French Quarter Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Historic Downtown, Charleston, South Carolina

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Housed in a beautifully restored historic property in the heart of Charleston's Historic Downtown
  • Free Wi-Fi, breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and evening cookies and milk
  • Free champagne upon check-in
  • Excellent gourmet restaurant
  • Within walking distance of virtually all of Historic Downtown's biggest attractions
  • 2 elegant meeting rooms, and a picturesque patio

Cons

  • No fitness center
  • No pool, though few Historic Downtown hotels have one
  • Valet-only parking, for a fee
  • No iPod docks

Bottom Line

This stately historic boutique is one of Charleston's best-known hotels, and has plenty of charming southern details (such as a grand wrought-iron staircase) and a location near Historic Downtown's popular tourist sights. Rooms are spacious and have French-inspired decor, and free extras such as breakfast, daily wine and cheese receptions, and freshly baked cookies add value. But there is no pool or fitness center, unlike at the Market Pavilion Hotel.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A Historic District gem, with elegant decor and lots of free extras

Tell a local you're staying at the French Quarter Inn, and you'll likely get an "ooh" and "ah" in response. The historic property's charming decor and excellent location have made it one of Charleston's best-known luxury options.

This 50-room hotel makes a grand impression. A beautiful glass dome sits above several circular balconies and a grand marble staircase that spirals to the ground floor. On the second floor, the front desk staff greets newcomers with a basket of ladyfingers and a glass of champagne. Even the public restrooms are luxurious, with marble countertops and beautifully upholstered benches.

The rooms received a makeover in 2010 and 2011, and bathrooms followed suit in 2012. The rooms feature 18th-century French style, with richly patterned drapes and carpeting, Louis XV-style furnishings, and art depicting the streets of Paris. Bathrooms are sleek and stylish, with impressive marble showers and a nice black-and-white motif.

There are multiple freebies here, adding to the hotel's value. The free breakfast is adequate (it's a bit better than the typical continental breakfast, but has very few hot item options) and can be taken in-room, in the expansive lobby area, or in the sun-drenched courtyard. Additional bonuses include free wine, cheese, and fruit each evening; freshly baked cookies and milk every night; and coffee, tea, juices, and candy throughout the day and night.

 Location

In the heart of Historic Downtown, within walking distance of many popular tourist sights

French Quarter Inn has one of the best addresses in town; it's just steps away from the City Market (one of the major attractions in Charleston). The neighborhood's grand churches, historic sites, world-famous restaurants, and chic shops and galleries all within walking distance. The hotel also provides free bicycles for quicker transport.

  • 22-minute drive to Charleston International Airport
  • Across the street from the Charleston City Market
  • 2-minute walk to St. Philip's Church
  • 5-minute walk to King Street, lined with high-end restaurants, art galleries and shops
  • 6-minute walk to Gibbes Museum of Art
  • 6-minute walk to Waterfront Park
  • 12-minute walk to Marion Square
  • 14-minute walk to Calhoun Mansion
  • 16-minute walk, or three-minute drive, to the Charleston Museum, the oldest museum in the US
  • 18-minute walk, or three-minute drive, to South Carolina Aquarium
  • 20-minute walk, or four-minute drive to the College of Charleston
  • 10-minute drive to the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
  • 15-minute drive to Charles Towne Landing, the birthplace of America

 Rooms

Spacious rooms with charming French-inspired decor and big flat-screen TVs; some have balconies

French Quarter Inn's 50 spacious rooms all feature charming French-inspired style, with richly patterned drapes and carpeting, Louis XV-style furnishings, and art depicting the streets of Paris. Beds have incredibly comfortable mattresses sourced from a local manufacturer, and a selection of seven different pillow types are on offer. Waffle-weave robes come standard, as do 40-inch flat-screen TVs with digital cable, Blu-Ray DVD players, CD players (but no iPod docks), and free Wi-Fi.

  • Gilchrest and Soames toiletries
  • 40-inch flat-screen TVs with digital cable and Blu-Ray DVD players
  • Waffle-weave robes
  • CD player clock radios
  • Evening turndown with a gourmet treat
  • Mini-fridges
  • In-room dining from Tristan restaurant
  • Sound sleep pillow menus with seven different pillow options
  • Crisp European linens and duvets
  • Free newspaper delivery
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Some of the standard Traditional Rooms have terraces.
  • Deluxe Suites have separate living rooms with sofa beds
  • Queen Junior Suites have big jetted bathtubs and balconies in some units
  • Queen Full Suites feature fireplaces, large terraces, and a separate bathtubs and showers
  • King Suites feature Juliette balconies or spacious terraces, as well as a sitting areas with queen-size sofa beds
  • Executive Suites have separate work areas with a desk, PC with Wi-Fi, printer, and fax machine featuring a separate direct phone line

 Family

Traditional Rooms with two queen beds, and suites with sofa beds

While the hotel does not provide any specific amenities or clubs for children, the property is kid-friendly. Little ones may enjoy the free M&Ms and Jelly Bellys that are available in the lobby throughout the day, as well as the freshly baked cookies and milk that are served at night.

A number of room types can accommodate families, including the Traditional Rooms with two queen beds, as well as many of the suites, which offer sofa beds.

 Food

Outstanding restaurant, and within walking distance to some of Charleston's best eateries

Tristan is an excellent fine dining restaurant serving Italian cuisine with French and Portuguese influences. Plates are artfully composed, and the ingredients are noticeably fresh. The decadent Sunday brunch is a must.

Other great restaurants are just a short walk away as well -- including the famed Peninsula Grill (the coconut cake is not to be missed) and Hyman's Seafood. The concierge can make recommendations as well as reservations.

  • Free continental breakfast in the lobby or in-room
  • Freshly baked cookies with milk, tea, and coffee served nightly in the lobby

 Drinks

Free daily wine receptions and a bar

Getting a drink at this boutique hotel is no problem -- and getting a free drink is pretty easy too. Guests are offered free champagne and ladyfingers at check-in; free wine and cheese are offered in the lobby in the early evening; and Tristan Bar, located within the restaurant, opens in time for dinner. It serves signature cocktails such as the " Diablo" (tequila with Crème de Cassis, lemon, grapefruit, and ginger beer) and the "Bootlegger" (bourbon flavored with apricot Brandy and mint), as well as beer and wine. The hotel is also within walking distance of many bars.

  • Free champagne and ladyfingers upon check-in
  • Free evening wine and cheese reception
  • 24-hour refreshment stations with tea, coffee, lemonade, water, and juices

 Services

Free loaner bicycles and free Wi-Fi

  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Free media library
  • Concierge desk and 24-hour front desk staff
  • Gift shop
  • Free iPad and computer station with printer in the lobby
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service (for a fee)
  • Valet parking (for a fee)
  • Free loaner bicycles with locks

 Business and Conventions

One of Downtown Charleston's best options for small- to medium-sized business and conference groups

The hotel has two meeting spaces: a refined executive boardroom that caters to 12, and an equally stately conference room with capacity for 42. On-site meeting planners are available to help with scheduling, audio-visual equipment, and catering, which can be obtained from the hotel's restaurant or elsewhere. The entire hotel has free Wi-Fi access. Additionally, a small business center in the lobby provides free use of a computer, printer, and iPad.

 Weddings

Ideal for small, Southern-style weddings

The French Quarter Inn can accommodate intimate weddings; small receptions can take place in either of the two meeting spaces (one fits 12, one 42). The hotel's elegant look also makes it a good spot for pre-wedding events and photography sessions (the big patio is a particularly attractive spot). Tristan restaurant can host rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and other dinners and luncheons.

 Eco-Friendly

A handful of initiatives to decrease waste and energy consumption

  • Recycling programs divert 70 percent of the hotel's waste from landfills.
  • Use of environmentally friendly pest control service
  • Use of environmentally friendly laundry and cleaning supplies
  • Low-wattage light bulbs used throughout
  • Automatic light shut-off in rooms not being used, and automatic A/C shut-off when balcony doors are open

 History

Set within a 19th-century building in the Historic District

The French Quarter Inn is housed within a historic 19th-century building. Gut renovations prior to the hotel's opening in 2002 made the property grander than it was during its former life as a warehouse.

 Renovations and Upkeep

Rooms were renovated in 2010 and 2011, and bathroom upgrades were completed at the end of 2012.

All rooms at the French Quarter Inn were renovated in 2010 and 2011. Bathrooms were completely redesigned at the end of 2012. The hotel itself opened in 2002.

 Handicap

Two ADA-compliant rooms and features for the hearing impaired

The French Quarter Inn has two guest rooms that are ADA-compliant, featuring wider entrances and hallways, as well as roll-in showers. The hotel also provides extras for hearing-impaired guests, including TTY telephones, closed caption telephones, and communication kits with visual alarms and notification devices.

 Safety

Located in a safe neighborhood, with 24-hour doormen

Safety is hardly an issue in this area of Charleston, however, the property does have 24-hour doormen who great every guest, as well as 24-hour front desk staff. Security guards also roam the grounds after dark. Additionally, rooms are operated with card keys, and each unit features its own safe.

 Bottom Line

This stately historic boutique is one of Charleston's best-known hotels, and has plenty of charming southern details (such as a grand wrought-iron staircase) and a location near Historic Downtown's popular tourist sights. Rooms are spacious and have French-inspired decor, and free extras such as breakfast, daily wine and cheese receptions, and freshly baked cookies add value. But there is no pool or fitness center, unlike at the Market Pavilion Hotel.

Things You Should Know About French Quarter Inn

Address

  • 166 Church Street, Charleston, South Carolina, 29401

Room Types

  • Deluxe Suite
  • Executive Queen Suite
  • Executive Suite
  • King Suite
  • Queen Full Suite
  • Queen Junior Suite
  • Traditional Inn Room
  • Traditional King Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 50
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
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Hotel Information

Location: Historic Downtown, Charleston
Address: 166 Church Street, Charleston, South Carolina, 29401
(See Map)
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