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A Soulful Savannah Hotel

The Drayton Hotel in Savannah, GA’s Historic District occupies one of the city’s oldest buildings. It was designed to be a fit for its storied location on the riverfront.

A guestroom in The Drayton Hotel

“Savannah’s tourism industry is growing quite rapidly as a destination city, and we wanted to design a hotel that would add to this beautiful historic community, rather than bring in another commercial hotel that doesn’t seem to fit in,” said Anurag Nema, principal/co-founder of interior design firm Nemaworkshop. “We wanted The Drayton Hotel to feel more like a home—relaxing and comfortable, yet luxurious. The result is a hotel that’s larger than the typical five- to six-room inn, but a true boutique hotel that plays to the luxury traveler who desires an upscale, yet locally inspired stay.”

Nema and the hotel’s owner, Raghav Sapra, founder of the Maypole Group, wanted the hotel to feel instantly familiar to anyone who sees it—that it should be soulful, warm, open and storied.

“Our main inspiration point was really what our overall goal was, which was to tell the architectural story of the quintessential Savannah house,” said Nema. “As a historic property, we knew this was possible. In designing the property, we wanted to keep the charming architectural details of the existing space and add a modern twist to truly capture the essence of the Savannah home. When creating our design scheme, we really did our research on the architectural styles of the area; most importantly, we paid homage to southern living rooms in the design of the lobby. Colorful, open, and lush in greenery, the living room is the best example of our integration of local architectural styles and motifs.”

Exterior of The Drayton Hotel

Flanking the living room, the hotel restaurant, St. Neo’s, comprises three salons including a bar, cocktail lounge, zinc raw bar and exposed kitchen. Here the mood is more that of a contemporary American seafood brasserie with large glass globe light fixtures trimmed with brass and reclaimed white subway tile cladding the wall, but with touches of Americana.

The property also has a lush penthouse bar, lounge and terrace, which provide views of City Hall, The Savannah River and the cityscape. Intimate seating groupings, indoor and out, are set among generous plantings, creating a variety of types of nooks in which to unwind.

“The lush greens of Georgia can be found throughout the hotel,” said Nema. “From the public spaces to the guestrooms, we chose to infuse ample greenery throughout the design to reflect the importance.”