If you want to stay in a hotel that’s as interesting as Savannah itself, skip the newly built chain outlet ones and check into friendly East Bay Inn near the river. This 1852 building is part of Historic Inns of Savannah and the staffers will show you some real southern hospitality.
This Savannah building became a hotel in 1984 and is right on East Bay Street, the main drag running between the city and the River Street buildings facing the water from atop a cliff. On Lincoln Street right around the corner is the historic district’s best dive bar, Abe’s on Lincoln, where the walls are covered with customer napkin drawings of…Abe Lincoln.
You can walk pretty much anywhere in central Savannah from this location, which is just a couple blocks from City Hall. When we met our guide for a ghost tour, it was a five-minute walk away. The Prohibition Museum and other Market Street attractions are less than a ten-minute walk away. Cross the street and go down, past the repurposed cotton trading structures, and you’re at the river where you can catch a sightseeing ship or just a ferry across the water to where the Savannah convention center is.
All the things to do in one of the oldest cities in America may mean you don’t spend all that much time in your room, but you’ll be glad when you do because these roofs are gorgeous. They’re big on character, with 16-foot (or more) ceilings, exposed original brick, and big windows letting in natural light. There’s a strong sense of period elegance with the grand wooden bed, gilded mirrors, and thick curtains, but the furniture is comfortable and so are the bathrobes. There’s turndown service each evening.
The modern needs are well-met too: strong WiFi, a charging station, lapt0p-sized safe, and an ample TV. Surprisingly for a hotel with such fancy carpeted rooms, this is a pet-friendly property.
Room categories range from a cozy queen up to four corner king suites and one patio king suite with its own outdoor space. Many of the categories–like the deluxe king version pictured here–have a sitting area with sofas and armchairs. Baths go up in size with the room layouts and come with all the amenities you’d expect plus a range of toiletries. An elevator serves all floors.
You get a chance to mingle with other guests here and hear recommendations on what to see and where to eat. The hotel hosts a complimentary social hour each evening, where you can sip a complimentary glass of wine or two and have some finger food snacks in the lobby lounge.
The Tandem Coffee and Spirits bar is on site as well, making good coffee and serving up classic cocktails. They host a limited continental breakfast too, but you can’t charge anything here to your room: it’s a concession arrangement with no systems connection. The same goes for the basement restaurant, which does a lot of banquets and parties since the culinary competition in town is so stiff.
There’s a small parking lot next to the entrance where you can keep your vehicle if you snag a spot, or there’s a public parking garage a block away. Either way, it’s $15 a night.
Rates at East Bay Inn run $135 to $206 plus tax in off-peak times, $225 to $300 in popular periods. This being Georgia, the winter is mild so the lull is limited. In many months you can’t check in on a Saturday or Sunday, so plan to stick around for more than a night.