The rooms and the thoroughly hospitable service are the focus at the nearby Vendue Inn (19 Vendue Range, 843/577-7970, www.vendueinn.com , $359). With a range of decor from Colonial to French Provincial, all rooms are sumptuously appointed in that “boutique” style, with lots of warm, rich fabrics, unique pieces, and high-end bath amenities. That said, the public spaces are cool, too, with a cozy den area with chess and checkers and a nice area in which to enjoy your excellent, made-to-order hot breakfast (complimentary!). They have a row of bikes out front for guests to use, free of charge, to roam around the city. The Inn gets a lot of traffic in the evenings because of the popular Library restaurant and its hopping Rooftop Bar, which has amazing views.
About as close to the Cooper River as a hotel gets, the Harbourview Inn (2 Vendue Range, 843/853-8439, www.harbourviewcharleston.com , $259) comprises a “historic wing” and a larger, newer, but still tastefully done main building. For the best of those eponymous harbor views, try to get a room on the third floor or you might have some obstructions.
It’s the little touches that keep guests happy here, with wine, cheese, coffee, tea, and cookies galore, and an emphasis on smiling, personalized service. The rooms are quite spacious, with big bathrooms and 14-foot ceilings. You can take your complimentary breakfast—good but not great—in your room or eat it on the nice rooftop terrace.
Another great place in this part of town is the French Quarter Inn (166 Church St., 843/722-1900, www.fqicharleston.com , $359). The decor in the 50 surprisingly spacious rooms is suitably high-period French, with low-style, non-canopied beds and crisp, fresh linens. Many rooms feature fireplaces, whirlpool baths, and private balconies. One of Charleston’s hottest restaurants, Tristan, is on the ground floor. You’re treated to champagne on your arrival, and goodies are available all day, with wine and cheese served every night at 5 p.m.