At the corner of Market and Meeting Streets—one of the liveliest tourism hubs in town—lies Planters Inn, the only Relais & Châteaux property in Charleston. Step inside the circa-1844 property and the City Market’s hustle and bustle fades away, replaced by sincere smiles from staff, serene guest rooms, a quiet courtyard centered around a babbling fountain, and the acclaimed Peninsula Grill restaurant.
Throughout guest suites, a pleasant palette of neutrals and pastel earth tones reigns. Four-poster beds and other wooden period reproductions by Baker Furniture Company's Historic Charleston Collection—a line exclusive to the inn—fill the spacious rooms, which boast double-pane windows and thick drapes to block street noise. Rooms range in size from standard kings and double queens to the grand apartment-style St. Philip Suite, complete with a dining area and kitchen. Each bed has a teddy bear perched atop; at turndown, attendants dress him in a nightgown (they leave freshly baked macarons, too).
Rooms in the main building have an Old World aesthetic with patterned silk curtains and sweetgrass décor. More modern-tasted travelers—or those who want direct access to the outdoors—will prefer the vibe of the new Piazza Building suites (they hold copper light fixtures and fewer frills).
Italian marble, walk-in showers, plush robes, and sprigs of eucalyptus make for a spa-like experience. Some larger suites have a stand-alone soaking tub, as well.
Small but cozy, the lobby and sitting room offer comfy furnishings and cool refreshments—a nice respite during a day of exploring.
There isn’t a facility on-site, but guests have access to the nearby Pivotal Fitness.
The hotel's one and only dining option, Peninsula Grill, does the trick for even the most discerning of foodies, serving up oysters, foie gras, lobster, and other delicacies in its velvet-lined dining room and intimate open-air courtyard. You’ll also receive complimentary coffee in the morning, iced mango tea and cheese crisps in the afternoon, and fresh baked cookies before bed.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Four-diamond dining don’t come cheap. Be prepared to shell out big bucks for your on-site suppers.
Toast to your good fortune in Peninsula Grill’s Champagne Bar, which serves up rare vintages by the glass.
In lieu of bubbles, try an Ultimate Coconut Cake Martini. Or, perhaps better yet, stick with champs and add a slice of Peninsula Grill’s famed 12-later coconut cake to the mix (because, really, a trip to Planters Inn isn’t complete without it).
Parking around the City Market is notoriously tricky, so valet is your best bet. From there, set out by foot, hop on the complimentary DASH trolley or a pedicab, or hail a ride-share.
Walk north on Meeting for a delectable dinner at FIG (2-minute walk), where not one but two James Beard Award-winning chef work the kitchen (call a month ahead to book your reservation or try your luck at the community table). For an Italian experience you won’t soon forget, take the short ride to Trattoria Lucca (8-minute drive). Want classic Southern fare? Try Cru Café (3-minute walk) or Magnolias (7-minute walk).
Winos, test your skills at Vintage Lounge (6-minute drive) by ordering The Blind—correctly identify the pour and your glass will be on the house. For a libation a short walk away, head to the rooftop Pavilion Bar (5-minute walk) at the Market Pavilion Hotel.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Since its debut in the 90s, Planters Inn has remained a luminary of the local hospitality landscape, and Peninsula Grill, of the culinary scene. The lantern-lit courtyard is immaculate and rife with local flora, like palmetto and citrus trees, and the inn’s new mix of traditional and modern rooms provides a perfectly comfortable accommodation that suits every taste.