Charleston Chic

Southern charm meets modern style in the city’s new and improved Restoration hotel.

The Restoration, Exterior

It may be nestled in the heart of the historic city where buildings with pastel facades and oak-lined streets channel classic Old Charleston, but the recently re-launched 54-suite Restoration hotel offers an interior that is as modern as it is luxe. There are spacious rooms with exposed brick walls, editorial-quality photographic art, and sumptuous linens. And from its sleek rooftop pool to the sweeping views from its seventh-floor restaurant, The Restoration offers plenty of allure to the savvy jetsetter. But ultimately it’s that location—just steps from bustling King Street—that makes this weekend getaway a must.

Every traveler knows the draw of Charleston. The waterside city’s cobblestone streets, premier art scene, and world-renowned dining draw thousands of visitors for a taste of its irresistible Lowcountry charm. It’s a city where you want to be in the center of it all. Carriage rides, museums, and lively markets are an easy walk past historic homes and shops. And an evening post-dinner stroll back to your hotel takes you past hidden courtyards that conjure images from the city’s romantic past.

The Restoration is on the corner of King and Wentworth streets, which makes it the perfect spot for exploring both Charleston’s historic culture and its thriving shops, restaurants, and nightlife. This spring the hotel unveiled a $27-million transformation, and now features a library, coffee shop, bicycle-share program, mercantile store, spa, rooftop pool, and the city’s highest rooftop bar and restaurant. But these descriptions alone don’t do justice to all that these additions include.

The Restoration’s ultrachic library pays homage to Southern libraries of the past with a marble fireplace and plush furnishings, but a partnership with Assouline publishers means that this library features some of the newest and most luxurious coffee table books on the market. Guests can indulge in complimentary wine and cheese with their reading—and mingling—in the evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. And an honor bar stocked with local spirits and a “library concierge” round out this space’s luxury experience.

The Rise coffee shop features a bright and airy design with white tiles and a chalkboard-style menu that feels more European city than American South. The shop’s brews come from small-batch roaster Toby’s Estates and an artisan tea maker. Next door you’ll find The Port Mercantile, a curated and sophisticated twist on a hotel gift shop, that features items from international vendors, including candles, jewelry, books, and elegant fare.

Other hotel amenities include equally exclusive vibes. An artist-in-residency program showcases glossy prints from Charleston photographer Ben Gately Williams throughout the hotel. Martone Cycling Co. partnered with the hotel to offer 12 of their colorful bikes and iconic baskets for guests to enjoy for leisurely rides around town, while the Amethyst Spa features hushed treatment rooms in soothing lavender tones designed to offer a respite from the nearby busy streets.

The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits is undeniably the icing on the cake of The Restoration. From this rooftop perch, diners can soak in views of downtown Charleston, the Ravenel Bridge, and the Cooper River as they indulge in inventive, locally sourced cocktails and decadent Southern-inspired dishes from Chef Chad Anderson. Request a table on the patio adjacent to the bar for steeple-filled sunset views, or at lunchtime opt for cool breezes on the patio facing the river.

Of course, it’s the custom-designed rooms themselves that set the scene in the upscale hotel. The Restoration includes five adjoined buildings—the oldest dates back to 1886—and the 54 suites vary across the property. In the newest building, rooms are designed in a refined palette of grey and indigo hues accented by textures like exposed brick walls, dark wood floors, and leather headboards. Touches like a vintage typewriter with a welcome note, antique riding boots placed near the door, and framed local photography evoke the city’s illustrious history even in the modern setting.

Beekman 1802 soaps and lotions, all handmade on the Beekman farm, are found beside deluxe baths and spacious rain showers. And soft grey bathrobes invite you to slip one on for the evening routine of cookies by your bedside, or when a continental breakfast is delivered by picnic basket each morning to your door.

They’re the kind of rooms that might usually tempt you to spend the day luxuriating inside—but not in this city. Luckily, most of Charleston’s delights are just steps away.

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