The Mills House Hotel in a Nutshell:
A decade before the shot was fired at Fort Sumter in 1861, the Mills House was Charleston’s premier hotel. Over the years the hotel followed the fortunes of the city, going into steep decline for a century, then revived in the last decade of the 20th century. After a total gutting of the building and a restoration to its former elegance, it today is a top place to stay in this unique American city. There are glistening chandeliers in the lobby, antique furniture throughout, and Chinese-style paintings in main floor and in guest rooms.
This small, 150 year-old, historic city-centered hotel has a huge plus: all that Charleston has to offer — and that is a tremendous amount — is right outside its doors. So couples planning a visit will do well to stay at this comfortable, perfectly located hotel.
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Guest Rooms at The Mills House Hotel:
Quarters reflect mid-19th century size and décor. The refurbishment features reproduction furniture and decorations of two centuries past. Wi-fi is available throughout. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and a tiny workout room.
Note: There was a noticeable hum in our room on the third floor, which seemed to permeate the entire floor. We moved to another floor and the noise abated.
Dining at The Mills House Hotel:
Antebellum Charleston and Barbados were commercially linked, and the hotel’s restaurant reflects the Caribbean atmosphere that was part of the cityscape. Architecture in Barbadoes (the hotel’s preferred spelling) Room and Courtyard restaurant resembles a Colonial-period Caribbean dining room, with high ceilings, slow whirling ceiling fans, open vaulted doorways and a garden of wrought-iron furniture with a fountain in the center. With so many great restaurants nearby (Husks, voted the best new restaurant in America, is across the street), we only had breakfast at the hotel.
Destination Weddings at The Mills House Hotel:
The Mills House is a destination site for couples from around the country. Several venues are available. The Barbadoes Room and Courtyard provide a Caribbean feel; The Signers Ballroom accommodates 150 guests in a typical hotel reception room. The Planters Suite is a more intimate setting, seating up to 50 guests in a room with an iron balcony overlooking Charleston’s Meeting Street, with two iconic churches in one direction and the renovated, bustling market arcade two blocks in the other.
Romance at The Mills House Hotel:
The hotel’s romance package offers a carriage ride, a bottle of champagne, and a room service breakfast. Upgrades on this package include a junior suite and private carriage. Guests may also contact the concierge to have flowers or additional amenities placed in the room.
Nearby The Mills House Hotel:
The Mills House is defined by its careful attention to maintaining its original elegance and is ideally situated. Nearly everything is within an easy walk. Fine restaurants are around the corner; the country’s largest collection of Victorian houses is a short walk away; the nightlife district, with bars and nightclubs galore, is a few streets away.
The hotel is in the middle of Charleston’s “Museum Mile,” where a visitor can find six museums, including the Old Slave Mart Museum; five nationally important historic houses; four scenic parks, the Market and City Hall.
On a Savor the Flavors culinary tour we sampled local food at the Dixie Supply Bakery and Café, dubbed “Church of the Holy Grits;” bought Carolina rice at Charleston Cooks!; and gorged on pralines at Market Street Sweets.
Middleton Place, built in 1755, has a restaurant serving tasty shrimp and grits. A twenty-minute drive from the city, it stands amidst America’s first landscaped garden. Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea producer in North America, is on Wadmalaw Island, just south of the city.
The Mills House Hotel Info and Reservations: