The Best Hotels to Book Near the South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston

After exploring the South Carolina Aquarium, hit the water at the Hotel Bennetts rooftop pool
After exploring the South Carolina Aquarium, hit the water at the Hotel Bennett's rooftop pool | Courtesy of Hotel Bennett / Expedia
Nick Dauk

Come for the sea life, stay for the Southern comfort at these characteristically charming hotels in the Holy City of Charleston – bookable on Culture Trip.

Sitting right on the Cooper River on the north end of town, the South Carolina Aquarium is teeming with marine life. From spotlighting species that are native to South Carolina’s waters, to tanks boasting some of the bigger beasts that cruise the ocean deep, submerge yourself in hours of fun when you make it a stop on your Charleston itinerary. But whatever you do while you’re here, make booking into one of these hotels the first thing on your list.

1. Zero George Street

Boutique Hotel

Charleston mixes unmistakable Southern charm with boutique style
Courtesy of Zero George Street / Expedia

It’s maximum points in every department for this supremely chic boutique hotel, just a 10-minute walk from the Aquarium. Like the set of a romantic period drama, there’s a subtle – and deliberate – patina of age everywhere you look here, from the faded brickwork on the two 1800s carriage house buildings, to the antique furniture and even the cheese at the evening cheese and wine pairing. You can even borrow one of their vintage-style bicycles for a self-guided tour of the neighborhood.

2. The Dewberry Charleston

Independent Hotel, Luxury

The Dewberry
Courtesy of The Dewberry / Expedia

On the surface, it’s easy to see how the Dewberry exemplifies Charleston’s Southern charm – with its polished-brass cocktail bar, rooftop terrace overlooking church spires and rich textures of wood, velvet and cut-crystal in its super-glam rooms. But to really feel how this downtown sanctuary digs into its Southern roots, you need to visit their Lowcountry spa. The Dewberry Signature Massage employs a secret blend of botanical extracts to float you back up to your room on cloud nine.

3. Hotel Bennett

Chain Hotel

Hotel Bennett
Courtesy of Hotel Bennett / Expedia

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the standard experience at Hotel Bennett. On the contrary, this Marion Square hotel comes boasting a sparkling rooftop pool, exceptional Southern dining and a gorgeous, grown-up spa. But if you’re looking to make this trip a truly special occasion, upgrade to King’s Club access for a customized itinerary, private concierge, open bar, steady stream of culinary delights and a private, member’s only lounge with city-beating terrace views.

4. Market Pavilion Hotel

Hotel

Bathroom at Market Pavilion Hotel
Courtesy of Market Pavilion Hotel / Expedia

If you’re looking for a bit of luxury on your Charleston vacation, the Market Pavilion Hotel does more than just deliver. Its “basic” guest rooms are lavish lounges with king-sized poster beds and Italian marble baths. So it should come as no surprise that its premier presidential suite is out-of-this-world posh. A jacuzzi bathtub, a baby grand piano, a personal butler, and a full-size living area with stunning harbor views can be yours for the night. Just don’t look too closely at the bill.

5. HarbourView Inn Charleston

Boutique Hotel

HarbourView Inn Charleston
Courtesy of HarbourView Inn Charleston / Expedia

As you might expect given the name, there’s a strong nautical theme at this boutique hotel – and it goes far beyond the seascape oil paintings adorning the walls. You can watch the Fort Sumter Ferry glide across the Cooper River from your Grand Harbourview Suite and, from its rooftop terrace, feel the sea breeze deposit salt crystals on the tip of your tongue. Rooms dressed in calming tones of blue and teal top it all off.

6. The Spectator Hotel

Independent Hotel

The Spectator
Courtesy of The Spectator / Expedia

No doubt you’ve come to Charleston for its old-world charms, and the Spectator plays this role to perfection. Yes, there’s its Great Gatsby-esque, speakeasy-style bar, which serves up prohibition-era cocktails, and vintage-style bicycles you can borrow – but the real feather in its cap is its personal butler service for every guest. From shoe shining and being on call for tea and coffee delivery, to an encyclopedic knowledge of what’s going on in the area, you’ll be spoiled silly.

7. The Restoration

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel, Luxury

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

If you’re lucky enough to be able to bag a Rowhouse Residence at the Restoration, you’ll never want to leave. Exposed brick walls, wood beams and a private balcony with rocking chairs will steep you with Southern comfort. That’s not to knock the hotel’s suites, though – the Premier Balcony Suite is 1,000sqft of sophisticated bliss, with navy-blue walls, up-cycled, church-window mirrors and teak-bladed ceiling fans. A stay here will certainly leave you feeling restored.

8. Wentworth Mansion

Independent Hotel, Luxury

Wentworth Mansion
Courtesy of Wentworth Mansion / Expedia

Gilded-Age decadence drapes the Wentworth Mansion from floor to ceiling. Sleep in the mansion’s original master bedroom, and cozy up beside a gas fireplace or in the oversized whirlpool tub. If you prefer libations to keep you warm, complimentary port, sherry and brandy are yours to sip every evening in the study. Feel free to indulge in as many exclusive experiences as pique your interest, including yoga on the lawn and a seasonal-themed mixology class.

For more excellently located Charleston stays, see the best near Charleston City Market, bookable through Culture Trip. Stay busy by visiting the most haunted places in town and explore further afield with the best day trips from Charleston.

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