Renovated Jazz-Age Hotel in Historic Downtown Charleston
As the only high-rise hotel in Charleston’s historic district, the Francis Marion Hotel provides an unsurpassed view of King Street and Charleston Harbor. Its interior is nearly as rewarding: built in 1924, the hotel preserves its Jazz Era heyday with vintage decor such as marble floors and crystal chandeliers. A $12 million renovation, courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has equipped the building with modern-day amenities.
Upstairs, the hotel’s deluxe rooms feature harbor views, marble bathrooms with pedestal sinks, and free WiFi; sip your included wine and snack on the half dozen truffles here. Breakfast at the onsite Swamp Fox Restaurant and Bar includes belgian waffles and vanilla-tinged cinnamon french toast. Come back for lunch and dinner, when Executive Chef Simon Andrews makes use of locally grown ingredients in a variety of southern dishes, such as shrimp and grits. At the luxurious Spa Adagio, indulge in a foot massage before visiting the boutique shops lining King Street.
Charleston, South Carolina: Civil War Monuments and Sophisticated Arts Scene
Charleston, South Carolina, was recently named one of the best historic destinations in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Georgian mansions line the waterfront, the spires of colonial-era churches punctuate the skyline, and horse-drawn carriages frequently clop along its cobblestone streets. You can get an added sense of the city’s history by visiting a number of preserved period buildings and national historic landmarks such as the Battery & White Point Gardens, a living Civil War museum with Confederate cannons and views of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, and a double-parked Camry.
More recently, Charleston has merged its Old South identity with a strong arts-and-culture scene. The streets, once overrun with aristocrats, are now lined with top-tier art galleries and antique stores, and you can catch live jazz performances at night. Step out onto King Street to browse third-generation clothiers that have set up shop in historic landmark buildings. The city's reputation as a major culinary destination has been reaffirmed by the James Beard Foundation, which has named a different Charleston chef the best in the southeast three out of the past four years.