JW Marriott Savannah

Plant Riverside District

This new multi-purpose development on the Savannah river, features hotels, restaurants, bars, retail, arts, entertainment, and the gorgeous Poseidon Spa run by ISM Spa. 

Savannah is known as the “Hostess City of South” for its world class hospitality. It’s a special place to us, especially since it is home to our Vice President of Operation Raye Vogler. Raye oversees the daily operations and spa management of several ISM properties—including our two Poseidon Spas in Savannah, the new location in the Plant Riverside Building, and the popular park side location in Mansion on Forsyth Park.

Raye worked closely with owners and developers, The Kessler Collection, a visionary hospitality brand and the founding members of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. We are proud to be their “go-to” for spa consulting and spa management. 

We caught up with Raye to get the inside scoop on this amazing new destination. 

JW Marriott
Hi Raye! Tell our readers about the Plant Riverside District:

Plant Riverside District is the vision of Richard Kessler, Chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise. The protected site was a former power plant that debuted in 1912 and was decommissioned in 2005. Mr. Kessler saw the vision for what it could be and decided to rehab it using some of the original exterior and interior walls including original iron beams.

The project encompasses three different hotel experiences, all under the umbrella of the JW Marriott.

The main hub is the Plant Riverside Building with 13 restaurants and bars, outdoor pavilions, an art gallery, upscale retail shopping, and incredible meeting space including a grand ballroom. The hotel lobby reflects Mr. Kessler’s love of global travel and eclectic taste around different fabrics, furniture and art. It’s a statement piece for The Kessler Collection and for JW Marriott.

The second Hotel building, The Three Muses, has a more European style. Romantic, soft curved lines in the furniture, stunning light fixtures, and a lavender gray color scheme. The check-in desk is made of rose quartz and mercury glass—very feminine and sexy. The Atlantic is the third building, scheduled to open by early fourth quarter 2021. It will eventually house the resort pool along with another ballroom.

When The Atlantic is completed, there will be 419 guest rooms and 46 loft-like suites with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the river. The sense of place is palpable. Guests can watch the large container ships as they pass through the channel with the Talmadge Bridge in the background.

You mentioned that the Plant Riverside Building is like “an Ode to the Museum of Natural Science.” What do you mean?

For starters, the property is rich with gemstones. The lobby has spectacular nine-foot rare amethyst and citrine geodes—photo-opp worthy when you’re walking through the lobby. There are chandeliers dripping with amethyst gemstones. The Baobab Lounge off the lobby, celebrating African heritage, has a bar entirely made of tiger eye. There’s also a life-size dinosaur replica suspended from the ceiling in the lobby, along with mammoth tusks and other relics.

Tell us about the Poseidon Spa

The Poseidon Spa is on the lower lever of the Plant Riverside Building. ISM Spa began designing Poseidon Spa over six years ago.  We provided the design of the space capturing the conceptual vision focusing on the guest experience while optimizing function and flow from an operations standpoint. ISM worked alongside Diana Kessler, Creative Director of the Kessler Collection, who provided the interiors and color palette of the spa. 

The gemstone theme carries over to Poseidon Spa. Amethyst geodes are in each treatment room, and large sea creature art commissioned by Tucson-based artist Zee Haag lines the walls of the spas. Jellyfish, sea horses, turtles and fish images are cut into a treated metal sheet and the image left behind is filled in with hand-placed semi-precious gemstones including black obsidian, carnelian, chalcedony, quartz, amethyst and blue lapis. These beautiful pieces of art are backlit with light for a gorgeous glow. It’s a unique art form, and we hear from guests all the time it’s their favorite artwork in the hotel.

Opening in July 2020 in the middle of the pandemic was obviously daunting. Operating in a covid world requires extra sanitation measures, and for ISM, a total rethink of spa operations, and how we deliver the spa experience. After a little of a slow start, as people were just waking up to the possibilities of travel, it really has bounced back well to 80-90% of our pre-pandemic forecast.

Our move to a partnership with Spa Space App has allowed us to operate with contactless booking and check in, check out, while getting rid of static spa menus and focusing on customizing our treatments directly to guests’ needs. It has been a win-win-win for hotel and spa management, spa therapists and spa guests.

Thank you Raye we can’t wait to visit!

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