The 17 best hotels in Charleston, from historic inns to modern stays

The lures of Charleston, South Carolina, can be found throughout its colorful squares and palm-lined cobblestone streets, including carefully conserved landmarks, eclectic art galleries and unique shopping.

It’s also a spectacular town for foodies, with strong seafood traditions, innovative chefs and a creative cocktail scene. Of course, there’s also its steeple-dotted skyline, which is how the Holy City earned its moniker.

Charleston is also an easy drive to idyllic beaches like Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and, farther afield, Kiawah Island.

So it’s no surprise the variety of accommodations within this popular Southern city is extensive. There are iconic Charleston inns steeped in history, contemporary hotels designed to encourage socializing and even an art-forward escape with a popular rooftop terrace.

No matter what draws you to Charleston, here are 17 of its best hotels.

Related: Spirit adds Charleston to its network in 3-route expansion

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Since its 2016 debut, The Dewberry Charleston has become one of the Holy City’s most in-demand luxury boutique hotels.

This midcentury modern stunner was once a drab government building. Constructed in 1964, the building sustained extensive damage following 1999’s Hurricane Floyd and was abandoned shortly after. Real estate developer John Dewberry stepped in, spending eight years lovingly resurrecting the historic structure with cherry panel walls, gleaming marble floors and brass accents that hark back to the 1960s.

The 154 guest rooms and suites feature tall windows that showcase impressive views of downtown Charleston, Marion Square and beyond.

Rooms boast custom-designed mahogany and cloth armoires, plush Irish linens and Danby marble bathrooms. Step up your stay by booking the John Derian Flat, which has spacious living and dining areas, plus a glass-enclosed marble bath suite with a cast iron soaking tub.

Start your day with menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs and tomato casserole) at The Living Room, The Dewberry’s ground-floor bar, and end it with jaw-dropping views from the rooftop Citrus Club (try the Dewberry daiquiri and warm blue-crab dip).

Guest perks include a well-stocked fitness studio (with Peloton bikes), loaner bikes and a fleet of luxury Volvo house cars.

Rates at The Dewberry Charleston start from $378 per night.

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Just a block south of the historic Charleston City Market, this boutique hotel beautifully blends Southern hospitality and 1920s glam. Guests at The Spectator are a few cobblestone steps away from distinct shopping, top-notch restaurants and historic mansions. The lobby wows with a spectacular chandelier, mirrored ceilings and a cascading waterfall wall.

Natural light spills into all 47 guest rooms and three suites, each appointed with velvet headboards, plush carpet and art deco design elements. Expansive marble-clad bathrooms feature a walk-in glass shower, heated towel rack, roomy double vanities and abstract local art.

The Spectator keeps it local with Charleston-made bath products and minibars stocked with South Carolina-grown peanuts, Key lime cookies and benne wafers (free and restocked daily).

Splurge on a premier balcony suite for your own private wraparound porch, perfect for your morning coffee (brewed from your personal espresso machine).

There’s butler service for every guest, and though the hotel doesn’t have an on-site fitness center, you can exercise with the hotel’s complimentary bikes. Turndown service includes a small nightcap, too (think: a mudslide shot).

There’s no restaurant on the property, but the speakeasy-style bar has you covered. Nosh on small plates and imbibe artful cocktails like the Golden Girl, made with Nippitaty gin, Italicus, ginger-sage honey, fresh lemon juice and egg white.

Rates at The Spectator Hotel start from $389 per night.

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Holding court in Charleston’s French Quarter, The Mills House Hotel serves a strong Wes Anderson movie aesthetic thanks to its striking pink facade.

The building has seen many iterations since grain merchant Otis Mills opened it in 1853 — a boarding house, courthouse, Christian college dorm and even a post office. After a recent multiyear, multimillion-dollar face-lift, its latest form may be its finest.

Now part of Hilton’s Curio collection (the portfolio’s first property in South Carolina), the hotel boasts 218 guest rooms and suites. Rooms are decorated in neutral tones with rich wood and marble accents. Bathrooms feature black granite countertops and Institut Karite products. The Studio Suite and a handful of guest rooms are fully accessible.

Public spaces exude casual luxury with a distinctly Southern style. The hotel’s anchor restaurant, Iron Rose, holds its own against nearby culinary heavyweights, like Husk and Poogan’s Porch, with its savory spin on Southern staples. (Don’t miss the loaded French roll omelet.) Grab breakfast, lunch and locally made pastries and gelato at Black Door Cafe.

The revamped rooftop pool bar area is the place for spectacular views of Charleston’s steeple-filled skyline.

Rates at Mills House start from $329 or 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

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Another French Quarter favorite, The Vendue is the city’s first hotel dedicated to the arts, with rotating exhibits on site throughout the year. It comprises two addresses (19 Vendue and 26 Vendue) at former warehouses dating back to 1785. Each building has its own vibe, and each room has its own personality.

In the main building, 19 Vendue, the avant-garde guestrooms have striking white walls and furnishings that accentuate the bright red decor and modern artwork. Guests in 26 Vendue will enjoy stately period reproduction pieces and traditional decor. Some rooms feature exposed brick walls and fireplaces. You can even spend time with the hotel’s artist-in-residence, often found painting in the 26 Vendue lobby. The entire property teems with art, and most of it’s for sale.

Soak up gorgeous harbor or city views from the lively two-level rooftop bar while noshing on fish tacos and sandwiches with I’m-on-vacation-style cocktails like Caught in the Rain (Cruzan mango rum, coconut puree, lime and pineapple).

Downstairs, Revival offers an innovative spin on historic Charleston dishes with shareable plates like charred okra-butterbean cassoulet. You’ll want to keep main dishes like the Lowcountry pirlou, a signature rice-based dish of South Carolina, all to yourself.

Rates at The Vendue start from about $262 per night.

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Are you at a hotel or staying with your wealthy great-aunt Margaret? It may be difficult to tell when you step into French Quarter Inn’s luxurious yet homey lobby with its tufted chairs, cozy fireplace and soaring wood-and-wrought iron staircase crowned by a grand skylight.

After a Champagne welcome, make your way to one of 50 guestrooms and suites, some of which feature balconettes, full balconies, fireplaces and spacious sitting rooms.

Rooms are filled with French-inspired decor, sumptuous European linens and toile bedspreads. There’s even a pillow menu to ensure a restful night: Choose among buckwheat, hypoallergenic and Swedish massage pillows. Other thoughtful amenities include evening turndown service, an in-room sound machine and a nightly wine and cheese reception.

Spacious Italian marble bathrooms include a walk-in shower, and some also come with a large soaking tub. Spring for a deluxe corner terrace king room for access to a furnished terrace with a view of the gorgeous St. Philip’s Church.

Greet the day with a complimentary continental breakfast in the lobby (or room service). There’s no on-site restaurant, but a Ruth’s Chris Steak House is connected to the inn. You’re also steps away from some of Charleston’s best restaurants, like Amen Street, 167 Raw and Brasserie La Banque.

Rates at the French Quarter Inn start from $349 per night.

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Nearly 14 years in the making, Hotel Bennett finally greeted its first guests in 2019. The wait was worth it. Housed in the former Charleston County Library building, this Italian palazzo-style beauty offers a lavish stay overlooking Marion Square.

Europe’s grand hotels were clearly the muse for the 179-room property. Its lobby showcases lustrous marble floors, tall white-leather banquet chairs, impressive double staircases and hand-painted murals illustrating Charleston’s history.

Old World luxury seamlessly meets contemporary comforts in rooms ranging from 355 to 1,000 square feet. Expect plush beds, glass-enclosed showers and pedestal soaking tubs, plus a stocked library — some rooms even come with a private furnished terrace, plus a Nespresso machine. Book a room with King’s Club access and enjoy perks like a private concierge and exclusive club lounge entry for free Champagne and all-day light bites.

Hotel Bennett’s dining options include its signature restaurant, Gabrielle, for upscale New Orleans-style cuisine (the escargot bruschetta is a must) and showstopper Camellias, the hotel’s egg-shaped Champagne lounge and oyster bar. The lounge’s striking pink marble was reclaimed from the original library building, and there’s also a swanky rooftop pool bar, Fiat Lux, and homemade pastries, breakfast sandwiches and fresh coffee are available at La Patisserie.

Rates at Hotel Bennett start from $439 per night.

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You’ll feel more like a house guest than a hotel guest at Wentworth Mansion, thanks to its location in a leafy residential neighborhood. Constructed in 1887 by cotton merchant Francis Silas Rodgers, the four-story, 13,883-square-foot Second Empire mansion is a Gilded Age stunner.

History buffs will swoon, since many of the home’s original features have been preserved: pressed tin ceilings, hand-carved molding and Tiffany panels.

Choose among 21 guest rooms and suites, each with ornate king-size sleigh beds, parquet floors and a minifridge stocked with refreshments. Some feature original gas fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs and private verandas.

Feeling extravagant? Book the sprawling 1,000-square-foot Grand Mansion Suite, a two-room sanctuary with crystal chandeliers and stately marble fireplaces.

Savor amenities like butter-soft bathrobes, fresh flowers and a full daily breakfast. Enjoy afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres and cap off evenings with complimentary port, sherry or brandy. Take in the sunset from the mansion’s rooftop cupola for sweeping city views.

In the former carriage house, Circa 1886 restaurant is sophisticated but not stuffy. Guests and well-heeled Charlestonians tuck into memorable dishes like locally sourced duck breast and melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloins.

Set within what were once the stables, the spa provides rustic eucalyptus-scented environs for massages, facials and other treatments.

Wentworth Mansion is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, which has a partnership with Hyatt. Book your stay through Hyatt to receive elite perks. You’ll earn Hyatt points on the room rate only.

Rates at Wentworth Mansion start from $450 per night, or from 30,000 Hyatt points if booking through Hyatt when award space is available.

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Though it was constructed in 1986, The Charleston Place fits perfectly among the historic structures. Previously a Belmond flagship hotel, it was purchased in late 2021 by a Charleston-based hospitality company, which launched a $100-plus million face-lift in 2023. Some of the soft renovations have been completed, with more extensive refurbishments on the horizon.

A 2 1/2-ton, hand-blown glass chandelier hints at the opulence awaiting guests, and magnificent curved Georgian staircases lead to the second floor.

Have your pick of 433 rooms, 40 of which are suites (some with Juliet balconies). Mahogany beds and armoires, original artwork and comfy chairs create a classic luxury retreat.

Free-flowing complimentary snacks and drinks (and epic city views) are available at the club level occupying the hotel’s two top floors.

The first floor houses luxury storefronts like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. It’s also where you’ll find Charleston Grill, where established Charleston families stage special events and celebrate life’s milestones. Top-notch sommeliers will guide you through the perfect pairing for your Chatel Farms wagyu tenderloin or locally caught fish. Palmetto Cafe and Meeting at Market are other dining venues.

The award-winning spa offers signature and customizable treatments. It’s hard to imagine leaving without at least one stress-melting session — or a relaxing dip in the hotel’s year-round heated rooftop saltwater swimming pool crowned by a retractable glass roof.

Rates at The Charleston Place start from $460 per night. A two-night minimum stay is required.

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This 50-room boutique hotel’s minimalist facade reveals nothing of the eye candy that awaits. The lobby sports an opulent pink chandelier and luxurious gold-tufted sofas, plus there’s an impressive ground-floor art gallery brimming with local and international artworks, sculptures and jewelry available for purchase.

The guest rooms share a bold and colorful design aesthetic with eye-catching artwork, oversized chairs, white-lacquered headboards dressed in vibrant crushed velvet and floor-to-ceiling drapes. Spacious marble bathrooms include a lighted makeup mirror and comfortable bathrobes.

At Eleve, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, sample coastal-inspired dishes that reflect the brand’s art-forward ethos (like the Kessler calamari with jalapenos, olives, capers, fresh lemon and harissa aioli). Or, enjoy small plates paired with a glass or bottle from the extensive wine list at the Grand Bohemian Wine Bar. Play sommelier for a night and sign up for the hotel’s signature wine blending experience.

Rates at Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston start from $391 or 71,500 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

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Steps from the Cooper River, this waterside property boasts amenities not offered by many other Holy City hotels. Guests can take sailing lessons, enjoy boat excursions or hitch a ride on the hourly water taxi to explore downtown Charleston.

The resort wears its maritime theme well, offering a beachy, breezy vibe that isn’t over the top. There are also two accommodation options: The Beach Club, with 92 guest rooms and suites, and Harborside, offering 125 rooms and suites.

This resort was made for families, with its homey atmosphere and ample kids activities like the spring and summer Mini Mariners Camp. Daily afternoon treats by the pool during summer months (snow cones, cinnamon pretzels and cotton candy) and s’mores at sunset are a big hit, too. There’s a small private beach area by the water, but the huge kid-friendly resort pool and smaller adults-only pool (hello, private cabanas!) with a massive 30,000-square-foot pool deck are the main attraction.

A handful of dining options — from light bites at the poolside Tiki Bar or delicious coastal cuisine at The Fish House — ensure even the pickiest guests are well fed.

The Estuary Spa is a serene spot with therapies like the blue eucalyptus massage and lavender-infused Nirvana stress relief treatment.

Rates at The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor start from $357 (Beach Club) and $189 (Harborside) per night.

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This cool and classy boutique address was once the South’s largest mercantile. Since debuting in 2020, Emeline has wowed guests with vintage-inspired furnishings, artfully appointed rooms and impeccable service.

The lobby holds a collection of found objects that imbues the property with history and a sense of place. Near the check-in desk, the Keep Shop showcases local art and custom-made products. A lovely courtyard anchored by a large brick fireplace offers a relaxing spot for socializing.

Choose among 212 all-king guest rooms, including 128 suites and double-king options, all of which feature jewel-tone walls, tufted velvet headboards, embroidered linens and a midcentury modern cabinet with a Crosley turntable and a selection of vinyl.

Bathrooms have walk-in showers and are stocked with spice-scented Red Flower bath products. There are also luxury robes and ceramic soap dishes crafted by a local artist.

You don’t need to go far for an epic meal. Nosh on beautifully blistered wood-fired pizzas at Frannie & The Fox, but don’t miss the classic Sunday brunch, often accompanied by live music. Book a table at Hank’s, which has a traditional fish house atmosphere and is arguably one of Charleston’s best seafood restaurants. Lively Clerks Coffee Company is the go-to spot for guests and Charlestonians to grab breakfast, brunch or lunch.

Rates at Emeline start from $227 per night.

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Occupying five meticulously revived historic buildings, The Restoration is a polished, trendy boutique hotel with a New South flair. Its elegant urban aesthetic plays out in contemporary leather furnishings, high ceilings, exposed brick walls and refurbished original wood floors.

Apartment-style accommodations range from the 500-square-foot studio suites to the capacious 2,300-square-foot Residential Rooftop Terrace Suite. Some feature a private or shared terrace, and larger suites may offer private kitchens, double vanities and soaking tubs.

Creature comforts include free in-room refreshments, plush robes and slippers, and modern must-haves like super-fast Wi-Fi, smart televisions and personal iPads.

You can have every meal at The Watch, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant (and with those views, we wouldn’t blame you if you did). Kick off your morning with avocado toast and close out the day with a hearty Lowcountry bouillabaisse of mussels, shrimp and fish. Toast to your stay with a Southern Living cocktail (Southern amaro, Monks liquor, black tea, honey and lemon).

Pamper yourself at the intimate Amethyst Spa, where many treatments incorporate precious gems, such as the Sapphire Copper Energy Facial and the Diamond Dust Body Ritual.

Rates at The Restoration start from $329 per night.

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There are few places you can rest your head under the roof of one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution, and this is one.

John Rutledge House Inn is both a National Historic Landmark and an operating inn. The inn’s striking lacelike green wrought iron balconies stop many passersby for a photograph or quick ogle.

The structure is imbued with historical significance. Constructed in 1763, this majestic home was a wedding gift from Rutledge to his bride. Rutledge eventually became South Carolina’s first governor and hosted George Washington in the home in 1791.

Additionally, portions of the U.S. Constitution were drafted in the second-floor ballroom. Today, you can converge there to socialize with fellow guests over a meal or libation and peruse historical artifacts, like George Washington’s journal entry describing his breakfast during his stay.

There are 19 rooms and suites within the main house and two carriage houses. Many feature canopied four-posted beds, carved Italian marble fireplaces and 12-foot ceilings. Inlaid parquet floors and ornate plaster molding are other wow factors. The home’s historical elements lend a sense of place, while contemporary conveniences like Tempur-Pedic beds, flat-screen televisions and Wi-Fi keep things current.

Fun fact: She-crab soup was believed to have been invented here by the butler William Deas. He worked at the home when Charleston Mayor R. Goodwyn Rhett owned it, and the dish was served to a prominent guest, President William Howard Taft.

Rates at John Rutledge House Inn start from $340 per night.

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Check your uptightness at the door and embrace your inner wanderer at this boho-chic oasis. Influenced by a Jack Kerouac character, Japhy Ryder, the hotel elicits an “enjoy the journey” atmosphere. The Ryder Hotel is relaxed, amiable and entirely unpretentious.

Accommodations within the 91-room boutique property span from a 190-square-foot queen studio to the 1,045-square-foot hospitality suite. Lots of light, wood furnishings, woven rugs and neutral hues create an airy and restful space.

Kick back in a cabana at The Ryder pool, complete with inflatable flamingos, and channel your inner Miami socialite with a chilled cocktail at the poolside restaurant, Little Palm. The sunny spot features a lovely bar with tropical wallpaper and minimalist decor. Beyond cocktail offerings, The Palm serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Rates at The Ryder Hotel start from $227 per night.

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This elegant hotel’s origin story goes back to 1803, when it served as a luxury goods emporium. Now lovingly restored, this 64-room charmer is South Carolina’s only Relais & Chateaux hotel.

Its luxurious guest rooms and suites house a remarkable collection of antiques and reproductions. Each boasts high ceilings, four-poster beds and silk drapes. Some feature working gas fireplaces and a shared piazza overlooking the peaceful courtyard.

Modern amenities like a Nespresso machine, flat-screen televisions and remote-control blinds bring the property into the 21st century.

A meal at the Peninsula Grill is not to be missed, nor is its signature dessert: a 12-layer coconut cake, a favorite of Martha Stewart. Don’t fret if you miss your chance at dinner. Every day at 4 p.m., the Champagne Bar serves cocktails and slices of the delectable dessert.

After dinner, dip into the sequestered courtyard to enjoy a nightcap among bubbling fountains, palm trees and copper gas-lit carriage lanterns.

Rates at Planters Inn start from $419 per night.

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Situated in Charleston’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood, this IHG outpost is ideal for families who want the best of both worlds. It provides easy access to the charms of downtown but is far enough away to serve as a respite from other tourists.

Rooms are modern, with colorful furnishings, vivid floor rugs and comfy beds. Also, a full breakfast is included with your stay.

But you’ll likely want to spend most of your time lounging by the resort-style pool. The pool area extends beyond the deck thanks to a shaded lawn with roomy cabana chairs. If you want to work up a sweat, there’s a spacious fitness center stocked with treadmills, stationary bikes and free weights, as well as private yoga rooms.

Eliza’s Bar + Kitchen is Hotel Indigo’s only full-service restaurant, but its local-forward menu is extensive. Choose from breakfast plates like chicken and waffles and creme brulee French toast. Later in the day, go for lobster mac and cheese, cedar-plank salmon, or a brie and bourbon bacon-topped hamburger.

Rates at Hotel Indigo start from $131 or 23,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.

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Within just a few months of its late 2021 opening, this stylish retreat garnered many accolades and “best of” awards.

Flora-forward elements like live orchids and fresh-cut flowers in guest rooms and the lobby’s calamondin orange topiaries pay homage to Loutrel Briggs. The legendary landscape designer created about 100 private gardens in the Charleston area in the 1920s.

The Loutrel may be the new kid on the historic block, but you’ll find nods to “Old Charleston” in its lazy ceiling fans, the breezy front porch-style foyer and the massive painting of a marsh landscape by a local artist. Pillow-laden rattan couches and an oversized cushioned porch swing suspended from the ceiling beckon guests to sit for a spell.

Spacious accommodations range from California king guest rooms to the premier suite, many with balconies. Expect minimalist decor that leans into a modern, Southern vibe with a palette of grays and blues and natural textures of linen and wood. Bathrooms are stocked with aromatic plant-derived products made on nearby Johns Island.

Other amenities include a modern 24-hour fitness center, Wi-Fi and free European breakfast daily. There’s also an on-site car charging station.

Pop into the Veranda Lounge for handcrafted botanical-inspired cocktails and small plates, or take your tipple on the Rooftop Terrace for those iconic views of Charleston’s harbor and the Ravenel Bridge.

Rates at The Loutrel start from $354 per night.