- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
Perhaps the most beloved stay in Columbia is the
Inn at USC (1619 Pendleton St., 866/455-4753, www.innatusc.com, $130), a real hidden gem right on campus. While intended primarily as a stop for alumni and those on Gamecock business, the general public has taken to this popular boutique property, which is managed by the Hampton chain. A particular emphasis is placed on a certain clubby collegiality, down to the rotating (and quite good) art exhibits gracing the walls. Another big plus is the complimentary, cooked-to-order breakfast in the Palmetto Room.
The newest property downtown is the Sheraton Columbia Downtown (1400 Main St., 803/988-1400, www.starwoodhotels.com, $145), housed in a particularly well-restored former bank building (you’ll actually find a hip little bar in the old bank vault). The rooms are similarly well-appointed, with a real attempt made at something close to period furnishing. Note that this property is on the high side of this price category. Valet parking is also a bit steep, at $18 per day, but unfortunately a near-requirement because of the scarcity of parking places downtown, especially during the week.
The Courtyard by Marriott Downtown at USC (630 Assembly St., 803/799-7800, www.marriott.com, $115–125) was actually a Holiday Inn not long ago. An extensive makeover has put the facility more in line with the Marriott chain’s self-consciously minimalist design. The location puts you a short walk from several performing arts facilities, the State House, and the Vista. Parking is extra, but on the weekend you should have no problem finding street parking. The key downside is that the rooftop swimming pool is pretty small and windy.
It’s not in downtown proper, but the Embassy Suites (200 Stoneridge Dr., 803/252-8700, www.embassysuitescolumbia.com, $120) right next to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is a handy, well-run place to stay near Columbia’s main attraction and just off I-126 and minutes away from downtown. The complimentary breakfast is particularly good and extensive, and as suburban hotel bars go, it’s rockin’.
There aren’t many B&Bs in Columbia—thanks to General Sherman, the stock of nostalgic old homes is low—but one well-regarded one is the 1425 Inn (1425 Richland St., 803/252-7225, www.the1425inn.com, $130–150). Formerly the Richland Inn, this property has had a slight but still-tasteful makeover since management change. However, its tradition of Southern hospitality has stayed intact, with its five rooms sumptuously appointed and the breakfasts hot and delicious.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition