Room at the Inn


For decades, Larry Leary kept a mental scrapbook of every inspiring design style, every Old World detail that intrigued or amazed, and held onto them. A renowned restorer of historic homes, he plied his trade in some of the most lavish homes in the Northeast, with a client list of CEOs and business elites. With every classic home he restored, he made notes on the architectural details that defined its elegance.

He has brought that collection of gorgeous architectural design ideas to life at a spot in The Calhoun Street Promenade facing May River Road. He calls this ultimate expression of his decades of experience the Old Town Bluffton Inn.

“From a construction standpoint, this really is the culmination of every architectural element that’s ever inspired me and every design I’d wanted to see come to life,” he said. “I’ve been in restoration a long time, and this is my masterpiece.”

The building is truly a marvel of timeless architectural grace. From the spacious lobby with its resplendent custom millwork to the wide porches adorning the upstairs suites, gazing down on the live oaks and bustling sidewalks of May River Road, every inch offers fresh inspiration. And even when it was still under construction, the inn just felt like it had always been a part of the Old Town Bluffton landscape.

hotelbluffton2“I’ve always said that I’m not building it for me. I’m building it for Bluffton,” Leary said.

When it opens its doors this summer, the inn will give Bluffton its first true boutique hotel in Old Town. For a town that long lived in the long hospitality shadows of Hilton Head Island and Palmetto Bluff, it’s a statement that Old Town Bluffton has emerged as a destination in its own right.

That’s why a big part of the inn’s appeal will be the immersion it offers in Old Town. Through partnerships with area vendors including Corner Perk, FARM Bluffton, Downtown Catering, Spencer Special Events and Kellie Corn, the inn will give first-time visitors a taste of Bluffton’s inimitable charm and hospitality.

When Leary began planning for the inn along with his business partners — daughter Danielle Harrison and her husband, Vince — one of the first decisions they made was that each room would tell a different story. Whether it was a bold monochromatic color scheme in a room marked by modern style or rich, vibrant colors in the “Tommy Bahama” suite, each space would resonate with its own vibe.

To help accomplish this, they called in famed furniture designer Henessy Wayser, whose French Heritage line has defined craftsmanship and comfort. She worked closely with Leary and the Harrisons, taking their cues on colors, fabrics, textures and styles and turning them into a series of rooms that offer fresh inspiration behind every door.

“The best part of the project was getting the feelings and emotion of the inn right,” Wayser said. “Larry wanted something stately and traditional, while Danielle wanted more fashion, fantasy and art as part of the 14-room inn.”

And that inspiration wound up going both ways — Wayser took her Old Town Bluffton Inn furnishings to the famed High Point Furniture Market, where she set up six of the rooms exactly as they are at the inn, and began plans for a furniture line based around the pieces she’d created for the inn. Someday soon, you could have Old Town Bluffton Inn furniture in your own home.

Until then, you’ll have to book a room at the Old Town Bluffton Inn.

For more information, go to