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While there is no shortage of accommodation in the Holy City, it is quite a challenge to find genuinely boutique hotels in Charleston. This guide focuses on independently owned places to stay, which tell a unique story. We also suggest the things to do near the hotels and inns so that you can choose the best option for your next trip to South Carolina!
Downtown Charleston Boutique Hotels
20 South Battery
Starting at the southern tip of the city facing White Point Garden, 20 South Battery, aka Stevens-Lathers House (20 S Battery St), sits side by side with the multi-million dollar mansions Charleston is known for.
Built in 1843 and bought by Samuel N. Stevens, whose spirit is said to visit the property still, this boutique hotel was reimagined in 2020 by Charleston native Dr. Jack Schaeffer.
The bed and breakfast has eleven rooms spread across the Main House and the Carriage House, featuring period decor, four poster beds, a smart TV, and a coffee maker.
Guests are served breakfast in the guestroom or rose arbor in the garden and invited to cheese and wine presented in parlor.
20 South Battery is a short stroll away from the waterfront that takes you along to the French Quarter, where you will find restaurants and cafes such as Carmella’s; I recommend the espresso martini to accompany the popular cakes!
21 East Battery
Another privately owned Charleston hotel that lets you see how the other half lived is 21 East Battery, aka Edmondston-Alston House (21 East Battery), built in 1825 by Scottish shipping merchant Charles Edmondston.
It is owned by Charles Duell, who has been recognized for the preservation efforts of Edmondston-Alston House and Middleton Place and is one of the few hoteliers not to shy away from the full story of who lived, by force and by choice, at these buildings.
Visitors can learn more about the free and enslaved residents of 21 East Battery during a tour or book a stay at the Carriage House or Quarters.
Location-wise, the hotel is within walking distance of the colorful Rainbow Row, and the airy Waterfront Park, both of which appear in our free things to do here guide.
Stay at “Charleston’s grandest mansion” by reserving a room at the 1886 Wentworth Mansion (149 Wentworth St), owned by Richard Widman of Charming Inns.
This award-winning boutique hotel has 21 luxury rooms starting at 450 sq ft that feature air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and an original gas fireplace in most.
Some rooms are pet-friendly so that you can bring your furry friend along for the weekend.
Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast, are invited to afternoon wine and appetizers, have access to multiple communal areas for relaxing, and can book appointments at the spa.
Wentworth Mansion is a block from the serene Colonial Lake Park and less than 15 15-minute walk to some of the city’s highest-rated restaurants, such as Husk and 82 Queen, which I recommend booking for al fresco dining in their garden.
See our guide on where to eat for more.
The Spectator Hotel
The Spectator Hotel (67 State Street) is a 41-room luxury hotel in Charleston owned by local developers Batson Hewitt and Jay Keenan.
The accommodation’s unique selling point is its focus on couple travel, offering services such as rose petal turndowns and butler-served breakfast – the real deal for special occasions.
Rooms start at 360 sq ft and feature a flat-screen TV with cable, air conditioning, and some have private balconies.
The Bar is just as popular as the hotel itself, winning the title of the top five best bars.
Francis Marion Hotel (387 King St) is not only boutique, it is also one of the registered Historic Hotels of America.
Built in 1924, the accommodation is owned by Steven Dopp and his company, Portwood Properties, and is one of the tallest buildings in the city with 234 rooms!
Rooms start at 250 sq ft and feature air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable, and a custom-made vanity.
Location-wise, the hotel is situated at the leafy Marion Square, which is near the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History and a handful of dive bars, such as Big Gun, where I recommend the burgers and Burns Tavern.
Francis Marion also makes it to our list of most romantic getaways.
Owned by Michael Bennett, this 179-room stylish accommodation is located at the corner of Marion Square, which is steps away from the hip Upper Kings Street bars and restaurants.
Rooms start at 365 sq ft and feature air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and soundproofing.
Guests also have access to a fitness suite, a spa, and a trendy rooftop pool area.
Another Marion Square option is The Dewberry (334 Meeting St), located in the Mendel Rivers Federal Building, which was built in 1964 and is owned by John Dewberry.
There are 154 contemporary guest rooms that start at 290 sq ft and feature air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Guests can start the day at the fitness suite and spend an afternoon at the rooftop bar on the eighth floor.
86 Cannon District Inn
86 Cannon District Inn (86 Cannon St) is an intimate adult-only 1860s single house owned by Marion and Lori Hawkins.
This hidden gem has five rooms that start at 290 sq ft and feature air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, and a coffee machine.
Guests have access to the free bikes and an honor system bar and are invited to join in the afternoon wine and cheese pairing!
Oh, and most importantly, this Charleston hotel is adult-only, so parents can truly switch off, and child-free by choice, couples don’t have to worry about tiny human footsteps!
This guide to the best boutique hotels in Charleston aims to help travelers support independent and local businesses and highlight that there are options other than cookie-cutter chain accommodation.
What hotel will you book? Tell us in the comments!
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