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The city of Charleston, S.C., charms visitors with its antebellum architecture, fantastic culinary scene, historic tours and fabulous shopping. Southern hospitality oozes from its quaint hotels in the French Quarter and downtown area, where guests will encounter a number of historic, luxurious accommodation options. Need some pointers on where to sleep when you're done exploring? Read on for the nine best hotels in Charleston, S.C.
Best Overall: Zero George Street
Housed in restored 19th-century buildings (circa 1804), Zero George gives visitors a peek into Charleston’s past while offering outstanding service, modern comforts and unique amenities. Guests can take cooking lessons in their award-winning kitchen and culinary school, mingle at the wine and cheese gathering or take one of the bicycles out for a spin around town. Begin your experience by checking in at the Kitchen Carriage House that has been meticulously restored. From there, you can wander the lovely courtyards or have a bite to eat at the exquisite fine-dining restaurant. The 16 rooms and suites are scattered throughout five individual houses and include fine Italian linens, pine floors and marble baths.
Best Budget: Sleep Inn Charleston
Charleston’s hotels tend to carry a higher price tag, but for those on a budget, the Sleep Inn offers a comfortable stay at a bargain rate. Newly renovated rooms have stylish, green color schemes, wooden headboards and framed black-and-white photographs. A breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi, parking and a pass to the Planet Fitness gym (there is no fitness center on the property) are included in the price. Other amenities include an outdoor swimming pool with lounge chairs, an outdoor sitting area and a business center. Pets are welcome for a small fee. The downside is that you’ll need your own transportation: The hotel is about six miles from the downtown area.
Best Luxury: The Restoration
The new, 50-room Restoration is a home-away-from home for visitors seeking a luxury hotel experience. Accommodations have exposed brick walls, unique furniture and décor, a minimum of 500 square feet of space, custom photography and luxurious baths. Private terraces, washers/dryers and full kitchens are also available in some suites. Modern comforts include personal iPads, Wi-Fi, smart televisions, premium bath products and breakfast baskets. A rooftop farm-to-table restaurant with Lowcountry cuisine and dazzling views is a great place to relax or guests can utilize the honor bar and eclectic reading selection in the library. There’s also an onsite spa and nail salon, plus an inviting outdoor pool.
Best for Romance: Belmond Charleston Place
The sophisticated, 434-room Belmond Charleston Place is a popular choice for weddings, honeymoons or for couples seeking a romantic weekend getaway. Located in the heart of downtown, the hotel is absolutely stunning: from a dripping chandelier and regal staircase at the entrance to the gorgeous saltwater swimming pool with a retractable glass roof. Several categories of accommodations are available, including the newly renovated “Club Rooms” that feature access to an exclusive lounge. All rooms include a minimum of 400 square feet, elegant furnishings, bathrobes and slippers, as well as Italian marble baths with soaking tubs. Couples can unwind with a massage at the full-service spa or dine at one of the on-site restaurants serving Southern cuisine.
Best for Families: Hampton Inn Charleston
Families seeking a convenient hotel with kid-friendly amenities should consider the Hampton Inn Charleston. The 170-room, mid-priced hotel is located in the historic district, adjacent to the Charleston Museum and visitor center. It's within walking distance to shops, restaurants, carriage rides and ghost tours. The hotel is housed in a restored 1860s warehouse and features modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi in rooms, plush bedding, a fitness center and an outdoor pool and courtyard – perfect for the kids on a hot day. A breakfast buffet is included and cribs, high chairs and other children’s needs are available. Parking is additional, however, with a free trolley located outside the hotel, there’s no need to bring a car.
Best Nightlife: Market Pavilion Hotel
If you’re looking for a nightlife scene in Charleston, the Market Pavilion has an undeniable magnetism that draws travelers to its fabulous rooftop pool bar with fantastic views of the city and harbor. Soak in the atmosphere while sipping on a craft cocktail (try their famous “nitrotini”) or sample casual American fare. Accommodations feature plush bedding with mahogany headboards, elegant furnishings and Italian marble baths. The nightlife scene in Charleston is just steps away – with plenty of bars scattered along East Bay Street. In addition to the fantastic service, TripAdvisor members appreciated the morning coffee and pastries that are served on every floor.
Best Boutique: The Vendue
Those who prefer a boutique hotel experience should consider The Vendue, located in the historic French Quarter. Dubbed “Charleston’s Art Hotel,” the Vendue hotel has a rotating collection of 300 works of art, resident artist studios and daily art tours. The hotel also has a rooftop bar, complimentary bikes, evening milk and cookies, a wine reception and a restaurant that serves up seafood and local favorites. Dinner and theater packages are also available. The 84 rooms have hardwood floors, beautiful furnishings, feather beds, gas fireplaces (in some) and cotton bathrobes, however, the Interior Rooms are small and do not have windows. Opt for the Signature Rooms if you need more space and natural light.
Best Business: Courtyard Charleston Historic District
Business travelers seeking outstanding customer service and a fantastic location should look no further than the Courtyard Charleston. Perched on the edge of the historic district, the Courtyard Charleston is in the middle of the action and surrounded by restaurants and bars. The concierge at this hotel wins rave reviews from TripAdvisor users for going the extra mile for guests. The 176-room hotel features nine meeting rooms totaling 8,700 square feet of meeting space, free Wi-Fi throughout, a computer center for copying and faxing and a fitness center. An on-site restaurant and a bar serves American fare, while the lovely outdoor pool and courtyard are the perfect spots to unwind after a long meeting.
Best Waterfront: Inn at Middleton Place
Set along the beautiful Ashley River, the Inn at Middleton Place offers a peaceful retreat 15 miles outside of Charleston. The eco-friendly hotel is surrounded by pine and live oak trees and has an array of outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking and horseback riding. Admission to Middleton Place, the historic landmark and museum, is included with every stay. Each of the 55 rooms feel like modern, elegant cabins with floor-to-ceiling windows, pine floors, European-style tubs and wood-burning fireplaces. Guests can unwind in the outdoor swimming pool, take the bikes out for a spin or mingle at the evening reception. Fresh fruit and breakfast pastries are included, but if you're looking for more grub, a hot breakfast is available for an additional charge.