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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.