Storied Structures, Southern Hospitality Common Amenities at Charleston's Best Hotels

Charleston, South Carolina has always enjoyed long standing tradition as a quiet getaway destination for the well-to-do travelers and wealthy vacationers in centuries past. Now well into the 21st century, Charleston welcomes travellers one and all, with tourist visitors numbering approximately 4.2 million in 2010.

Peak seasons for area hotels run from March to July, and rise again during the month of October. While hotel room rates are undoubtedly higher during these peak times, Charleston's lodging scene includes some less costly, off the peninsula options that can be found mere minutes from downtown. Visitors coming to the lowcountry for weddings or honeymoons delight in the ultra-modern loft rooms of The Restoration on King, while families with children breathe easier knowing they just a few blocks from both the Children's Museum and South Carolina Aquarium when staying at the Embassy Suites.

When your most important hotel criteria is it's location in the historic heart of the city, book a Club Level room at the elegant Charleston Place Hotel, or a balcony suite at the French Quarter Inn. Let the world's "Most Mannerly City" welcome you with subtle details and generous amenities unique to Charleston's own hospitality and tradition.


The Francis Marion Hotel boasts one of the most convenient locations in Charleston at the corner of King and Calhoun streets. Marion Square across the street hosts many events like Charleston's Food & Wine Festival and weekly Farmers Market. The lobby of the four star hotel still exudes its original 1920's opulent style, and is a popular choice for wedding receptions and events. More modern amenities include complimentary WiFi, full service spa, and fully equipped business center. Traditional rooms, Deluxe Rooms, and Suites are available, with many package deals offered year round. There are no smoking rooms, and pets are not allowed. Look for the newest Shepard Fairey Obey street art atop the Francis Marion - a metaphoric representation of Charleston's grand traditions blending with modern art and culture. Expert Tip: Splurge for one of the Penthouse Suites to guarantee spectacular views of the city from the Historic District's only high-rise hotel!

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Francis Marion is very conveniently located to the College of Charleston, the SC Aquarium and Upper King Street's restaurants and nightlife.

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Located in Charleston's Historic District, the Embassy Suites Charleston offers guests historic accommodations in what was once the original home of the Citadel Military College. You can't miss the Embassy Suite's fortress-like presence on Meeting Street, next to Marion Square Park, the old Citadel drilling grounds. A more affordable and family friendly alternative to the many luxury hotels on the peninsula, The Embassy Suites is conveniently located just a short walk from King Street shopping and dining, the Children's Museum, and South Carolina Aquarium. Guest ammenities include complimentary WiFi, in-room microwave and mini fridge, and separate living rooms with sleeper sofa. Expert Tip: If you're looking to skip the hotel breakfast: Rue de Jean on John Street, just around the corner, is consistently voted the Best French Restaurant in Charleston, and is famous for its Sunday brunch.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Embassy Suites building still holds plenty of glory and character from its days spent as the previous location of The Citadel, Charleston's military college.

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The Courtyard Marriott Historic District, recently renovated in 2011, is one of the best value priced hotels on the Charleston peninsula. Conveniently located on Calhoun and Meeting streets, the Courtyard Marriott is within walking distance to Marion Square Park, the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, and the South Carolina Aquarium, making it an ideal choice for vacationing families. An on-site parking lot is available, but spaces are suited for small cars only. WiFi is complimentart, and all facilities are handicap accessible. There are no smoking rooms available, and pets are not allowed. Expert Tip: The experienced staff concierge receives rave reviews from guests, and can help plan fun family itineraries around Charleston.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This Marriott Courtyard property makes our 10 Best Charleston Hotels list for its budget-friendly, yet quality accommodations, and proximity to many of Charleston's popular attractions.

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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!

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The rooftop bar, fantastic Charleston views and convenient East Bay Street location of the Market Pavilion Hotel make it a fantastic choice for Charleston lodgings.

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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!

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The balcony room harbor views and Four Diamond level service at Harbourview Inn make this hotel a comfortable, luxurious choice of downtown Charleston accommodations.

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The AAA Four Diamond Restoration on King Boutique Hotel is now Charleston's Most Romantic Hotel, according to Southern Living Magazine. Before its opening in April 2010, The Restoration on King's sixteen suites were used as upscale apartment space, providing these restored loft style suites with open living areas and fully equipped kitchens. Original dark wood flooring complements exposed brick interiors for a young, intimate tone. Although unique in style to other Charleston hotels, The Restoration is located in the prime shopping, dining, and sightseeing area of Middle King Street, with a rooftop deck showcasing Charleston city views. Wine and cheese receptions are served each evening. Expert Tip: The Restoration offers a Romantic Charleston Getaway Package ideal for couples on retreat, and customizable picnic basket breakfasts are delivered each morning.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Restoration on King's close proximity to shops and restaurants as well as its rooftop's panoramic Charleston views make this an easy best hotels recommendation.

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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. Complimentary WIFI access is the icing on the cake at this all-luxury downtown property. Expert tip: A stay at Planters Inn is most certainly not complete without at least a bite of the Coconut Cake from Peninsula Grill, the inn's in-house restaurant.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Planters Inn makes our Best Hotels list due to its dedication to luxury accommodations and its close proximity to the Charleston City Market.

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Belmond Charleston Place
Photo courtesy of 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!

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Belmond Charleston Place Hotel truly represents the lively, multifaceted nature of the Holy City, with its award-winning spa, two lobby-level restaurants and numerous shops.

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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!

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The French Quarter Inn resides next to the beautiful French Quarter residential neighborhood, perfect for a quiet stroll through the city's picture-perfect streets.

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Originally built as a grand private residence in the late 1880's, Wentworth Mansion is Charleston's only AAA Five Diamond Property. Located on Wentworth Street, tucked away in the Harleston Village neighborhood, Wentworth Mansion pampers its guests with large rooms and suites, champagne and hor'dourves on arrival, and even complimentary port, sherry, and brandy in the evenings. Breakfast is served in the carriage house restaurant, Circa 1886, a AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four Star restaurant serving a seasonal menu with emphasis on traditional Southern recipes. Off street parking is readily available in this residential area, and pets are welcomed to guests opting for Garden Suites. Expert Tip: Loyal guests to Wentworth Mansion return year after year for the relaxed, noise-free evenings the residential area ensures. Most attractions are within a 10 - 15 minute's walk.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Wentworth Mansion embodies all of the grand splendor of Charleston architecture and serene nature of Charleston's 'hidden' garden courtyards.

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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