Adaptive-reuse project Hotel Bardo blends contemporary and traditional styles

Hotel Bardo is now open in Savannah, GA, an adaptive-reuse project that transformed a 19th-century Southern Gothic structure into a timeless, urban retreat.

“Hotel Bardo Savannah celebrates the spirit of human connection and adventure—a neighborhood clubhouse for the well-traveled,” said Huxley Hogeboom, EVP, design and development, LEFT LANE Development, the real estate development and hospitality firm behind the project. “The design celebrates the old and new—a ‘riot clash’ aesthetic mixing traditional styles with contemporary touches that gives the feeling that the resort was built up over time.”

The two-acre resort has 149 guestrooms, inclusive of 50 suites, and also features a coastal Italian restaurant, a fitness and wellness spa, a kids’ program and a membership and social club.

Hotel Bardo’s Italian restaurant, Saint Bibiana

Although housing modern amenities, the hotel’s design reflects its history. With its prime location in Forsyth Park, travelers are greeted with a striking exterior and intricate design details.

“The hotel is a composition of existing and new buildings, each with their own character that lends the resort the sense that it was built up over generations and encourages guests to wander and discover their own nooks,” Hogeboom said. “Highlighting both community and global sensibilities was important for us, not just for this flagship opening but also for the Bardo brand.”

Just past the lobby, guests can find the hotel’s courtyard surrounded by gardens and a Bardo-branded pool inspired by the Mediterranean. The hotel also features an expansive art collection, highlighting emerging and established contemporary artists.

At the heart of the design process was an artful blending of old and new. LEFT LANE’s “riot clash” aesthetic mixes traditional Savannah styles like the hotel’s Victorian-Romanesque exterior with contemporary updates.

“Adaptive reuse of iconic properties is at the heart of what we do at LEFT LANE,” Hogeboom said. “Whereas other developers and designers may find it easier to wipe the slate clean, we believe there is magic found in historical properties that make them so special and inimitable.”

The firm kept many of the original details intact, such as the wood floors and wall mouldings.

Guestrooms feature a clean palette of natural materials and textures

“Those are the magic details that no new-build hotel can re-create,” Hogeboom said. “We also decided to name some of the rooms after inhabitants of the original mansion with the design of each room inspired by fictional stories of who they might have been. For example, the vibrant pink Peggy room, complete with its own princess turret, or the patriarch Mr. Fox playing host in his namesake room, mixing up drinks in the fun parlor of this grand mansion.”

Creating these magical moments didn’t come without a few obstacles, which Hogeboom said came in the form of antiquated systems.

“Renovating a 100-year-old mansion is never easy, and the initial reaction is always to replace and rebuild instead of work with what’s there; however, sometimes vintage is just old,” he said.

LEFT LANE also spent a great deal of time developing and selecting amenities and supplies for the hotel to create a comprehensive, memorable experience for guests.

“We worked with established brands, such as Frette for our linens and terry program, and created select custom pieces, such as guestroom pillow shams that feature our signature Bardo lilac brand color, or the pool towels with a custom pink color that complements the pool deck design,” Hogeboom explained. “We are among the first hotels to offer Corpus Naturals liquid amenities in their signature green pumps that perfectly complement the color profile of the rooms. And throughout the hotel, we delighted in unexpected moments, such as the Bardo lilac color for in-room safes, the old-school Hotel Bardo logo on the coffee cups at our lobby bar and the customized covetable amenities of our Camp Bardo kids’ program and Barko pet program.”

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