WHERE IS IT? Across from the harbor and within short walking distance to King Street and all of historic Charleston’s old town, this hotel is in a great location. The lobby, offering great views of the waterfront, is up one level from the street where small shops and a magnificent fountain across the street draw tourist crowds.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Like most small hotels in the city, reception is not a grand affair. Friendly staff welcome guests in the lobby and explain the lengthy list of included amenities. Coronavirus changes at the hotel include a request to wear masks inside, Plexiglas barriers at reception, and modifications to the marvelous buffet breakfast and evening wine and cheese social hour.
ROOM FACILITIES Guest rooms blend low-country design with modern touches. Rooms in the historic wing feature atmospheric touches such as exposed brick walls, plantation shutters covering enormous windows and high ceilings. All rooms boast marvelously soft Tempur-Pedic mattresses atop four-poster beds, thick duvets and easy-access power outlets. A desk featured additional power and USB outlets, but I cozied up to the table by the enormous windows to watch the street action below while I worked. Grand HarbourView rooms come with gas fireplaces and furnished balconies, too. A refrigerator was great for keeping my road trip snacks cool, and it came with bottled water. My room also had a ceiling fan, which helped the room stay comfortable. Large bathrooms stock scented toiletries with plush towels and great water pressure; some rooms have glass shower stalls while others are shower-tub combinations. Normally, turndown service is an elegant touch, but it was temporarily suspended during my visit due to COVID-19.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Complimentary breakfast is part of the experience here, but instead of the buffet option typically presented, guests currently order it to their room (or to the atrium or rooftop terrace should they wish). Unlike other hotels that have used coronavirus changes as an excuse to cut back, HarbourView Inn has doubled down by offering the same impressive menu just with a different delivery. Hot options include ham and cheese-stuffed croissants and various quiches along with a long list of fruit, yogurts, cereals and pastries. Coffee and tea are always available in the atrium, and each evening a wine and cheese social hour is available to guests. Many choose to enjoy it overlooking the fountain in front of the hotel, but I took mine to the beautiful rooftop patio to watch boats passing through Charleston harbor and the city’s famous steeple-lined skyline. To wind down the evening, chocolate chip cookies and milk are served in the lobby.
LEISURE FACILITIES Guests can borrow bikes from reception and also enjoy access to a nearby fitness center. The hotel can also loan towels and chairs to guests who want to head to the beach on Sullivan’s Island, which is about 20 minutes away by car.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are six flexible meeting spaces that can be fitted with audiovisual equipment and adjusted for different group sizes. The rooftop terrace is a great place for social functions, too. The property also offers the opportunity for group buyouts for maximum privacy. Valet parking is available.
VERDICT With so many complimentary food and beverage amenities and a central location to Charleston’s historic district, there is a lot to love about a stay at the HarbourView Inn.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 52 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Waterfront hotel with complimentary breakfast and evening happy hour; rooftop balcony offers sublime views of the city
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $175
CONTACT 2 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401, Phone 843-853-8439.