Zero George consists of five structures: the main building fronting George Street, built in the early 1800s; two additional examples of the “Charleston single house,” a long and narrow building with an open-air porch along its length; and two carriage houses. Formerly a French-style inn, Zero George was purchased, renovated, and reopened under a new name by a local hotels veteran in early 2013. Its architecture is pure Charleston, and the garden courtyard at the heart of the property, with its palmettos and hand-laid brick walkways, is a welcome oasis. Rooms are bright and airy, with elegant period-style furniture decked out in neutral fabrics and patterns.
Food is a way of life in the Carolina Lowcountry, but in the past five years Charleston's culinary scene has exploded with new producers and restaurateurs focusing on local ingredients prepared in dynamic ways. Zero George fits right in with the new food trends. It's a property that uses its classically Charleston setting as a site for intimate cooking classes and Southern-infused craft cocktails.
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Zero George straddles quiet, residential Ansonborough and the family-friendly destinations of Charleston's port. Head west for the serene neighborhood streets, lined with antebellum brick houses built in the wake of Charleston's 1838 fire. Downtown's major performance hall, the Gaillard, is minutes away; it will reopen in spring 2015 after a long-overdue $142 million overhaul. Toward the water, the Charleston Aquarium houses local marine life, and the Fountain Walk park and shopping center serves as a landing pad for cruise ships. Great restaurants abound in close range, from Jestine's Kitchen (Southern home cooking) to FIG (high-end seasonal fare). Marion Square and its weekly Saturday farmers' market—a must-see for food lovers—is a 10-minute walk away.
Need to Know
Rooms: 18 rooms; from $549. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Zero Café + Bar, housed in one of the hotel's carriage houses, is a favorite with locals for its well-crafted cocktail offerings (try the Palmetto Express, a whiskey and ginger highball updated with hibiscus syrup) and constantly changing seasonal menu (a recent offering: grilled octopus with potatoes slow cooked in squid ink). Spa and gym details: There is no gym or spa on-site, but guests receive complimentary passes to the full-service EcoFitness, just blocks away.
Who's it for: Gastronomes in search of a simple and elegant base for exploring the city's culinary offerings. Our favorite rooms: The hotel's two Garden Suites, set in the main house's 1804 carriage house, each include a spacious parlor and look out onto the oyster-shell courtyard. Local highlight:The hotel's popular cooking classes take guests through a three-course Lowcountry-inspired meal using ingredients sourced from a local Wadmalaw Island farm.