Spring in the South means flowering trees, warmer evenings, the return of supper on the porch, and hopefully, a little time to travel. Here are six Southern spots with refreshed ways to enjoy the season—plus a helpful primer on the South’s newest hotels.
This Ritz-Carlton just under two hours from Atlanta is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year with a brand-new refresh to its lakeside digs. Along with renovated rooms and suites, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Oconee offers standalone cottages—ideal for multi-generational family getaways—a new family pool, and a Ritz-Kids clubhouse (complete with a floor-to-ceiling fish tank), all of which take the stress out of planning any all-ages stay. The Ritz is also within an easy drive of the Masters Tournament (April 4–10). Inspired to work on your own golf swing? Ritz guests can also train like the pros at The Kingdom at Reynolds Lake Oconee, one of only two elite TaylorMade club-fitting facilities in the States.
Middleburg’s horse racing season gears up in the spring and Goodstone, a rural retreat right outside of town, is a sumptuous spot for those equinely inclined. Plan your visit around the wildly popular Middleburg Spring Races (April 23) or the relaxed Hunt Country Music Festival (May 20–22). While staying in Goodstone’s English country inspired rooms, hiking its 265 acres, or lounging by the pool might be appealing in itself, spring is the perfect season to explore the abundance of nearby wineries. Within a few miles from Goodstone you’ll find gems like Boxwood Estate, Cana Vineyards & Winery, Greenhill Vineyards, and the newly opened Old Farm Winery at Hartland.
Key West, Florida
Head way down south to Key West and join in the island’s year-long bicentennial celebrations. The calendar of events includes parades, curated guided tours, film screenings, and exhibits with a range of centerpiece artifacts from the past two hundred years—everything from cigar roller tables and tools to Ernest Hemingway’s boxing gloves. Take part in the celebrations with a stay at Casa Marina, a historic landmark hotel that first opened its doors on New Year’s Eve in 1920. A stay here is steeped in history—Casa Marina was the dream of railroad tycoon Henry Flagler and has played host to luminaries such as Tennessee Williams and Rita Hayworth. The concierge team can arrange private tours at some of the island’s most sought-after sights including the Tennessee Williams Museum, the Key West Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters, and the Key West Museum of Art & History.
Cumberland Island, Georgia
Eighteen-mile-long Cumberland Island is as wild as it is beautiful, and the historic Greyfield Inn is a stylish sanctuary that provides a total getaway. Base yourself here for exploring the island’s protected wilderness or for catching a glimpse of Cumberland’s wild ponies. Amelia River Cruises offers a variety of ways to see the horses, from a beach creek tour that brings you to the ruins of the Carnegie family’s Dungeness Mansion, to a longer ramble around the entirety of Cumberland. In spring the company brings back its popular sunset sails.
Spring in Washington, D.C. means cherry blossoms, and this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival (through April 17) will mark 110 years since the Mayor of Tokyo gave cherry trees to the U.S. capital. It’s also the first festival since 2020 and 2021’s pandemic cancellations. Enjoy the blooms with a stay at one of the capital’s stylish boutique hotels, Hotel Riggs. A onetime bank, the hotel has one of most elegant restaurants in the district and boasts a popular subterranean bar that features cherry blossom-inspired cocktails all spring. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, reserve the Ida McKinley suite, which is forever decorated in cherry blossom pink.
Charleston, South Carolina
Zero George has garnered quite a following thanks to its sumptuous interiors and exteriors—the hotel is comprised of five restored nineteenth century buildings. This spring, the hotel will unveil a refresh that brings upgrades to its sixteen guest suites as well as an expansion to its professional kitchen—a win for those interested in taking classes at the hotel’s busy cooking school. The Caviar Bar at Zero George will also debut this spring with champagne, wines, and cocktails that complement the caviar service. Check in in time to catch a few Spoleto Festival events, which returns to the Holy City May 27–June 12.
New & Noteworthy
Recently opened—and about to open—hotels
Charleston, South Carolina
The fifty-room Loutrel opened its doors in the heart of the historic district late last year. The hotel prides itself on its guest offerings with some of the city’s most revered cultural institutions including the Charleston Preservation Society, the Gibbes Museum of Art, and Buxton Books.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Magnolia House is a historic Green Book site that just relaunched itself as a boutique hotel. It is one of only a handful of Green Book properties in North Carolina still in operation.
Boca Raton, Florida
This new hotel is located on two hundred Florida acres and has its own private beach.
The Thompson opened in the live music capital of the world just in time for South x Southwest.
Situated in the heart of Music City, the Conrad will open this spring as an eleven-story tower with 234 new guest rooms.