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Best New Hotel
B Historic Savannah

The B Historic had me hooked at one of its lobby’s most stunning artworks, a purple-hued backlit cloth, soaring almost floor to ceiling and blowing gently in manufactured wind, featuring the words of Savannah poet Conrad Aiken. It’s a poem called “The Window.” I happen to be a missionary for the underappreciated Aiken.

“It’s my favorite thing at the hotel,” says hotel manager Frank Dolley, who met me under the words “She looks out in the blue morning and sees a whole wonderful world.” And what a whole wonderful world that poem’s character would enjoy if she were staying at this Savannah-inspired oasis of calm, where coastal touches caress every corner.

“I also love the bar, the woodwork,” says Dolley, referring to Kitchen 320, the hotel’s locally-sourcing restaurant and bar that’s getting accolades of its own, creative and Southern-inspired as it is with delicious delights like Low Country paella.

The restaurant and bar’s central visual focus is a set of wood stumps, cut out and stacked, almost floor to ceiling, a nod, perhaps, to the state’s $681 million timber industry or, perhaps, to Savannah’s maritime history. All these local touches, art and personality definitely mark B Historic as a boutique hotel, of which there are several in Savannah.

“One of the things that helps us is our location,” Dolley says of the stiff competition for hotel nights. “We’re not right in the middle of River Street or right in the middle of the Historic District. We’re in a neighborhood.” And walking past those historic homes definitely adds to a calmness, even if you’re still very much in the “tourist zone.”

And if your Savannah stay packs in too much walking and not enough relaxation, take a flight up from the lobby. There, in a warm and cozy room on the second floor, an indoor pool looks out through a big window onto the green tops of palm trees. Float for a while. To complete the idea, fall asleep on the B Hotels and Resorts’ signature “Blissful Bed.”

Of course, as with any branded enterprise, the hotel’s corporate structure determines a lot of its feel. There are actually four other B Hotels and Resorts: Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans and Marathon Key. They pride themselves on their “DNA,” which stands for Destination (localism), N’Vogue (art) and Approachability (great staff personality).

Whatever hooks you at B Historic Savannah, B poetic about it, with love to Conrad. – Orlando Montoya Runner-up: The Bohemian