Independence Day

Leveraging the freedom of being truly independent again, the Mansion on Forsyth Park, Kessler Collection is stepping up its luxury services and amenities as part of an effort to provide its guests with a one-of-a-kind luxury hotel experience.

The luxury boutique hotel—which has been part of the Kessler Collection since opening in Savannah, GA, some 15 years ago—this past week officially dropped its affiliation with Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The 125-room Victorian Romanesque mansion is now owned and operated solely by The Kessler Collection.

General manager Kathryn Day—who was with the property when it first opened and returned to the hotel in July after having worked with a handful of luxury properties, including those bearing the Hilton and Four Seasons flags—commented on what the operational change means.

“It gives us the ability to be independent; to make changes and leverage creativity quickly and be able to be fully autonomous in what we do…We have brand standards with Kessler, but we don’t have the limitations that a Marriott engine would place on us,” she said.

Day further touted the benefits of the hotel and The Kessler Collection in general. “We’re leveraging the power of The Kessler Collection and the brand behind it. We’ve always been part of The Kessler Collection, which is a unique collection of captivating hotels. We’re really meant to inspire our guests and inspire creativity,” she said, adding as an example the property includes more than 400 pieces of original artwork.

Day emphasized several other unique aspects of the experience, including offering guests cooking classes at its 700 Drayton Restaurant, its Grand Bohemian Art Gallery and Poseidon Spa. In addition, the property is offering curated new programming, such as turndown Butler service and afternoon tea, as part of the overall experience.

She elaborated on some of the new programming. “It speaks to luxury and that’s what we want to do in terms of the service and the standards of our team members,” said Day, who further noted, “we’re adding some polish and refinement to what we do.”

The Kessler Collection has a series of 11 luxury hotels in properties in its portfolio, including two other properties in the Savannah area in the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront as well as the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District.

Nevertheless, Day discussed what makes the Mansion a truly special property. “People love the hotel. They like to visit the riverfront, however, they love to come back to the serenity of the park. There’s nothing like our hotel. We’re the only [luxury] hotel in the park outside of the hubbub of downtown,” she said.

While the GM noted that March typically begins what is the busy season for the hotel, this past March clearly was quite different with the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. Day noted the property did close for a short period and while it hasn’t gotten back to pre-pandemic levels, it has performed relatively well.

“We took the opportunity to really deep clean and make some physical repairs to the property. Returning after the pandemic we’ve done very well within our market. We’ve seen a great deal of transient occupancy and social catering. We’re very lucky to be right here in the park so it allows people to social distance and spread out,” said Day.

Furthermore, Day pointed out that the property did have the highest levels of guest service scores in 2020 within The Kessler Collection. “We plan to continue to achieve that and even get higher scores this year,” she said.

Meanwhile, as part of the curated new programming there are a wide range of amenities and services.

The Turndown Butler Service, includes champagne for two, plush robes & slippers and bed turndown service as well as locally handcrafted bath salts/bombs for a soothing or energetic in-room relaxation experience and features the high-quality line of skin care products, Salacia Salts, according to the company.

An Evening Beverage cart offers books, puzzles and a curated menu of nightcap essentials. Meanwhile, the hotel’s 700 Drayton Restaurant has been updated to offer a menu of southern coastal delicacies.

The lineup also includes a Travel Partner Program with the company’s other area properties as well as a Personal Pool specialist who is available during the heat of Savannah’s summer to provide poolside epicurean and cocktail service, towel rolling, sunglass cleaning and more.

Furthermore, VIP access to Plant Riverside District, Savannah’s newest Kessler hotel/bar/restaurant complex, includes VIP access at Electric Moon & Myrtle and Rose as well as room charge access on property and exclusive reservation access for all restaurants and lounges.

Additional programming includes storied art tours and luxury tea service; private candlelit dinners in the art gallery; a picnic in the park; and romantic night-in options.

Day concluded by putting the increased level of services into perspective. “Really we’re welcoming back our loyal guests and making sure they have that unique personalized experience that’s very much ‘the Mansion,’” she concluded.

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