You don't really need a reason to visit Charleston, South Carolina, but a romantic getaway isn't a bad idea. Here among the centuries of American history, stately waterfront mansions, and fantastic restaurants and nightlife, you'll have no problem creating an unforgettable itinerary for you and your special someone.
A romantic weekend means something different to each couple, so be sure to research the unique amenities of each hotel option before making your reservation. Belmond Charleston Place, for example, is ideal for couples in search of a hotel in on bustling King and Meeting streets with shopping and restaurants on the ground floor of the property. The opulent bar at The Spectator, Wine Blending Experience at The Grand Bohemian, and the rooftop pool at Market Pavilion all add spice and flair to your romantic Charleston hotel experience.
You could be looking for a more intimate stay, set back from the beaten path and crowds. For those lovebirds in search of peace and quiet, make your reservation at the charming Zero George Hotel, only 16 rooms (each with veranda access looking out on a private courtyard), or the Planters Inn, tucked into a Secret Garden-style leafy courtyard.
Wherever you choose, aim to fully indulge in a romantic walk through the French Quarter at sunset. Your luxury hotel room awaits afterward–with some champagne, perhaps?
The Spectator Hotel
This fresh, new star of the Charleston luxury hotel scene is located in the heart of the historic Charleston City Market area of downtown. Its proximity to King Street shops, City Market vendor stalls, and more delicious restaurants that you can count make The Spectator the ideal luxury choice for those that want to explore the city on foot. Feel free to cruise the city on one of The Spectator's custom bikes, too--complete with an adorable basket so you can explore in style. This 41-room boutique hotel is styled after the posh 1920s era of Art Deco glitz and glam, with an inviting bar area filled with snazzy jewel tones decor and designs. You'll have no choice but to linger and enjoy what's offered on-site--at least for a nightcap.
Market Pavilion Hotel
You know it's a classy hotel when you walk in through golden rotating doors past a dignified bellman with a top hat. But that's just the beginning of the intricate details at Market Pavilion Hotel. Rather than a lobby as the hotel's focal point, it's the restaurant with its custom-made booths, jazz music, great steaks and carpeted walls. Original art is everywhere here, and no two pieces are the same. What's more, all of the woodwork, too, is hand-painted by local artists. Each room has a genuine doorbell out front, a rare find in the modern era.
On weekends, the rooftop lounge has a DJ and dancing. But guests can jump into the pool at any hour. Watch sunset over downtown, catch a view of the nearby bridge and peer across the street to the custom house.
Belmond Charleston Place
The Charleston Place Hotel, an exemplary Belmond 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!
Elliott House Inn Charleston
Nestled into quiet yet centrally-located Queen Street in downtown Charleston, the pinkish-orange Elliott House Inn practically begs you to step into its private courtyard. This small inn is less commercial than larger nearby accommodations, and that gives guests the feel of a more intimate, romantic experience. Dinner dates are a breeze with the Elliott House Inn as your home base; the famous Husk restaurant, as well as other well-loved spots like Poogan's Porch, 82 Queen, and Mira Winery are all within a block or two of the property. There's shopping and sightseeing close by, too, making this hotel an ideal option for adventurous couples looking to make the most of their visit to the Holy City. A nightly wine and cheese reception and courtyard hot tub add to the romantic charm of The Elliott House Inn.
The Grand Bohemian Charleston
This spectacular luxury hotel may be a newcomer to Charleston, but the Marriott Autograph Collection is world-renowned for it's unique properties and impressive amenities. The Grand Bohemian Charleston is no stranger to that high standard, and brings an amazing variety of romantic features to Wentworth Street downtown. The hotel itself is located within walking distance of many shops and restaurants, but you may not even need to step foot off the property--there are so many special offerings on-site! One such example is the Bohemian Wine Blending experience, allowing guests to create their own one-of-a-kind wine blend, bottled on site, and recorded for use in the future, not to mention the dazzling, colorful ground floor art gallery. It can, and does, get even better: romantic weekends are made complete at the Grand Bohemian with an adorable in-house coffee and pastry shop, top-floor fine dining restaurant, and "Mad Hatter" style rooftop bar. (843-724-4144)
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient location in Charleston's historic district than this refined Relais & Chateau property that occupies a restored cotton warehouse on the corner of Market and Meeting streets. Ten-foot ceilings, period reproductions – including four-poster rice beds – and soft colors outfit the 64 rooms and suites with old-world elegance, creating an ambience akin to any nearby South of Broad Street antebellum home. Choose among rooms in the inn, or accommodations that open onto the enchanting palmetto tree-shaded courtyard. Italian bedding, travertine marble bathrooms and John James Audubon prints add to the luxurious touches in all the rooms. Ask the concierge to help plan your visit, and feel free to use the on-site business center. Coffee and other beverages are available daily in the elegant front parlor beginning in the early morning, while turndown service comes with a house-baked surprise.
John Rutledge House Inn
Like the feel of a historic bed and breakfast? The John Rutledge House comes through on every front. Spacious rooms? Check. Hospitality? Check. Great breakfast? Check. Period décor? Check. Oh, and a little romance? Check.
The John Rutledge House is the only home of a signer of the Constitution of the United States that now serves as a living historic landmark and as a bed and breakfast.
You'll sense the historic significance when you set eyes on the house, with its ornate blue-green gates and details. Once you set foot into the main house, you'll find 12-foot-high ceilings, spacious bedrooms, original wood flooring and Italian marble gas fireplaces.
Afternoon tea is served from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and it includes appetizers from Circa 1886. Wish for more romantic dining at this nearby restaurant? Then get the romance package for a rickshaw ride over to dinner, in-room massages and a treat of champagne and strawberries.
The Inn at Middleton Place
You may think a modern-style set of guesthouse buildings would be out of place in such a historical setting as Middleton Place Plantation, but you'd be wrong. The Inn at Middleton Place, sharing grounds (and free access!) with the beautiful plantation property, is ideally situated for those couples seeking a romantic weekend outside the city while still within distance of Charleston activities and tours. Think delicious Southern brunches on your private terrace, quiet walks through Spanish moss-draped trees, and a serene swimming pool just steps from your sun-filled suite; it's all possible and more at The Inn at Middleton Place Plantation! (843-556-0500)
Zero George Hotel
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.
For the most luxurious yet still truly historic experience in the "Holy City," book a stay at Wentworth Mansion downtown. You won't regret a week or weekend spent here in a quiet residential neighborhood of the Charleston peninsula, just a short walk from nearly all of the city's historical buildings, popular sightseeing, museums, and world-class restaurants. Here at the Wentworth Mansion, you'll be able to treat yourself without ever leaving the property. Indulge in the wide variety of pampering service at their on-premise Urban Nirvana Spa, housed in what was once the mansion stables, or reserve a table at the fine dining in-house restaurant, Circa 1886. Take in some of the best views of Charleston from the rooftop cupola, or relax each morning with complimentary breakfast in the garden courtyard. You can even bring your pooch along for the experience--the Wentworth Mansion Garden Suites are pet-friendly. (888-466-1886)
About Clare Sweeney
A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare also ventured abroad to Spain and north to Boston before returning to Charleston and her beloved Lowcountry.
Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days enjoying the city’s perpetually sunny weather, nearby beaches and ever-growing food and craft beer scene.
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