Reopened and rebranded in 2014, the Vendue (formerly known as the Vendue Inn) is all about the arts. With on-site docents ready to guide you around the property's exhibition spaces, an artist-in-residence whose studio is open to visitors, and pieces from local galleries available for sale in your guestroom, creative forces are at work everywhere you look. The Vendue's mission is to serve as a hub for the local art scene. The hotel’s opening exhibit drew from a half-dozen local galleries to feature everything from classical realist paintings to a postmodern installation made of View-Masters and Plexiglas.
The Vendue is set in a suite of former warehouses in the city's French Quarter. Guestrooms are in two different buildings, 19 and 26 Vendue Range, and the design can vary widely from space to space; some rooms have a more contemporary atmosphere, with exposed brick walls and subway-tiled walk-in showers, while others are decked out in Queen Anne–style furniture and brocaded fabrics.
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The Vendue sits on the eastern edge of the French Quarter, among the city's oldest streets like cobblestone-paved Chalmers. Art venues are sprinkled throughout the surrounding blocks, including the waterfront City Gallery. Many spaces open their doors and pour wine for first Friday Art Walks. Tucked off busy East Bay Street, the Vendue is about as close to the Cooper River as you can get, with the waterfront practically at its doorstep. Stroll south to visit iconic Rainbow Row, and continue past the grand mansions and historic park on the Battery. East Bay has long been a hub for restaurants and bars. Sean Brock's inventive McCrady's, old-school favorite Magnolias, and craft cocktail bar the Gin Joint are all just minutes away.
Need to Know
Rooms: 84 rooms; from $300. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Small dishes at The Drawing Room echo the Vendue's artistic theme, with ingredients carefully plated to resemble a work of art. The Press, so named to honor its building's former life as a newspaper warehouse,serves Starbucks coffee along with sandwiches like a pimiento cheese BLT. Mingle with locals over cocktails and shared plates at The Rooftop and enjoy the waterfront views all the way to the Ravenel Bridge. Spa and gym details:While the hotel's staff can make recommendations for guests, there are no spa or fitness facilities on-site.
Who's it for: Art lovers, bar-hoppers, and any visitor who wants to be in the middle of the action. Our favorite rooms: The Gallery rooms are bright and roomy, with fireplaces and original artwork adorning the walls. Getting around:Take advantage of the complimentary bicycles; Charleston's flat terrain is perfect for exploring on wheels.