You already know that Charleston, South Carolina has loads of charm, with its candy-colored Georgian houses along Rainbow Row and horse-drawn carriages clomping down cobblestone streets. Hours idled away sailing, slurping back oysters, and lingering over Lowcountry sunsets are par for the course. But you'd be missing out if a visit to the Holy City didn't include a deeper dive into its abundance of culture: A dynamic food scene, internationally acclaimed art galleries, and even small-batch bourbon distilleries and craft-beer halls all draw out-of-towners.
And then there's Charleston's vibrant hotel scene. Here, a hotel isn't just a place to lay your head for the night. From the stately historic hotels to the mid-century modern marvels, find the ultimate in Southern hospitality at these 10 properties.
1. The Spectator Hotel
Designed to channel the spirit of the Roaring '20s, this hotel—located one block from the historic City Market—is as glam as its patrons. Plush velvet and tufted-leather furnishings, towering chandeliers, and a stuffed peacock affectionately known as Daisy are just a few of the exquisite gilded-era details. Hotel guests have access to a personalized butler service offering everything from turndown to a shoe shine.
2. Belmond Charleston Place
Just stepping inside the lobby of this five-star hotel makes one feel like royalty. Flanked with miles of marble and grand chandeliers, the entrance leads to 434 rooms, each outfitted with antique furnishings, fine art, and many with deep soaker tubs. The heated rooftop saltwater swimming pool sits beneath a retractable glass roof, and the property’s restaurant, Charleston Grill, is a gathering spot for well-heeled locals who appreciate fine dining and equally fine live jazz performances.
3. The Restoration Hotel
Situated in the middle of downtown's iconic King Street, where you can shop everything from estate jewelry to the season's newest arrivals, this property marries historic with hip. Think exposed brick with modern furnishings and clean colors with splashes of preppy blue. Even more special are touches like an on-site nail bar and vintage car rental for guests inclined to take a 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible or a 1967 Chevy Camaro out for a spin.
4. The Dewberry Charleston
This mid-century stunner is housed in the Mendell Rivers Federal Building, now the namesake of John Dewberry, a staunch preservationist. Guest rooms—all 155 of them—are bedecked with Irish linens, hand-painted wallpaper, and marble bathrooms, and are curated with seasonal in-room bars. The pièce de résistance may just be its restaurant: Henrietta’s, a French bistro-style eatery that perfectly pairs Paris with the South.
5. Zero George Street
Imagine staying at your fanciest friend’s home—that’s what it’s like to sleep at this property. With just 16 guest rooms boasting original architecture and soothing white furnishings, the circa-1804 property is tucked into five lovingly restored townhouses and carriage houses. Take out their complimentary bikes and, come evening, wind down with wine and a specialty cheese board. Don't miss the highly-acclaimed Zero Restaurant + Bar and on-site cooking school to learn the secrets of Lowcountry classics.
6. Wentworth Mansion
Built in 1886 for a cotton merchant, this sprawling property in the Historic District neighborhood has maintained many of the original home’s features. Today, the hotel is comprised of a luxury spa and 21 guest rooms with marble bathrooms and oversized tubs, original gas fireplaces and mahogany armoires. Guests with an outside porch can peer out onto the neighborhood, where destination dining—like Circa 1886—is just steps away.
7. HarbourView Inn
Located in what was once a cotton warehouse from the 1930s, this property offers a waterfront location that’s best enjoyed on the rooftop bar. Here, just steps away from the City Market and the Battery landmark, guest rooms are filled with British West Indies furniture. Besides the daily wine and cheese hour and milk and cookies before turndown, expect something new every night, from live music to a wine or beer tasting.
8. French Quarter Inn
This jewel box of a hotel is tucked away just off Market Street, offering a cozy respite in downtown Charleston. Guests are welcomed with flutes of champagne—enjoy it by the fireplace on cooler evenings; there’s a lush courtyard for warmer weather. Crisp linens with pops of pink, marble bathrooms, and spa amenities round out the guest rooms. Don't miss the food at upscale Southern bistro Fig, only a few blocks away.
9. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island
Thirty minutes outside Charleston, this stately resort lies on an expansive 10-mile stretch of private beach and boasts five championship golf courses, 24 tennis courts, and six pools. The entrance, with custom rug-strewn walnut flooring and cozy fireplaces, resembles a grand Plantation-era living space.
10. Planters Inn
This 64-room boutique hotel has racked up a slew of accolades for good reason: Rooms are outfitted with handsome four-poster beds decked in luxurious silks. Add to that its want-for-nothing touches like macarons delivered at turndown. The hotel’s restaurant, Peninsula Grill, is famous for a decadent 12-layer coconut cake, and there’s a verdant courtyard, lit by carriage lanterns, for post-dinner tipples.
Plan your trip to Charleston at explorecharleston.com.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.