Founded in 1670, Charleston is South Carolina’s oldest and largest city. Distinguished by its ease and elegance, this coastal community is a confluence of history, architecture and cuisine. Think: Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and Lowcountry fare—everything from locally-caught oysters to slow-cooked pork. Add to that its enduring hospitality, laidback sensibility and walkability and it’s no wonder Chucktown is a tremendously popular travel destination—particularly for romantic getaways. And the lodgings, much like the city itself, echo its warm and welcoming spirit. Wondering where to stay? From the classical allure of the French Quarter Inn to the modern grace of The Spectator Hotel, scroll on for six properties that epitomize southern charm.
French Quarter Inn
Set in the Charleston’s historic downtown, French Quarter Inn is one of the best known and most acclaimed accommodations in the city, beloved for its sophistication and stellar service. Stately interiors exude refined elegance with tufted sofas, ornately carved headboards and a massive marble and a wrought iron spiral staircase (the star of the lobby). In keeping with its legacy of hospitality, guests enjoy a personalized experience and complimentary niceties, like freshly baked cookies, a seven pillow menu and daily wine and cheese receptions.
The Spectator Hotel
The Spectator Hotel unites old-school Southern charm, Jazz Age extravagance and five-star luxury. Jewel tones, sumptuous velvet and Art Decos touches lend Great Gatsby-era affluence. In the Prohibition-style bar, leatherback stools and bespoke cocktails radiate 1920s charisma. While superlative service, like a personal butler and 24-hour concierge, nods to the city’s reputation of conviviality.
Zero George sits at the intersection of Charleston’s past and present. Period architecture—pine floors and millwork details—is seamlessly woven with contemporary decor—sisal area rugs, hand-laid marble and tile showers and custom-built furnishings—creating a carefully curated and upscale aesthetic that appeals to even the most discerning travelers. And the garden courtyard, with its cast iron fountains and graceful Palmetto Palms, is a sublime spot to dive into the works of William James Rivers or Samuel Henry Dickson.
The Harbour View Inn
This landmark waterfront retreat impresses with its prime location, unequaled amenities and historic ambience—courtesy of enchanting details, like plantation shutters, well-preserved original brick walls and ornate textiles. This is a place to slow down and savor the best the Holy City has to offer, from spectacular views of Charleston Harbour to sweet sippers. Might we recommend a glass of flavored ice tea or Gentry bourbon?
Located on Charleston’s legendary King Street and guided by a contemporary chic design narrative, The Restoration has come to represent a new kind of southern comfort. The vibe here is cool and cordial with plenty of panache. Updated elements, like wood beams and exposed brick, meet a community-minded mentality. While vintage typewriters and Assouline-curated library infuse a heritage feel.
The Wentworth Mansion
Built as a private residence for prominent cotton merchant Francis Silas Rodgers, Wentworth Mansion’s story dates all the way back to 1886. Rooms and common spaces still flaunt original features like hand-carved marble fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and stained glass windows. Adding to its genteel appeal, guests can look forward to special touches, such as afternoon lemonade, nightly turndown with housemade chocolates and evening aperitifs (port, sherry and brandy).
Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston
Best described as fun, funky and exceptionally creative, Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston (a member of the Autograph Collection) is a magnificent melange of color, eclecticism and exuberance. Think: Canary-yellow velvet chairs coupled with original art and gilded adornments. Not to be missed is the 1,100-square-foot art gallery, replete with work ranging from oil paintings and sculpture.
John Rutledge House Inn
A must-stay for history buffs, this quaint 19-room B&B (once the home of founding father John Rutledge, chairman of the drafting committee and signer of the Constitution) is a study in antebellum charm. From the original plaster work and inlaid parquet floors to period antiques and canopy beds, the property is a glorious reminder of Charleston of yesteryear—not to mention the perfect place from which to explore the city as it is today.