Top Resorts in Southeast USA

By Ilona Kauremszky
Cover Story
DEEP Magazine
Summer 2005 Issue

The Cloister, Sea Island
No wonder the G-8 Summit was held here last summer. It’s so secluded. The Cloister is also an eco paradise packed with the very best of everything. A perfect girl’s getaway, it has a stylish spa, a legendary 54-hole golf course, a white sandy beach and mega activities from bridge to horseback riding. The signature property has entertained diplomats, tycoons and celebrities over the years.
Pack: Your binoculars for this wilderness refuge.
Try: Inhale the salty air and listen to the rustic tunes of a bagpiper piping in the sunsets.
Avoid: Reading a newspaper, as you won’t have time with all the beauty of nature around you.

Inn on Biltmore Estate
Asheville, North Carolina
Want to feel like royalty? Then enter George Vanderbilt’s cherished castle, the Biltmore Estate. Considered America’s largest home with over 100-year-old gardens, the Inn on Biltmore Estate epitomizes the opulence of the Gilded Age yet it has all the amenities for a modern day gal. Equipped with its own 8,000-acred backyard, winery, a historic farm village, sumptuous dining, estate shopping and lots more.
Pack: Your DVD copy of “The Clearing” starring Robert Redford and Helen Mirren and indulge in some Biltmore forest spotting. (Parts of the movie were filmed here)
Try: The award-winning wines from the Biltmore Estate Winery and sample culinary delicacies from the winery’s newest addition, a demonstration kitchen.
Avoid: It’s easy to overspend in one of the over 10 shops on the estate. So do a quick drop in otherwise stay clear.

Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa
Asheville, North Carolina
Carved from the forested mountains, this grand hotel appears like a white castle at the turn of the century. Set against a thick green forest overlooking the Asheville skyline with majestic views of the legendary Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s easy to see why F. Scott Fitzgerald loved it so much. The esteemed author of “The Great Gatsby” made this his favorite place for R&R. Steeped in old world charm with old-fashioned southern hospitality, this place is the ideal girl retreat that comes with its own spa and golf course.
Pack: A light evening dress for a culinary bonanza waiting at the Horizons restaurant.
Try: The Carolina Mud Pie Wrap at their spa with its therapeutic elixir of essential oils, aloe, mud and warm stones.
Avoid: Over indulging in the five dining establishments.

Mansion on Turtle Creek
Dallas, Texas
Once the palatial home of a Texas cotton magnate, The Mansion on Turtle Creek has morphed into one of the most exclusive resorts situated in the wealthy enclave of Dallas. Consistently rated as a Mobil Five-Star since 1991 and AAA Five-Diamond since 1992, the ultra luxurious hideaway provides an intimate ambience and privacy.
Pack: An extra collapsible bag for those big shopping binges around Dallas’ chic shop.
Try: the Complimentary sedan service within 5-mile radius.
Avoid: Gaining extra pounds at the award-winning Mansion Restaurant where Chef Dean Fearing serves up his too-die-for Crème Brulee with Raspberry Sauce.

The Heritage Hotel
Nashville Tennessee
With towering ceilings and polished marble columns this French Renaissance inspired property is breathtaking and makes a perfect intro for any girl seeking the royal touch. Recently reopened after an $18 million renovation, Tennessee’s only five diamond hotel continues to hold the title of “the only place to stay in Nashville” as it first did when the historic grand hotel opened in 1910. Pack: Your favorite relaxation CD and listen to the soothing sounds while taking a long soak in a rose petal sprinkled tub that the staff has drawn especially for you.
Try: The Afternoon Teas and evening cocktails served in the grand lobby.
Avoid: Your pet if you want to. The Hermitage Hotel has a pet pampering.
where Tinkerbell can dine, sleep and use the special walking services not to mention. grooming.

Woodlands Resort & Inn
Summerville, South Carolina
One of only 3 resorts in the country recognized with both the Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Awards, the luxurious 19-rooms of Woodlands Resort & Inn are exclusive designs by New York designer David Eskell-Briggs who has created each room with unique features. Heated towel racks, private whirlpool baths, monogrammed robes and Aveda products are just some of the many accoutrements ready to spoil any southern girl.
Pack: Your audiobooks for those lazy summer afternoons by the poolside.
Try: To return from the ball lobster at the English red clay tennis court.
Avoid: Many guests choose to avoid sightseeing when they come here and spend all their time on the secluded property.

The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Known for the special healing properties of the white sulphur springs, Greenbrier is rich on healing qualities and offers the perfect antidote for busy gals. This luxurious building was used during the Civil War as a hospital and during the Roaring Twenties as part of the fashionable society resort circuit. It continues to enchant all who enter the premises.
Pack: A variety of casual wear so you can enjoy the property’s sporty activities.
Try: Your luck at the bagful of lawn games from croquet to horseshoes.
Avoid: The stunning Hollywoodesque kidney-shaped pool during a rainstorm. There’s a swanky indoor pool for your laps.

Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans, Louisiana
A great family-owned hotel run by four generations of the Monteleone’s this luxury four-diamond hotel is certainly one of New Orlean’s finer jewels in the Big Easy. Smack in the heart of the Vieux Carre near Jackson Square and footsteps from the famous Brennan’s Restaurant (home of the Bananas Foster dessert). The elegant Monteleone continues to cast its spell over the city. The lobby is adorned with a rare medieval tapestry. Its famous Carousel Bar was once the stomping ground of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.
Pack: Your bathing suit for a dip in the Monteleone’s rooftop pool for fabulous views of the French Quarter and the lazy Mississippi River.
Try: Their exclusive cocktail dubbed “The Goody.” Sip the refreshing fruity drink at the revolving Carousel Bar, which has a wild circus motif of clowns and delightful elephant carvings.
Avoid: Bumping into the friendly ghosts like former employee William Wildemere known to frequent the historic landmark.

Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island
A coastal getaway with real Southern hospitality, Amelia Island’s Ritz Carlton knows how to pamper its guests. From its Triple A Five Diamond Restaurant to its championship 18-hole PGA golf course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it can’t get any better but it does. Pack: Extra suntan lotion for beachcombing.
Try: A malt shake at the nearby Paradise Saloon in Fernandina, a longtime haunt of the Carnegie clan.
Avoid: Surfing the Internet and downloading email. Remember you’re on vacation.

Keswick Hall at Monticello
Keswick, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson called it Utopia. Surrounded by greenery, this 48-room historic hotel has been compared to a “Tuscan resort” with its mirrored plunge pool reflecting the golden sunsets against the rolling green hills. Big on frilly girlie décor with lots of Empire style wallpaper and matching prints in the duvets, skirts and canopy, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Pack: A variety of swimsuits because you’ll want to make waves at the plunge pool.
Try: The pampered pooch services at this pet friendly property that serves Fifi gourmet meals, a cozy bed and other surprises.
Avoid: When trying out one of the three clay tennis courts, avoid wearing your regular running shoes. It’s a regulation tennis shoes zone only.

Honorable Mentions

Hotel Maison de Ville
New Orleans, Louisiana
Hotel Maison de Ville was famous as Tennessee Williams’ pad while writing “Streetcar Named Desire” and also was the temporary abode of John James Audobon who painted much of his Birds of America series. This old Southern property smack in the heart of the French Quarter is big on pampering southern belles the old fashioned way.
Pack: A donkey eared copy of Tennessee Williams’ “Streetcar Named Desire.”
Try: The hotel’s Bistro where local chef extraordinaire Greg Picolo accents a Nouvelle Creole Cuisine with traditional French bistro selections and New Orleans culinary favorites.
Avoid: The raucous crowds during Mardi Gras.

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton, South Carolina
Spending a lazy hot summer night at this newly acquired Auberge property just got easier with its Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and spa facilities. Choose from the opulent luxury of their cottage suites, cottages or the white painted village home for a relaxing southern time. The suites feature crisp white linens, screen-in porches and sumptuous views of May River.
Pack: Your swimsuit for a dip in the whirlpool.
Try: The half day history tour of Daufuskie Island that includes a boat ride, historians and naturalists.
Avoid: Driving your golf ball into May River.

Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation
Tucked away on a secluded peninsula on 70 miles of shoreline, this 251-roomed luxury golf lodge is home to four courses. A perfect getaway paradise where you can practice your swing and still get pampered.
Pack: Your golf clubs.
Try: Renting a canoe on Lake Oconee.
Avoid: Telling your hubby or boyfriend because they’ll want to make this their own private getaway.

Ferrington House Country Inn
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Situated on farmland dating from the 1700s, this quaint two-story country inn is the ultimate destressor from the everyday hustle and bustle. It offers delightful tea afternoons by the fireplace and front porch rockers for a lazy summer afternoon. It’s North Carolina’s only AAA Five Diamond, Mobil Five Star award winner.
Pack: Your wide brimmed sun hat for the many garden tours.
Try: The popular Cooking School Retreat offered at limited times throughout the year.
Avoid: Scheduling your retreat during weddings as this place is hopping with blushing brides.

Monmouth Plantation
Natchez, Mississippi
When General John A. Quitman built this white antebellum mansion, he wanted to create an atmosphere of permanence and peace in this ever-changing world. Today, the 30-roomed luxury boutique hotel is hailed as one of Mississippi’s best romantic places. We think so too. Immersed in a 26-acred setting with Spanish moss draping the live oaks, a white footbridge for afternoon strolls and the singing of Mississippi songbirds, you’ll even smell the sweet smell of magnolias depending on when you visit.
Pack: A pair of comfortable walking shoes and explore the historic town of Natchez.
Try: A cool mint julep to quench your summer thirst and settle your nerves.
Avoid: the mosquitoes during dusk and dawn.

Unclaimed Baggage Center
509 West Willow Street, Scottsboro Alabama ph: 256-259-1525
For bargain shopping divas, dip into the bins and rummage the stacked clothing racks at the Unclaimed Baggage Center, the country’s only unclaimed baggage depot that doubles as a thrift store for thousands of lost items available at dirt-cheap prices.

Top Roadside Attraction Ideas

The world’s largest office chair - Anniston, Alabama

The world’s only Coon Dog Cemetery - Florence, Alabama

Ave Maria Grotto - Cullman, Alabama

Building shaped like coffee pot- Lexington Virginia

The Big Coffee Pot - Winston-Salem North, Carolina

World’s Oldest Edible Cured Ham - Smithfield, Virginia

Kentucky’s Snake Man

Beer Can House- Houston, Texas

National Museum of Funeral History - Houston, Texas

Toilet Seat Museum - San Antonio, Texas

World’s Largest Boots- San Antonia, Texas

Drive-in Christian Church - Daytona Beach, Florida

Replica Eiffel Tower - Paris, Texas

Flipper’s Grave - Grassy Key, Florida

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