The Best Hotels in Downtown Charleston, South Carolina

Charlestons charm shines through in its best downtown hotels
Charleston's charm shines through in its best downtown hotels | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Richard Tulis

Lodging in this charming Southeastern city is as easy as pie once you’ve combed through this select list, hand-picked to provide a dreamy selection of the best hotels downtown Charleston has to offer.

1. Meeting Street Inn, for sybaritic soaking


Meeting Street Inn courtyard with plunge pool and palms and flower pots
Courtesy of Meeting Street Inn

If you’re not quick enough to snag one of the six guest rooms in the historic part of the Meeting Street Inn, you won’t be sad for long. Stroll into the private garden courtyard for a dip in the jacuzzi to soak away your sorrows. Next, the Meeting Street Inn will give you something else to help– a glass of red wine with a luscious spread of cheeses. Once you finally arrive at your contemporary deluxe room, the cafe-style balcony will show you that modern is nothing to be mad about.

2. Emeline, for thoughtful luxury


Hotel Emeline fireplace outdoors with sofas and fairy lights
Courtesy of Hotel Emeline/

Where better than Emeline’s Traveler’s Suite to welcome you to the Holy City for the first time? This boutique Charleston hotel provides a private parlor and city views for the tasteful traveler who loves a dash of thoughtful luxury. A Vivreau Water Dispenser, Crosley turntable with custom Emeline vinyl, and a field guide to the city await you in your room. And whenever you must explore the city in style, ask the concierge to toss you the keys to the house Countryman Mini Cooper. It’s no horse and buggy, but it’ll give you a charming jaunt through Charleston all the same.

3. The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, for exceptional views


The Mills House lobby in light tones with marble floor and sofas, large plants and chic lamps
Courtesy of The Mills House /

The poolside rooms at The Mills House are as relaxing as can be, but there’s just something about waking up and falling asleep to views of Charleston that we just can’t pass up. The city view room offers exceptional sights of the colorful rooftops and gardens nearby. The church steeples in the distance are dreamy, though we’ll admit that the allure of the poolside room’s wrought-iron balcony is also a delight. Thankfully, the latter can be admired while floating on the water.

4. Planters Inn, for quintessential Southern style

Independent Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Inn

A white sofa and long wooden table in front of a brick wall with a painted illustration of Charleston at Suite at Planters Inn
Courtesy of Planters Inn /

At this coveted corner of Market and Meeting, you’ll watch from the Planters Inn window as Charleston’s present becomes its past. This historic boutique hotel in Charleston is refined with antiques and decorated in elegant Southern style. It’s nearly impossible to choose between the exquisite suites – how does one fairly compare the soaring ceilings of the Proprietor’s Suite, the plush reading room in the St Philip Suite, or the historic fireplace in the Governor’s Suite? By returning year after year to experience each one, of course.

5. The Restoration, for a home-from-home feel

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel, Luxury

The Restoration Hotel open plan suite with kitchen, table tennis and bare brick walls
Courtesy of The Restoration Hotel /

Rub elbows with the residents of The Restoration, mixing and mingling over truffle fries at The Watch rooftop kitchen until you feel like a bonafide local. The signature suite will help you feel at home with its exposed-brick walls, wide windows, and custom local photography adorning the walls. Explore your new home on a complimentary bicycle or lean into the hotel vibes by taking advantage of the wine and cheese reception and late-night cookie buffet.

6. Francis Marion Hotel, for a postcard-perfect location


Opulent lobby area of the Francis Marion Hotel with square corinthian columns, chandeliers, potted palms and decorative carpeting
Courtesy of Francis Marion Hotel / Expedia
Virtually a stone’s throw from the beautiful College of Charleston campus on King Street, the Francis Marion Hotel could not be situated in a more picture-perfect area. The hotel’s bold veneer features its name, in honor of the Revolutionary War hero and guerrilla champion from South Carolina, Francis Marion. Classy furniture and a sleek lobby welcome guests upon check-in whilst a nice mix of local restaurants and shops sit close to the hotel. There is even an in-house Starbucks for any guests in a hurry.

7. Belmond Charleston Place, for intricate interiors


Outdoor pool at Belmond Charleston Place with columns and plants
Courtesy of Belmond Charleston Place / Expedia
Situated alongside the luxurious and upscale Shops at Charleston Place, the Belmond Hotel houses 320 deluxe rooms, 80 club-level rooms and 40 suites. Its interior is dazzling and dressed with intricate glass-work chandeliers, and the building possesses stunning balcony views of the city. Horse-drawn carriage rides and mansion tours depart nearby, whilst the Charleston Grill features nightly jazz music. The hotel is also just a half block from the ever-popular Historic Charleston City Market, a dynamic local cornerstone for handicrafts, artwork and more.

8. The Vendue, for boutique cool


The Vendue bedroom with paintings, design cushions and vintage furniture including lamp
Courtesy of the Vendue / Expedia
A large, inviting fireplace and vivid pieces of artwork blanket the inside of this boutique, art-inspired hotel. Classic Charleston palms are anchored in front of the hotel awnings, nearly flush with the street. The pristine Waterfront Park is just a block away. The staff are friendly and accommodating whilst the building itself dates back to 1785. After numerous renovations down the years, the Vendue has been more than able to please its guests while maintaining no end of charm. The latest renovations were completed very recently, ensuring a fresh feel in much of the building.

9. Andrew Pinckney Inn, for a homely welcome


Andrew Pinckney Inn room with pattern floor, tv and headboards in leather
Courtesy of Andrew Pinckney Inn / Expedia
This hotel’s homegrown, low-country feel is brought to life with a brick-and-mortar-style lobby and pleasant, wood-crafted rafters. Located in the heart of the historic district, the pastel yellow building is awash with charm and exudes a welcoming ambiance. The amazing rooftop terrace equips guests with a perch from which to take in the city and its surrounding rooftops (and even Charleston Harbor). With hospitality that is unmatched, the physical work of the building goes hand in hand with its mission: to complement your stay in the beautiful, historic city of Charleston.

10. French Quarter Inn, for a quiet stay


French Quarter Inn lounge area with classic furniture, city view and pattern carpet
Courtesy of French Quarter Inn / Expedia
One of the best hotels in Charleston, the exceptional French Quarter Inn provides guests with complimentary wine and cheese during the afternoon and is within walking distance from just about every downtown attraction there is, yet not too far from the ocean shore to the east. This hotel is where you’ll find peace and quiet. Its interior is ornate with paintings and plush furniture, and the rooms are properly fitted with extremely comfortable bedding. Try to find a room with a balcony view here – it will most certainly be the cherry on top of an already delightful experience.

Nick Dauk contributed additional reporting to this article.

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