Suite Dreams

A guesswork-free guide to finding a great Charleston hotel

Guests on a balcony at the Charleston Place hotel.

Have a sojourn to the Lowcountry coming up? There’s one thing you’d be wise not to rush: deciding where to lay your head at night. Hotels in the Charleston area don’t just provide a comfortable bed to retire to (though that they certainly do); each establishment is imbued with an original personality and perspective that will inform your trip from start to finish. Even if you wished to make a speedy decision, it’d be difficult to do so, as you’ll quickly notice that the Lowcountry has an abundance of luxury accommodations, ranging from quiet boutique inns to bustling hotels and sprawling oceanside resorts. 

A window box.

So how does one choose? Picture your ideal vacation. If that looks like a coastal getaway replete with ocean views and beachside sips, look to the luxury resorts housed on the Lowcountry’s barrier islands. There, you’ll have easy access to pristine strips of some of South Carolina’s finest beaches, as well as on-site entertainment—restaurants and spas, boutiques and bars—ample enough that you won’t need to leave the premises, unless you desire. An assortment of pools and dining options cater to both boisterous young families and solace-seeking couples, making these accommodations a smart fit for any traveler wishing to take a daily dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Avid golfers should consider beachside resorts too, as they’re home to some of the East Coast’s premier courses.

An aerial view of Hotel Bennett.

If dining your way through a world-class culinary scene is more your style, center your search on the Charleston peninsula. A number of hotels are home to award-winning restaurants; many others are a stone’s throw away from them. Don’t be shy when making your boutique hotel reservations; ask the concierge for dining recommendations, as he may have some strings to pull at sought-after establishments, potentially scoring a table you otherwise may have missed out on. 

A room at the Palmetto hotel.

Perhaps you’re an art or design lover and luxury to you means impeccable architecture and interiors polished off with original art. Whatever style you adore—midcentury modern, Second Empire, contemporary—there’s a Charleston inn for you. Some even boast in-house galleries, or a collection of ever-rotating local artists’ works adorning hallways, urging you to slow down and soak up the details, which, of course, a vacation is all about. 

A number of Charleston-area hoteliers tap into the wealth of talent in the region to offer amenities infused with a local narrative, bringing the soul and spirit of the Holy City right to your door. That could look like a welcome cocktail mixed with locally made liquor and muddled fruit from a nearby farm, or a custom history tour that’s available only to hotel guests. 

As you narrow down the search for your perfect Lowcountry lodging, look for details that ignite your curiosity and stories that spark joy. Do ample research and revel in the hunt; after all, the prelude to a trip is half the fun. And remember, you can always choose a new adventure the next time you visit.