Harbour View Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Charleston, South Carolina, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Charming rooms with four-poster beds; some have historic details and balconies overlooking the harbor
  • Excellent Historic District location steps from the harbor and within walking distance of attractions
  • Beautiful rooftop terrace with amazing views of the city and harbor
  • Free breakfast in-room, on the rooftop, or in the atrium
  • Tons of daily freebies: hot tea service, afternoon wine and cheese reception, freshly baked cookies, and 24-hour coffee stations
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • No fitness center or on-site restaurant
  • Valet-only parking, for a fee
  • No pool, though few hotels in downtown Charleston have one

Bottom Line

Harbour View Inn is a historic landmark, and the only waterfront hotel downtown. Original structural elements such as brick walls have been preserved, and the rooms have southern style (four-poster beds and white quilted coverlets). A gorgeous rooftop offers some of the city's best harbor views, and tons of shops, restaurants, and bars are within walking distance. Free extras such as breakfast, Wi-Fi, weekly skyline tours, and treats throughout the day add value, but the hotel lacks a fitness center, pool, and restaurant.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A historic waterfront hotel with numerous free perks

Boutique hotels are a dime a dozen in Charleston, but the 52-room Harbour View Inn stands out as the only Historic Downtown hotel with a waterfront location. Inside, the hotel features cheerful, understated southern decor -- light wood furniture, four-poster beds, cushioned arm chairs, and a wrought-iron staircase in the entrance that adds a hint of drama. Touches such as a portrait of the sea above the lobby fireplace and a giant map of historic Charleston in the atrium create a nautical feel.

Rooms in the Historic Wing are more spacious, and retain details from the building's past. Take room 101, for instance, where an exposed brick wall dates back to the 19th century, and a stabilization cable that runs through the wall recalls Charleston's 1886 earthquake.

The rooftop terrace offers jaw-dropping panoramic views of downtown Charleston and the entire waterfront. The city's iconic modern marvel, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, glimmers in the distance, while down below, children frolic in the waterfront park's fountains.

The hotel offers numerous freebies, such as an adequate breakfast is served in-room, on the terrace, or in the lobby atrium sitting area. Additional bonuses included 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

The only hotel located on the harbor in Historic Downtown

The Harbour View Inn is the only hotel on the harbor in Historic Downtown, and most rooms feature views of the harbor and the waterfront park. Virtually everything of interest in the downtown area is within walking distance, including the city's best restaurants, boutiques, and tourist attractions. Best of all, the hotel's location ensures a seaside breeze or two -- something guests will appreciate in the southern heat.

  • 20-minute drive to Charleston International Airport
  • Across the street from the Waterfront Park and harbor
  • Five-minute walk to St. Philip's Church
  • Eight-minute walk to Gibbes Museum of Art
  • Nine-minute walk to the Charleston City Market
  • 10-minute walk to King Street, lined with high-end restaurants, art galleries and shops
  • 14-minute walk to Calhoun Mansion
  • 19-minute walk, or 4-minute drive, to Marion Square
  • 20-minute walk, or 4-minute drive, to South Carolina Aquarium
  • 20-minute walk, or 5-minute drive, to the College of Charleston
  • 22-minute walk, or 4-minute drive, to the Charleston Museum, the oldest museum in the US
  • 9-minute drive to the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
  • 15-minute drive to Charles Towne Landing, the birthplace of America

 Rooms

Rooms have charming West Indies style; those in the Historic Wing have original details such as brick walls, while those in the newer wing face the harbor

All of Harbour View Inn's 52 rooms have elegant West Indies decor: four-poster beds, Matelasse coverlets (stitched to look like quilts), and cheerful light yellow walls. Modern technology includes 32-inch flat-screen TVs with premium cable and iPod docks.

In the Historic Wing, original architectural elements -- exposed brick walls, higher ceilings, and even stabilization cables dating to the city's 1886 earthquake -- have been preserved. But these rooms face the street. Those in search of the harbor views for which the hotel is named should stay in the newer wing, where rooms have balconies and overlook the waterfront. Working fireplaces in some of these units lend a historic element (however inauthentic).

  • Four-poster beds topped with Matelasse coverlets
  • Custom-made armoires
  • Original artwork
  • 32-inch or larger flat-screen TVs with premium cable channels
  • Mini-fridges
  • Nightly turndown service with a goodnight treat
  • iHome MP3 docking stations and alarm clocks
  • Lightweight waffle weave bathrobes
  • Magnifying make-up mirrors and Gilchrest & Soames toiletries in the bathrooms
  • Tempur-Pedic mattresses in most rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free daily newspaper delivery to rooms
  • Harbor-facing rooms are divided between the HarbourView and HarbourSide rooms, the key distinction being that the HarbourSide rooms partially face a massive tree that obscures the harbor.
  • Historic Wing rooms are more spacious and come with 14-foot ceilings, circa-1830s original brick walls, small whirlpool tubs, and large plantation shutters. These rooms, however, lack a direct view of the harbor.
  • Grand HarbourView Rooms feature working fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and private balconies.
  • The hotel's only suite features a separate bedroom and living room with a pull-out sofa, as well as two balconies with harbor views, a fireplace, and a whirlpool tub.

 Family

Family-friendly with a few freebies kids will love

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

A number of room categories come with two queen beds. Rollaway beds and Pack 'n Plays are available upon request.

 Food

No restaurant, but a free daily breakfast and plenty of dining options within walking distance

While there is no restaurant at Harbor View Inn, nearby dining options abound and several of the city's best restaurants are within walking distance. Additionally, the inn serves a daily continental breakfast, a nightly wine and cheese reception, snacks throughout the day, and nightly fresh cookies and milk -- all for free.

  • Free continental breakfast in the atrium lobby, in-room, or on the rooftop terrace
  • Daily afternoon wine and cheese reception
  • Freshly baked cookies with milk, tea, and coffee served nightly in the lobby

 Drinks

Free daily wine receptions and plenty within walking distance

Free wine and cheese receptions are offered daily, and a variety of bars are located nearby.

  • 24-hour refreshment stations with tea, coffee, lemonade, water, and juices
  • Free afternoon tea service (upon request)

 Services

Free skyline tours and a computr station with printer

  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Free skyline tours every Wednesday (taking place on the rooftop terrace)
  • Free computer station with printer in the lobby
  • Concierge desk and 24-hour front desk staff to assist with activities, restaurant bookings, and specialized tours
  • Laundry and dry cleaning service (Monday through Saturday, for fee)
  • Valet parking (for a fee)
  • Meeting planners on-site for business and social events

 Business and Conventions

An executive boardroom, as well as an expansive off-site option

HarbourView Inn has a 546-square-foot executive boardroom. On-site meeting planners are available to help with scheduling, audio-visual equipment, and refreshments, which can be arranged mid-meeting or during a small break in the atrium lobby. Additionally, the inn partners with Charleston's well-known Harbour Club, which includes six different meeting and event spaces, and is within walking distance. The hotel also has a small business center in the lobby, with just one computer and a printer, both of which can be used for free.

 Eco-Friendly

Several recycling initiatives

Harbour View Inn is a member of the Green Hotels Association, and has a "one palmetto" rating with the South Carolina Green Hospitality Alliance, which indicates that the property has begun taking initial steps to becoming a serious eco-friendly property. The property also participated in the Charleston Green Business Challenge in 2010 and 2011. Initiatives include recycling used soap and shampoo through the Clean the World Foundation and recycling all plastic and paper from the administrative areas of the hotel through a local recycling company. Harbour View also employs dual flow flushers on all in-room toilets and compact fluorescent lighting throughout.

 History

Set within a 19th-century building near major Civil War landmarks in the Historic District

The hotel is (specifically its Historic Wing) dates back to the early 1800s. The property has weathered the Civil War and the city's tragic 1886 earthquake. The building was opened as a hotel in 1998, and added a newer wing, which features additional rooms, the main lobby and atrium lobby, and a rooftop terrace.

The property is located along the waterfront near the old battery, and surrounded by 300 years of historically significant landmarks.

 Renovations and Upkeep

Opened in 1998, and well-kept

Since opening in 1998, Harbour View Inn has been meticulously maintained. The hotel has made some additions, including upgraded furnishings on the rooftop terrace and a 546-square-foot meeting space.

 Handicap

Two ADA-compliant rooms, as well as rooms equipped for guests with hearing impairments

Harbour View Inn features two ADA-compliant rooms, which include roll-in showers and wider halls and entryways. All of the hotel's amenities are accessible via a doublewide elevator. The hotel also has rooms that are equipped for guests with hearing impairments.

 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 a 24-hour front desk staff, as well as a night guard. Rooms are operated with card keys, and each unit features its own safe.

 Bottom Line

Harbour View Inn is a historic landmark, and the only waterfront hotel downtown. Original structural elements such as brick walls have been preserved, and the rooms have southern style (four-poster beds and white quilted coverlets). A gorgeous rooftop offers some of the city's best harbor views, and tons of shops, restaurants, and bars are within walking distance. Free extras such as breakfast, Wi-Fi, weekly skyline tours, and treats throughout the day add value, but the hotel lacks a fitness center, pool, and restaurant.

Things You Should Know About Harbour View Inn

Address

  • 2 Vendue Range Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

Room Types

  • Grand Harbour View Guest Room
  • Harbour Side Room
  • Harbour View Guest Room
  • Historic Wing Room
  • The Suite
  • Traditional King Guest Room
  • Traditional One Queen Guest Room
  • Traditional Two Queen Guest Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 52
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Address: 2 Vendue Range Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401
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