There are a few elements a great bachelorette party or trip calls for: a fun location, a pool or beach, a lively after-dark scene, and great cuisine and cocktails. Savannah, Georgia, checks all those boxes and then some. Though it’s been simmering under the radar for years the historic city is about to reach its boiling point, and brides-to-be are noticing. There’s a noticeable uptick in bachelorette festivities in the walkable, incredibly scenic coastal destination where boutiquey, design-forward hotels are on the rise and the restaurant scene is on fire.
At the forefront is the just-opened Perry Lane Hotel, a perfect choice for women seeking sweet Southern luxury. It’s steps from great shopping—Savannah is especially known for antiques, vintage and independent artisan boutiques—and amazing bars and eateries, and the beach is an easy jaunt. Its open-air Peregrin Rooftop Pool & Bar is totally Instagrammable, the place to gather with the girls during the day with rosé or at night, all year round (spring to early summer is when the azaleas bloom). There’s even a karaoke room and arcade at the hotel, because all great bachelorette parties should probably involve a tipsy Spice Girls sing-along. (If a mechanical bull is more your style you can find that at Saddle Bags.)
The Alida, Savannah, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, is another fresh newcomer to the scene, overlooking River Street in the Historic District and again providing ladies with an idyllic scenario for daytime—private cabanas around the pool—and after dark. Note that like New Orleans, you’re allowed to drink publicly outside in this area, and bars are open until 3 a.m. and do to-go cups! The Trade Room and The Lost Square Rooftop bar are innovative dining and drinking options if you don’t want to leave the building, while a plethora of others are walkable. Right by the river there’s the eclectic new Andaz Savannah, which debuted this spring with 151 redesigned modern-meets-Southern guest rooms on Ellis Square. There’s a revolving gallery of artwork by local artists that keep it firmly planted in 2018, aided by the 22 Square Restaurant & Bar, where Southern-inspired dishes are given a contemporary twist. Meanwhile, The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa is on the banks of the Savannah River, a 90-second ferry ride from the downtown area with its buzzy food scene. (Even farther off-site is Montage Palmetto Bluff, about half an hour from the city, for more of a beach trip with the option of dining out in Savannah.)
Rooftop bars are a thing in Savannah, and rightly so—the weather is pretty great most of the time. Rocks On The Roof, at The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection, is an elevated, scenic place to start a long evening which might end at the next-door piano bar. There, the rooms feel grand in an 18th-century way, with original artwork and plush amenities on the riverfront—anyone appreciating a vintage sense or history will appreciate the sense of place it creates. Ditto with the Victorian-Romanesque look of Mansion on Forsyth Park, Autograph Collection, where Poseidon Spa hosts groups of girls for pampering sessions during bachelorette weekends, and its 700 Kitchen Cooking School makes for a fun more domestic activity for foodie friends.
Renaissance Inn Savannah Downtown/Historic District transports guests with unique architecture featuring private Courtyard Cottages—styled after workers cottages of the past—with spacious suites, complete with full kitchens, are ideal for hosting an epic bachelorette blowout, since everyone can stay together ad enjoy a fire pit and outdoor pool. They offer gratis grocery delivery service, which is a super appealing perk when there are half a dozen personalities involved, and alcohol being consumed.
Speaking of, the bar scene is fun and trendy, punctuated by speakeasies—the latest trend in nightlife. House of Mata Hari is one where you’ll need a password to enter a world that feels less 2018 and more 1920s—think strong absinthe libations and authentic decor. Small and secretive, Artillery is another favorite for craft cocktails with a strong dose of ambience. Savannah is a town known for its ghosts, and whether it’s a nighttime ghost tour or daytime food tour you’ll undoubtedly hear about the haunted elements that add another element of fun. There are also hybrid tours, like the historical ghost tour with bar stops on a group bike “slow ride,” or haunted mansion tours at Sorrel Weed House, where paranormal junkies will love the terrifying experience.
The food scene is collecting acclaim from across the country, thanks in part to celebrity chefs opening restaurants there in the last few years. It’s the place to eat Southern food, from super traditional fried chicken and grits at the favorite family-style, communal-table hot spot (open since 1943), Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room (warning: careful going too close to your wedding because this is not health food!), to modern interpretations like at The Grey, described by one food critic as “game-changing.” A former bus depot is now a playground for chef Mashama Bailey, who turns Southern staples on their heads with au courant ingredients and techniques. You can soak up last night’s alcohol with a typical Southern breakfast at Nairobi’s Grits & Gravy (beware of the lines on Saturday mornings) before geeking out on celeb chef–conceived bites at Sean Brock’s Husk and Hugh Acheson’s the Florence. Because ultimately the appeal of Savannah is that it’s delicious, beautiful, intoxicating and fascinating—it’s impossible not to have fun. And isn’t that what a bachelorette shindig is all about?