The Best Hotels, Inns, & Resorts



In 1948, there was little tourism in Charleston.  A brochure for the Festival of Houses that year listed five places to stay. The most expensive hotel cost $3.00 a night.  As one of our Spoleto Festival jazz greats said one night “….this town has some of the best cribs I’ve ever seen”.  And it’s true.  There is something for every taste and budget.  Most places are within walking distance of what you want to do. Some are destination hotels close to the city. You can spend days and evenings on the Peninsula and then retreat to your hotel or inn and spend the next day in a beautiful setting away from the city.   Plus, they are very romantic;  if that is of any interest to you and your travel companions.

the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's

Cassique Club, Kiawah Island

Kiawah is a sea island, or barrier island located twenty-four miles (40 km) southwest of Charleston and it is operated today largely as a gated beach and golf resort—the Kiawah Island Golf Resort—with spacious villas, beaches, large and acclaimed golf courses, and other attractions. As of the 2010 census, Kiawah Island's population was 1,626, up from 1,163 at the 2000 census. The island is part of the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area. Alternative spellings and variants of the name itself include "Kiawa", "Kittiwar" (in DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy), and "Kittiwah" (in George and Ira Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess).

Kiawah was named for the Kiawah Indians who were led by their head chieftain or cassique. In the year 1670, the cassique of the Kiawah led English colonists to settle at Charlestowne Landing.

Long held by the Vanderhorst family, Kiawah Island was purchased by C.C. Royal in 1950 for logging and timber; he went on to develop the first summer home neighborhood in 1954 along the beach and named the street Eugenia, after his wife. In 1974 Royal's heirs sold the island to Kuwait Investment Corporation; soon after, a thorough environmental survey is conducted, and a master plan for Kiawah's development is produced. Two years later, in 1976, real estate sales commenced and the Cougar Point (formerly Marsh Point) golf course was opened.

The 1980s saw the opening of two of the seven golf courses associated with Kiawah-Turtle Point in 1981 and Osprey Point in 1988. 1988 also saw all resort assets and amenities, along with Kiawah's undeveloped lands purchased by the development group, Kiawah Resort Associates (KRA), owned by Charles P. Darby III and Patrick W. McKinney, et al. The Town of Kiawah was also established in the same year. Buddy Darby's vision and charisma brought the famed PGA Ryder Cup to Kiawah in 1991 and established the island resort as a national attraction. Today, Buddy and his son Charles P. Darby IV are developing the resort Christophe Harbour on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean.  www.christopheharbour.com

Following the impact of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, KRA sold resort assets to Landmark Land Co., who would then sell the assets to William H. Goodwin of Virginia in 1993. The 90s saw the establishment of the Kiawah Island Club in 1993 and the addition of three more courses: the Ocean Course in 1991, designed by Pete Dye and the home of the Ryder Cup that year, the River Course in 1995, and Oak Point in 1997. The final of Kiawah's associated golf courses, Cassique, was opened in 2000 with a grand clubhouse and the course designed by Tom Watson . Freshfields Village, a town-center type mix of shopping, dining, and services saw ground broken in 2004. That same year, The Sanctuary hotel opened on the island.  In 2013, Darby and associates sold Kiawah Partners to the South Street Partners for an estimated $350 million. This transaction included Kiawah Island Club, Kiawah Island Real Estate, Freshfields Village, Kiawah Island Utility, and other domestic and international holdings such as the famed links course and clubhouse Doonbeg, in Southern Ireland.

The Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island. This is but one of the true barrier island destinations that can only be described by a visit. World class amenities are close. A spa. Dining experiences. 11 miles of beach. Grand swimming pools. Concerts on the beach. Every recreation imaginable at your disposal. It is a Paradice

The Charleston Peninsula Hotels & Inns

Grand Bohemian

The Spectator

Embassy Suites Historic

The Dewberry

The Mills House

The Hampton Inn Historic

Wentworth Mansion

21 East Battery

Two Meeting Street Inn

The Lord of the Manor

16 Miles  from the Peninsula

Middleton Inn

The Inn at Middleton Place opened in 1987 and was immediately celebrated for it's modern design and it's environmentally sensitive layout. The Inn was executed by W.G. Clark and Charles Menefee of  Charleston.  The Inn was recognized for it's outstanding concept and design by the American Institute of Architecture with it's Honor Award, their highest accolade.

Above, one of the second floor rooms at the Middleton Inn.  The lead architect for the Inn and one of America's greatest architects is W.G. Clark, who considers the Inn to be one of his greatest achievements.

In the mid 1970s W.G. Clark began his career in Charleston. He was born in Louisa, Virginia, and studied architecture at the University of Virginia. After working for Venture Rauch and Scott Brown in Philadelphia, he began his architectural practice in Charleston in 1974.  Mr. Clark was appointed design critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1987. In 1989 he was appointed chairman of Architecture at the University of Virginia and was named Edmund Schureman Campbell Professor in 1989. W. G. Clark Associates are the architects of the East Addition to the University of Virginia School of Architecture in the middle of Thomas Jefferson's masterpiece.

In the heat of the summer and Fall in Charleston you will need to know where the best swimming pools are located. The average temperature in August * is fierce.  In September in Charleston it is **  beginning to cool  a little and the secluded pool at the Inn is one of the best amenities of your stay. It is one of Charleston's favorite local weekend getaways to go to the close by country and spend the weekend at this architectural gem. The Inn is sixteen miles from the Peninsula and faces the Ashley River.  The long manicured walks along the river are exquisite.  And the celebrated Middleton restaurant is a short walk from the Inn.

*Average weather in August in Charleston is characterized by gradually falling daily high temperatures, with daily highs decreasing by 3°F, from 89°F to 86°F over the course of the month, and rarely exceeding 94°F or dropping below 81°F during the day. The average low is 72°F

** Average high in September is 85°F and the average low is 68°F

Nevertheless, myths of authenticity as projected in Laugier’s primitive hut and Thoreau’s Walden find their reverberation in Clark and Menefee’s Reid and Croffead houses or in the guest rooms at Middleton Inn.  Being there,  almost in unmediated contact with nature, merely screened with fig-leaf-like adjustable wooden louvers, puts the inhabitant of the primary cell, as that comforting euphemism of a primitive hut, into as close as a prime state of existence as possible in today’s spoilt civilization...    Wilfred Wang - on the work of Clark and Menefee


The Inn at Middleton Place

Another one of W.G. Clark's masterworks also happens to be in Charleston. The Croffead House. It sits on a little 1/2 acre bluff on the intersection of the Wappoo Cut and the Stono River. When you are in a small boat in the swift running Intracoastal cut you look up and see the cement and glass home as you head into the Stono river. It is stunning. It was built in 1988, a year before the strong hurricane of 1989, Hugo. The 2700 sq. ft house suffered no damage from the storm thanks to the thought through structural design of Clark and Menefee.

One of our favorite places to stay in Charleston are the Cottages on Charleston Harbor at Patriot's Point, a short hop across the Cooper River from the Peninsula. You can take a Water Taxi from the Patriot's Point Marina next to the cottages to downtown Charleston. Have a Rickshaw waiting to pick you up and wisk you to dinner or your event or both. And then have a land taxi waiting for you at your destination restaurant or event when you are finished having fun. And this is all arranged for you by the Cottage Concierge with precision and the cost would surprise you as to it's affordability.  And after all, living well is the best revenge.

The Cottages in the foreground and the marina where you can catch the Water Taxi to the Peninsula in the background. If you are a sailor you can charter a sailboat of all kinds, both with or without a Captain. Small motor craft are also available. The Cottages have a clubhouse and a large swimming pool.

Vanessa Kauffmann


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the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's
the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's

the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's
the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's
the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's
the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's
the best charleston sc lodging, hotels, inns, b&b's