Last Updated on June 29, 2021 by Katrina

Photo credit: Zero George

Visiting Charleston can be like strolling into the perfect kind of time machine. Sure, you can stay in gorgeously preserved historic buildings. But still enjoy a lot of modern amenities, along with sophisticated takes on lowcountry dining. In Charleston’s historic downtown, it’s easy to walk to restaurants, browse King Street antiques, and soak up the cobblestoned scenery. Here are six hotels in Charleston that offer classic local ambience.

French Quarter Inn (166 Church St.; 866-812-1900) French Quarter

Just off Market Street, this 50-room boutique hotel gets raves for having the friendliness of a B&B, combined with serious luxury. Perks include a welcome champagne toast as well as locally made, evening-turndown treats. In addition, there are Italian marble bathrooms, a seven-pillow menu, and free-to-use vintage bicycles. “The building is beautiful and classical music fills the halls,” says one Google reviewer, who loved the proximity to excellent restaurants. “The staff is attentive and kind … despite being an introvert, I made friends at their evening social hour.” Says one Tripadvisor user, “This is probably my favorite hotel that I’ve ever stayed at. The French Quarter Inn has mastered allowing their guests to feel very special with the service of a Ritz-Carlton yet the friendliness of coming home.”

Wentworth Mansion (149 Wentworth St.; 843-853-1886) Harleston Village

This 1886 mansion-turned-hotel is a marvelous period piece, with its crystal chandeliers, Tiffany windows, marble fireplaces, and a rooftop cupola with dramatic views of the city. “It truly feels like you are staying in someone’s mansion,” says a Tripadvisor user. “The breakfast is wonderful and the cocktail hour is also great.” Don’t miss the Circa 1886 restaurant, says Condé Nast Traveler, “which occupies the carriage house a stone’s throw across the mansion’s formal gardens. Dinner is refined and hyperlocal, an incredibly artful take on classic lowcountry cuisine.”

The Dewberry Charleston (334 Meeting St.; 843-558-8000) Marion Square

This 155-room hotel occupies a former federal building from the 1960s. And it now channels sleek midcentury-modern aesthetics, including its elegant cocktail bar, the James Beard-nominated The Living Room. It’s also conveniently close to the shopping and attractions ofKing Street, Museum Mile and The Gaillard Center. “Rooms are bright and airy, with high ceilings and wide-frame views of the skyline (catch them from the deep cast-iron soaking tub in the bathroom),” says Condé Nast Traveler. “This is a hotel for grown-ups—but, being Southern, ones that like to have fun.” One Tripadvisor reviewer had raves for the onsite spa and excellent service: “I truly felt relaxed after my Oxygen Facial at the spa, and having a complimentary car service was ideal when going to dinner.”

The Spectator Hotel (67 State St.; 843-724-4326) French Quarter

This Art Deco gem is one of the finest hotels in Charleston. Expect high tech perks (smart TVs, Nespresso machines), free loaner bikes, a butler service, as well as a roaring-’20s ambience. “This hotel is as glam as its patrons,” says Town & Country. “Plush velvet and tufted-leather furnishings, towering chandeliers, and a stuffed peacock affectionately known as Daisy are just a few of the exquisite gilded-era details.” A Google reviewer says a stay here is “definitely worth the money! The room is comfortable and everything they have is complimentary, including the drinks in the mini fridge and the snacks. The butler, Alexander, is also the best… telling us what there is to do and where to go.”

Zero George (0 George St.; 843-817-7900) Ansonborough

Three blocks from the Cooper River, one of the most acclaimed boutique hotels in Charleston is comprised of five restored homes from the 19th century, now decorated with antiques as well as contemporary décor. Suites often have fireplaces, stocked mini fridges in addition to separate sitting rooms. “The hotel feels like a small village with cozy courtyards and covered porches for relaxing or for enjoying the daily wine and cheese hour,” says one Google reviewer. Also, don’t miss Zero Restaurant, says Condé Nast Traveler. “The kitchen is the heart and soul of this place, as should be the case in the South. This is classic Charleston, down to the deeply satisfying underfoot crunch of oyster shells in those nooks.”

Charleston Place, A Belmond Hotel (205 Meeting St.; 843-722-4900) French Quarter

This 434-room hotel has 17th century ambience, thanks to enormous crystal chandeliers, a Georgian staircase, and plenty of lace, chintz and damask. “Just stepping inside the lobby of this five-star hotel makes one feel like royalty,” says Town & Country, but find the heart of the place, head either to the rooftop saltwater swimming pool or to the Charleston Grill, for “fine dining and equally fine live jazz performances.” One Google reviewer notes one possible downside of staying at such a grand dame: “The rooms and common areas are showing a bit of age, and we preferred getting coffee and breakfast at the restaurant downstairs over what was available on the room service menu. But the hotel’s location is incredible and the entire staff was unbelievably accommodating.”

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