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Richard Kessler Opens The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront,
its the 2nd Kessler Collection Hotel in His Hometown


By Arlinda Smith Broady, Savannah Morning News, Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 24, 2009--For many large-scale projects, the devil is in the details. Those small elements of grand plans are often overlooked and can cause serious problems later on. But for The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, which opens today, the details are what set it apart.

From the over-sized palm trees and ambient lighting on the Bay Street entrance, to the driftwood chandeliers and granite surfaces in the Rocks on the River restaurant on River Street, to the awesome views and oyster shell chandeliers of the Rocks on the Roof lounge and to the fur throws and velvet inlaid headboards in each guestroom, guests will find a myriad of special touches.

The owner, hotelier Richard Kessler, has already put his mark on Savannah with the Mansion on Forsyth.

"Mr. Kessler likes to do things with a twist," said Jeff McLaughlin, area general manager for the Kessler Collection. "He adds one-of-a-kind touches that are classic and welcoming."

The newest hotel in the chain and the first riverfront hotel built in Savannah in 17 years wasn't envisioned to be a typical luxury hotel.

"It's a great contrast to other local lodgings, but still a complement," said J. Christopher Coyle, general manager of the new hotel. "It fits so well into the landscape that many people have commented on how well we've restored the building, but it was actually built new from the ground up."

The brick facade, indigenous flora and locally-inspired decor make the property feel as if it had been around for decades, if not centuries. The only thing to give it away is the new-building smell.

The addition of the this "boutique" hotel is another feather in Savannah's cap, said Joseph Marinelli, president of the Savannah Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"We're fortunate to have hometown boy Richard Kessler put two showpieces in our city," he said. "It will likely encourage the more affluent travelers to stay in the city longer because of the accommodations they have to offer."

Guests of the Bohemian have full run of the amenities at the Mansion as well. A shuttle will take them back and forth, and they'll be able to charge meals, spa treatments, etc. to their room at the Bohemian. Conversely, Mansion guests can enjoy the spectacular views of the two dining facilities at the Bohemian with the same courtesies.

"It's like getting two hotels for the price of one," said Coyle.

The hotel has already created a stir with tourists and locals pressing their faces against the glass to get a sneak peek at what's behind the large garage-door style windows.

"We've had people taking pictures through the windows of the fixtures and other cool parts of the restaurant," said Coyle.

The hotel already is booked solid for this weekend and next weekend with the weekend after that on the verge of a sellout.

"This is a special time for Savannah," said Marinelli. "With so many hotels remodeling and freshening up their products such as the Westin, the DeSoto and the Hampton Inn on Bay Street and now with the addition of Avia and the Bohemian, we've got a slew of premiere properties."

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Quick facts about The Bohemian

-- 75 guest rooms and suites

Two dining facilities:

-- Rocks on the River, a modern grill, seats 166

-- Rocks on the Roof, a roof-top lounge, seats 110

Two meeting facilities:

-- Rocks on the River private dining room seats 20

-- Board room seats 20

For more information, call 912-721-3800 or 877-486-9575 or go to www.bohemian savannah.com.

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To see more of The Savannah Morning News or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.savannahnow.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, Savannah Morning News, Ga.

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