Hungry for some culture in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina? Check out these inns and hotels – bookable on Culture Trip – all within a hop of this thriving creative hub.
With its horse-drawn carriages, cobbled streets and colorful neoclassical homes, Charleston is one of the most photogenic locations in North America. At the city’s heart is the Charleston City Market, a four-block creative hotchpotch in historic downtown populated by over 300 artists and entrepreneurs. Around this area, a wealth of luxury boutique hotels serve a traveler’s every whim and notion. Check in and soak yourself in those creative juices.
Emeline is a hotel that wears its – impeccably well-tailored – heart on its sleeve. Every room has vintage design flourishes twinned with homey amenities for the discerning modern traveler. Think: your own Crosley turntable and custom ceramic vanity accessories by local Charleston artist, Susan Gregory. Don’t spend all day in the room, though – its twinkling, private courtyard houses a wood-fired oven serving Italian staples, where there’s an aged white negroni with your name on it.
Smack bang in the heart of Charleston’s historic district, Planters Inn is a 30-second stroll from the Greek revival-style front door of the Charleston City Market. Part of the Relais & Châteaux group collection of independent, high-end boutique hotels, its outdoor Peninsula Grill is a local treasure. Copper carriage lanterns are lit by hand each day at dusk as well-heeled guests sip champagne cocktails. Don’t leave without trying the 12-layer coconut cake – if you can handle it.
The Church Street Inn is around a minute’s walk from the Charleston City Market and other attractions, like the Robert Lange Studios art gallery and gothic revival-style Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Most suites come equipped with a kitchenette including a microwave and, while there’s no hotel restaurant, you’ll never be more than 30 seconds from a hipster joint serving melt-in-the-mouth steaks or seafood. If you’re looking for foodie thrills without stuffiness, try Rudy Royale – it’s a five-minute walk away.
The Indigo Inn was once a central hub for the local textile industry as a warehouse for dye. In 1979 it was repurposed as a luxury hotel and fired the starting gun for historic Charleston’s new identity as a boutique travel destination. Expect plush beds with powerful frames and headboards, some of which overlook a European atrium complete with twinkling fountain. Visitors are a five-minute stroll from Charleston City Market with its array of creative treats, art and homespun crafts.
With over 300 years of history, the Andrew Pinckney Inn is a bastion of Southern hospitality. Visitors receive complimentary continental breakfasts and afternoon refreshments, while there’s a newly renovated rooftop solarium for those who want to escape the clip-clop of horse hooves on the cobbled Charleston streets. You’re steps away from local culinary staples like Hank’s Seafood and FIG restaurant, and the Charleston City Market will set you back all of one minute to walk to.
With lofty ceilings, carefully selected antiques and 19th-century Charleston furnishings, every room in the Jasmine House is a unique and bespoke portal to another time. All have four-poster beds, and the commitment to luxury continues the second you step outside your door. Expect wine-and-cheese evening receptions, and easy afternoons whiling away the hottest hours in its shaded courtyard.
The Ryder substitutes the classic Charleston hotel courtyard for a pool – open from 7am to 10pm. Its accompanying bar, Little Palm, serves cocktails and craft lagers like Edmund Oast’s Something Cold, which brews a couple of miles across town. Airy rooms are decorated in seaside hues of pale blue and white, but complete with contemporary finishings. The hotel has a partnership with Pivotal Fitness, the only full-service health club in downtown Charleston, so hotel guests can keep active on their travels.
The Restoration has the kind of amenities that ensure guests never leave. The Watch rooftop kitchen and bar opens morning-to-night, offering carafes of margaritas to get the party started alongside some huevos rancheros eggs. An on-site coffee bar serves single estate brews from their neighbors Springbok Coffee Roasters – perfect for twinning with an art journal from the well-stocked library. Over-caffeinated? Calm down with an in-room couples massage or wind down in the guests-only rooftop pool, paired with panoramic Charleston vistas.
Charleston is famous for its cobbled streets, which look pretty but can be painful for your feet. The wellness program at the elegant Charleston Place will soothe any ailment with its spa, offering signature hydrating intraceutical treatments – if you haven’t heard of intraceutical treatments, you should probably book one in when you arrive. On the fourth floor rooftop you’ll discover the hotel’s true USP – a pool and jacuzzi surrounded by lush plantation and portholes overlooking Charleston, beneath a retractable glass roof.
The Pavilion Bar is one of the city’s liveliest post-dinner spots – though perhaps try arriving for a sunset cocktail while overlooking the twinkling harbor waters. Under the roof you’ll find grandly designed bedrooms that mostly forego modern furnishings for classic heavy drapes and Italian marble baths – the Hermes toiletries make a nice 21st-century touch, though. Feeling peckish? Grill 225 serves 42- to 50-day-aged steaks, to go with a roving wine list that joins the dots between the old world and new.