Hotels and inns throughout the South, whether brand new or time-loved, are turning up the heat this winter, welcoming guests with reimagined spas, rooms with views, and on-site restaurants with menus that make the travel worth it. Here are a handful of especially worthy Southern retreats to escape to this winter.
The newly built Southall invites travelers to a 325-acre working farm and rural retreat. Enjoy its first season this winter, and book either a guest room or a standalone cottage, which offer sweeping views of Middle Tennessee’s rolling hills. The creation of the architecture and landscape design firms 906 Studio Architects and CSDG, Southall showcases the beauty of the land and the retreat’s connection to the soil. See the acreage on a brisk walk around the farm’s pastures, orchards, and greenhouse, and then warm up at the spa’s steam room, sauna, or mineral pool.
In the coldest months, the Shenandoah Valley largely turns back over to the locals, leaving gems like the Inn at Little Washington for regulars and seasoned travelers. The inn is a destination unto itself, and while the surrounding Blue Ridge foothills are studded with wineries and charming towns, once you arrive in Washington, you’ll probably want to post up around one of the wood-burning fireplaces at the historic manor. Reserve a table at one of the inn’s legendary dinners at the on-site, three-Michelin-starred restaurant, or swing by the new Patty O’s Café and Bakery for comforting dishes such as this creamy white bean soup.
Take advantage of a reprieve from Savannah’s notorious heat and humidity with a winter visit to the Perry Lane Hotel. Located in the historic downtown, this oasis in the storied city offers a heated rooftop pool to enjoy after a day spent peddling around Forsyth Park and Chippewa Square on one of the hotel’s complimentary bikes. Head to the property’s signature restaurant, the Emporium, which just launched a spin on happy hour—“Oyster Hour”—where guests can enjoy daily fried oysters and glasses of bubbly. Slide into dinner with Chef Dan Herget’s winter “Boujee Burger,” a by-request, off-menu dish that is earning a following for its sumptuous toppings of buttermilk foie gras, black truffle salt, smoked slab bacon, and taleggio cheese.
The district’s newest hotel, The Pendry opened at the end of last year and has already earned a reputation as a capital hot spot thanks to its unbeatable riverfront views, minimal-chic rooms, and on-site spa sanctuary. Enjoy a pre-dinner drink or nightcap at the Pendry’s Orient Express–inspired cocktail bar, Bar Pendry, which shakes and stirs imaginative concoctions like the “Chocolate City” and “Ward 8.” The hotel is an ideal base for exploring the nearby museums; don’t miss Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South at the National Gallery of Art, as well as the recently opened contemporary art-focused Rubell Museum.
Charleston, South Carolina
At one of the Holy City’s newest chic hotels, the Pinch’s twenty-two guest rooms are spread across new construction and interconnected, restored historic buildings. The hotel celebrates its architectural mix with heady interiors that blend antique furniture and 1970s decor. The Pinch is earning a local following thanks to its moody new oyster bar, the Quinte, which doles out a rotating selection of oysters as well as caviar and seafood towers fit for a group.
Middleburg buzzes in the winter with fox hunts, parades of horses and hounds, cozy winery tastings, and a festively decorated historic district. Enjoy the charming town with a stay at the historic Red Fox Inn & Tavern. Opened in 1728 and a longtime favorite of celebrities, including Jackie O. and Elizabeth Taylor, the inn makes for a cozy and private getaway in the colder months. Don’t miss a dinner at the Tavern, where the dark wood walls, candlelit tables, and multicourse tasting menu are made for lingering and long winter evenings.
Pittsboro, North Carolina
The Fearrington House Inn’s restaurant is one of the South’s long beloved restaurants, thanks in part to its cookbook, which was reissued in 2022. Check in to the inn this winter to enjoy the restaurant’s fortieth anniversary and toast its longevity. The Relais & Châteaux property (the first in the South to earn that distinction) offers a chance to relax on a working farm in the North Carolina countryside while being within a half hour drive from Chapel Hill.
The sophisticated Buckhead hotel recently upgraded its 6,000-square-foot spa, a luxurious spot to keep that “me-time” New Year’s resolution. The locals’ favorite luxury hotel is also a choice tourist spot thanks to its close proximity to the city’s premier music venues and high-end restaurants and shops.