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Perfect perch for a long weekend in Savannah: Plant Riverside District

Yes, there’s a chrome-dipped, life-size dinosaur installation gracing the JW Marriott lobby just steps from the Savannah’s new Plant Riverside District’s performance venues and eateries. Below: The new district overlooks the Savannah River. (Photos courtesy of Plant Riverside District)

Add contemporary glitz to historical grandeur by planning a long weekend in Savannah at the waterfront JW Marriott Plant Riverside District. Opened in late 2021, this snazzy spot on Georgia’s Savannah River immerses guests in culture and heritage. The district draws art and music lovers, architecture and history buffs, paleontology fans, and culinary travelers.

Savannah’s noted hotelier Richard Kessler, chairman and CEO of The Kessler Collection, brought his latest vision of luxury hotels to life here, focusing it on three themes: water, beauty and natural sciences. Juxtaposed against the hotel’s modern structural design is a free museum with art and historical objects. And the jaw-dropping centerpiece, a chrome-dipped, life-size dinosaur installation, graces the JW Marriott lobby.

The hotel’s location is just steps from the new district’s performance and food venues.

Kessler had eyed this aging, circa 1912, electric power plant nearly for a decade. He envisioned creating upscale accommodations and lighting its twin towers in his signature red and purple, like a phoenix in the night sky. Designers retained the plant’s architectural identity in bringing that vision to life. And Kessler honored its history by keeping plant in the hotel name.

That realized dream has enhanced Savannah’s reputation as America’s Most Romantic City. This newest destination adds to the city’s existing Kessler Collection’s sultry properties. Kessler’s hip Bohemian Savannah Riverfront is distinguished by its cool rooftop bar. And the stunning Mansion on Forsyth Park displays wow-factor, museum-quality art everywhere, another Kessler signature.

Kessler’s 13 luxury hotels include Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte (which opened in 2020) and the newest under construction in Greenville, South Carolina, slated to launch in fall 2022. (The Kessler Collection is a founding member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection now totaling 113 properties.)

After checking-in in the Power Plant Building’s Generator Hall, we joined young visitors at a section of the plant wall left intact. This interactive learning spot demonstrates functionality. And kids love pulling knobs, pushing levers and turning handles. Overhead video screens, also interactive, highlight the construction

transformation. Another thoughtful touch: The audio is delivered via overhead cones that target the listener without interrupting passersby.

But Generator Hall offers more than construction and functionality exhibits. Also here, amidst fossils of ancient creatures and geological antiquities, are hands-on paleontology activities for the young and the inquisitive. And if that’s not enough, massive geodes — some taller than the guests checking in — gleam with sparkling crystals in purples, teal and brown. Special lighting enhances their shimmer.

Read the full story here: For more on Savannah, go to

Below, l-r, A romantic view awaits at Myrtle & Rose Rooftop Garden overlooking the Savannah River; the Grand Bohemian Gallery at Plant Riverside District; Graffito Pizza, with a bold graffiti mural by Atlanta-based street artist Greg Mike, is one of many eateries at Savannah's new Plant Riverside District; fossils and geodes are among the discoveries; African-inspired are and decor in the Baobab Lounge; a queen room at Three Muses, one of three luxury accommodation options.


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