, holding wild parties as portrayed in the film, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." During the three mornings we were there, the breakfasts included biscuits under sausage gravy topped with two fried eggs; stuffed French toast; and fritadas in a bed of grits mixed with cheese and parsley.
It is about a 15-minute walk to the main tourist and shopping area. Our favorite store was Factors Cottage in a building by the river at the end of Abercorn Street. No matter where you are exploring in Savannah, it is easy to find Abercorn Street running north and south, parallel to Bull Street. When you are close to Lafayette Square, you can spot the twin spires of St. John the Baptist cathedral, right next to Hamilton-Turner Inn. Lafayette Square, named for George Washington's friend and aide de camp, is one of the prettiest of Savannah's 21 squares with a lovely fountain under shady live oak trees that allow little patches of sunlight to shine through on Spanish moss that frames the Inn. We walked to The Old Pink House (excellent dinner) and Noble Fare (highly disappointing service--restaurants are a seller's market in Savannah). Susan recommended Alligator Soul, which provided friendly service and excellent food including alligator bites--collops of alligator tail.
Free on-street parking near the Hamilton-Turner Inn was very easy as long as we observed the street sweeping days. There is a parking map showing street sweeping days in the in-room information book. There is no need to feed the parking meters on weekends. There is one parking space dedicated to loading/unloading-only right next to the side door.
In-room wi-fi was free, and we could connect both our Windows and Linux computers. The signal in our room was quite weak sometimes, but usually it was okay. The information book in the room contains the password.
No street noise. We rarely heard other guests. The Nathaniel Greene Suite was a very quiet and private room on the second floor. The Inn was full while we were there, but it did not seem noisy or busy. The other guests were all couples. Most of them gathered in the parlor before dinner to chat and enjoy the wine and cheese.
The bathroom was good sized with "his" and "hers" sinks. We had to get used to the large shower curtain around the rather small bathtub. The Nathaniel Greene (George Washington's general in the southern campaign) room is probably called a suite because it is quite large with a four poster bed but no canopy, a fireplace that may or may not work, and beautiful furniture. The room is comfortable and quite stunning when you first walk in. The room and bathroom were clean and well maintained. There was no refrigerator, but we rotated ice-packs frozen in their kitchen to keep our things cold.
We understand why most of the guests are repeat customers: we, too, feel we are unlikely to find a similar experience anywhere else, and we already feel as if we are friends with the innkeepers and staff. We intend to come back, too. It is a romantic experience that is not to be missed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience Southern hospitality at the elegant Hamilton-Turner Inn on beautiful Lafayette Square in the center of Savannah's historic district. The Inn has 17 guestrooms and suites. Some accommodations offer romantic fireplaces, and spectacular views of the park. Each day enjoy these complimentary culinary services: full gourmet southern breakfast, sweets in the afternoon, evening wine and hors d'oeuvres, late evening port, and bedtime sweet with turndown service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hamilton Turner Hotel Savannah