The pastel-painted houses and cobblestone streets that line the streets of Charleston, South Carolina may trick you into thinking you’ve sauntered your way over to Colmar. Though the “Holy City” is rooted in Southern tradition, some element of newness is present in every neighborhood. Charleston––similarly to art––is ever-changing, so it’s only fitting that a long-standing hotel in the French Quarter also happens to showcase some of the city’s most dynamic works of art.
Situated on Vendue Range, one of the buildings that make up The Vendue recently underwent a top-to-bottom transformation, with the most noticeable reform being the removal of the front desk. Eliminating the common denominator for all hotels worldwide solidifies that a stay at The Vendue is truly unlike any other. Front Desk agents have been replaced with Guest Experience Managers (aka GEMs), who ensure that check-in is complete prior to guest arrival, so they’re free to personally tend to every facet of each visitors’ stay.
The lobby of 19 Vendue now emulates a contemporary art gallery: bright and bold pieces of art stand in every room, ranging from a nine-foot-tall gorilla to a tiger bust made entirely from bullets to a self-portrait of an adult woman in a kiddy pool. Fiery reds, sleek whites, and polished gold accents evoke passion and vitality.
Over 200 artworks are split between 19 and 26 Vendue; after a late afternoon bubbly happy hour, one of the GEMS leads an art tour. The tour concludes in the studio of Fred Jamar, the hotel’s Artist in Residence. Jamar retired to Charleston with his wife years ago, and both he and the hotel believed he would only remain in-house for a short stint; over a decade later, he has yet to go anywhere.
Moving upstairs in 19 Vendue, the color palettes in each of the 84 guest rooms remain the same, while offering spaces of sumptuous respite. The facade of the building itself dates back to 1780, so many of the features nod to the building’s history as a warehouse for French merchants.
The top floor of the elevator opens up to The Rooftop, Charleston’s original rooftop bar that is consistently rated the best in the city. This lively bar frequented by travelers and Charlestonians alike boasts sweeping panoramic views of the harbor and city skyline. Revival is the ground floor eatery offering modern cuisine with Southern flair. Each evening, guests are invited to convene in the lobby for a nostalgic sweet treat: milk and homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Location: Charleston, SC
Rating: Four-Star Hotel
Food + Drink: Revival is the hotel’s formal restaurant committed to restoring and utilizing ingredients historically found in South Carolina while providing a modern spin on classic Southern recipes. The Rooftop is located atop The Vendue and offers sweeping panoramic views of the iconic skyline; it’s an ideal spot for business lunch, after-work cocktails and tapas bites.
Our Favorite Part About the Hotel: The art tour is absolutely not to be missed, but the food & drink-centric programming proved to be an excellent way to connect with other guests and further enjoy the art. Before the daily art tours, the hotel hosts a Happy Hour, during which they offer a variety of red and white wines plus champagne; guests are able to continue sipping throughout the tour. Later in the evening, visitors can nosh on a little something sweet: freshly-baked cookies and milk are served at the front desk.
Amenities: Rooftop bar; Terrace; Pet-friendly; Art exhibitions & tours; Restaurant; Parking
What’s Nearby?: Charleston Waterfront Park; Washington Square; Charleston Historic District; The Battery; Charleston City Market; Historic King Street
Any Neighborhood Recs? The property’s location in the heart of the French Quarter makes it easy to walk around and see all of Charleston’s most noteworthy sites. The shops along King Street are just a short walk away; the antique and vintage shops are exceptional, especially for travelers on the hunt for fine china and homeware.
Pricing: Base room rates range from $189 – $629 and vary by season and room type.
Closest Airport: Charleston International Airport
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