Hotel Bennett is an elegant downtown property in Charleston, South Carolina. The hotel opened early in 2019.
It stands on King Street, Charleston’s principal thoroughfare, and the hotel terrace – the largest outdoor seating area in the city – opens onto Marion Square, a small park with trees, monuments and a lawn.
The hotel delivers all you’d expect of a luxury property in a city that’s renowned for its grace and charm. Staff stand ready to open the doors to guests and, where appropriate, politely remind gentlemen that the hotel’s dress code requires headwear to be removed while indoors. Based on my experiences, similar levels of attentiveness were replicated by staff throughout the Hotel Bennett.
The marble flooring of the air-conditioned lobby, which features white leather seating, leads into a rotunda with artworks depicting historic scenes, including sailing ships on the Cooper River. The entrance sets the hotel’s tone of elegance.
The lobby hosts a grand piano to the side of the reception desks. Camellias, the hotel’s stylish bar, and Gabrielle, the restaurant in which Executive Chef Michael Sichel’s recipes are prepared, are entered via the lobby. Despite being part of a luxury property, La Pâtisserie, the hotel café that’s also on the ground floor, offers pastries and drinks at prices not too dissimilar to elsewhere on King Street.
Business travellers and members of the King’s Club can access a lounge on the sixth floor in which drinks, food and reading material are provided.
The rooftop hosts a bar that remains open from 10:30am until late. It’s near the Hotel Bennett’s compact heated swimming pool. Private cabanas are available around the pool. The hotel also has a fitness centre plus a spa with five treatment rooms, including one for couples.
The hotel’s guestrooms and suites fall into 17 different categories, depending on the view, size and whether the room has a terrace (the terraces are sizable). Some of the rooms have queen-size beds, others king-size. They are carpeted, neutral in colour and feature décor and furnishings that provides a wow factor. The shelves in the guestrooms’ glass cupboards are lined with bundles of books, an erudite touch of the hat to the fact the hotel stands on the former site of Charleston’s city library.
My room, on the fourth floor, featured a double-doored wardrobe. The in-room safe was located inside the chest of drawers upon which the Nespresso machine and flat-screen television stood. It had a sofa and free-standing reading lamps.
My chief criticism of my room relates to the complexity of the lighting, which was controlled via an app on the television. I found it an unnecessarily complicated system to use. The switch by the door was comprised of four buttons. In four days, I failed to master how to turn off the lights effectively. Ultimately, do light switches need to be any more complex than on and off?
The bathroom, with a marble floor, was a joy to spend time in. The large freestanding bathtub proved a glorious place to unwind, soaking surrounded by bubbles, after long days of exploring the attractions of Charleston. The walk-in shower featured rainfall or handheld water dispensers. The delightfully perfumed toiletries were by Mistral. A lined robe and thick towels were reminders of the Hotel Bennett’s luxury credentials.
The Hotel Bennett provides stylish, modern rooms and luxury in the heart of Charleston.
Hotel Bennett, 404 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403, USA.
Tel: 001 (843) 203-0922
The Bennett Hotel is in the heart of Charleston, located by Marion Square, a compact park which hosts a short section of the city’s historic wall and a column topped by John C. Calhoun, a former vice-president of the United States of America, and a memorial to the victims of the Nazi-led holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Hotel
Number of Rooms: 179 guestrooms, in 17 different categories, with complimentary Wi-Fi. Eight of the guestrooms have been designed for use by people with disabilities.
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to view Charleston from the rooftop of the Hotel Bennett. The rooftop has a swimming pool and a bar, Fiat Lux. Even if you’re not keen on taking an early morning dip it’s worth heading to the rooftop to see the soft sunlight. Sundowners at Fiat Lux are a must if you enjoy cocktails in rooftop bars.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Stuart Forster is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specialising in food and travel related features.
Photographs by Stuart Forster