Want to visit a city that is both wonderfully old and absolutely exploding with new? Book a ticket to Charleston. The South Carolina city has been doing its thing since the late 1600s—the uneven cobblestone streets won’t let you forget it—but in recent years, it’s seen a huge influx of, well, everything. People, for one, but also restaurants, shops, houses, and hotels.
You can’t find a bad meal in this town, it’s true, and after the past few years, the competition over the best place to stay has grown equally tough. The real winner? You, who suddenly has plenty of enviable options and a wide range of prices. From charming boutique lodgings to grand, pastel-hued affairs, these are our six favorite new(ish) hotels in the Holy City.
The past few years have seen a dizzying number of openings of new hotels in Charleston. But especially deserving of a highlight this year is the Pinch. Nestled on a picturesque alley right off King Street—which is to say right where you want to be—you’ll find this even-more-attractive-than-its-surroundings boutique hotel. Rooms are huge and complete with kitchenettes (a boon to those traveling with children), and the attached oyster bar, the Quinte, is about as good a place to end a day of sightseeing as you’ll find. (A full-service French-Lowcountry fusion restaurant called Lowland opens later this spring.) Oh, before I go, don’t let the name fool you; this isn’t a place where you stay when the rest of the town is booked or your trip is thrown together last minute. The Pinch is a treat, through and through. Rooms from $595.
Emeline opened its doors back in 2020, but the sheen hasn’t worn off. Unlike many of its pastel-hued neighbors, the rooms and lobby favor rich velvets and dark woods, and each area has its own distinct soundtrack. She is a noble lady, certainly, but there’s nothing stuffy about the 212-room property. Staying and relaxing, instead, are highly encouraged—in Clerks Coffee Shop in the morning, the open-air courtyard all day, or the indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar, Frannie & the Fox, into the night. Rooms from $349.
If we lived in a perfect world, I would own a house with a foyer as bright and big and welcoming as the lobby of the Loutrel. A massive daybed-style porch swing right inside? Big clear windows? Amazing(ly tall) drapes? A custom scent wafting through the air? Absolutely all on my bingo card. The world, as it so loves to remind us, is not perfect, and such a home is almost certainly not in my future. This reality is placated only by the fact that I can—and will—return to 50-room property just a few blocks off King Street time and again. Rooms are airy and spacious, the bar buzzes, and an all day lounge with complimentary drinks and snacks seals the deal. Need more? Okay, fine, there’s also a rooftop terrace! Rooms from $349.
Charleston is a city with a great many great things. Lively oyster bars. A new, impossible-to-get-into restaurant every week. Harbor views. If it ever lacked much at all, really, it was perhaps quirkiness. That changed in the spring of 2021, when the Ryder hotel opened its doors. Vibrant and eclectic—the 91-room property takes its name from Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums hero, Japhy Ryder—this is no quiet, traditional southern outpost. Here, the lobby is small but bright, the rooms spacious and welcoming, and the location unmatched. But Little Palm, the poolside bar and restaurant, is why you come back. The indoor/outdoor craft-cocktail haven isn’t just hopping nightly—it’s the talk of the town. Rooms from $329.
So you want to feel like a royal—or at least an aristocrat—while you’re in town. Who doesn’t! Book at Hotel Bennett, an exquisite 50-room property on the north end of King Street where old world opulence and incredible service meet seamlessly. If you can pull yourself out of your well-appointed room (no judgement if not!) you’ll find a great street-level lounge, a killer lobby restaurant, and a perfect little coffee shop. There’s also a decadent, all-pink (literally) lobby champagne bar that begs for an extended visit. Rooms from $499.
I love The Dewberry. The building, lobby, and rooms are stately—sumptuous fabrics, deep colored wood, wide marbled floors—but the energy is relaxed. Welcoming. A standout level of friendly in a region literally famous for being friendly. Of course, the crown jewel of the property is the Citrus Club, the hotel’s expansive rooftop bar. Stretching across nearly a full city block, you can’t beat the views or the tunes, but don’t discount the cookies and milk dessert downstairs in the ground floor Living Room restaurant. An absolute must. Rooms from $500.
Madison Vain is the Digital Director at Esquire; a writer and editor living in New York, she previously worked at Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated.
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