Aviation (and Agricultural) History Helps a South Carolina Hotel Take Flight

Hotel Hartness gives Greenville guests a bucolic welcome at a reimagined family homeplace

A collage of three images: breakfast room with curved booths; a lit hotel at night; a green booth in a restaurant

Photo: Brandon Barré

The breakfast room; outside the hotel; booth seating at the Patterson Kitchen + Bar.

For the founders of Hotel Hartness, which opened last year in Greenville, South Carolina, there was no better way to put a beloved piece of family land to good use than by sharing the natural beauty with guests from around the South. “We wanted the design to authentically incorporate our family history and draw on the culture and spirit of Greenville,” says Sean Hartness, who grew up on the bucolic plot just outside of downtown. 

photo: Brandon Barré
A view of the water outside the hotel.

Part of that lineage is rooted in agriculture, and part of it in aviation. Thomas “Pat” Hartness, Sean’s father, had a love of flying from an early age, and in the eighties he began hosting aviation events on a grass runway at his family farm, including the Big Bird Fly-In. When those get-togethers outgrew the runway, Hartness purchased land nearby and founded the nonprofit Triple Tree Aerodrome

To honor this legacy at the hotel, the family planned out myriad ways for guests to steep themselves in nature. They expanded the on-site working farm to grow more sustainable produce, give a hundred egg-laying chickens plenty of room to roam, and maintain the eleven acres of pecan groves planted decades ago, all of which help feed the menus of the hotel’s striking dining options, the Patterson Kitchen + Bar and the Captain Bar. They also created fifteen miles of walking and biking trails through the surrounding 180-acre Hartness Nature Preserve.

photo: Courtesy of Hotel Hartness
Chickens roam on the farm.

photo: Courtesy of Hotel Hartness
The pecan grove.

It’s the sort of place where the days start slow—with a breakfast buffet with ingredients sourced from the farm, followed by an amble around the grounds, and then perhaps a picnic lunch by one of the ponds (or, seasonally, fishing in one, rods provided). Games fill afternoons around the fireplaces in the Great Room, while nightcaps and desserts, like the warm house-made maple blondie, get served after dinner in the cozy Captain Bar. Or as Sean puts it, “I think our focus on a sense of place has resulted in an experience that’s warm and relaxed.”

photo: Brandon Barré
The dining room at the Patterson Kitchen + Bar.

New this fall, the hotel will also offer guests an exclusive jaunt down to the four-hundred-acre Triple Tree Aerodrome. There, they’ll be able to tour its private aviation museum, gardens, and seven-thousand-foot runway, now host to all manner of pilots and events. 

photo: Brandon Barré
The Great Room.