What's new in Savannah: Hotels, boutiques and more

Hear ye, hear ye. Let it be known far and wide that Savannah, Georgia, has seen a growth spurt of new boutiques, hotels, eateries, upscale bars and upscale retail in the downtown historic district the last two years that continues to be nothing short of startling. The city's magnificent historic buildings, lush gardens and gorgeous squares are still here of course and still as beautiful as ever but all that grandeur is now complemented by a vibrant collection of new retailers that enhance any visitor's experience.

The new hotels, restaurants and bars in the "Hostess City of the South" are generally upscale additions to Savannah's already impressive roster. But it's the transformation of Broughton Street, the main downtown boulevard, which is the most impressive. Not many years ago, Broughton's selection of shopping spots left quite a bit to be desired. Now strolling on Broughton is a true pleasure, popping in here to get a little taste of gourmet salts, spices or olive oils, there for a truly great latte or tasty fruit juice, down a block to shop at a major upscale national retailer, next door to a unique local boutique, and on down the street to a hat store for the crowning touch for a special night out on the town. And if you wear out your poor tootsies with all this shopping and noshing stop by one of the five great downtown spas and treat your feet to a refreshing foot massage.

The remarkable transformation of the shopping, dining, drinking and lodging landscape of downtown Savannah continues apace. Consider:

Just this year Savannah's downtown has gained Hotel Indigo; Swedish retailer H&M; bluemercury, a makeup and beauty products retailer; Emily McCarthy Shoppe, a gift and home decor store; Savannah Cordwainers, handmade custom and bespoke shoes for men and women, Alton Lane, bespoke men's clothier, and Apollo Pharmacy; restaurants Hitch, Savannah Seafood Shack, health-conscious eating at Beetnix Super Food and Juice Bar and Kitchen 320, the newly opened restaurant in the B Historic Savannah hotel. Artillery Bar is a new upscale downtown bar and Totally Awesome Bar has a '80s & '90s vibe. Cup to Cup coffee and tea shop and Blends, a Coffee Boutique have opened their doors. And Below Zero Rolled Ice Cream has created a new Thai-inspired frozen dessert craze on Broughton Street.

That's just so far this year! More is on the way.

Adding into your considerations the new downtown ventures that have opened in the past couple of years, it all begins to get almost too much to absorb. Hotels – The Cotton Sail, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by HiltonSavannah Historic District/Riverfront, The Brice, a Kimpton Hotel, and the rebranding and major renovation of the former Country Inn & Suites to become B Historic, an upscale boutique hotel. Restaurants – The Grey, The Florence, Pacci Italian Kitchen + Bar, 39 Rue de Jean, Treylor Park. Gourmet food shops – The Salt Table, The Ancient Olive. Clothing retailers J.Crew, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Palm Avenue, Club Monaco, Mamie Ruth/M. Liz Jewelry, Spartina 449, Tommy Bahama, The Impeccable Pig, Modern Trousseau, Shoe Be Do, Victoria's Secret and Goorhin Bros., a hat shop.

As if all that weren't enough the city has also added skin-care and makeup retailers L'Occitane, M.A.C.; Kendra Scott Jewelry, Rivers & Glen Trading Co. and on River Street, The Black Dog General Store. And I'm sure I've missed a few.

Savannah is booming, y'all!