Stay on King Street in Historic Downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Though I’ve never lived in an apartment in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, my most recent visit gave me a glimpse at what the experience would be like. I love it.
“You’re being upgraded to a suite,” said the guy behind the check-in desk at Francis Marion Hotel while staring at his computer screen. I vaguely recall him offering some explanation as to why—the manager? a large group needed all the basic rooms?—but I was barely listening. I heard “upgrade” and zoned out as any lingering stress evaporated.
Filled with eager anticipation, I rode the elevator up to my room, opened the door, and thought, wow!
This was a suite! More spacious than the average hotel suite, it rivaled my first apartment.
Room sizes were generous so that there was extra floor space, not the more common situation where walls fit tight around the furnishings. The living area was furnished with a couch that faced a flat-screen TV plus a work station. It was adjacent to a full kitchen—equipped with a dishwasher, full-size refrigerator, large sink, coffee maker, microwave, and four-burner electric stove. One kitchen counter doubled as an eat-in area with two bar stools. Across the entry hall was a bedroom with a cushy king-sized bed plus dressers, another flat-screen TV and large closet. The bathroom offered a shower/tub combo, large sink, toilet, and lots of fluffy towels. One door in the hallway opened to a closet, another door opened to a stacked washer/dryer. In-room laundry! The style and furnishings were classic, simple, comfortable.
I’d have loved to hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and stay at least a month, but alas, I had only a two-night reservation at the Francis Marion Hotel.
After I described the room to a friend at the state’s tourism office, she said, “I didn’t know they had rooms like that!” It is a surprise to find such spacious accommodations in the heart of historic downtown Charleston.
The hotel was built in 1924 and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. It’s across from Marion Square and about a 15-minute walk from the South Carolina Aquarium and the historic City Market. Shopping and dining options abound on King Street.
It was such a convenience and welcoming experience to have such a centrally-located home base. I could head down from my “apartment” in the morning, stroll down the street for coffee from a local roaster, walk to a meeting, wander through the park, run some errands, and grab a bite to eat, all without the need of a car or even a map to find my way around since it’s hard to get lost on one street! King Street has enough to see and do that it’s easy to fill a day without stepping off it. I started to feel like a local, even made a new friend at a lunch counter. It was easy to pop back up to my room whenever I needed to drop off shopping bags, get a glass of water or whatever.
Francis Marion Hotel is a convenient, comfortable place to stay in Historic Downtown Charleston, however long your stay—whatever length it is, odds are that you’ll wish it were longer!
- Free Wi-Fi
- Paid self-parking or valet parking is available
- Some guestrooms offer harbor views
- Business center
- On-site restaurant and bar; live jazz music performed in the evenings
- In-room coffee makers include basic supplies; there’s also a Starbucks located on the lobby level
- On-site spa
- Excerise room
- HD cable including HBO and Showtime
- Rates from $190/night
- Odds of Encountering Children: Possible, but less likely than at a national chain hotel.
Francis Marion Hotel
387 King St.
Charleston, SC 29403
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to South Carolina Tourism for hosting my stay.