Why is South Carolina’s historic city so popular among Travel + Leisure readers? It all starts with the hotels that call the city home.
In Charleston, once again voted T+L readers’ favorite city in the U.S., this year’s top hotels share both a pedestrian-friendly location and a sense of place in their design. And the Vendue, an art-focused hotel with rotating exhibits of contemporary works, was the big winner this year. “The décor and ambiance were exquisite at the Vendue,” said one T+L voter of the property, which also ranked No. 9 overall among U.S. city hotels. “The personal service upon arrival and during our stay was over-the-top.”
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations.
The Vendue was closely followed by Zero George, a collection of early 19th-century buildings marked by guest rooms that have modern, custom-built furnishings, plantation shutters, and heart-pine floors. Our readers loved the breakfast, served in a carriage house anchored by a classic Lanache cooking range. Spectator Hotel — last year’s winner for Best City Hotels in the continental U.S. — was knocked to third place. Still, the property wows with its personal butler service and hand-painted wallpaper, not to mention the cordials served in edible chocolate cups left bedside at turndown. And one of the city’s most social spots is the bar, where hotel guests and city residents alike snag emerald leather chairs and sip on signature drinks such as the Dude Imbibes, made with house-infused chai-spiced vodka, almond milk, and espresso.
Wentworth Mansion a brick beauty that dates to 1887, came in at No. 5. It now has 21 individually decorated rooms where original features (sparkling Italian chandeliers, 19th-century marble mantles) meet plush updates. “Accommodations were beyond our dreams, with high ceilings and a beautiful gas fireplace,” said one reader. On the other end of the spectrum lies the Dewberry, an It List 2017 winner thanks to its 155 crisp rooms set in a former government building. Marble bathrooms, brass mirrors, velvet sofas, and walnut paneling give the property a mid-century look that feels refreshingly modern. “You get Charleston charm, but still feel transported to another place and time,” said one reader.
For more on Charleston’s hotel winners, scroll down.