WHERE IS IT? In downtown Charleston and within walking distance of bustling King Street’s shops and restaurants, this hotel is in a central location close to tourist attractions and Marion Square. One of the buildings is a converted parking structure while the next door Delaney House (where the hotel’s restaurant partner is located) dates back to 1830.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Like many hotels in the city, this boutique option packs in the charm with its architecture, but Bella Grace weaves in a more modern twist. Its public spaces feature regional artwork while guest rooms show off contemporary style. Guests will find a small front desk and grab-and-go snack station just off the main arrival courtyard. The hotel is located across the street from the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The 1891 building is home to the oldest AME congregation in the South, and was the site of a 2015 shooting in which nine people lost their lives. The hotel’s name, Bella Grace, and a lobby sconce with nine decorative pieces pay homage to them.
ROOM FACILITIES Many may not realize that the hotel is actually a Residence Inn by Marriott, which means guest studios feature kitchenette facilities. The rooms are designed for both extended stay guests as well as visiting tourists who appreciate these added amenities. Platform beds have cushioned headboards with built-in reading lights and bedside power outlets and USB ports. In place of desks is a long dining table and sofa, and I appreciated the easily accessible power outlets in this area. A second sofa under the large, wall-mounted TV adds seating space, and guests can stream programming from their personal devices to the TV. A stainless steel refrigerator and freezer, dishwasher, microwave, Illy coffee machine and stove allow guests to cook in the studio rooms, too. The cabinets are stocked with serving ware and cooking utensils and a separate sink for preparing meals. Guest rooms have small refrigerators while the studios and suites have the larger kitchenettes as well as sofa beds. Bathrooms feature glass shower stalls, robes and extra-bright vanities stocked with Guild+Pepper toiletries.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Complimentary breakfast from Delaney Oyster House next door is included for all guests as well as Illy coffee each morning. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the breakfast buffet is temporarily not available, but free breakfast boxes with juice, bagels and fresh fruit are available from reception. For lunch and dinner (as well as a popular happy hour), Southern fare is a highlight from the restaurant including its namesake oyster and caviar menu. The blue crab rice and South Carolina tomato and peach salad both come highly recommended.
LEISURE FACILITIES The hotel has a modern fitness center on the second floor. It is stocked with chilled water, disposable headphones and towels.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Free wireless Internet works throughout the hotel, and a beautifully designed meeting room across from reception is open for small functions. Guests should peek inside anyway to see the artifacts such as centuries-old coins and pottery that were uncovered during the construction of the hotel a few years ago. Valet parking and electric car charging stations are available.
VERDICT The Marriott Bonvoy affiliation is a huge draw for this hotel, but the Southern charm of Charleston and perks like free breakfast for everyone are highlights.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 50 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS New hotel with residential-style accommodations, free breakfast and proximity to King Street
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $205
CONTACT 117 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone 843-990-7500.