Discovering the Windrose Hotel is a bit like opening a leather strapped suitcase long abandoned at a picturesque seaside port. ‘Magical charms’ unearthed layer-by-layer, revealing that the recipient led a quirky and fascinating life as they travelled from port-to-port collecting loved (but useful) objects from disparate historic periods.
Moreover, nature and the sea, as well as a kind of cultured intuition or intent are evident from the outset in the evocative name, ‘Windrose’; reminiscent of a climbing rose left to ramble artfully over a trellis, swaying in a gentle breeze off the ocean.
By association, the boutique hotel is a welcoming sanctuary inspired by the natural world and local history with a dash of eccentricity.
This analogy is redolent of the interiors themselves and the attitude of the hotel. The design is unmistakably laid back due to the accompanying sense of, ‘This is your home for the next week, we’ll be just here if you need us.’
The many attributes exhibited by the old building, such as the double height windows (5 metre ceilings) floor boards and the sense of incremental adjustments over the years add to an approachable, ‘coming home’ atmosphere. Like visiting your Grandmother after a long absence, and seeing favourite objects and art works from your childhood anew; still important and relevant.
Visitors, their material and psychological comfort, is at the heart of what is unique and distinctive about the Windrose.
Objects and furnishings have been collected from different chronological periods and drawn together like old friends. Some are whimsical and some authoritative, yet all imply a cross-section of the communities that have long made up Savannah’s muti-faceted and muti-cultural way of life.
The designers, Basic Projects, have avoided a ‘forced or imposed’ effect, through awareness that the Windrose is a haven providing a one-off travelling intersection. As a corollary, whilst the overall design is exceptional (and yet understated) in every sense it is based on a thorough understanding and representation of the client’s requirements.
The singular ambiance derives from a desire to impart something special for visitors to experience. Eschewing churned out, ‘chain hotel’ indifference, the Windrose is more intimate, a destination defined by surroundings that invite staying in and winding down with a crisp sauvignon blanc, and fish and chips from Paula Deens.
Savannah’s recorded history began in 1733 when General James Oglethorpe and the 120 passengers aboard the good ship “Anne” landed on a bluff along the Savannah River.
It is relevant that the Windrose is located in the heart of Savannah’s beautiful ‘historic district’; a location surrounded by art and culture.
Within walking distance is a plethora of ‘must visit’ institutions from quality espresso bars like The Coffee Fox and the City Markets; to Davenport House Museum and Telfair Museums’, Owens-Thomas house & slave quarters; to SCAD Museum of Art and Ships of the Sea, Maritime Museum. And there is much more to admire and to contemplate outside the door.
Almost three centuries later, a city dripping in history, stories, and experience continues to enhance the lives of both her natives and her guests.
Inside, the Windrose effortlessly echoes its central location at the heart of all things cultural. From the mustard dining chairs to the blue sofa with matching otterman; the intriguing ‘flags’ and the varied collection of art; anything from abstract modernism and photography to images of historic sailing ships.
Industrial pendant lights and retro-style tiles keep company with tasselled drapes and rattan furnishings. Although ‘white’ is key to the neutrality of the overall design (white walls, fabrics, tableware), it is in the aesthetic details and diverse textures employed that a kind of universal individuality becomes evident.
This boutique hotel projects a more thorough understanding that Savannah is a city with a vibrant surface but with deep and socially diverse roots.
It is these elements that make the Windrose accessible and easy to identify with. Basic Projects have ensured that there is ‘something’ of Savannah’s way of life and history in each apartment’s decor.
Additionally, by refurbishing an existing four story brick building and the recycling of certain objects and furnishings, both the hotel and designers embrace sustainability within a concept of reducing environmental impact. Many of the objects and artwork’s come to the hotel second-hand, adding to the sense of history. This is a wonderful added extra in the boutique hotel’s story.
History and the past are relevant in stories of the present and the future.
The care taken and the pieces themselves speak to universal references. The concepts of history, community and home comforts add up to warm, personal (lived in) and inviting spaces. The spaces imply robust authority on one hand, and laid back easy relaxation, on the other. The no fuss look and feel for visitors translates to the ‘welcoming mat’ at the door.
After a long day sight-seeing, it is wonderful to know a deep soak awaits while the elephant goes to check out the City Market and/or Mrs Wilkes Dining Room for dinner. The central location of the boutique hotel makes any of a number of eating choices (including cooking in the apartment) available for visitors.
It is heartening and fitting to see the Windrose celebrate and embrace all aspects of Savannah, admitting that