Despite Charleston’s heritage and reputation as a Southern Belle city, the crowd is very young, hip, and…pierced? It’s a college town, not quite as hipster-ish as Athens, but the modern vibe has lent itself to a number of one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants.
We’re staying at Charleston Place hotel, an Orient-Express property that plays up the Southern charm.
That charm was evident from the moment I walked into the lobby, all dressed up with several Christmas trees and an elaborate model train.
Dramatically opening into the lobby area is Thoroughbred, the hotel’s cocktail bar and tapas restaurant. The unique design makes it more than a restaurant, it’s a showpiece. The same can be said of Charleston Grill, a Forbes 4-star restaurant, which simultaneously feels as comfortable and as elegant as an old Southern dining room.
We were fortunate enough to receive an upgrade to a Junior Suite (thank you, Karen!), which was more than enough room for the three of us.
While the hotel has an antique look and atmosphere, it’s actually relatively new. Built in the 1980s with the history of Charleston in mind, individuals get the best of both worlds: you feel like you’re surrounded by history, but you don’t have to sacrifice comfort – the rooms are very spacious, something that older hotels usually cannot boast.
After exploring the city by foot, we took an hour long carriage tour around the town this afternoon, pulled by Danny the horse.
Between the expansive downtown area and the historical homes, Charleston reminds me of an East Coast San Diego…except for the fact that I saw most of this by horse-drawn carriage. Welcome to the Old South.