New murals at The Drayton Hotel heighten the senses
PEOPLE EAT WITH their eyes first, the old adage goes, and that is certainly the case at The Drayton Hotel. Inside the property’s restaurant, St. Neo’s Brasserie, hotel owner Raghav Sapra enlisted decorative artist Bob Christian to create a mural depicting an archetypal Lowcountry vista — the perfect backdrop for menu highlights like snapper crudo with lemon and poppyseed, or mushroom rotolo with red wine jus.
The mural imagines Savannah as it might have appeared during the 1700s: that is, towering oaks dripping with Spanish moss, a lot of marshland, and not much else. In contrast to present-day busy downtown thoroughfares (diners can observe Bay Street from St. Neo’s north-facing windows), Christian’s mural is bucolic and serene.
Another Christian-designed mural cloaks the walls of the hotel’s oval-shaped drawing room, which often plays host to private dining events. Here, the artist opted for a more modern take on familiar landscapes: in a warm palette of peaches and creams with pops of metallic silver, Christian has created a ring of stately palm trees, a sort of Savannah in the round. “We wanted the murals to reflect both tradition and progress,” Sapra says — to wit, the wire pendants in the drawing room are meant to mimic mid-19th-century hoop skirts, harking back to old Savannah style.
Such melding of old and new is apparent in thoughtful design touches throughout the hotel, reflecting the forward march of the Hostess City itself.