Spa Profile: The Auberge Spa at the Inn at Palmetto Bluffs

The Inn at Palmetto Bluffs

Any place that extolls the art of “porching”—also know as “reclining on one’s porch while enjoying a glass of wine, a good read, quality conversation or inner reflection”—is a destination that takes relaxation seriously. Indeed, The Inn at Palmetto Bluffs, a five-diamond resort located just inland from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, takes cues from its tranquil, low-country surrounds. Inspired by the nearby cities of Savannah and Charleston, the resort consists of a gas lamp-lit village green dotted with gracious Southern cottages, and borders postcard-worthy marshes, rivers and forests. And, once I finally left my Inn porch in pursuit of some hands-on relaxation during a recent visit, it came as little surprise that the on-site Auberge Spa artfully manifests the Inn’s intentional, almost whimsical, ethos of relaxation. It too honors its low-country connection, and has even developed a singular menu of treatments based around local traditions.

The elegant oasis was named Travel & Leisure’s Top Spa in 2010, and has received many more accolades since opening in 2004. Consequently, spa director Raye Fetzner has been able to rely largely on word-of-mouth to drive traffic into the nearly 10,000-square-foot spa. The reason for this becomes immediately apparent as I stroll through moss-draped oaks and across a walking bridge to arrive before the antebellum mansion housing the Auberge spa. And this, I soon learn, is only a first, tiny taste of the spa’s world-class, yet distinctly Southern, charm.