Charleston is the best U.S. city according to the readers of Travel + Leisure. Here’s what the magazine says: “The jewel of the South Carolina coast has crowned our list of favorite American cities since 2013. But that doesn’t mean the Lowcountry destination isn’t evolving. Thanks to an influx of business, Charleston is bustling with revitalized energy. A new generation of restaurateurs, helmed by Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s, is turning the city into an international food destination.” Writes one reader: “I love the history, the art, the grits, and the proximity to Kiawah and other beautiful coastal areas. This is the perfect city for a girls’ weekend, a family vacation, or a romantic getaway.” Here are the best suites for you to stay in.
1. The Spectator Hotel
Located in Charleston’s historic district, The Spectator Hotel evokes the exuberance of the Jazz Age and the genteel glamour of the Old South. Readers of Travel + Leisure voted the hotel #1 in Charleston, #2 in the U.S. and #61 in the world.
Premier Balcony Suite
Start your mornings with fresh coffee and a gourmet continental breakfast on your private furnished wraparound balcony. In the afternoon sit back and enjoy a drink as you overlook the activity below on Lingard and State Streets. The suite features a marble bathroom, custom millwork, and furnishings and a built-in armoire.
2. Belmond Charleston Place
Belmond Charleston Place evokes the feeling of a grand 17th-century residence from the Italian marble lobby with its Georgian Open Arm staircase and 12-foot crystal chandelier to a variety of suites. The hotel has hosted celebrities, princes, and politicians. It is located in Charleston’s historic downtown. Dine at the award-winning dining Palmetto Cafe and Charleston Grill restaurants, or try the full-service spa with rooftop indoor-outdoor pool and Jacuzzi.
The 1,000 sq. ft. Presidential Suite is located on the Club Level, including private elevator access. The Club offers a private personal concierge; an Italian marble bathroom; a separate soaking bathtub, and a walk-in shower. There is a large entry area with a half-bathroom and pantry; living room; sitting area; one bedroom; one master bathroom; can connect to a Club guest room to create a two-bedroom suite. You also get full access to the newly renovated, two-story Club Lounge, which includes an expanded marble bar and complimentary all-day food and drinks.
3. Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina
Located across the harbor from downtown Charleston, Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina offers three outdoor pools including one with a Tiki Bar, spa, and full-service marina with the College of Charleston Sail School located on-site. Combining Low Country design aesthetic and a coastal color pallet with custom-made beds, furniture with hand-painted details. The Charleston Harbor Fish House provides a waterfront dining experience with views of historic downtown, and a menu featuring locally-sourced sustainable seafood, produce, and vegetables. The Bridge Bar offers an open-air environment with fresh seafood and cocktails, and the Reel Bar provides an indoor setting with teak captain chairs crafted from a ship that sank off the coastline. The Estuary Spa and Salon provides a range of treatments and services featuring natural and organic skincare products. There are multiple treatment rooms, including a couple’s massage room. Guests can also schedule inshore and offshore fishing charters departing from the hotel’s docks. There’s a grand porch for relaxing, as well as a tropical pool deck with private cabanas.
The two-bedroom Admiral’s suite is 800 sq. ft. and situated on the hotel’s top floor – the 4th floor. It offers harbor views with a king and queen bed, two full baths and a separate living area, including a large refrigerator and microwave.
4. The Dewberry Charleston
The Dewberry Charleston overlooks Marion Square in a revitalized mid-century modern building with views of the Charleston Harbor and Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, Brasserie, the Living Room, a gathering space, a walled garden, and a spa. You are steps from historic sites, and King Street shops and restaurants. Rooms have handcrafted custom furniture, Irish mattresses and linens, and original artwork by local artists. Henrietta’s has a French brasserie feel mixed with Southern influences. Go for brunch on the weekends. The Living Room is designed as a gathering place transforming from a morning coffee spot to a mid-day space for afternoon tea and cocktails in the evening. The Spa offers low country-inspired treatments infused with local ingredients such as dewberry plant and sea extracts. Modeled after the hotel founder’s carriage house, the spa has cypress-covered spice-scented walls, Southern artwork, and handcrafted floral wallpaper.
Charleston Flat Studio Suites
There are 24 of the 511 sq. ft. Charleston Flat studio suites, four on each floor, each located in one of the corners. The hotel doesn’t guarantee which one you will get but request a high floor. Views are either city or city and harbor.
There is a canopy bed and hardwood floors, the area furnished with leather wingback chairs, in-room dining areas, and glass-enclosed bath suites.
5. Wentworth Mansion
A member of Small Luxury Hotels, Wentworth Mansion is a historic house with period features, chandeliers, and stained glass windows. The Circa 1886 restaurant, in the old carriage house, serves American and Southern cuisine using fresh, local produce. Housed in the original stables, the spa with its vaulted ceilings and exposed beams offers a full range of treatments. Look for special touches such as complimentary hors d’oeuvres and wine each afternoon in the Harleston Parlor and complimentary port, sherry, and brandy in the evening.
Grand Mansion Suite
The 1,000 sq. ft. Grand Mansion Suite provides a separate bedroom and living room with two floor-to-ceiling marble gas fireplaces, original Italian chandeliers, and Tiffany stained glass.
6. The Planter’s Inn
A Relais & Chateau property in Charleston’s Historic District, the 64-room Planter’s Inn features uniformed doormen who welcome every arrival, ushering guests into the restored circa 1844 building. Ten-foot ceilings, dozens of working fireplaces, and a large collection of antiques and Baker Historic Charleston décor, including a four-poster bed in every guest room, create an ambiance described by Travel + Leisure magazine as “akin to an overnight with well-to-do friends in their old Charleston mansion.” A hidden courtyard illuminated by flickering carriage lanterns provides a beguiling entry to Peninsula Grill, the city’s foremost dining experience.
St. Philip Suite
The 1,460 St. Philip Suite is situated on the top floor of the hotel and designed to feel like a private apartment. There’s a handcrafted four-poster plantation-style from the Baker Historic Charleston Collection and hemstitched bedding by Italian luxury linen brand Mascioni. There’s a separate living room with soaring ceiling and custom crown molding. You can host guests with a kitchen and dining table with seating for up to 10 guests. There is an en-suite travertine marble bathroom with a walk-in shower and double vanity.
7. French Quarter Inn
Conde Nast Traveler says of French Quarter Inn, “This classic Charleston mainstay is a must for those in the know.” It continues, “It’s a fairly small hotel, which makes for a more personalized experience—upon arrival, guests are greeted with Champagne and in the evening, turndown service comes with complimentary port wine and cookies. One thing we love about this perennial Southern belle is that it’s sophisticated, but not stuffy. The lobby is carpeted in a rich midnight blue brightened by far-reaching floral patterns, and the marble spiraled staircase that dissects it looks fresh and fancy rather than old and tired.”
Grand Market View Full Terrace Suite
The Grand Market View Terrace Suite features two queen size beds with triple-sheeted, classically simple European bedding, custom armoire, and writing desk. The room features a large terrace overlooking the open-air Charleston City Market. A separate living room area features a full-size sofa bed and a fireplace. The large bathroom features a soaking tub and a separate walk-in shower.