If you’ve been to Savannah, Georgia and have never been to the JW Marriott on River Street, you’re missing out on a real treat. While the hotel just opened in July of 2020, the origins of the building date back to 1912.
Hotel guests of the JW Marriott are actually staying inside Savannah’s first power plant built by the riverside. As time moved on, the city got bigger and needed newer and larger power facilities. Over time, the need for the power plant became less as newer and more efficient plants were built down the road. Thus, the building and facilities sat abandoned for a few years.
Then the idea to revitalize the riverfront in Savannah came to the forefront. I got to stay inside a hotel room that was part of a power plant and really? That’s not even the coolest part. The lobby features hundreds of large geodes from all over the world. In addition you’ll find actual skeletons and fossils with all sorts of history. It feels like a natural history museum.
Then there’s this giant metal dinosaur sculpture that towers over the entire lobby. At night, she has colored lights that reflect all over her and tiny rainbows refract all over the atrium. I’ve never seen anything like it.
In addition, the history of the former power plant is all over the JW Marriott hotel in Savannah. Pictured above are switches and gauges that have been preserved and restored. Guests are encouraged to give them a try.
Once I got off the elevator, this greeted me on my walk to my room. The original smoke stacks are still in the building intact. No matter what floor you are on, you will pass them as you tour the hotel.
The JW Marriott Hotel Savannah even created these little portals where you could look inside the stacks. If you look through the glass on the other side of the stack, you’ll see a hallway full of guest rooms. It’s truly a unique experience.
Possibly even more impressive is the artwork used throughout the hotel. I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t realize what this was until my second day at the JW Marriott hotel Savannah. This photo was in my room and I thought it was just an abstract painting. In fact, this is a photo of the inside of one of the funnels before restoration.
Those same colors serve as inspiration for the carpets, lighting and decor of the entire hotel. The purples and greens match the oxidization of what the crew found as they started the construction of the property. It’s a genius and unique style that belongs just to this resort.
I can’t say enough about the hotel. You don’t even have to stay there to explore it. Just visit River Street in Savannah and explore the lobby, the bars and the common spaces. You can spend a few hours here and it’s totally free!
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