WHERE IS IT? In Summerville, a lovely neighborhood with great hilltop views of downtown Augusta and the rolling hills surrounding the city, the hotel is just a short drive to the riverfront, downtown district, and Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters Golf Tournament is held annually.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America and its rich background dates back more than a century. This is all documented in wonderful photographs and framed memorabilia along the walls that tell the story of the long list of past presidents and celebrities that have slept here. Originally a two-floor residence built in the 1820s, it was purchased by an admiring bellman from a nearby hotel named Morris Partridge. His dream investment grew over time as Augusta was a popular destination for well-heeled visitors from the north; it’s a wonderful story of the American dream. He expanded by adding buildings and growing the property, which is evident in the hotel’s architecture today with six floors of winding hallways (all protected as a historic structure). Recent renovations have modernized the interiors with a minimalist and contemporary look that makes this historic inn popular for social functions, small meeting groups, and visitors to town. Due to COVID-19 precautions, there were changes evident in public areas during my visit with ramped-up cleaning protocols and reduced dining hours in the restaurant.
ROOM FACILITIES Hilton’s CleanStay program is impressive. Following a thorough cleaning of all in-room surfaces including light switches and door handles, for example, the room door is sealed with a sticker indicating it had been thoroughly cleaned. The entire hotel demonstrated great attention to detail in regards to the latest coronavirus precautions, and housekeepers leave behind a sealed pack of Lysol disinfectant wipes in case guests want to clean anything themselves. The beds feature Hilton’s padded mattress with ultra-soft pillows, cushioned headboards, and nightstands with built-in power outlets. A spacious work desk has a more power outlets and a single-serve coffeemaker. Nice touches included a large closet, blackout curtains and refrigerator.
Most rooms are different in layout and view given the eclectic nature of each section of the building. My Superior Balcony room overlooked all of downtown Augusta and was a great place to enjoy my takeout dinner from the restaurant. Bathrooms are also unique in shape depending upon the room. Mine had a large shower stall and a bright vanity with Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries. There are several suites in the mix including the three-bedroom Penthouse Suite, which is often rented by celebrity golfers during the Master’s Tournament (Insider tip: this year, it’s up for grabs if you’re looking for a 2020 place to stay!).
RESTAURANTS AND BARS PI Bar & Grill is a notable spot for locals and guests to dine on tasty Southern fare as well as enjoy creative cocktails in the dining room, at the bar, or on the long porch at the front of the hotel. The atmosphere is great year-round whether it’s with whirling fans in summer or heaters in winter, and the in-the-know crowd reserves tables for weekend brunch in advance. My dinner, which I had on my balcony rather than on the atmospheric front porch, was exceptional. I started with a sampler plate of fried green tomatoes, country ham hushpuppies, and charred okra with bacon jam. The menu had a nice variety of salads as well as regional specialties like low-country crab soup with fresh corn, pickled shrimp salad with Vidalia onions, and of course, shrimp and grits.
LEISURE FACILITIES The hotel has a modern fitness center and small swimming pool in the center courtyard, which is surrounded by bamboo and greenery. Front desk staff can recommend a jogging route through the neighborhood, which has plenty of beautiful mansions.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES In addition to the lobby business center, there are several meeting rooms on the second floor with natural light. Receptions can also use the beautiful front porch or rooftop terrace, which has small fire pits and its own bar. This is an especially popular place during the Master’s Golf Tournament as well as with social events and group functions. Free wireless Internet and parking are another great perk for all guests. My favorite: The all-day coffee and tea station in the lobby. The coffee is a special blend for the hotel that comes from a local roaster. There’s also a grab-and-go shop in the lobby for light refreshments.
VERDICT Curio Collection brings together hotels with great regional flair plus the ability to earn and redeem Hilton Honors points. This iconic Augusta inn is the perfect example. Its Southern charm, hospitality, location and menu are enough to make you want to kick back and stay awhile.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 144 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Historic southern inn with plenty of character and charm. Locals call it the “PI”
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $99
CONTACT 2110 Walton Way, Augusta, Georgia, 30904, Phone 706-737-8888. partridgeinn.com