May 21, 2020 | By Jamie Jackson
As stay at home orders start to lift, the desire for a change of scenery is on American’s minds. With many unknowns in our future, it is comforting to look to travel options that are stateside for our first post-isolation travel.
Traveling within the U.S. does not mean you have to settle or sacrifice. This is the time to experience luxury properties featuring exclusivity and privacy surrounded by natural beauty. I’ve compiled a selection of ten Virtuoso properties in the Southeastern United States where quality, service and stunning scenery will make for a remarkable vacation.
As a Virtuoso travel advisor, Wanderlust Travel Boutique has established relationships with these properties to provide you a first-class travel experience from the first rumblings of wanderlust in your heart to the bittersweet arrival home.
NEAREST AIRPORT: PIEDMONT TRIAD INTL AIRPORT (GSO), 47 MILES
Southern comfort comes with a shot of refinement at Primland. Here, it is all about the simple pleasures: spotting whitetail deer on a woodland trail, fishing for trout in a babbling brook or riding horses through fields of wildflowers. A massive, eco-conscious resort in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland never forgets its connection to the land, nor its commitment to luxury with 51 rustically elegant suites, cottages, and storybook treehouses. There are an 18-hole golf course and an organic spa inspired by Native American rituals. Take advantage of some of the East Coast’s best stargazing from the resort’s Observatory Dome. With its powerful telescope and prime mountaintop setting, you can see millions of stars.
NEAREST AIRPORT: MCGHEE TYSON (TYS), 18 MILES
Today, one of America’s most celebrated intimate luxury hotels beckons discerning guests who aspire to escape modern-day frenzy and slip into a Blackberry state of mind. The 4,200-acre Blackberry Farm is a working farm and romantic hideaway in the heart of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. Explore the property on horseback, via old-fashioned carriage, by canoe and mountain bike, or on intimate walking trails. Quieter pastimes include a massage at The Wellhouse, reading in a hammock or fly-fishing in Hesse Creek, one of the best spots in Tennessee. Food and wine take center stage at The Barn, where multicourse menus feature the bounty of the farm’s bakery, butchery, creamery, and extensive wine cellar of 160,000 bottles. Blackberry Farm offers 62 guest accommodations, including estate rooms, cottage suites, hill cottages, and houses, all beautifully appointed and furnished with fine antiques. Personal service and attention to detail are the defining elements of Blackberry Farm’s award-winning reputation. 20 minutes from the Farm in wild, imposing natural surroundings, the owners have opened a new establishment that prioritizes overall wellness, outdoor adventure, and inner serenity at Blackberry Mountain. Here the 44 rooms that take the form of cabins and cottages designed with nature in mind are places to unplug from the world and reconnect with oneself. The property’s two restaurants (Firetower and Three Sisters) both have sublime views and serve the creations of Chef Josh Feathers, who uses healthy ingredients and combines local flavors and culinary techniques for his delicious menus. For every level of fitness, ambition, and imagination, Blackberry Mountain offers both outdoor and indoor pursuits that each provide ample opportunity to grow. Post-fitness make sure to visit the incomparable underground spa offering Ayurvedic treatments.
NEAREST AIRPORT: CHARLESTON, AFB MUNICIPAL (CHS), 20 MILES
The five-star hotel, villa and private home options of The Sanctuary are a haven set on ten miles of private beach, where guests can escape daily life in a pristine setting. If you are looking for a quiet getaway, the main hotel that reflects the style of a grand Southern seaside mansion with 255 guest rooms and suites is the place to be. For those who prefer a villa or home rental, there is a range of options with 2 to 8 bedrooms. To many Kiawah is known as a golfer’s retreat with five championship golf courses, including the Ocean Course (home of the 2021 PGA Championships), but there is so much more to this southern destination. Take your pick from two tennis facilities, a five-star spa, nature tours, 30 miles of bike trails, beach relaxation, Kamp Kiawah, nature learning center, art studio, disc golf, archery, family-friendly pools with waterpark features, boutique shops and more.
NEAREST AIRPORT: SAVANNAH/HILTON HEAD AIRPORT (SAV), 23 MILES
Situated on the southernmost tip of Hilton Head Island, the legendary Lowcountry destination has been a quiet retreat for more than 50 years. The Inn & Club boutique hotel recently completed a refurbishment; its 60 well-appointed rooms are elegant retreats for guests returning from busy days of outdoor play. Guests can take a swing at three championship golf courses, play tennis under the tutelage of Wimbledon champ Stan Smith, ride bicycles along miles of trails, or let the Inn’s beach concierge set up an umbrella for you at the Sea Pines Beach Club. Harbour Town is the activity hub for the 5,000-acre community that offers boutique shopping, an array of restaurants for all tastes and luxurious villas bordering the Harbour Town Yacht Basin, easily one of the most recognizable harbors in the South.
NEAREST AIRPORT: SAVANNAH/HILTON HEAD (SAV), 18 MILES
Set within a 20,000-acre award-winning development along the May River, Montage Palmetto Bluff encompasses an extensive nature preserve, walking trails, marina, two vibrant villages, restaurants, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. The resort includes a total of 200 guest accommodations, eight dining experiences, and three pool venues. Handsomely designed to celebrate this region’s rich architectural heritage, accommodations include spacious cottages, guest rooms, and suites surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Carolina Lowcountry. This is a sporting paradise with golf, tennis, boating, biking, kayaking, fishing, sporting clays, equestrian activities, and more.
NEAREST AIRPORT: HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL (ATL), 75 MILES
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee is a getaway that transports you to a secluded retreat, allowing you to relax and enjoy legendary service, far from daily pressures. Whether golfing on five championship courses, playing tennis, boating, or fishing on the 19,000-acre Lake Oconee, dining at Gaby’s by the Lake with panoramic views or enjoying fine dining at Linger Longer Steakhouse, this sprawling 10,000-acre resort offers an elegant invitation to escape. Accommodations include guestrooms, suites, the Lake House, and cottages by the lake.
NEAREST AIRPORT: GLYNCO JETPORT (BQK), 8 MILES
Since 1928, Sea Island has been known as an exceptional destination appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality. With four Forbes Five-Star experiences — The Cloister at Sea Island, The Lodge at Sea Island, The Spa at Sea Island, and The Georgian Room restaurant – Sea Island entices families, outdoor and activity enthusiasts, and those simply wanting to refresh and recharge. Located on the southeastern coast of Georgia, Sea Island features five miles of private beach, a Beach Club, tennis and squash centers, Yacht Club, Shooting School, and Camp Cloister. Sea Island is steeped in golf tradition and is home to three championship golf courses as well as the nation’s finest Golf Performance Center. Guests may also enjoy nearby Broadfield, a Sea Island Sporting Club, and Lodge, offering a variety of seasonal hunting, fishing, sporting, and organic culinary opportunities. Dining experiences at Sea Island range from a romantic evening of elegant, full-course dining to a casual outdoor lunch overlooking the ocean.
NEAREST AIRPORT: JACKSONVILLE (JAX), 20 MILES
Poised on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is a refuge of unspoiled coastal beauty and Southern charm. Surrounded by an 18-hole championship golf course this resort provides impeccable service that makes every guest feel pampered. Whether barefoot on the sand or enjoying the warmth of a beachside fire, you will find this to be the perfect hideaway. With four restaurants, four cocktail lounges, full-service spa, fitness center, and retail gift shops guests have everything at hand on your retreat. For those wanting to venture off-property the historic downtown Fernandina Beach (10 minutes away) is a charming Victorian town with excellent boutiques, quaint antique stores, and outstanding restaurants to explore.
NEAREST AIRPORT: PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL (PBI), 4 MILES
Enjoy the extraordinary devotion of a warm and caring staff at this legendary resort celebrated for its matchless reputation. Set amidst 140 acres of picturesque oceanfront property in the heart of Palm Beach, The Breakers has become a paradise for couples, families, and special gatherings alike. Bask in four refreshing pools, a private beach, luxurious poolside bungalows for daytime rental, and a lively mix of watersports. Savor irresistible dining at nine restaurants, including the newly transformed Seafood Bar, and delight in renowned shopping. Enjoy championship golf and tennis, an exquisite spa, family activities, and complimentary access to the indoor-outdoor oceanfront fitness center. For a more intimate atmosphere, Flagler Club — an exclusive 25-room “hotel-within-the hotel” — offers a customized boutique experience.
NEAREST AIRPORT: FORT LAUDERDALE/HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL (FLL), 9 MILES
Acqualina Resort is a place where the charm of a Mediterranean villa meets elegance on the beach. Located on 4.5 beachfront acres in pristine Sunny Isles Beach, Acqualina features 98 impeccably appointed guest rooms and suites with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, three oceanfront swimming pools, world-class dining including Il Mulino New York, three oceanfront swimming pools, an innovative marine biology-based children’s program, and a Five-Star spa, Acqualina Spa by ESPA. Lush, richly appointed accommodations are the hallmark of the guest experience at Acqualina. Designed to offer a sense of modern luxury with classic furnishings and finishes, each of the guest rooms and suites presents oversized floor plans (entry-level category at 740 sq. ft.) and private balconies. There is a maximum of five accommodations per floor, providing a sense of exclusivity and privacy.
Keep dreaming. We’re here when you’re ready.