Shady courtyard with patio furniture and lovely landscaping
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Charleston's main tourist attractions are a ten-minute drive away
Decor is generic
The 116-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Mount Pleasant-Charleston is in many ways a typical mid-range chain hotel, albeit one with extensive amenities, including an outdoor pool, a small fitness center, free breakfast, and snacks throughout the day. Though the rooms are generic, they feature contemporary decor, comfy beds, and flat-screen TVs. They're also extremely eco-friendly, with low-flow showerheads, faucets and toilets. On the downside, the hotel is a drive away from most of Charleston's tourist attractions.
A clean and well-maintained mid-range chain property, with an eco-friendly focus
This mid-range chain hotel, opened in 2009, is pleasant and well-maintained, but nothing stands out. The decor scheme includes warm colors, wood accents, and traditional furnishings. The small, simply landscaped pool is adjacent to a shady courtyard, and rooms that are outfitted in generic contemporary style (comfortable beds, warm colors, flat-screen TVs). In short, there are no surprises here.
The hotel provides more features than many downtown properties, including a pool, fitness center, breakfast-only restaurant, and lounge. However, the flipside is the hotel's location is removed from Charleston's main action, and guests will need to drive to reach any attractions. There are a good number of bars, restaurants, and outdoor activities in the immediate vicinity, though.
Despite its large size, the hotel is often quiet. During Oyster's stay, the pool had just one visitor, the business center was completely empty, and a few hours relaxing in the lounge were largely uninterrupted. The hotel provides a number of free services, such as parking, a buffet breakfast, afternoon snacks, Wi-Fi, and daily newspapers.
Of particular note is the hotel's great eco-conscious efforts, which have made it a green leader in the city. The property earned a "three Palmetto" rating with the state's Green Hospitality Alliance. It has recycle stations throughout; the roof is painted white to minimize heat absorption; every faucet and toilet is low-flow; and a number of other technologies are in place to reduce energy consumption.
Along a major highway with easy access to downtown Charleston, but there's little within walking distance
The Holiday Inn Express is located just off the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Mount Pleasant, a short drive away from most of Charleston's best historic sights. Those hoping to hit the pavement on foot will find little within walking distance, save for a jogging path and a shopping plaza. Hotel parking, at least, is free.
18-minute drive to Charleston International Airport
8-minute walk to the Patriots Plaza Shopping Center for restaurants and shops
13-minute walk to the Cooper River Bridge jogging path
7-minute drive to King Street, lined with high-end restaurants, art galleries and shops
7-minute drive to the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
8-minute drive to Marion Square
8-minute drive to the Charleston Museum, the oldest museum in the US
Nine-minute drive to the College of Charleston
10-minute drive to the Historic Downtown District
10-minute drive to the Charleston City Market
10-minute drive to St. Philip's Church
10-minute drive to Gibbes Museum of Art
10-minute drive to Waterfront Park
10-minute drive to South Carolina Aquarium
11-minute drive to Calhoun Mansion
15-minute drive to Charles Towne Landing, the birthplace of America
Clean rooms with modern technology and generic contemporary decor
The generic, contemporary rooms are decorated in shades of white, blue, and brown -- blue bed runners, brown bed skirts, brown accent walls. The beds are comfortable and the technology includes 32-inch flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. There's nothing that stands out, but little that offends, either. Those who spring for suites will find spacious quarters and kitchenettes.
32-inch flat-screen TVs with satellite cable
Coffeemakers and tea makers
Microwaves and mini-fridges
Low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads
Free daily newspaper delivery
Nightly turndown service
Traditional Rooms are around 400 square feet
Executive Level Rooms come with bathrobes and two bottles of water, but are otherwise identical to Traditional Rooms.
Junior Suites have small kitchenettes and sitting areas featuring pull-out sofas.
The 500-square-foot King Suite has a master bedroom, a separate living room equipped with a pull-out sofa, and a small kitchenette.
The Presidential Suite is 600 square feet and features two bedrooms, a kitchenette with a few cooking supplies, and a living room with a pull-out sofa and small dining table. This unit also features a jetted tub and a separate shower in the bathroom.
The kidney-shaped pool at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Mount Pleasant is small, but has an attractive water feature. It's often empty, and the lounge chairs are lined with fabric rather than plastic strips. An adjacent courtyard is surrounded by plants and tall trees, and filled with patio furniture and a few umbrellas for shade.
Though Holiday Inn Express' pool is rather small, it's still a plus for families, and is usually not very crowded. Little ones may also enjoy the freshly baked cookies and lemonade in the lobby every afternoon. The hotel also provides cribs and rollaway beds for families wishing to share a single guest room.
The space just off the Holiday Inn Express' lobby is expansive, doubling as both restaurant and lobby lounge. It has wood paneling, high ceilings, tables for eating, and cushioned armchairs surrounding a large flat-screen TV. A free hot breakfast buffet is served daily. During the afternoon, fresh cookies and drinks are served in the lobby.
Lunch and dinner are not available on-site, and there are a couple of restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance -- namely, Graze at the nearby Patriots Plaza Shopping Center, and Point Grill, which serves American fare. All of Charleston's best restaurants, which are located in the Historic District, are a 10-minute drive away.
A large meeting room, planning staff, and small business center
The Holiday Inn Express features a 700-square-foot meeting room with a seating capacity of 55. On-site meeting planners are available to coordinate meetings as well as arrange the use of A/V equipment and other presentation supplies. Group and event packages are also available. Guests at the hotel also have free use of a small business center just off the lobby that includes one PC and a printer/copier. A fax machine at the front desk may be used by guests for no charge as well.
On-site planners available to assist in booking everything from guest rooms to venues
Though the hotel itself is not a wedding venue, Charleston is a popular wedding destination. The property has on-site wedding planners that can help with all bookings, from the bridal party and guests' rooms to venues and vendors for the event.
Opened in 2009, the property is one of the newer hotels in the city. Some travelers may prefer the charm of Charleston's historic properties, but the Holiday Inn is clean, well-maintained, and eco-friendly.
During our visit, there was no hint of mold, dust, or disarray. While the decor is chain-like, it is by no means dated; it's what one would expect from a mid-range Holiday Inn.
Several ADA-compliant rooms, as well as amenities for hearing-impaired guests
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Mount Pleasant has ADA-compliant rooms with roll-in showers, bathtubs with grips, and wider entrances and hallways. All on-property amenities are accessible via wheelchair, and the parking lot features several van-accessible parking spots. The hotel also provides portable tub seats for those with mobility impairments, as well as communication kits with visual alarms and notification devices, closed caption TVs, and TTY telephones for the hearing impaired. There is also Braille signage.
For some, this hotel's location just off of a major highway may be cause for concern. Signs in the parking lot read: "Management is not responsible for loss of vehicle or property. Please remove your valuables and lock your vehicle."
However, the Mount Pleasant neighborhood is, well, pleasant, and nothing nearby appears unsafe or sketchy. The property has a 24-hour front desk staff as well as night security. Rooms are accessed via key cards and safety deposit boxes are available at the front desk upon request.