Greenville’s Hotel Hartness imparts local hospitality.
Greenville, South Carolina, is known for its quaint downtown, packed with bustling eateries, shops and hotels. Thirteen miles east, however, is where I escaped for a solo overnight getaway at a burgeoning development’s new hotel property.
Hotel Hartness, which opened in spring 2023, resides in the former home of the Hartness family, an entrepreneurial, multi-generation clan that owns and is spearheading the development of the more than 440- acre estate that surrounds the hotel.
Entering Hartness, I drove past a growing Village Center—planned to one day have multiple restaurants and shops—into a hamlet-like community designed by Lew Oliver, the visionary whose work is found in destinations such as Rosemary Beach, Florida, and Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. Purposefully designed homes put through architectural reviews boards populate the picturesque streets, with more residences under construction and to come. Past a great lawn, ponds and part of the 180-acre nature preserve is the hotel, where the midcentury French manor house built by Pat Hartness in 1980 is still recognizable despite a modern wing added to house 69 guest suites. The hotel also offers a restaurant, Patterson Kitchen + Bar, and Spa H with six treatment rooms and four spa suites.
After dropping my bags in the Holly Suite, a spacious guestroom with a wow-worthy walk-in shower and soaking tub, I took a tour to see the hotel’s stylish interior. Designed by Buckhead-based Sims Patrick Studio, it combines contemporary touches with a warm residential style that weaves neutral tones with green and blue. The Great Room impresses with the home’s original vaulted ceilings, two large fireplaces, tall windows and numerous places to sit below grand light fixtures, surrounded by books and eclectic decor. Throughout the rooms and hallways, art from local and regional artists makes a statement, from Donna Weathers’ abstracts to the watercolor pieces by emerging artist Kaitlyn Etchison.
Down a hallway, in the cozy, wood-clad bar, The Captain, a reclaimed wood piece by Josh Bagwell conveys the artist’s version of an airplane, paying homage to the pilots in Hartness family tree. Later that evening, I spent morethan- planned time at the bar, taking in the commissioned portrait of Tom Hartness—Pat’s father and grandfather of Hartness Development CEO Sean Hartness —and moody space with Tennessee barn wood, plush seating and custom light fixtures. More family history is displayed on a wall of framed photos depicting events and benefits where Willy Nelson, The Beach Boys and other celebrities posed with the Hartness family members.
After happy hour, I headed across the manicured lawn and courtyard to Patterson to dine on pork belly lettuce wraps and filet mignon. Outfitted with a wood paneled ceiling, gold touches and green leather banquettes, the restaurant features a lively open kitchen. Guests can watch the cooking action or take in views of the outdoors from the large windows and wraparound porch.
Before departing the next day, I took a long walk on part of the property’s 15-mile private trail network. Then I fueled up on the hotel’s complimentary breakfast, offered to all guests. I didn’t get a chance to experience the free-to-use bikes or pool, but I did fit in a visit to Spa H, where the 50-minute massage was just the pampering I needed before driving back to Atlanta.
I’ve always loved Greenville’s vibrant downtown, but a stay at Hotel Hartness introduced me to the quieter side of this growing Southern town. The Hartness family has hosted a myriad of friends and family at their estate and now they are opening their doors to the general public, sharing a lifestyle that would be easy to get used to.
Giannina S. Bedford is multi-faceted writer and editor. Her work covers design, travel, food and business. She’s penned Simply Buckhead’s home feature since inception and held a variety of editorial roles at the magazine. Her freelance work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, USA Today, Virtuoso Life, Hemispheres and TravelandLeisure.com. She also contributes regularly Atlanta Business Chronicle. Fluent in Spanish, Giannina was born in Miami and grew up in Brazil, Chile, Hawaii and Australia. She currently lives in Dunwoody with her two kids and husband.