Romantic Stays in Charleston Merge City's Historic Character and Modern Ritz
By Celeste Hawkins
Charleston, a much beloved coastal South Carolina city, boasts an array of classy stays perfect for couples who are visiting with romance in mind. Every romantic hotel and inn finds its own unique way to meld the city’s rich historic past with its contemporary, forward-thinking present. Together, these accommodations cater to couples of every persuasion - those in dire need of an intimate, restful B&B and those anticipating a lively destination hotel.
Love birds in search of a relaxed romantic getaway may fancy Planters Inn, which is nevertheless in the middle of the downtown action, located right on Market Street. For others looking for a peaceful yet more removed setting, Zero George Street hits the spot. More options for staying in a residential, calmer neighborhood and enjoying a slower pace of life include Wentworth Mansion and the John Rutledge House Inn.
For pairs who wish never to leave the hotel during their romantic vacation, Belmond Charleston Place is a full-service hotel with countless amenities, including a spa. Market Pavilion and The Mills House also offer a pool, on-site restaurant and indoor/outdoor social area combination.
For pampering throughout the day, try a stay at French Quarter Inn or Harbourview Inn, the latter which offers a view of the water unparalleled by any other city hotel. Speaking of rare finds, The Vendue is Charleston’s only art hotel. This is a stay in heaven for the artsy types who could browse galleries or read in a coffee shop all day.
10 The Mills House
Now a Holiday Inn property, the historic Mills House Hotel's pink exterior and black iron balconies make it one of the most recognized hotel fronts on the Charleston peninsula. The property features a business center, outdoor pool, experienced concierge, and in house restaurant, The Barbados Room. The hotel's 214 guestrooms include single and double bed rooms, and 19 suites. Corner rooms on the higher floors of the Mills House offer guests water views and distance from the hustle and bustle of busy Meeting Street.
9 Market Pavilion Hotel
Market Pavilion Hotel, located on the corner of East Bay and South Market streets, claims to uphold the "Art of Southern Hospitality" as its standard of service. This AAA Four Diamond hotel is known for its regal fa--ade, smiling doormen, and a la carte breakfasts brought to each floor. The Market Pavilion's white glove restaurant, Grill 225, serves up the "Truth In Beef," and its rooftop Pavilion Bar pours their famous Nitrotini with panoramic harbor views. Prices are on the high end, but retain great value for the many luxuries included. Parks, shopping and fine dining are also just steps outside of Market Pavilion's classic gold revolving front doors. Expert Tip: Calling all cocktail enthusiasts! Try the Nitrotini at Grill 225, cooled to -320 degrees with liquid Nitrogen!
8 John Rutledge House Inn
Once home to John Rutledge, one of the 55 signers of the United States Constitution, the John Rutledge House Historic Inn was built in 1763, and now offers 19 guest rooms the original iron balcony adorned home and 2 carriage houses. A complimentary breakfast is served in room, in the courtyard, or in the ballroom, and free Wifi, paper, afternoon tea, and beverages in the evenings add to the comfortable and hospitable atmosphere. A knowledgeable 24 hour concierge service is available to help plan your daily Charleston explorations, give restaurant recommendations, and share Rutledge history. George Washington is said to have called here in 1791.
7 The Vendue
Located on Vendue Range near Waterfron Park, the Vendue Inn offers its guests a prime location for exploration, dining, and shopping. This boutique style hotel features a Music Room, Reading Room, The Libary, an upscale restaurant on the lower level, and its own Rootfop Bar & Restaurant with some of the best views of the city and Charleston harbor. Rooms showcase fireplaces, marble whirlpools, a complimentary Southern breakfast, and cookies and milk in the evenings. Due to the historic French Huguenot warehouse structure of the property, some interior rooms lack windows. Pets are allowed with pet fee.
6 Wentworth Mansion
Built originally as a grand private residence in the post Civil War 1880's, Wentworth Mansion is Charleston's only AAA Five Diamond Property. Located on Wentworth Street, and tucked away in the Harleston Village neighborhood, Wentworth Mansion treats its guests to estate style rooms and suites, champagne and hor'dourves on arrival, and even complimentary port, sherry, and brandy in the every evening. Breakfast is served in the carriage house restaurant, Circa 1886, a AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four Star restaurant highlighting traditional Southern recipes. To stay in Wentworth Mansion is to experience the rare luxury of wealthy 19th century Charleston families. Off street parking is readily available in this residential area, and pets are welcomed to guests opting for Garden Suites.
5 Harbourview Inn
One of Charleston Historic District's newest luxury properties, Harbourview Inn claims impressive views of the Charleston Harbor. Staying just steps away from Broad Street, and across the street from family-friendly Waterfront Park, you are within walking distance to all of Charleston's famous sights and sounds. This AAA Four Diamond property was recently named to Conde Nast's Gold List of luxury hotels, and maintains a reputation of friendly and knowledgeable service. Complimentary breakfast is served to your room, and balcony rooms are are available upon request. With four poster beds and custom artwork in each room, the Harbourview Hotel provides creates a boutique feel among Charleston's antebellum streets and buildings. Expert Tip: Grab picnic supplies at Bull Street Gourmet & Market a few blocks away to enjoy at nearby Waterfront or Battery parks!
4 French Quarter Inn
The French Quarter Inn enjoys a widespread reputation for luxury lodging through its expert service and unique amenities. Located on Church Street, one block from the Historic Old City Market, the French Quarter delights its guests with coffee and tea on each floor, wine and cheese each afternoon, and cookies and milk each evening. Champagne and ladyfingers arrive at your door minutes after you check in, welcoming you to Charleston with a warm touch of Southern hospitality. Tristan, the Inn's AAA Four Diamond restaurant, is Charleston's most modern dining setting. Expert Tip: Splurge for a balcony room for great views of the lower peninsula!
3 Belmond Charleston Place
Belmond Charleston Place, an exemplary luxury property and AAA Four Diamond hotel, maintains true Charleston elegance through exceptional service and elegant accommodations. Award winning restaurants Palmetto Cafe and Charleston Grill, and bar Thoroughbred Club, with its nightly live jazz, are popular with locals and travelers alike. From the moment you enter Charleston Place, the lobby's beautiful marble floors and sweeping double staircase welcome you to some of the finest rooms and suites in Charleston. Shopping in both lobby level wings include such deluxe boutiques as Gucci, St. John, Louis Vuitton, White House Black Market and Tommy Bahama. Other amenities include indoor-outdoor pool, fitness center and state of the art spa. Expert Tip: Request a Club Level Suite, on the top two floors, and take advantage of private concierge service, continental breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and more!
2 Zero George Street
Zero George Street is a collection of five restored historic residential buildings set in a private landscaped courtyard just outside the city center, making this a fairly quiet and secluded stay in an elegant setting. No wonder most of the other guests you'll see here are couples, too. The continental breakfast included with your stay is filled with homemade jams, pastries, fresh fruit and other healthful yet tasty options. They're always cooking up something in the kitchen carriage house, in fact, and you can, too. Just join in on one of their on-site cooking classes. Have them arrange a sunset sail for you, and they'll send you off with a picnic basket and wine. A daily cocktail hour is held on premises, too. And if you wish to just relax on-site, then consider visiting the quiet drawing room or lantern-lined porches.
1 Planters Inn
Set across the street from the 1841 Green Revival Market Hall, Planters Inn holds sway in a restored building that traces its roots back to a mid-19th-century cotton warehouse. In the 1900s, the warehouse was converted to a dry-goods emporium. Today, the original 1844 building holds guest rooms that are elegantly appointed with soft colors, 10-foot-high ceilings and hand-crafted four-poster beds. More rooms are located in an additional building across the breezy garden courtyard. An oasis of calm on a busy corner of Charleston's historic district, Planters Inn wraps guests in luxury with Baker Historic Charleston Collection reproduction furnishings, Italian bed linens and bathrooms lined in travertine marble. A meal at the inn's Peninsula Grill is as romantic as it is delicious.
About Celeste Hawkins
Celeste lives among the Carolinas, where it snows one day and reaches 70-something the next. But when she travels, it's usually with her husband to music venues up the road, big cities a few hours away or Spanish-speaking countries. When she's not editing for 10Best, she's probably writing news stories for the local paper, scheming for another website or blogging about her travels and sunny thoughts. She hopes to explore and write for many days to come. Freelance writing opportunities are welcome. See Celeste's online portfolio for more information.
Read more about Celeste Hawkins here.