Where to Stay in Charleston, SC: Best Areas & Hotels

Written by Alison Abbott
Nov 17, 2020

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Charleston has worked hard to become the belle of the Old South Ball. Awarded year after year as a top US destination, the city's charm and sophistication draws visitors in; the hospitality and old-world Gone with the Wind antiquity keep tourists coming back for more. The historic district in downtown Charleston is the top place to book a room in the city.

Hotels are available here in every price range. The city's many rooftop spaces are memorable for watching sunsets. Museum Mile, the Provost Dungeon, restored mansions, and the legendary shopping of King Street are all within walking distance. In addition, award-winning restaurants elevating Lowcountry cooking to new heights abound throughout this area. The free DASH trolley has three routes around the city to explore further afield.

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Where to Stay in Charleston for Luxury

Georgian row houses in Charleston
Georgian row houses in Charleston

Capturing the feel of a bygone era, the Wentworth Mansion in downtown Charleston is a property that exudes splendor and grace. This former private residence is beautifully appointed, with antique finishes and sparkling crystal. The 21-room inn is pet friendly and unique from top to bottom. An elegant spa, the locally inspired Circa 1886 restaurant, and proximity to area antique shops ensure the luxury experience guests are looking for. Don't miss the rooftop area for expansive views of the city.

The timeless elegance of Zero George Street celebrates tradition in this exclusive boutique property. A private garden courtyard is the base, surrounded by sixteen luxe guest rooms fashioned from five historic buildings. The soothing color palate is accented with period detail and contemporary art, forming the essence of Southern chic.

Culinary travelers will delight in the on-site cooking classes often featuring well-known chefs. The award-winning restaurant showcases the best of local ingredients in their creative menu.

Often called one of the most luxurious properties in the Belmond collection, the Belmond Charleston Place surrounds guests in the best of true Southern hospitality. Rooms feature modern technology combined with updated furnishings and elegant baths.

The full-service spa pampers guests with rejuvenating treatments. Gourmet dining makes the most of Lowcountry ingredients in a wide variety of restaurant settings. A retractable roof on the horizon-edge swimming pool brings the outdoors in and offers a great place to relax after exploring the nearby City Market and cultural offerings.

Where to Stay in Charleston: Mid-Range

Historical downtown Charleston
Historical downtown Charleston

Art aficionados will find The Vendue Charleston's Art Hotel offers a win in every category. Located in the French Quarter, adjacent to the historic district, the property is made up of two hotels redesigned in warehouse buildings dating back to the 1780s.

The hotel's mission is dedicated to an art-oriented experience for guests and when combined with its innovative dining options, offers a feast for all the senses. Global and local artists participate in bi-yearly exhibitions.

Steps from many local galleries and museums, it's a perfect spot to discover the wealth of artistic history in Charleston.

Cobblestone streets are part of the charm at the historic Market Pavilion Hotel. Mahogany poster beds, rich textiles, and damask couches announce you have arrived to traditional Southern hospitality.

Catch a sunset at the Pavilion Bar, one of the best rooftop views in the city. Grill 225 brings the best in aged beef and sustainable seafood to the table.

The bold color and unique style of Marriott's Autograph Collection shines through at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston. Original artwork and eclectic style combine with dramatic accents in this 50-room property.

The current trend of excellent farm-to-table restaurants within the hotel is found at Eleve, where Southern dishes are influenced by French technique. The rooftop offers views and a lively spot for sunset.

Where to Stay in Charleston on a Budget

Evening in Charleston
Evening in Charleston

Budget-minded travelers will find reasonably priced accommodations at one of Charleston's newest hotels, the Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown. Guests will enjoy the refreshing saltwater pool, high-speed Wi-Fi, and a seasonally changing menu at the restaurant with a variety of tapas.

The Indigo Inn wrapped in a shade of robin egg blue is a real find in the budget category. Gracious accommodations with period renovation make up the 40-room bed-and-breakfast in the heart of the Holy City, as Charleston is often called.

Late afternoon snacks and beverages are available. The inner courtyard terrace, shaded with mature trees, is a lovely spot to rest and read a book. Pets are welcome with prior request. A friendly staff and delicious breakfast are part of the property's charm.

Museum Mile is home to King Charles Inn, one of the most accommodating properties in the famed historic district. Free perks include parking, Wi-Fi, a fitness pass, an outdoor pool and sundeck, and an evening reception.

Where to Stay in Charleston for Families

Historic homes in Charleston
Historic homes in Charleston

Cobblestone streets lead to the entrance of the Harbourview Inn. This waterfront address has a location families will love. Everything is within walking distance, and if you choose to go a bit farther afield, the free Dash Trolley stops right across the street; good to know when children hit their afternoon melt-down.

Book a room with views of the river and watch cruise ships and boats pass by. The park across the street is a great place to burn off some extra energy while walking to the pastel-colored houses with hidden gardens on Rainbow Row.

Milk and cookies will greet guests in the afternoon; early risers can catch the sun coming up over the barrier islands. An early evening social, often with music, can be enjoyed on the roof in good weather.

One of Charleston's newest downtown hotels, Hyatt House Charleston/Historic District enjoys the trendy location of the Upper King Street area. This contemporary, 113-room property has full kitchen units available, and families looking to prepare a money saving meal in the room will love the complimentary grocery shopping. An indoor heated pool provides year-round activity, and a free breakfast is included.

The family friendly Hampton Inn Charleston-Historic District is located next to the Charleston visitor center and along the Museum Mile for easy access to historic neighborhoods, the Children's Museum, ghost tours, and carriage rides. The antebellum hotel is restored from an 1860 warehouse into 170 guest rooms and suites. A hot breakfast and Wi-Fi are included.

Kids will love to gaze across the river to the USS Yorktown and after a day exploring take advantage of the refreshing pool facilities. Babysitting and children's games are also available.

Where to Stay in Charleston for Romance

Waterfront Park in Charleston
Waterfront Park in Charleston

Taking advantage of the historic space in Charleston, The Restoration celebrates the city's early beginnings by combining five buildings into a modern property for today's visitor. Brick walls, exposed beams, and large windows add to the informally hip interiors.

The world-class rooftop dining venue here offers the best of area ingredients from land and sea with a farm-to-table menu. Distinct pop-up stores and trunk shows are featured in the Port Mercantile; a modern shopping experience that also offers classes and necessities you never knew you needed.

The Amethyst Spa takes a cue from the gemstone, offering a soothing, relaxed calm to the luxury experience. Often called a hidden gem and located just off Market Street, this cozy boutique hotel has an intimate feel.

The welcoming, luxurious French Quarter Inn offers a culinary package for couples. Visit the local farmers market with a chef and enjoy a private Gullah (American south) cooking lesson. Borrow one of their beach cruisers and pedal to a spot along the water for a picnic.

A Just the Two of Us escape features dinner at a well-known romantic restaurant and a private carriage ride. The comprehensive pillow menu ensures sweet dreams at the end of your evening.

The Ansonborough Inn has a storied maritime history reflected today in the transformation of this former warehouse. The boutique property was originally converted to condos, and as such, each of the suites is quite a bit larger than a normal hotel room. Exposed beams, nautical paintings, and red brick give hints to the building's former life.

A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily. Try the infamous pimento cheese of the south at the afternoon social. Located close to the historic City Market and the waterfront, the Ansonborough Inn is central to all of Charleston's charms.

Where to Stay in Charleston near the Airport

Aerial view of Charleston
Aerial view of Charleston

Booking a hotel near Charleston International Airport is very convenient if you are arriving late or early, or you are on a quick business trip. One of the top options, just a few miles from the airport, is the Hilton Garden Inn Charlestown Airport. This mid-range three-star hotel is family friendly and offers a range of rooms and suites. These come with free Wi-Fi, coffee makers, and microwaves.

Amenities include a swimming pool, hot tub, buffet breakfast, and free transport to and from the airport. There is also free parking on-site.

Aloft Charleston Airport & Convention Center is another good choice that caters especially to business travelers, as it is within walking distance of the North Charleston Convention Center. The loft-style rooms are very comfy and decorated in contemporary style. They come with extras like bottled water and rainfall showerheads in the bathrooms. Other perks of staying here include a pet-friendly environment, an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and airport transportation.

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