Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A convenient location, and more features than at many competing properties -- including a pool
The King Charles Inn may be a member of the Best Western chain, but the property has unique character and history. Located on the site of the historic Pavilion Hotel (where Edgar Allan Poe once holed up while writing "The Gold Bug"), the property was rebuilt from the ground up in 1963 and received a complete makeover in 2011. Today, it combines the amenities and reliability of a chain hotel with historic significance and an ideal location on Meeting Street, at the heart of Historic Downtown.
The Best Western is one of the only Historic Downtown hotels in this price category with a pool, a welcome feature on hot southern days. The hotel also offers free parking, a rarity in the area. On the downside, some elements of the inn have a generic feel, especially the common spaces (though the lobby's big chandelier, marble floors, and lovely staircase leading to the upstairs lounge prevent it from feeling too corporate). Even though the rooms have elements of southern style, some guests may prefer the quirks and unique decor touches found at other inns.
One of the hotel's biggest pluses -- its location close to all of Charleston's best shopping, restaurants, and attractions -- comes at a price. The inn's lovely pool is virtually within arm's reach of a busy intersection on Meeting Street, and many of the rooms overlook less-than-thrilling views of either traffic or a sullen parking garage. Those less concerned with panoramic vistas and more interested in exploring the city may be happy to overlook this detail, especially given the hotel's other perks, which include free Wi-Fi, a nightly manager's reception with wine and cheese (for a fee), a small business center with free printing, and a small restaurant serving breakfast.
On a busy street in Historic Downtown, within walking distance ofshops, restaurants, and major attractions
King Charles Inn has an excellent central location just steps from the Charleston Market and the fabulous shops and restaurants of King and Meeting streets. Still, the hotel is located near a rather busy intersection, so those with young children may choose something along a less trafficked street.
The Historic Downtown area looks just how it does in the movies, with colorful, porch-fronted homes, cobblestone streets, and beautiful gardens. Many of the homes date back to the early 1800s and the area maintains its old-town feel with the city's height restriction ordinance.
This area is also home to high-end shops, galleries, and restaurants along King Street, as well as the College of Charleston, which means there is a lively nightlife scene.
Modern technology and generic, but attractive, southern style
The Best Western's rooms are well suited to travelers who prefer to avoid surprises. The inn's 91 rooms and suites, which were completely renovated in 2011, are completely free of any offending patterns, outdated furnishings, or awkward layouts (which can be a risk at smaller inns and bed and breakfasts). Modern amenities include LG 32-inch flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, and shiny granite tabletops. Bathrooms feature magnifying mirrors and oversize showerheads. The decor has elements of southern style -- poster beds, white quilts, cheerful yellow walls -- but feels sleeker and more generic than at some other inns. Travelers who prefer unique, individual decor may find these rooms a little too standard.
Small but clean -- and ever so refreshing in the Southern heat
The Best Western's pool may be small, and and located within sight and earshot of a busy intersection, but its mere existence is a major plus: A pool is a rare amenity in this neighborhood and this price category, and it's very welcome on hot, humid southern days. Guests can sit on a shaded terrace next to the pool, or lay on lounge chairs near the small fountain that runs into the water.
Family-friendly amenities such as a pool, and TVs equipped with video game rentals
While the hotel doesn't have dedicated kids' activities, families will likely appreciate the small pool, which is a rare feature in this neighborhood. In the rooms, kids can also enjoy video games, which can be accessed via the TVs.
Rooms with two double beds and suites with pull-out sofas are available.
Restaurant serving breakfast only, but plenty of dining options within walking distance
Coral Terrace restaurant is a simple spot just off the inn's second-floor lounge, with patios overlooking both the pool and the less desirable parking lot. Breakfast is the only meal served here, but unlike at some competing properties, it's not free. Still, the offering is extensive, and includes a full hot buffet line. Guests might be better off checking out some of the fabulous breakfast spots nearby, however (Saffron and Toast of Charleston are both great options a few minutes away).
Plenty of options for lunch and dinner can also be found nearby. In the evening, the hotel offers free wine and hors d'oeuvres at the manager's reception.
A small lounge with a slightly old-timey feel
The cocktail lounge at King Charles Inn is just a nice sitting area with a bar in the corner that looks like it could have been taken off the set of "Cheers." The bar, topped with a Tiffany lamp and bearing the kind of wooden carvings that make you think of the days of Prohibition, is rather small, and serves drinks during limited hours. (Guests looking to drink late into the night will need to head off-site). Still, there are nightly happy hour specials, and wine is offered for purchase during the nightly manager's reception here.
Numerous freebies, including rare free parking
A few multi-use spaces that can be used for meetings, as well as a small business center
While the hotel's website claims to have meeting rooms, there are no formal rooms for this specific purpose on site. The breakfast-only restaurant, the lounge, and the poolside terrace could possibly be used for business meetings, but A/V equipment setup may be difficult. A small business center in a nook off the lounge features two PCs and a printer for free use.
A small lounge and restaurant can be used for a cocktail hour or reception
While the inn has no specific banquet halls or ballrooms, small wedding parties can be accommodated at the Coral Terrace restaurant as well as the lounge.
Wide-spread green efforts throughout
A historic -- and literary -- landmark
The Best Western King Charles Inn sits on Meeting Street in the exact footprint of the former Pavilion Hotel, which served as home base for Edgar Allan Poe while he was writing "The Gold Bug," a short story that takes place on nearby Sullivan Island. After changing hands in the late 1800s, and again in 1900, the property was eventually razed and rebuilt in the 1960s. Today, the property's lobby retains the same marble floors that impressed guests during the early 20th century.
Renovations in 2011 included updates to all rooms and public spaces.
In 2011, the King Charles Inn underwent an extensive $6.5 million renovation to all of its rooms and public spaces, which updated all of the technology and furnishings. During our visit in summer 2012, the hotel retained its new sheen, and we saw no signs of scratched table or stained carpets.
ADA-accessible and hearing-impaired rooms available
All of the amenities at King Charles Inn are available via elevator, including both entrance levels and the parking garage, which includes handicapped parking spots. The hotel says that it also has guest rooms that are accessible for guests with mobility impairments as well as hearing impairments.
Located in a safe area, with 24-hour security and front desk staff
Safety is hardly an issue in this area of Charleston, though King Charles Inn's location on a busy street may give some travelers pause. Still, the property is well guarded, with off-street covered parking, night security guards, and a 24-hour front desk staff. Rooms are operated with card keys, and each unit features its own safe.
This 91-room Best Western property, located on busy Meeting Street, delivers more amenities than the average downtown Charleston inn, including a pool, a lounge, and free parking. The decor in the common spaces isn't as charming as at some competing properties, such as the Elliott House Inn, but rooms have sleek (if generic) southern style -- poster beds, quilts, and dark wood furniture. The location is steps from the Historic District's best shops, restaurants, and attractions.