The Charleston Historic District is a National Historic Landmark District covering most of the historic heart of the city. Home to some of the most impressive 18th and 19th-century architecture, it is packed with shops, eateries and attractions, and is one of the most desirable places to stay in Charleston. To help you make the best pick for your stay, these are the most popular hotels in the neighborhood.
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The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel opened its doors back in 1853 and sits in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, within walking distance of many of the city’s popular attractions. It has a bright pink facade that stands out along Meeting Street, and an interesting history in that General Robert E. Lee reportedly stayed at the original inn at one point. There’s an open-air pool with food and drink service available at poolside, a gym and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that can be enjoyed inside or out. Rooms feature flat-screen TVs and Keurig coffeemakers – some have private porches or balconies.
The King Charles Inn offers plenty of unique historic character along with an ideal Meeting Street location, only two minutes from the Charleston City Market and within walking distance to most downtown attractions. It’s also unique in that it has a pool, a rarity for accommodation with a relatively inexpensive price point in the district. There’s also a cocktail lounge with a prohibition-era feel and a restaurant that serves a hot breakfast buffet. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and Keurig coffeemakers along with complimentary higher-end teas and coffee. Some of the Deluxe Rooms come with balconies.
This hotel evokes the feel of the Roaring ’20s, just a block from the historic City Market. The city’s best address, it’s a place to see and be seen, featuring a swanky Art Deco aesthetic that comes complete with glittering chandeliers. Guests can take advantage of personalized butler service for everything from delivering breakfast in bed and arranging transportation to shoe shines. Rooms come stocked with locally made gourmet snacks, a mini-fridge with local soda beverages, sparkling and still water, and for guests that book the “Grand Life” package, the hotel now even offers an in-room champagne button delivering free-flowing Dom Perignon 24/7. Plus there’s a trendy bar serving ‘20s-inspired libations and free bike rentals.
The Belmond is Charleston’s largest full-service hotel. Five-star all the way, as soon as you step into the lobby, you’ll be made to feel like a VIP. There is a range of plush rooms with luxurious mattresses, minibars, comfy bathrobes and bathrooms with rain showers and luxurious towels. It boasts the top swimming and workout facility of any hotel in the city, including a heated rooftop saltwater pool that lies beneath a retractable glass roof, the renowned Charleston Grill which offers live jazz, and a fantastic spa and shopping on the ground floor.
Zero George Street feels like staying with a friend, albeit one that enjoys the best of luxuries. It has just 16 rooms, providing an intimate stay and personalized service, along with lots of historic character. Dating back to the early 19th-century, the rooms sit within impeccably restored carriage houses and townhouses that have lots of old-world character along with modern amenities. Onsite is the Zero Restaurant + Bar offering fine dining that includes creative tasting menus, while a wine and specialty cheese board is offered complimentary every evening.
The Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel is different from your ordinary chain hotel, providing an upscale boutique experience that even includes an outdoor saltwater pool. There’s a well-equipped fitness center and an onsite restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu focused on New Southern cuisine, including farm-fresh ingredients from the local area. Enjoy dishes that include house-made pasta and duck confit, along with tasty snacks like truffle popcorn. Rooms have comfy beds with down comforters, 55” flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges and marble bathrooms.
The Indigo Inn boasts a top-notch location in the heart of the historic district, set within an 1850 former indigo factory. Rooms feature period-style reproductions that include four-poster beds along with modern amenities like cable TVs and mini-fridges. There’s a tranquil open-air, leafy courtyard with a fountain, while complimentary breakfast, late afternoon hors-d’oeuvres and an evening wine and cheese reception are available daily. There are no bars or restaurants on site, but many can be found within a short walking distance.
The 1886 Wentworth Mansion was built for a cotton merchant and has managed to retain many of its original features while adding desirable amenities that include a luxurious spa. Indulge in massage and body treatments like aromatic wraps and facials, along with afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres and after-dinner “help yourself” port, brandy and sherry. The rooms feature original gas fireplaces, mahogany armoires and marble bathrooms with oversized tubs. They also come with an outstanding sound system to sync to your iPod or other digital players, a mini-fridge with complimentary beverages and cozy bathrobes.
Set within a former cotton warehouse from the 1930s, the HarbourView Inn enjoys a waterfront location in the historic district only steps from the Battery Landmark and City Market. It has a private rooftop bar, while locally made pastries, quiche and other continental staples are served in the atrium. Guests can also enjoy a daily cheese and wine hour, and there’s even a milk-and-cookie hour every night. Live music, wine and beer tastings are occasionally hosted too. The historic suites are spectacular and feature four-poster beds. Some have balconies that overlook the harbor.
Just off Market Street directly on the Charleston City Market, the French Quarter Inn offers exceptional service, luxurious amenities and a fabulous atmosphere. You’ll be welcomed with a flute of Champagne that can be enjoyed by the warmth of the fireplace, while other beverages are available throughout the day, from coffee and peach tea to lavender lemonade and fruit-flavored water. An extensive complimentary European continental breakfast is served each morning and fresh-baked cookies at night. Rooms include marble bathrooms, some with soaking tubs – some suites have a fireplace or a private balcony.