The Best Hotels to Book in South Carolina, USA

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers a beachside retreat off the coast of Charleston
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers a beachside retreat off the coast of Charleston | Courtesy of the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort / Expedia
Photo of Mark Nayler
2 November 2021
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South Carolina is perfect for weekend city breaks as well as nature-orientated trips. Home to historic cities such as Charleston, it also has spotless stretches of Atlantic coast. Here’s our pick of the best places to stay, bookable via Culture Trip.

Kings Courtyard Inn, for period charm near the Gibbes Museum of Art

Interior of Kings Courtyard Inn salon with antique furniture, wood floors, traditional rugs, fireplace and chandelier
Courtesy of Kings Courtyard Inn / Expedia
Housed in a mid-19th century building, clustered around three foliage-filled courtyards, rooms at this downtown boutique have preserved original features such as fireplaces, plaster molding, mahogany four-poster beds and hardwood floors. Perks include bagels slathered with cream cheese and fresh OJ each morning along with papers delivered to your room, a wine and cheese reception every evening and a glass of sherry before bed. Enjoy the location on King Street, a buzzy thoroughfare lined with cafes, bars, restaurants and shops of every kind.

The Ryder Hotel, for coastal Carolina hues near the City Market

Hotel
The Ryder Hotel restaurant with booth seating, counter with pink stools and patterned pink and green wallpaper
Courtesy of the Ryder Hotel / Booking.com
A relaxed, beachy theme dominates this playfully bohemian bolthole with rooms decked out with a light-blue decor, pine accents, shell-shaped cushions on wicker armchairs and wall-mounted knots above the beds. Poolside hangout Little Palm does creative cocktails and coastal-inspired plates such as local oysters with a frozen mignonette and Atlantic shrimp with fennel, celery leaf, crushed tomato and rouille. Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island are both within a 20-minute drive from the hotel.

Planters Inn, for period Southern charm near the Charleston Museum

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 / Booking.com
All rooms at South Carolina’s only Relais & Châteaux inn feature four-poster beds, antique furniture and silk drapery, reflecting the building’s history as a refined country retreat. Evenings at fine-dining restaurant Peninsula Grill follow a long-established routine, starting at 4pm with champagne and slices of the hotel’s legendary, twelve-layer coconut cake. Early evening, the courtyard is illuminated by carriage lanterns and tea lights, providing a romantic setting for gourmet Southern fare.

The Inn & Club at Harbour Town, for country club casual near Harbour Town Lighthouse

A king bedroom with dark wood furniture and a balcony at the Inn and Club at Harbour Town
Courtesy of The Inn and Club at Harbour Town / Expedia
The stars of the show at Sea Pines Resort’s five-star hotel are the three premier golf courses – PGA-featured Harbour Town Links, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes by David Love III. Groups of four can book the elegant Fairway Suite with French windows opening onto a terrace with views of the ninth hole, moss-covered oaks and Carolina pines. Head to Ocean Lounge for cocktails and the Links Grill for prime beef and seafood.

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, for old-school opulence near City Market

Courtyard of pink-colored Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel with black tables and wrought-iron chairs with central fountain
Courtesy of the Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel / Expedia
A distinguished veteran of Charleston’s hospitality scene, Mills House has cozily proportioned rooms dressed in pale greens and blues, with city views, private balconies or poolside porches. Dine on Charleston she-crab soup at Barbadoes, one of the town’s most seductive after-dark spaces – a tranquil patio centered around a fountain, surrounded by colonnades and the dining room’s high, arched windows. A casual vibe prevails on the pool’s rectangular terrace, where you can relax with a tipple on rooftop-view lounge chairs.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, for the lap of luxury near Johns Island

Aerial view of the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort buildings on the coast with surrounding trees
Courtesy of the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort / Expedia
No expense was spared in making this modern complex look like it’s been there for centuries: the largest mechanical spade in the world transplanted 160 live oak trees (50ft/15m tall) into the grounds, and the lobby’s hand-planked walnut flooring was put on sleepers to make it creak. Rooms and suites are characterized by the light, classical style of a grand seaside residence, and all have ocean-view balconies. Indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a spa and several bars and restaurants complete the five-star offering.

Island Vista Resort, Myrtle Beach, for family fun near Ripley's Aquarium

Pool area with squat palm trees, lounge chairs and umbrellas and peach-colored hotel in background
Courtesy of Island Vista Resort / Expedia
Fronted by palm trees and without neighbors for a mile (1.6km) in each direction, this ocean-facing resort feels like a desert-island getaway. It’s perfect for families, with light-filled rooms and suites to sleep in and an ancient ruin-themed water complex with a lazy river, tunnel and waterfall, as well as indoor and outdoor pools to enjoy. Golfers are also well-placed, with the Pine Lakes Country Club and several other premium courses easily reachable on foot. The Cypress Room serves hearty breakfasts, and the poolside Tiki Hut does a great fish taco.

Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview, for laid-back luxury near Rainbow Row

Corner room with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides with wood floors, grey couch, white desk with orange desk chair and floor lamps
Courtesy of Cambria Hotel Charleston Riverview / Expedia
Impressionistic murals of palm trees, kitchenettes, work desks and retro-orange ergonomic chairs feature in every room at this Charleston base. At Ripley Grill & Bar, build your favorite breakfast omelette and take on the “Lowcountry Loaded Fry” for lunch or dinner – a belt-stretching feast of skin-on fries heaped with black beans, onions, peppers, bacon, cheese and pico de gallo. Other on-site amenities include a well-stocked grocery store, an inviting outdoor pool and a small gym. Charleston’s Historic District is a five-minute drive away.

Hotel Bella Grace, for architectural elegance near Joe Riley Waterfront Park

Large porch area with two-person tables with wicker chairs
Courtesy of Hotel Bella Grace / Expedia
Rooms at this elegant extended-stay mansion have marble-patterned headboard walls, whitewashed decor and self-catering facilities; guests cooking in can also have groceries delivered to their rooms. Situated in the heart of the history-filled Ansonborough neighborhood, it’s two doors up from the affiliated raw bar and seafood specialist Delaney Oyster House.

The Francis Marion Hotel, for refined restoration near the College of Charleston

Opulent lobby area of the Francis Marion Hotel with square corinthian columns, chandeliers, potted palms and decorative carpeting
Courtesy of Francis Marion Hotel / Expedia
With views over Charleston’s spires, mansions and harbor, rooms at the twelve-story Francis Marion are perfect for watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks. Opened in 1924 and named after General Francis Marion (the “Swamp Fox”), a local hero of the Revolutionary War, the hotel recreates 1920s grandeur with high ceilings, glittering chandeliers, silk-draped windows and live jazz in the lounge. Modern-day treats come courtesy of a well-known coffee chain and the Swamp Fox Restaurant, which serves award-winning shrimp and grits.

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