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Southern Hospitality in 'The Holy City': Charleston's Best Bed and Breakfasts



It's often a tough task to choose where you'll be staying during your visit to Charleston, South Carolina. A plethora of options can be found on the peninsula, from small boutique hotels to large tower-like accommodations and quainter bed and breakfasts. Many regular visitors to Charleston would argue on the side of staying at a historic bed and breakfast when visiting the lowcountry, and with good reason. Staying in a stately mansion (such as Zero Water Street B&B) overlooking the Charleston harbor and Ft. Sumter, where the Civil War began, it's easy to imagine you lived here during another time.

Of course, not everyone is seeking the same amenities in a B&B. Luckily, Charleston offers up a wide variety of B&B accommodations across the peninsula. Those looking for a quiet, more private setting may prefer Lavender & Lace B&B, where each room has its own entrance, or 21 East Battery B&B, where breakfasts are stocked in-room.

Many visitors choose a B&B in order to get insider tips from the owners and socialize with other guests. The beautiful "Pink Palace" Palmer Home B&B and historic Two Meeting Street Inn are both ideal options for enjoying the company and advice of other visitors.

For the best of breakfast among Charleston B&Bs, look no further than The Ashley Inn adjacent to the medical district, or 1837 Bed & Breakfast on Wentworth Street. No matter which B&B you choose, you're likely to enjoy afternoon wine and cheese, evening treats, and the warmest hospitality you've ever encountered.

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King George IV Inn
Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney

Located on George Street just one block from King Street, the King George IV Inn is a great choice of accommodations for those visiting students at the College of Charleston or those who are interested in doing a fair amount of walking, bike riding, and shopping. This 4-story historic home was built in the 1790s, and now boasts 10 guestrooms spanning all floors. Expect a full Southern breakfast from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., in a laid-back setting, with a wide variety of eggs, grits, fruit, breads and more to choose from. All rooms include free off-street parking, free WIFI, and in-room refrigerators. The King George IV B&B is one of Charleston's most affordable bed & breakfasts, despite its ideal, central location downtown. Note: if you prefer an ultra-quiet environment, request a 2nd or 3rd-level room, but be aware that there is no elevator access above the ground floor.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: If you're looking to explore Charleston's main shopping and dining district, King George IV Inn is an ideal place to start.

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This beautifully appointed bed & breakfast, managed by the nearby Indigo Inn hotel, is well suited to those travelers looking for a more private, independent experience. Here, there is no resident owner on premise, and continental breakfast is served in room, to be enjoyed indoors or on the front porch or courtyard. Each brightly-colored Jasmine House Inn room is uniquely furnished with antiques, all housed within a circa 1843 Greek Revival-style mansion. The Jasmine House Inn is situated in the quiet residential Ansonborough neighborhood of downtown Charleston, just a short walk or bike ride to the area's most popular sites and shopping streets. Parking is included at the close-by sister property, Indigo Inn, as is a daily afternoon wine and cheese reception.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: The Jasmine House Inn is a non-traditional B&B in that guests can enjoy as private and independent stay as they wish, with breakfasts stocked in-room.

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Built circa 1832, the pink and green mansion of The Ashley Inn fits in nicely with its quiet residential surroundings in the medical campus neighborhood, just north of the popular tourist district. There are historic homes, quiet streets, and numerous cafes and restaurants in the vicinity. There are six guestrooms, one suite, and a carriage house at The Ashley Inn, each with 4-poster canopy beds and private en-suite bathrooms. Guests will enjoy afternoon tea, wine and housemade treats daily, as well as free WIFI and off-street parking. Breakfast is not taken lightly here: offerings are varied to suit a wide range of tastes and appetites, and the daily menu is updated each afternoon. Breakfast is served on the piazza alongside views of the garden. The Ashley Inn, makes bikes available to guests for an easy ride to King or Meeting streets, shopping, dining, and other historic sites. No pets allowed.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: This off the beaten tourist path B&B is located adjacent to the MUSC medical campus, but provides complimentary bikes for getting to the historic district!

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Located on Tradd Street in Charleston's quiet, historic South of Broad neighborhood, Lavender & Lace B&B offers cute, colorful accommodations in close proximity to many of Charleston's sites and attractions. The Lavender & Lace guestrooms are housed within a circa 1870 home, and each room has its own private bath and private entrance. Visitors can stay in the front or back garden suites in the lower level of the main house, or in the 2-story carriage house, which accommodates up to four people and is available for long-term rentals. There is free on-site, off-street parking for guests, and complimentary bikes are available to those interested in an active self-tour of the city. Breakfasts are stocked in each individual room, and there is ample garden courtyard space for everyone to enjoy. No pets are allowed at Lavender & Lace B&B.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: This colorful historic home is an ideal choice for those who prefer a quiet, private B&B experience, as food is served in-room rather than communally.

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This early 18th century home is elegantly appointed with antique furniture, canopy beds, and luxurious details. 1837 B&B is located just a few blocks from busy King Street, and a short walk or bike ride to all of Charleston's famous historic sites. Guests of the 3-story main house have their choice of three guestrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors (note: no elevators on premise). Adjacent to the main house is the carriage house, with two individual rooms on the ground level and one suite on the second level.. Each room includes one small-vehicle parking space on site. All guests can enjoy morning coffee at 8 a.m. and a full breakfast from 8:30 a.m. - to 9:30 a.m., as well as snacks and tea from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. daily. Dietary restrictions are honored with advance notice. No pets and no children under 7 years old are permitted.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: This historic house on Wentworth is the ideal B&B choice for those visiting family at College of Charleston. Parking included with each room!

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The Battery Carriage House Inn
Photo courtesy of Battery Carriage House Inn

The Battery Carriage House Inn is one of the most picturesque residence-turned-B & B on the Charleston peninsula. This antebellum Charleston style mansion was built in 1843, with ten rooms and one suite; each having their own unique worldly interior decor. What's more, the suite on property was once the wine cellar and cistern of this historic mansion. Guests may choose between lower and upper Carriage House rooms, and may enjoy their light continental breakfasts delivered to their room on traditional silver, or under the arbor trellis in the quiet garden courtyard. Free daily paper, afternoon tea and sweets, and an evening wine reception are added luxury touches. The Battery Carriage House is mere feet from Charleston's Battery, affording its guests historic neighborhood surroundings. There are even said to be regular ghost sightings at the Battery Carriage House Inn, including such characters as "The Gentleman Caller" and "The Headless Torso."

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: The Battery Carriage House Inn's location across from White Point Gardens is hard to beat; cookies and sweet tea each afternoon only strengthen its cause!

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21 East Battery Bed & Breakfast is truly immersed in its historic Charleston surroundings, but appointed in a more modern style of furnishings and decor than you'd typically find at other local B&Bs. Located on the same property as the Edmondston-Alston House, this B&B was constructed in 1825, with the Carriage House originally built as a stable and livery, and Private Quarters rooms once housing the servants who worked on the property. Both the Carriage House and Private Quarters enjoy their own private entrances, and all guests receive complimentary tickets to the Edmonston-Alston House tour, as well as free off-street parking. Breakfast at the 21 East Battery B&B comes in the form of a well-stocked kitchen, while a more robust, cooked-to-order breakfast is also available by advance request at an additional charge. Children under 1 year or over 13 years of age are permitted, while no pets are allowed.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: This bed & breakfast is located directly across from the Battery, and shares its lot with the historic Edmonston-Alston House, which open to tours.

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Travel back in time in high-style with a stay at Two Meeting Street Inn, a luxurious bed & breakfast property just steps from the famous White Point Gardens and Charleston Battery. Originally built as a loving father's wedding present to his daughter in 1892, the home became a B&B in 1846, and has been in the Spell family ever since. Two Meeting Street Inn is situated in the heart of Charleston's historic district, and is even a stop on numerous historic tours. Its romantic beginnings are still honored today, making it the ideal choice for honeymooners or couples looking to make a special getaway to Charleston. Here, expect to enjoy a level of hospitality unique to the "Holy City," as well as a perfectly manicured garden and comfortable verandas. There are even romance packages available to enhance your experience, including add-ons like champagne and roses or a carriage tour.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: Two Meeting Street Inn is the epitome of old-world luxury-style accommodations, nestled into one of Charleston's prettiest South of Broad street corners.

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This pink palace of a mansion is a true testament to Battery-front luxury and continuing Southern hospitality. Of the five guestrooms on the Palmer Home B&B property, four are located on the third floor of the mansion, while just one resides on the second floor. In addition to the mansion guestrooms, the Palmer Home B&B also offers Carriage House accommodations (which sleeps up to four people), and an adjoining Country Club Room. All rooms on the property have access to the second floor piazza, while those staying in third-floor rooms will also have access to the top-level piazza, both with sweeping views of the harbor and Ft. Sumter. Those who like getting to know other guests will enjoy socializing during the daily wine and cheese reception held in the drawing room. Note: there is no elevator on the property, but the ground-level Carriage House accommodations are fully accessible.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: This gorgeous pink and white mansion makes for an unforgettable stay in Charleston, offering guests the chance to experience unbeatable views of the Charleston harbor.

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Housed within an elegant property that's been in the current family since 1900, Zero Water Street is exactly how you'd imagine the wealthy Southerners enjoyed Charleston over a century ago. The home itself was built circa 1836, and is still furnished with antiques and family heirlooms throughout. There's just one romantic, private guestroom available in this beautiful mansion, ideal for those looking to immerse themselves in the Charleston experience in a central location with stunning views of the harbor and Ft. Sumter. The 3rd-floor room accommodates 2 guests, and includes a drawing room, bedroom with queen bed, kitchen with washer/dryer, bath, 12-foot ceilings, and even a Tiffany chandelier. Parking is also included with your stay at Zero Water Street, as well as an unbeatable private piazza with rocking chairs and hammock. Add on the continental breakfast and free WIFI, and you've got a perfect honeymoon or anniversary getaway destination.

Recommended for Bed and Breakfast because: Zero Water Street's single guestroom gives visitors the entire third floor (including a piazza with spectacular harbor views) of an 19th-century mansion all to themselves.

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Meet Clare Sweeney

A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare is always venturing between traveling abroad and her beloved Lowcountry. 

Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days...  More About Clare

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