This beautiful, elegant and charming Southern gem is one of the most loved destinations in the US. The South Carolina port city has a quaint and unique stuck-in-time feel with immaculately preserved – and colorful – historic buildings, cobblestone streets and antebellum mansions.
Other highlights include its fine collection of restaurants, lively bars, an interesting art scene, and a pretty promenade. This city is special so you’ll need an equally special place to stay. So from chic boutique inns to modern and trendy, here are some of the best cool and unusual hotels in Charleston, South Carolina (in no particular order).
Our Top 3 Best Cool and Unusual Hotels
Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection
Here we have a pet-friendly, boutique hotel that awaits guests with a luxurious, modern style. The hotel is located in the historic district of Charleston, offering easy access to all the downtown destinations.
After spending the day exploring downtown Charleston, guests can retreat to the well-designed rooms which boast an artistic flair, and high-end amenities.
The rooftop restaurant, Élevé, offers stunning views for dinner, and the art gallery offers a very unique, captivating experience.
The hotel further boasts a wine-tasting room, crafted cocktails in the rooftop bar, and fantastic venues to cater to all kinds of events. The Southern Charm is at the forefront of everything at this hotel, from the staff presence to the chic lobby décor.
Artistic and historic decor
Wine tasting room
Rooftop restaurant and bar
Inspiration onsite library
Decor might not suit everyone
No room service
The Pinch Charleston
This gorgeous hotel hits all the marks of a relaxing vacation spot. Its staff are as innately pleasant as the Charleston climate, the beaches are easily accessible, and it boasts top-of-the-range dining delights. All in the comfort of a very spacious, fully-equipped hotel.
Its décor is a talking point amongst guests, with windows plucked from a bygone era, cream-grey cloaked plaster walls, and dashes of Victorian heritage mixed with a sense of enchantment.
The Pinch is a touch of high culture in the low county, with luxury amenities and a great atmosphere to compliment a city voted ‘Best City to Visit’ for four years in a row.
Incredible striking decor
Lush green garden
Complimentary bike rentals
Costly valet parking
Some bathrooms are dark
Can get booked up at peak times
The Ryder Hotel
The Ryder Hotel is the perfect place to embrace your fun-loving, free-spirited side, in a place where you can nurture genuine connections. At this boutique hotel, escape meets experience, and neighbors and explorers gather to celebrate what brings them together.
The hotel evokes a fun feel, as the aesthetic is inspired by Charleston’s coastal beauty, and features a sophisticated yet relaxed style. The organic hues, earthly reds, laid-back bohemian atmosphere, and beautifully hand-crafted furniture, exude a very unique charm from every angle.
The cool hotel boasts an earthy, sleek café, an excellent restaurant bar that reimagines the fine art of craft cocktails, a lush pool area, and a great location to explore all the great spots in Charleston.
Classic refined decor
Unique hand-crafted furniture
Crafted cocktails in the bar
Serene pool area
No coffee in rooms
No refrigerator in rooms
Parking is a little compact
The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel
A storied past and a tremendously rich heritage combine at The Mills House, situated in a prime downtown location on Museum Mile.
The hotel boasts its very own concierge, who is always on hand to help guests craft the perfect itinerary, and to share profound knowledge about the very best of the city.
Guests can return from a day exploring this gracious city, to a revitalizing dip in the pool, by the gorgeous sun deck, with unrivalled downtown views. Barbados, the hotel restaurant, offers sophisticated dining experiences.
The hotel also features a business center, a 24/7 fitness center, and beautifully lavish guestrooms.
Inviting sun deck
Only service pets are welcome
Only valet parking
No microwaves in rooms
The refined Loutrel Hotel is the perfect choice for those seeking meaningful interactions and sophisticated comfort.
Blending into the charming Georgian facades of Charleston’s historic district, inspired by the city’s public and private gardens, Charleston’s past mystique and progressive future are ushered into the present moment.
The 50 rooms and suites are furnished with luxurious amenities – all inspired by the city – with local touches such as a curation of local snacks.
The event venues, whether the intimate private dining room or the spacious rooftop terrace, each present their own distinct experience, yet within the same signature Southern Hospitality that the hotel prides itself on.
Stylish sleek decor
Inviting lobby bar
Panoramic rooftop terrace
Close to famous attractions
No microwaves in rooms
Limited breakfast menu
This gracious hotel is the perfect home for the soulful sojourner, who seeks the new over the known, but still enjoys wandering through the past.
Perched in historic downtown Charleston, the Emeline is a true eye-opener! Guests will wake to the sound of hooves on cobblestones, drenched in custom linens, and ready to embrace the local flair.
The hotel staff also embody a very welcoming service, which is the epitome of Southern hospitality. Guests may begin the day with a coffee at Clerks, or enjoy a wood fired pizza from the comfort of their room.
Topped with a glass of wine and the fresh air in the open courtyard, the Emeline certainly possesses the qualities to become a favored, annual destination.
Modern chic decor
Scenic open courtyard
Garden to enjoy cocktails
No coffee maker in rooms
No swimming pool
For an intimate retreat in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, guests need to look no further than the Harborview Inn, a hotel which sets the state for unforgettable adventures.
From enhanced beverage offerings in the comfort of your room, to night-time milk and cookies, a heartening selection of surprises awaits guests at this unique hideaway.
Guests can enjoy panoramic views of the city from the cloistered respite of a rooftop terrace, indulge in fresh bath products from Antica Farmacista, or simply sip on a craft cocktail delivered to their room.
All the essential amenities are offered at this downtown Charleston retreat, from comfy Tempur-Pedic beds, to complimentary wifi, to personal Waffle Weave Robes that are soft to the touch.
Utterly tasteful interior
Complimentary afternoon wine
Rooftop skyline tour
Waterfront location only 2-minute walk from Charleston Harbor
Small hotel might not suit everyone
The Restoration Hotel
Some hotels try to preserve tradition. The Restoration invites guests to reinvent it. It is a place to come together, and discover bold, open spaces designed to inspire community and connection.
Located in downtown Charleston, the hotel is truly in the heart of the activity. Guests can choose a luxurious boutique hotel experience in one of the commodious suites, or recreate cherished home traditions in the comfort of the residences. ‘A journey into the New South is led only by a sense of adventure and the thrill of the unknown.’
Here at the Charleston, this sentiment is echoed throughout the lodge, with endless possibilities awaiting guests, inspiring a sense of freedom.
Retro chic decor
Delectable rooftop and bar
No onsite spa
Parking is extra
The Spectator Hotel
This hotel evokes the genteel glamour of the Old South and the exuberance of the Jazz Age. Recognized year after year as one of Charleston’s top hotels, you will realize why as soon as you step inside this sophisticated boutique jewel.
Refinement, five-star luxury, and made-for-you service are factors which guests realize the moment they arrive. The hotel is also acknowledged for its above-and-beyond attentiveness, with a personalized butler service providing every guest with impeccable Southern hospitality.
1920s glamour is a clear feature of all guest rooms and suites, which fuses with a refreshingly modern take.
After spending a night amongst the luxurious linens and Harris pillows, an enhanced continental breakfast is delivered to your door each morning.
Luxurious retro decor
Delicious in-room breakfast
Exclusive Buttler services
No swimming pool
The Vendue is a wonderful combination of industrial and contemporary. The two buildings occupy several reclaimed red brick warehouses on both sides of a cobblestoned road.
The glittering chandeliers, dark wood floors, well-appointed furniture and over 300 pieces of dedicated art, create a scene bursting with modern energy and unrivalled flair.
The Vendue is like no other place in Charleston. The sleek 84-room ‘arts hotel’ provides different characteristics in each of its rooms, however, some common design elements in all of them are original artwork, feather beds, and large TVs.
Here, you are surrounded by major downtown architectural sights such as Rainbow Row, close to the boutiques of King Street, and the city’s many celebrated restaurants.
Retro chic ambiance
200 pieces art exhibition onsite
Panoramic rooftop bar
No swimming pool
Check-in can be slow
Zero George Street
Zero George Street is the perfect sanctuary for exploring the endless delights of Charleston, where a sense of wander and wonder go hand in hand.
The immaculately restored circa 1804 buildings and private courtyard provide guests with an idyllic home-from-home, nestled within Charleston’s allure.
The cool hotel aims to delight, spoil, and surprise, whilst serving up Old World authenticity with contemporary, upscale hospitality.
The hotel restaurant elevates dining to a sublime art, serving up delicious flavours and dazzling dishes, courtesy of Chef Vinson Petrillo, master of seasonal local ingredients.
The hotel’s unique offering in the heart of Charleston’s historic Ansonborough neighbourhood, resembles your very own 19th-century pied à terre.
Refined European design
Wine and cheese hour
No adjoining rooms
86 Cannon Historic Inn
86 Cannon is a luxury boutique inn Located in a fully restored, three-story circa 1860’s single house, nestled in a vibrant neighborhood in historic Charleston. A curated concierge service, luxury amenities, and an ambiance of updated Southern luxury, provide additional touches to the hotel’s elegance.
For those looking to be in the heart of the action, this residential retreat provides a refreshing twist on the downtown city vibe.
Its room combines mid-century finishes with classic French elements, and pure tranquility is offered in the hotel’s spacious common areas, private piazzas, and beautiful gardens.
Every detail at this hotel was carefully selected to deliver a uniquely memorable guest experience.
A beautiful garden
Close to the city centre and museum
Some noise from outdoors
Hotel Indigo Charleston - Mount Pleasant, an IHG Hotel
This hotel guides guests to the most authentic low-country experience. Its modern, boutique-style accommodations feature ample work space and plush bedding, and are as individual as the hotel’s surroundings.
You can enjoy meals created with locally sourced ingredients, grab snacks at the sundry shop, or enjoy craft cocktails by the indoor/outdoor bar and pool loungers.
The resort’s atmosphere is permeated by a vibrant community and topped with intimate service. The local flavours which constitute the menus, are also photographed on the walls and serve as talking points for locals, guests, and neighbours.
Guests often comment on feeling refreshed after a stay at this hotel, due to the relaxing, inviting feel exuded by the staff.
Bright lively style
Outdoor barbeque grills
Tranquil indoor/outdoor pools
Close to popular attractions
No microwaves in rooms
No balconies in rooms
The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
From a Palmetto tree-lined entrance to a lush tropical landscape, this resort sets the stage for a truly unique and grand experience.
The architecture and design highlights a low-country style aesthetic, complete with wraparound porches perfect for winding down with a handcrafted cocktail.
An authentic Charleston experience is delivered here, through a gracious, personalized service and 92 luxuriously-appointed guestrooms.
These rooms feature upscale furnishings with hand-painted elements, and a coastal palette which provides a gorgeous, tranquil environment.
Guests can enjoy games of bocce on the private seaside court, or life-size chess. They can also venture into the resort’s cinema, theatre, or private pool-side cabanas to indulge in some experiences not offered at most hotels.
Stylish low-country vibes
Private seaside court
Onsite cinema and theatre
Beautiful poolside cabanas
Bar closes early
No coffee pot in rooms
Some outside road noises
Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
This resort and marina is a world-class destination, offering elegant accommodations, an extensive amenity list, and many water-sport activities courtesy of its prime waterfront location.
True Southern hospitality is a key facet of this Charleston resort, where the focus is on creating a unique and memorable guest experience, enveloped by charm and gracious service. 125 guestrooms are provided, with a variety of room and suite options.
Delicious dining can be enjoyed at the Fish House, whilst the Estuary Spa offers rejuvenating spa services. Guests can then choose to indulge in restorative wellness sessions, or just soak up the sun in a lounge chair.
Marine-inspired style with reasonable room rates
Dining at Fish House
Refreshing spa services and pool
A playful kid’s club
Shower pressure can be a little weak
Lack of storage space in rooms
Inn at I'On, Ascend Hotel Collection
The Inn at I’On is a charming hotel offering boutique accommodations, a convenient location, and outstanding service. A deluxe continental breakfast is offered complimentary each morning, and the guest rooms are well-appointed with the latest technologies and amenities.
The I’On club, a community destination which features tennis courts, swimming pools, and a fitness centre, is also offered to all guests.
Within walking distance, several shops and restaurants, as well as popular tourist attractions, provide much entertainment opportunities to guests. If visiting Sullivan’s Island and other local beaches is on your agenda, you cannot go wrong with the location of this gorgeous, chic hotel.
Soft charming interior
Onsite tennis court
Costly pet fee
Parking is a little compact
Market Pavilion Hotel
Market Pavilion Hotel is Charleston’s most luxurious hotel. Located in the epicenter of Downtown, it is just minutes from the waterfront, tour guides, shopping, and grand old homes.
Set among some of Charleston’s most historical landmarks, the hotel provides the perfect respite spot after an interesting day wandering around downtown.
This experience is bolstered by its decadent guestrooms, which offer residential furnishings such as a mahogany king-size poster bed, an extravagant Italian marble bath with standing shower, and high-end amenities.
Memorable food, impeccable service and a very optimal atmosphere combine at Grill 225, which operates under the direction of Executive Chef Demestre Castanas. The Pavilion bar is a rooftop oasis, with a cascading pool and views of historic Charleston.
Breathtaking rooftop terrace
Pavilion bar with rooftop pool
Tour guides and beaches are nearby
No bunk beds in the hotel
Only valet parking
Meeting Street Inn
Modern day comfort meets historic Charleston charm at the Meeting Street Inn, which offers peaceful and affordable accommodations in the heart of downtown Charleston.
The breezy, semi-private balconies and tranquil garden courtyard at the Inn, make for an idyllic romantic getaway, especially for those seeking intimacy in a timeless setting.
A complimentary continental breakfast is offered to all guests, as well as an inviting, elegant, and historically rich Charleston experience.
The hotel was initially constructed in 1837, and despite many iterations over the years, a traditional feel still prevails beautifully. The 56 guestrooms include a mix of traditional and deluxe rooms, and all provide a charming and intimate atmosphere.
Historic intimate decor
Peaceful garden courtyard
Serene semi-private balconies
No microwaves in rooms
No hot tubs in the rooms
This apartment hotel, located in one of Charleston’s most vibrant and desired tourist areas, welcomes guests to a curated mix of dining and shopping experiences, where they can soak up the southern charm.
Within the contemporary design, high-end packing carousels, premium amenities, and the gorgeous surrounding area, you will find an untouched atmosphere, that’s for sure.
Proudly managed by CHC Vacation Rentals, the hotel prides itself on an exemplary staff presence, pristine amenities, and options to suit all types of guests.
The signature, superior, and premier suites, all feature state-of-the-art furnishings and chic décor, complimented by a bright and spacious interior and comfortable seating areas.
Contemporary chic style
Complementary wine for welcome
Close to many attractions
No wellness center
Trendy and Gorgeous Hotels in Charleston Compared
The top 19 cool and unusual hotels in Charleston are compared in the following table based on a variety of criteria, such as costs, amenities, and more:
|Hotel Name||Location||Price Range (per night)||Fitness Facilities||Distance to Attractions (km)||Nearby Restaurants|
|Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection||55 Wentworth Street||$659-$704||Yes||0.85||3|
|The Pinch Charleston||40 George Street||$634-$819||Yes||0.9||3|
|The Ryder Hotel||237 Meeting Street||$379-$915||Yes||0.85||3|
|The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel||115 Meeting Street||$409-$539||Yes||1.1||3|
|The Loutrel||61 State Street||$549-$609||Yes||1.0||3|
|Hotel Emeline||181 Church Street||$599-$1079||Yes||0.9||3|
|Harborview Inn||2 Vendue Range||$469-$629||No||1.2||2|
|The Restoration Hotel||75 Wentworth Street||$529-$609||Yes||0.85||3|
|The Spectator Hotel||67 State Street||$629-$949||No||--||3|
|The Vendue||19 Vendue Range and 26 Vendue Range||$429-$549||No||1.2||3|
|Zero George Street||0 George Street||$759-$959||Yes||0.7||3|
|86 Cannon Historic Inn||86 Cannon Street||$759-$669||No||0.8||3|
|Hotel Indigo Charleston - Mount Pleasant, an IHG Hotel||250 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard||$279-$289||Yes||3.9||3|
|The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina||28 Patriots Point Rd||$482||Yes||2.1||2|
|Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina||20 Patriots Point Road||$236-$286||Yes||0.9||2|
|Inn at I'On, Ascend Hotel Collection||148 Civitas Street||$419||Yes||5.0||2|
|Market Pavilion Hotel||225 East Bay Street||$589-$699||Yes||1.0||2|
|Meeting Street Inn||173 Meeting Street||$399-$429||No||0.1||3|
|The Iris||84 Line Street||$188||No||1.0||3|
Gaby Maia – writer and photographer
Born and raised in Brazil, Gaby has always had a taste for the intriguing, the off-beat and the far flung. After traveling around most of South America, living in Spain and Italy and then moving to England, her feet have stayed continually twitchy. Studying for a degree in Spanish translation and then learning five more languages only poured more fuel onto her traveling ardor. Gaby likes nothing better than discovering new destinations in her spare time and meeting the locals, tasting the cuisine and then writing about her favourite places. Her other indulgences include French cinema, boxing, photography, colourful manicures and soaking up the rays on a sun-infused beach. The places she loves the most include Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Turkey, Barcelona, Lisbon and Cornwall. Find Gaby on Linkedin or Twitter.