Let’s just be honest…Charleston, South Carolina is HOT (literally and figuratively)! Leading into the 2018 travel season, it was once again voted the #1 city to visit by Travel + Leisure and understandably so. It is a place brimming with history and a rich culture muddled with that irresistible southern charm. Downtown is a peninsula surrounded by a river, an ocean, a bay and lots of bridges making it an easy city to walk and bike as you explore the amazing, award-winning restaurants, shopping of all varieties, numerous museums plus an unbelievable aquarium, and unparalleled historical sites.
With so much to see and do, the first and most important step in planning your trip is to find a place to stay that suits your needs (and wants and desires…). Whether it’s a luxury hotel, a historic inn, a bed & breakfast, or a multi-bedroom vacation rental, Charleston has wonderful accommodations for every budget and style of traveler from couples, to families, to girls-getting-away! Read on for my personal favorites.
The 16 Best Places to Stay in Charleston (plus 1 Hidden Gem)
Andrew Pinckney Inn – 40 Pinckney St., 843-937-8800
Rates starting at $179 .
Elegant yet cozy, charming and comfortable are phrases used to describe this lovely boutique inn within walking distance of the City Market, historic sites, and award-winning food (both FIG & Cru are minutes away). The highly distinguishable yellow building harkens to the British West Indies theme used in 41 elegant guests rooms.
The Dewberry Charleston – 334 Meeting St., 843-558-8000
Rates starting at $261 .
Think mid-century modern, Mad Men (Don Draper) charm meets southern luxury…welcome to The Dewberry. The hotel opened in 2016 after a lengthy remodel of the Mendel Rivers Federal Building into 155 incredible guest rooms that borders on Marion Park. It is also home to Henrietta’s, the acclaimed parisian-esque bistro offering southern ingredients cooked with a french flare.
French Quarter Inn – 166 Church St., 866-812-190
Rates starting at $289 .
Charleston’s most awarded luxury hotel…need I say more? Start by scanning the pillow (that’s right- Buckwheat, down, cool gel, hypoallergenic and Swedish massage) menu as you sip your champagne when you check-in. This is truly southern hospitality and service at it’s best. Enjoy the city on your complimentary breakfast and bikes followed by a refreshing afternoon tea and snack. Sophisticated? Yes. Stuffy? No way!
Fulton Lane Inn – 202 King St., 843-720-2600
Rates starting at $199 .
Best Kept Secret! This is a place where you can find quiet and secluded luxury steps from the famous King Street. Guests are treated like royalty with complimentary breakfast, afternoon sherry, and evening wine & cheese.
Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston – 55 Wentworth St., 843-722-5711
Rates starting at $255 (Marriott property so don’t forget your rewards
Chic, playful, eclectic, fashionable are all words used to describe this addition to the Historic District. The Bohemian offers unequalled amenities including the on-site Art Gallery, rooftop restaurant and terrace, and classes in wine blending and tasting. With only 50 rooms, it still has the quaintness of a smaller hotel.
Harbor View Inn – 2 Vendue Range St., 843-853-8439
Rates starting at $220 .
Stunning views of the Charleston harbor makes this former 1930’s cotton warehouse a highly desirable inn. With 52 rooms and a rooftop terrace, guests take full advantage of being on the waterfront. Guests also enjoy a continental breakfast and a wine & cheese reception.
John Rutledge House Inn – 116 Broad St., 843-723-7999
Rates starting at $239 .
Built in 1763 by John Rutledge, a signer of the the constitution, this antebellum bed & breakfast is truly one-of-a-kind. The Inn has 19 rooms between the main home and 2 carriage houses. Winner of many past awards from Trip Advisor and Conde de Nast, The John Rutledge House is something to see even if you are not a guest. If you are, however, enjoy complimentary breakfast (of course), afternoon tea and light appetizers, evening sherry, port, or brandy, and nightly chocolates.
Kings Courtyard Inn – 198 King St, 843-723-7000
Rates starting at $199 .
The Kings Courtyard, housed in the one of the city’s oldest buildings, is tucked into the antiques district. It offers 41 updated guest rooms with 3 beautiful courtyards. It is also family-owned! Continental breakfast and afternoon wine & cheese are included in your stay.
The Mills House – 115 Meeting St., 843-577-2400
Rates starting at $198 (This is a Wyndham boutique property) .
A 2017 Trip Advisor winner, The Mills House offers southern charm backed by a full service hotel. Located in the historic district, the hotel is central to many of the museums and sites.
Planters Inn – 112 North Market, 843-722-2345
Rates starting at $279 .
Charleston’s classic Grande Dame hotel and winner of Travel + Leisure’s #1 Best U.S. boutique hotel. The Inn is centrally located steps away from the Market and also home to the award-winning Peninsula Grill (definitely must try the 12 layer coconut cake that is shipped nationwide). Join the staff for afternoon mango tea and cheese crisps, evening coffee and cookies, and nightly macarons. No detail is left undone
The Restoration – 75 Wentworth St., 877-221-7202
Rates starting at $249 .
Modern meets historic at The Restoration which is one of the few all suites offerings each with a kitchen. Complimentary bikes are also a nice addition and an excellent way to see the city. Enjoy a refreshing drink at the rooftop bar or nightly wine & cheese.
The Spectator Hotel – 67 State St., 843–724-4326
Rates starting at $299 .
Another award winner – richly designed in 1920’s style, think southern allure meets jazz. Located steps away from the Historic Market, the central location is perfect for exploring the city. Many of the rooms have outdoor verandas for enjoying the beautiful vistas of the Holy City.
The Bar is also a HOT SPOT for locals and visitors.
Two Meeting Street Inn – 2 Meeting St., 843-723-7332
Rates starting at $195 .
This romantic bed and breakfast is located in a quaint South of Broad neighborhood. This is a place away from the hustle and bustle but close enough to walk. Feel like a local but be treated like a guest. With only 9 guest rooms, plan ahead if you want to stay here and check back for last minute availability which they update on their website.
The Vendue – 19 Vendue Range, 843-577-7970
Rates starting at $235 .
Voted #1 Hotel in Charleston and #9 in the U.S., 2017, by Travel + Leisure and #2 Reader’s Choice by Conde Nast, this old French Quarter hotel located on Waterfront Park is notably the 1st Art hotel in Charleston. With rotating exhibits and an artist-in-residence program, the works that accentuate the space are amazing. Most of the 84 rooms have been completely renovated and are complete with fireplaces (although they never say if they are working) and no two are alike.
Wentworth Mansion – 149 Wentworth St., 843-853-1886
Rates starting at $349 .
World-class accommodations in the center of the historic district! Listed on Conde Nast 2018 Gold list, The Wentworth introduces guests to the life of a 19th century cotton merchant. At one time, this was one of the grandest mansions. Complete with breakfast, wine & cheese, and evening cordials, experience the life of a millionaire if only for a minute. Surprisingly some of the rooms are PET FRIENDLY; so inquire if your traveling with your 4-legged friend.
Zero George – 0 George St., 843-817-7900
Rates starting at $379 .
Last but certainly not least is the 2018 Conde Nast Gold List and 2018 Trip Advisors’ Traveler’s choice, the Zero George. Eighteen chic and simple rooms housed in a collection of 19th century buildings, cooking classes, and European breakfast delights bring plenty of foodies to visit. I was just listening to a podcast by Alton Brown (of Good Eats and Iron Chef fame) who picked this little spot as his favorite in the U.S….that’s not too shabby!
Hidden Gem Time!
For my faithful readers I like to offer up a HIDDEN GEM! It’s one you have to work a little harder to find or hear about, and once you do, you really want to just keep it a bit secret. After all, there are so many other places to stay…
My Charleston Hidden Gem is The Inns, Charleston , Spring St.
I am seriously in L-O-V-E with these adorable single row homes on Spring Street. If you want an authentic Charleston living experience, THIS IS IT!
Nestled in one of downtown Charleston’s most charming and historic neighborhoods, The Inns, Charleston is comprised of two five bedroom “Charleston Single Row Homes.” These two adjacent homes have been subdivided into four luxury accommodations (69A, 69B, 71A, & 71B), each equipped with all the comforts of home including a full sized kitchen. Also, you have the option to rent by number of bedrooms/baths according to your group size. They also offer amazing guest services to help “Build Your Inn” before your arrival by stocking with groceries, arranging for baby or child needs, or gathering needed beach supplies. And for the art-lover, regional and local artists’ works can be found on the walls and some even for purchase.
So, if your not feeling the whole “hotel” vibe or just need a little more space to relax and enjoy your visit, consider The Inns, Charleston as your “home-away-from-home”.
Regardless of where you decide to stay, several things are for certain. You will see some incredible sites and experience a step back into history around almost every corner. You will eat some of the most incredible food (lowcountry and otherwise) served with a huge helping of southern hospitality. You can shop til you drop for almost anything you can imagine. You will be utterly exhausted (and probably stuffed from all the treats) when you go home. But, most importantly, you will be checking your schedule to see when you can come back!