You know that moment when anticipation strikes and excitement starts to build? We experienced such a moment at the opening of the Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville, the newest Kessler Collection property. We found the downtown Greenville, South Carolina setting for this Marriott Autograph Collection property, especially intriguing.
Architects fitted this head-turner just so on the banks of the Reedy River in popular Falls Park, known for its low–tumbling waterfalls. The suspension-style Liberty Bridge is steps from the front door. And although it’s seven stories high with 187 luxury suites and guest rooms plus eye-popping public spaces, the lodge fits amid the landscape.
The hotel’s design is reminiscent of the stately lodges at some of America’s national parks. This rustic style, known as parkitecture, utilizes natural materials, appears as if built by hand, and blends in with the landscape.
Step inside the Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville
The hotel’s interior complements its exterior. A four-sided stone fireplace, a reception desk recessed in a stone arch, a custom-made wooden table, and a floor-to-ceiling bookcase welcome guests into the lobby. Chandeliers made from antlers hang here and throughout the property. Off to the right, a deck overlooks the river and portions of the minor falls. The deck’s custom-made timber rockers with lime green cushions invite relaxing, but we resist.
A more extensive library just off the main lobby leads to a private dining room and then to the restaurant. A local book collector parted with a considerable number of volumes that fill the hotel’s shelves. Figurines guard the stone-lined faux fireplace at ground level, and more carvings line the upper shelves.
Native American and Western themes dominate the art inside and out. Much of it is from Kessler Chairman and CEO Richard C. Kessler’s collection. Out front, giant stones become a water feature in one spot, a carved buffalo in another. At the lodge’s entrance are life-size sculptures of Native Americans. One rides horseback at an intense downhill slant while another grapples with a mighty eagle attacking from above.
Near the two ballrooms inside is an impressive display comprising multiple framed spreads of arrowheads drawn from another artist’s 20-year collection. And near reception, a long wall displays unique Native American jewelry pieces under glass.
As with the Kessler property at Plant Riverside District Savannah that opened in 2020, there are also six-foot tall geodes gleaming in brown or purple crystals. On the lobby porch, a large, oval, mosaic “egg,” heated no less, provides a cozy spot for two.
Eating and drinking
Michelin-starred French chef Nicolas Abello created the seasonal, modern lodge cuisine menu for the lodge’s sole restaurant, aptly named Between the Trees. Guests can sit by one of four fireplaces inside the restaurant or opt for the terrace. A member of the food-and-beverage team confided that the idea of having live music was discussed. But it was nixed in favor of the natural sounds of the running river and waterfalls.
In addition to the main dining areas, the restaurant offers two smaller, private dining venues with river views. One room, located just off the library and adjoining the main restaurant, seats about a dozen guests. A whimsical sheer drape of colorful leaves adds ambiance, but velvet curtains can be drawn for more privacy. A similar theme repeats in the separate wine room, seating 12-16 guests. Here, floor-to-ceiling glass cases hold about 1,000 bottles.
For lunch on the outer terrace at Spirit & Bower, we selected a small plate from the shareable menu, opting for the Wagyu beef sliders with local gouda, bacon jam and garlic aioli. At dinner at Between the Trees, our grilled octopus salad was so good that we ordered it again the following night. While Kessler has a signature wine, the restaurant also offers a “splurge” wine menu.
The hotel’s upscale bar, Spirit & Bower, overlooks the suspension-style Liberty Bridge and Reedy River Falls. It features an outdoor verandah and terrace with seating for both dining and lounging, two fireplaces, and a stone fire pit. Most impressive, however, is the bar’s display of its curated bourbon and whiskey collection, including some of the country’s most coveted spirits. In addition, a sleek and elevated stone bar opens to the exterior, engaging guests and connecting the inside with the beauty and sounds of Falls Park.
Guest room decor
The modern lodge theme continues in the guest areas. Each guest floor has unique art and custom carpeting — contemporary swirls of antlers. Even the room key cards are unusual: a thin, wooden disc about the size of a silver dollar with an owl on one side and the property name logo on the other. We overheard one guest call it a buffalo nickel.
Our spacious, third-floor, corner king room in the Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville featured the Kessler touches we’ve grown to expect. These include great artwork, plush bedding, and a spacious bath with a separate toilet closet and a glass-fronted shower with a rain shower head. And, of course, signature bath products. We especially appreciated the two chairs and large stone table where we could enjoy a snack or fire up the computer.
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- The lodge is within walking distance of Greenville’s thriving Main Street, and the area has a vibrant music and art scene, plus the Peace Center Concert Hall with standout shows and concerts.
- From here, outdoor enthusiasts can easily hop on the 22-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail for running, biking and walking.
- Southern Living magazine named Greenville The South’s Best City on the Rise.
- The lodge allows two pets max (60 pounds per room) for a $150 fee per stay.
- Wine enthusiasts may want to time their stay with autumn’s euphoria-Greenville, a four-day celebration of food, wine and music.
- There’s no quick takeaway option for a snack or cup of coffee.
- Bring good walking shoes to fully explore Falls Park, the suspension bridge, rocks and waterfalls. Parts of Falls Park are steep, with many steps.
- We found the restaurant menu a bit limited. However, we visited soon after the hotel’s opening, so that could change.
Disclosure: The authors’ visit was hosted by Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville, but any opinions expressed in this post are their own.
Photos courtesy of Fletcher/Newbern unless otherwise noted.
IF YOU GO
For more info on the Greenville area, consult Visit Greenville.
Read about another Kessler Collection property, the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte in North Carolina.
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