Many of the people who’ve heard of bed and breakfasts before cringe at the sound. They 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 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.
But first, a personal story:
Some of my earliest working experience comes from working at my family business, an upscale bed and breakfast inn in Greenwich, Connecticut. So I am biased, but bed and breakfasts fit in with 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 terms of 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?
10 of the Most Romantic Bed and Breakfasts in the Historic District of Charleston, SC
Young American travelers are starting to skip 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 historical bed and breakfasts. Most of these inns offer nice touches like evening drinks, afternoon tea, or similar amenities.
Here’s our pick of the ten most romantic ones in Charleston’s historic downtown neighborhoods.
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 look. 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:
The Ashley Inn
Another historical example, 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. Yet its situation in a scenic residential area belies its proximity to the rapidly growing business district of Elliotborough-Canonborough. It’s location 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. With six guest rooms, a suite, and a carriage house, it’s not too busy, but not too quiet so close to MUSC.
John Rutledge House Inn
Even older than the Ashley Inn, the John Rutledge House Inn is another of Charleston’s charming historic inns with a particularly flavorsome 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. However, 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 only a few years ago, ensuring all modern amenities for guests.
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.
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 and foremost. 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.
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.
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.
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 it’s location on South Battery, down the street from the Two Meeting Street Inn and across from White Point Gardens, can’t be beat. But it has a lot more to offer than proximity and a view of the Battery seawall. 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. 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 Historic Charleston City Market or Waterfront Park, but there’s plenty in the inn itself to keep you busy. With whirlpool hot tubs, private porches, and a wine and cheese tasting services, it’s one of the more feature-packed entrants in this list.
I’m personally not a huge fan of their interior decorating. It’s 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.
King George IV Inn
The King George IV Inn was not the quietest of idyllic of spots in the city. But it was affordable and in a great location close to King Street on George Street. Unfortunately, the inn was recently bought by the College of Charleston and is no longer receiving guests.
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.