Occupying a full block in the heart of downtown, Belmond Charleston Place is the largest luxury hotel in the city and has all the perks a seasoned traveler might require, from a saltwater pool with retractable glass roof to old-school shoe shine services. The Market Street entrance leads right to the grand lobby, with its imperial open-arm staircase, 12-foot crystal chandelier, and Italian marble floors. The old-fashioned Southern elegance is echoed in the guest rooms, done up in mahogany and damask.
The property's ground floor is the closest thing downtown Charleston has to a mall, hosting some 26 stores and boutiques including Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton. It's a great home base for exploring the city, with additional entrances on Meeting and King streets. And don't forget to scope out the gorgeous Art Deco Riviera Theater across King Street—a 1930s movie palace turned hotel event space.
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Bounded by Meeting, Market, and King, Belmond Charleston Place is surrounded by shops, with a cluster of antique stores just a few blocks south of the hotel. For a glass of wine while you browse antiques, visit neighborhood hangout Bin 152, a combination wine bar, antique shop, and gallery. The historic City Market, a 19th-century structure where local vendors hawk their goods, is just across Meeting from the hotel. It's not far to Waterfront Park, with its walkway overlooking the Cooper River. As for dining options, local favorites Husk, Fulton Five, and FIG are all mere minutes away on foot. Head to the Marion Square Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings for breakfast fare and great food gifts, like local cherry butter and stone-ground heirloom grits.
Need to Know
Rooms: 435 rooms; from $279. Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Fine-dining mainstay Charleston Grill's menu is split into four categories, from neo-Southern (think smoked quail with Alabama white sauce) to decadent French (tenderloin with bourguignonne sauce). For breakfast and lunch, visit the light-filled Palmetto Cafe, and if you want tea or cocktails with live piano accompaniment, there's the Thoroughbred Club overlooking the lobby. Spa and gym details: Visit the spa for its wide range of treatments, including the hotel's special magnolia blossom–and-mud body wrap. The fully equipped fitness center also boasts a staff of personal trainers who run classes and take their clients power walking through the city streets.
Who's it for: Luxury travelers who like their creature comforts; shoppers in search of high-end clothes and antiques. Our favorite rooms: On the hotel's club levels, 72 guestrooms and suites come with a private personal concierge and members-only food offerings from morning to night. Book ahead:Reserve your table at the Palmetto Grill in advance for Sundays, since its brunch offerings are popular with both visitors and locals.