Charleston Place in a Nutshell:
The elegant harbor city of Charleston reminds many visitors of an open-air museum, filled with mansions that show off its enormous wealth gained over three centuries of sea trade. Built in the mid-1980’s in brick tones that evoke its South Carolinian colonial ambiance, Charleston Place hotel helped revitalize what had become a flagging town center. The grand property remains the business and social heart of the historic urban core that is thankfully free of tacky retail and food outlets.
Guest Rooms at Charleston Place:
With chintz furniture, gold-hued carpets, and dark-wood armoires, there’s a clubby feel to the Charleston Place’s 400-square-foot Executive Rooms. Damask bedspreads cover the firm king beds in most rooms. Guests can splurge with a Club Level room on the two top private floors where drinks and hors d'oeuvres are served in the lounge all day. One-bedroom suites clock in at 800 square feet. All rooms have free Ethernet Internet access, with wireless service anticipated.
Dining at Charleston Place:
The hotel’s Thoroughbred Club takes pride of place in the lobby, and serves afternoon tea and tapas. Bridal parties can book there as well. In the courtyard, the Palmetta Grill is a bright spot to enjoy a large spread of breakfast or brunch buffet items. Charleston Grill is known for its nightly jam sessions featuring professional jazz musicians. Its menu is arranged by theme: Pure, Lush (try the poached Maine lobster), Southern, and Cosmopolitan (how about South Indian curried white sturgeon?). Diners can’t help but chat with manager/maitre d' Mickey Bakst, whose raconteur skills make him a local legend.
Destination Weddings at Planters Inn:
Wedding packages at Charleston Place include a night in a bridal suite with Champagne, strawberries, and a Palmetto Café breakfast the following morning. A dedicated banquet captain oversees receptions in venues such as the 16-foot-tall, chandeliered Grand Ballroom or the Pavilion with a garden area that holds up to 100 guests. Across the street from the Charleston Place, the hotel’s Riviera cinema was recently restored to its Art Deco splendor, with balcony seats and Italianate fresco still in place. Now a reception hall, it holds 300 guests.
Honeymoons at Charleston Place:
One year after their reception date, wedding couples are treated to a complimentary one-night Charleston Place stay. The honeymoon package includes dinner in the Charleston Grill, sparkling wine, and continental breakfast in the Palmetto Café the next morning.
Activities at Charleston Place:
Charleston Place hosts high-end shops including Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as the property’s own Orient-Express boutique with Baccarat and Lalique jewelry. After stocking up at the Godiva shop, couples can work off the treats in the swimming pool under a retractable roof. Couples treatments in the spa include Swedish, deep tissue, and warm stone massages, as well as a “therapist’s choice” option. Weavers sell exquisite sweet-grass baskets on the city’s sidewalks, while antiques shops and art galleries are just steps from the Charleston Place door, as are upscale haberdashers on the renowned retail King Street.
Nearby Planters Inn:
Horse-drawn carriage rides through Charleston's cobblestone streets are de-rigeur, and best followed with a walking tour for a close-up of what is perhaps America’s best-preserved city. Among antebellum mansions, the Nathaniel Russell, Aiken-Rhett, and Edmondston-Alston homes are top draws. For a stark view of Charleston’s past, the slave mart is blocks away from the hotel. For a close up of Fort Sumter and frolicking dolphins, sail the harbor on a schooner. Further afield, explore Gullah coastal culture. In springtime, couples can book tickets for the Spoleto arts festival that takes over the city.
What to Watch out for at Charleston Place:
The mini-bar offerings laid out in your room’s foyer table are designed to tempt. Resist! Bedsides could use a convenient plug outlet. Cleaning staff could be more attentive in picking up random hallway debris. And TV sounds from neighboring rooms can be picked up occasionally.
Vibe at Charleston Place:
The massive bronze horse fountain that welcomes guests to Charleston Place suggests a property more formal than this actually is. Vacationers in shorts congregate in the lobby under the two-and-a-half-ton Murano chandelier, while a business-casual crowd comes and goes on break from conferences. With non-guests frequenting the ground-level clothing and accessories boutiques, the halls have somewhat of an historic train station buzz. The social scene is humming in the evening with locals and guests flocking for live jazz in the Grill or drinks in the Thoroughbred Club.