The South Bay is well represented by the signature home styles of other design-centric destinations. Here are a few getaways that, upon arrival, may feel almost like home.
The Style: Low Country Plantation
Southern hospitality and dreamy decadence converge for the ultimate in Low Country luxury. Plantation-style homes offer a neutral palette, large windows with prominent shutters, comfortable living spaces, traditional influences and guest-friendly verandas—the perfect place to sip sweet tea and entertain a big family.
The Property: Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina
Montage Palmetto Bluff features a charming collection of rooms, suites, cottages, cottage suites and vacation homes, all nestled between vibrant waterfronts and tranquil forests. Designed in classic Southern style, these accommodations offer stylish residential touches such as vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, opulent bathrooms and verandas with stunning views.
During the day, cast a line into one of the many ponds and lakes or in the May River. Explore the stunning sea or tranquil water trails in your own kayak or canoe—or be a little more adventurous and grab a paddleboard. Twice a day, the receding ride reveals the silky beach of the May River Sandbar. Access is by boat only, and on sunny days you can find an eclectic mix of locals and visitors relaxing on this little island of perfection, scrubbed clean twice daily by Mother Nature.
Located on a nature preserve, Palmetto Bluff offers 20,000 acres of gorgeous Low Country land, perfect for hikes, bikes and horses. You can also take up a game of golf on the beautiful Jack Nicklaus Signature Course or join the long-standing local tradition of firing off at some sporting clays.
Dining options also abound here, including casual gathering place Buffalo’s, the iconic and warm hospitality of Jessamine and the coastal kitchen menu and river ambience of Canoe Club.
The closest airport is Savannah, Georgia (less than an hour door-to-door). 477 Mount Pelia Road in Bluffton, South Carolina, palmettobluff.com
The Style: Mid-Century Modern
The streamlined silhouettes, wall-to-wall glass and minimalist décor that dominated late ‘40s, ‘50s and early ‘60s California heavily influenced some of the South Bay’s finest modern architects and designers.
The Property: The Lautner, Desert Hot Springs
Formerly known as the Desert Hot Springs Model, the original property was designed by famed architect John Lautner in 1947 as part of a master planned community commissioned by film director Lucien Hubbard as a getaway for Hollywood elite. The project ended prematurely after only the first four-unit prototype was built and largely laid vacant for many years. In 2000 it was reinstated as a hotel and more than a decade later was renovated and reopened as The Lautner with the approval of the Lautner Foundation.
The Lautner Compound is actually a collection of three boutique properties: The Lautner, The Park and The Ranch House. The Lautner is a “self-catering” vacation rental property with four luxury units. Each unit comes with a fully equipped kitchenette, iconic mid-century furnishings, a private patio with cactus garden and the comfort of a private residence. Both The Park and The Ranch House are available for weddings and special events. Unless you know someone with a Lautner-designed home, this may be your only opportunity to experience the livable vision of one the era finest architects.
67710 San Antonio Street in Desert Hot Springs, thelautner.com
The Style: Spanish Colonial
This blend of Old World and New World design sensibilities features arches, wood ceiling beams, hand-painted tiles and woods, colorful fabrics and rich terra-cotta to beautiful effect.
The Property: The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
In 1923 Edward Drummond Libbey, a wealthy Ohio glass manufacturer and philanthropist, commissioned California architect Wallace Neff to build the Ojai Country Club. From its earliest days, guests felt the inn was an escape—a sequestered yet sophisticated getaway that gave them the sense of being on their own private country estate.
And ever since 1937, when Frank Capra used the sweeping mountain vistas of the valley as Shangri-La in his film Lost Horizon, the valley has become synonymous with mystical beauty and hidden enchantment.
A different kind of notoriety distinguished the inn in 1942 when it was transformed into Camp Oak for a military training center for the Army and later for the U.S. Navy, which used the grounds for a rest and recuperation facility.
Ever since returning to private ownership in 1947, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has played host to countless celebrities from nearby Hollywood and an impressive roster of golf pros who return year after year to play the historic course. In 1999 the acclaimed golf course was restored, which included the return of two “lost” signature holes. In 2004 an extensive renovation was completed, which upgraded every corner of the resort while maintaining the historical integrity of the property.
The guestrooms and suites are inspired by the coastal hues of the Mediterranean and embody the style, spirit and warmth of contemporary Spanish hacienda design. Many feature fireplaces for cozy fall or winter evenings, hand-painted Spanish tile and ample living space. The property is also sprinkled with fine art, an homage to the creative energy of the Ojai area.
In addition to the award-winning spa, guests can enjoy golf, tennis, beekeeping and honey tasting and dine on California cuisine at signature restaurant Olivella, The Oak Kitchen and poolside at Indigo.
905 Country Club Road in Ojai, ojairesort.com
Culinary concepts can be as viral as those annoying pet videos on YouTube; menus today from Hong Kong to Hoboken all seem to feature ubiquitous items like foamy sauces, pork belly and cod cheeks.