Many people cringe at the term, “bed and breakfasts.”
It makes them think of things like:
- sleeping at their grandparents’ house
- being supremely uncomfortable around old people
Fortunately, bed and breakfast inns have changed a lot (for the better). New changes in the market like Airbnb have made bed and breakfasts more accessible to a new generation of potential guests.
In this case, Millennials like me.
And while you’ll still find cringe-worthy B&B inns out there, you won’t find any of them on this list of the most romantic bed and breakfasts in Charleston, SC.
Some of my earliest working experience comes from working at my family business, a bed and breakfast inn in Greenwich, Connecticut. So I am biased, but bed and breakfasts fit my personal outlook on life and the glories of the American economy.
The majority of bed and breakfasts are small, often family-run businesses. These businesses cannot compete with chain hotels in price, so they instead focus on what they do best:
- Quality of service
- Knowledge of, and connection to, the community in which they’re located
Two things that matter more to me. I’d rather hear about local gossip (even if I don’t care about it), and get a feel for local color at breakfast.
Set that in comparison to eating plastic-tasting pancakes by yourself at a chain hotel.
Sounds a lot more romantic, no?
The Most Romantic Bed and Breakfasts in the Charleston Historic District: by Neighborhood
Young American travelers are skipping the bland feel of hotels for the more personalized experience of a bed and breakfast. And there are plenty of bed and breakfasts in Charleston, South Carolina, to make you feel more than at home.
The city is popular for events like the Spoleto Festival, and the beaches near Charleston rival any coastline. But there’s an undeniable historic quality to Charleston best exemplified in its historic bed and breakfasts. Most of these inns offer nice touches like evening drinks, afternoon tea, or similar amenities.
Here’s our pick of the most romantic ones in each of Charleston’s historic downtown neighborhoods.
I couldn’t think of a better way to divide-up these bed and breakfasts in Charleston than by neighborhood.
And knowing far more than necessary about Charleston neighborhoods is kinda my thing.
If you’re looking for something a little farther away, checkout guides for day trips and road trips nearby to Charleston, such as:
The Best Bed and Breakfasts in the South of Broad Neighborhood
Someone once said that that are two South Carolinas:
- One is South of Broad
- The other is everywhere else
Having a house South of Broad means you’re in the upper echelons of Charleston, and Southern, society.
It could also make you an S.O.B., depending on who you’re talking to.
Strolling the streets of this residential area is like moving through the outdoor mall of Southern gentility. Huge antebellum townhouses with gallery porches turned to the side, away from the cobbled streets. Sidewalks abruptly curve to accommodate massive live oak trunks.
And there’s plenty of history here. After all, it’s where pirates were hanged and the Civil War began.
The soothing sounds of the fountains and birds inside are too loud for the high brick walls. You can peer through intricate wrought-iron fence designs into elegant gardens. You’ll find such attractions and historic house-museums in the South of Broad neighborhood as:
Get ready to feel like a rich S.O.B. for a few nights at the following Charleston bed and breakfasts:
Two Meeting Street Inn
Two Meeting Street Inn calls itself Charleston’s Most Admired Inn, and that’s not without merit. It’s located across the street from White Point Gardens, not far from the Charleston Battery. The Inn fits perfectly with a vintage ante-bellum feel for which some visitors to Charleston search. Its sense of classic style makes it one of the more popular options for Charleston romantic weekend getaways. This upscale inn features quirky rooms reminiscent of a converted historic mansion. It makes up for it, though, with high-level service and attention.
Check-out a video the Two Meeting Street Inn to get a better idea of the experience of staying there:
20 South Battery
The recently renovated 20 South Battery is absolutely stunning and rich in history.
This Charleston bed and breakfast is also across the street from the pleasant White Point Garden.
Guests can enjoy a European-style continental breakfast in the hotel’s library. After a day of sightseeing, you’ll be free to relax with wine and cheese in the ballroom each afternoon.
The Battery Carriage House
The Battery Carriage House Inn is supposedly one of the most haunted bed and breakfasts in Charleston. I can’t speak to its hauntings.
But its location on South Battery, down the street from the Two Meeting Street Inn and across from White Point Gardens, can’t be beat. And it has a lot more to offer than proximity and a view of the Battery seawall.
This Charleston bed and breakfast is already opulent, hosting priceless antiques dating back to the 1500s. And yet the Concierge Level of the inn ups the ante even more. Be sure to book a room on this level to enjoy:
- Free in-room snacks
- Complimentary after-dinner drinks
- And an in-room pampering kit that includes a calming pillow mist
It’s definitely one of the more relaxing B&Bs mentioned in the list so far, closer to the more reserved spots of the city. That said, plenty of museums and art galleries are still within reach. I would argue they’re within walking distance, though some more car-focused visitors may beg to differ.
The Governor’s House Inn
Want to know what it’s like to live like a historical Charlestonian of real influence and stature? Get that experience in the Governor’s House Inn.
The Governor’s House Inn is a National Historic Landmark thanks to its connection to Edward Rutledge. He was a pivotal figure in the fight for American independence, and the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Few B&Bs can claim to be a mansion, but this 13-room inn is no exaggeration. It’s a little farther from hotspot areas like the City Market or Waterfront Park. But it’s still walking distance.
And there’s plenty in the inn itself to keep you busy. With whirlpool hot tubs, private porches, and wine and cheese tasting services, it’s one of the more feature-packed entrants in this list.
Their interior decorating is a little dated for me, with a lot of 4-poster beds and printed wallpaper. But the backyard is beautiful and peaceful. It’s easy to forget you’re right on Broad Street, across the street from the John Rutledge House and within a stone’s throw of the St John the Baptist Cathedral.
The Governor’s House Inn has a lovely stately piano room where you can enjoy an afternoon wine reception. And the expansive (and lovely) piazza is the perfect spot for your first morning coffee sip.
The Best Bed and Breakfasts in Charleston’s French Quarter
French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution arrived in Charleston in the late 17th century. Many of them settled in this area of town and started businesses. Today, the streets of the quarter are home to the only independent French Huguenot Church in America. You’ll find lots of the city’s art galleries and restaurants while meandering through the alleys. Some attractions located along a tourist-heavy section of Bay Street near the City Market, where cruise ships dock, include:
- The Old Slave Mart Museum
- South Carolina Historical Society Museum
- Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
- Waterfront Park
- And Gibbes Museum
27 State Street Bed and Breakfast
Naming a business is hard.
But in Charleston, the address can more than suffice.
This Charleston bed and breakfast exudes old-world charm. 27 State Street’s well-preserved architecture and furnishings exude old-world beauty.
This charming bed and breakfast serves a daily continental breakfast with items from the Saffron Bakery and local fruit.
Couples will enjoy 27 State Street especially for its complimentary bottle of wine upon check-in and friendly staff.
The State Room lives up to its name thanks to its brick walls and vaulted ceilings, which give it a stately appearance.
Check out the Master Suite for a different perspective on State Street. Here, you can luxuriate in the bathtub on original oak floors while admiring the vintage rose-stained glass skylight above.
The Spectator Hotel
This option is more of a boutique hotel, but it does offer a smashing breakfast each morning. And its decor, butler service, and location right by the Historic Charleston City Market certainly makes it unique.
The lobby of the Spectator Hotel is stunning, with:
- Hand-painted murals of birds
- Stuffed white peacocks
- And amethyst-colored drapes
All chosen to evoke the glitz and style of the 1920s with a modern twist. A unique cocktail from the speakeasy style bar greets guests on arrival.
The Best Bed and Breakfasts in Charleston’s Harleston Village
This sprawling community stretches west of King Street to the Ashley River and north of Broad Street to Calhoun Street. The picturesque campus of the College of Charleston takes up a chunk of the neighborhood. Visit the central Cistern Yard, surrounded by some of the city’s most historic structures. Rich residential streets include plenty of churches to add to the Holy City’s roster. Throughout the expensive, historic, neighborhood are stately townhouses, inns, and walled gardens.
Wentworth Mansion is an unapologetically grand homage to Second Empire architecture. It’s hard to miss, as it towers over its charming neighborhood. Local magnate Francis Silas Rodgers used his sizable fortune to buy the property. He built a commanding mansard roof (rare here) to house his 24 servants and 13 children. The architectural details of this mansion are sure to impress:
- The 14-foot ceilings
- Tiffany windows
- Hand-carved moulding
- Enormous marble fireplaces
- Gigantic pocket doors
- Crystal chandeliers
- And rooftop cupola with panoramic city views
1837 Bed and Breakfast
If you want to feel like you’re staying in a period drama, then the 1837 Bed and Breakfast might be the place for you. This ex-cotton planter’s home has embraced its history with open arms. Speaking of which, guess where the name comes from?
In the 9 bedrooms, you’ll find antiques and period reproductions with French furniture alongside your cable TV and in-room fridges. There are also great social areas like a big fireplace to gather round and a porch overlooking the peaceful Wentworth Street from the comfort of a rocking chair. It’s a romantic Charleston bed and breakfast with plenty of enduring charm these near-two-hundred years later.
John Rutledge House Inn
The John Rutledge House Inn is another of Charleston’s charming historic inns with a particularly flavorful piece of history. Dating from 1793, very few buildings can be said to have both taken a cannonball and hosted George Washington. It’s located right on Broad Street next door to the Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist. And yet, it’s not all stuck in the past with plenty of modern comforts to keep you feeling like you’ve slipped too far into the past. In fact, the entire building was renovated recently, ensuring all modern amenities for guests.
This bed and breakfast is one of the larger ones in the area, with 19 individually decorated rooms. You can get a massage in your room and dine outside.
A glass of port, sherry, or brandy is the perfect way to unwind each night at the John Rutledge House Inn. Fireplaces made of Italian marble and soaring ceilings are among the luxurious amenities of the ethereal guest rooms. Take a few slow sips, then retire to your elegant room and slip into a plush robe for some much-needed alone time.
And spend the golden hour before sunset creating your next social media post on the iconic teal wrought-iron balconies.
A written description doesn’t give as strong of a picture of the experience of staying there as a video.
Even a very sales-pitchy one.
The Best Bed and Breakfasts in Charleston, SC near Lower King Street
Many King Street storefronts between Broad and Calhoun streets host national brands. And yet some of the older low-rise buildings still house locally owned antique shops and galleries.
Be sure to peruse independent stores while strolling. And the Preservation Society of Charleston‘s shop, in particular. It sells local goods and books written by local authors.
Fulton Lane Inn
Some consider Fulton Lane Inn one of Charleston’s best-kept secrets.
The Fulton Lane Inn is as peaceful and relaxing as a serene paradise. You’ll be forgiven for forgetting you’re in Charleston’s busiest neighborhood!
Every morning, a complimentary breakfast is delivered to your door, and every evening, the inn hosts a complimentary wine and cheese reception.
The rooms are furnished with antiques, though they still feel contemporary.
Elliott House Inn
The boutique Elliott House Inn can feel like the perfect place to put up your feet and get a real idea of the cultural heritage of the area. Its traditionally designed rooms and cobblestone courtyard certainly help with the ambience. The Elliott House Inn is all about providing an experience first.
If you enjoy dining al fresco, the Elliott House Inn is one of the best places to stay in Charleston, SC! Can you imagine eating breakfast out of the way of the scorching heat? Its lovely terrace and patio makes it one of the best bed and breakfasts in Charleston.
Boat and carriage tours are offered as part of their vacation packages and a restaurant that has earned much praise in its own right. They even have an on-site historian to provide guided tours and give a deeper feel for the history of the city. Be careful which room you reserve, as ones facing next door Husk can be noisy.
Each bedroom is furnished in a modern yet warm and inviting style. Guest rooms offer retreats with cool sea breezes blowing through their plantation shutters. Stop by the bar and lounge area for a drink after a day of sightseeing in Charleston. This is without a doubt one of the best hotels in Charleston.
You can always rent a bicycle for free if you and your partner in crime want to explore Charleston bike trails for a while.
The Barksdale House Inn
The Barksdale House Inn, built in 1778, is decorated in a European style, with original 18th and 19th century flooring and furniture.
Each room has a different theme, but not in a bad way.
This Charleston bed and breakfast is full of character! What more could you want in a B&B than a choice of four-poster and canopy beds, as well as a daily a-la-carte breakfast?
Guests have praised this inn for its friendly and accommodating staff.
Relaxing with a cold beverage on a warm afternoon on their porch would never be a bad idea.
Kings Courtyard Inn
One of the standout features of Kings Courtyard Inn is its lush courtyard. It provides a peaceful and tranquil escape from the bustling city. The inn also offers a delicious Southern-style continental breakfast each morning, included in the room rate.
The Kings Courtyard Inn is a popular bed and breakfast in Charleston. It occupies one of Charleston’s oldest buildings. You’ll find original hardwood floors, hand-carved plaster moldings, and fireplaces in guest rooms.
Staff serve a complimentary glass of wine or sherry to guests on arrival. You’ll also get the option of having breakfast delivered to your room or in the courtyard each morning.
To add to the hotel’s southern charm, each room is individually decorated and furnished with antiques.
King George IV Inn
The King George IV Inn was not the quietest of idyllic spots in the city. But it was affordable and in a great location close to King Street on George Street. Unfortunately, the College of Charleston recently bought the inn, which is no longer receiving guests.
The Best Bed and Breakfasts in Charleston’s Ansonborough Neighborhood
Walking Ansonborough’s narrow streets, you’ll discover:
- Stately old townhouses
- A few shops
- And restaurants (mostly along East Bay and Meeting streets)
- And Carriage horse stables
Ansonborough stretches from the City Market north to King Street east to the Cooper River.
With a more residential feel, and plenty of shade, walking or biking around the quarter is a pleasant diversion.
The Jasmine House
This bed and breakfast in Charleston is an excellent choice for a peaceful and relaxing getaway.
The Jasmine House is housed in an 1843 Greek Revivalist mansion.
Every room has its own bathroom, which is individually decorated. Some rooms even have a gas fireplace or a private patio.
Aside from breakfast, this Charleston inn provides a complimentary wine and cheese reception each day. It seems an ideal way to take advantage of the sun terrace.
If you weren’t too confident, you might think you’d strolled into a private Charleston home. There are five residences here, in fact—three restored “Charleston singles” and two carriage houses. Pass the espaliered magnolia and climbing roses to the main 1804 building, where a glass of champagne will greet you on the veranda.
Guest rooms at the Zero George feature:
- Cream-colored wainscoting
- Pine flooring
- A large fireplace
- And plantation shutters for light and privacy
Modern lamps and spotless Italian linens add a splash of color. The bathrooms at this top pick of Charleston historic district hotels are modern, despite being a little small.
Andrew Pinckney Inn
This is another inn that’s in a great location. The Andrew Pinckney Inn is close to both the Historic Charleston City Market and the harbor area of historic downtown Charleston. It might be the best place to start out from for those who want to take a tour of the city and are here primarily to see the sights above all else. It’s so close to the bustling Market Street, the cultural heart of the city as far as tourists are concerned. There are lots of eateries, specialty shops and carriage rides and tours within a block radius. Andrew Pinckney Inn’s location make it perfect for easily-planned romantic weekend getaways.
It’s a downtown Charleston boutique hotel with plenty of style, though the 41-room capacity might be a little too busy for some. If you don’t mind sharing space with other tourists to get closer to some of the most intriguing parts of the city, then nothing should stop you from staying between these original, well-preserved brick walls.
Bonus Addition to the list of Bed and Breakfasts in Charleston, SC: Elliotborough-Cannonborough
A stroll down parallel Cannon and Spring streets reveals a thriving, artistic, community. Foodies flock to restaurants here such as Xiao Bao Biscuit.
This neighborhood is a hipster’s dream, with local establishments like:
- The Grocery
- J. Stark
- Sugar Bakeshop, one of the best bakeries in Charleston
- And Indigo & Cotton
Other creators, such as the Contents Co., hold private workshops nearby.
The Ashley, formerly known as the Ashley Inn
Another historic Charleston bed and breakfast, this particular inn has been standing since 1832. Its distinct pink walls and flourishes of greenery make it look like a family home that has proudly stood the test of time. The location of the Ashley makes it a perfect base of operations. From here, guests can visit cafes, the historic district, and some of the city’s more scenic walking routes.
Each room is decorated differently, with a timeless mix of modern and classic elements. The stunning terrace is the ideal place to unwind after a long day, and the star of this Charleston bed and breakfast.
With six guest rooms, a suite, and a carriage house, it’s not too busy, but not too quiet so close to MUSC.
Charleston Bed and Breakfast Booked, Now What?
Hopefully, the examples above will help you find the right romantic Charleston bed and breakfast for you. Whether you’re looking to enjoy your visit to the area or you’re a local that’s looking for a little bit of retreat in-town, you’re sure to enjoy a quality stay at any of these locations. These smaller businesses are sure to give any of the best hotels in Charleston, SC, a run for their (well, your) money.
Except at the King George IV Inn, obviously. RIP.
Now to the fun part: planning the rest of the trip!
Be sure to checkout some of our other guides, based on your interests:
- The best beaches near Charleston, SC, provided you’ll be driving
- The top plantations near Charleston, if you’re into that sort of thing
- This writer’s favorite day and weekend trips from Charleston
And be sure to read our full guide to activities, attractions, and things to do in Charleston, South Carolina!
Edited, updated, and republished: February 8, 2023