Just 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, the Seaside Inn is a two-and-a-half pearl hotel on the beach near other reasonably priced, relaxed properties. There are microwaves and mini-fridges in the 50 rooms and views of the sea from some units. But some guests complain of a musty smell in the rooms (common in coastal areas of high humidity). The three-story property has limited amenities, but for couples or families with older children for whom the beach is the goal, the Seaside Inn strikes the right notes of location and practicality. Travelers may want to compare rates and amenities at the Palms Oceanfront Hotel.
The Seaside Inn sits between an asphalt parking lot punctuated by palm trees and the beach in a white, wood-frame, three-story building with an elevator and braille signage. The lobby is painted pale blue and includes a big, blond wood reception desk, and a computer, fax, and printer for guest use. There are two armchairs, a kitchenette area with free coffee and tea, and a microwave. There are a few tables and chairs here and a flat-screen TV, but in good weather, breakfast can be eaten outside on the balcony. The inn describes its pool as "rooftop" but, it is actually located on a second floor deck. It has a masonry terrace with plastic loungers and chairs. The beach, across some grassy dunes, is clearly visible. Most guests are couples and families with older children who want proximity to the beach and the restaurants, bars, and shops around it.
The Seaside Inn is in the middle of an area packed with tourist-oriented shops, eateries, and hotels. It's a 20-minute drive to Charleston and a 27-minute drive to Charleston International Airport. For history buffs, the Fort Sumter National Monument -- a 20-minute drive away -- commemorates two important Civil War-era battles. Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum is a 20-minute drive, and Boone Hall, an antebellum plantation in Mount Pleasant is an 11-minute drive. Nearer to the hotel is the Isle of Palms Recreation Center, a six-minute drive or 15-minute walk. Isle of Palms Marina is a nine-minute drive. Blackbeard's Cove Family Fun Park is 15 minutes away by car.
The inn's rooms feel college dorm-like, and the decor is limited to beachy colors such as light blues and pale greens with fabrics in the same color palette in stripes or solids for curtains, duvets, and headboards. Each room has a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a coffeemaker, all arranged in dark brown wood shelving opposite the beds, plus 39-inch flat-screen TVs and small desks with granite-topped surfaces. One nice touch is the bedside lighting: Sconce lights above the nightstands have separate gooseneck reading-light attachments, so one guest can read while another can sleep. The bathrooms have tile floors and pedestal sinks, plus walk-in showers, toiletries, and hairdryers. Some of the rooms have ocean views, but potential guests should note that when the hotel website says "partial view," it could mean walking out of one's room onto the deck for a sliver of a look at the beach. And the largest room at the Seaside Inn sleeps four, so big families or those with a lot of gear may find the space tight.
Free hot breakfast, beach towels, and other practical amenities
A hot continental breakfast is provided free of charge at the Seaside Inn, and the lobby has a microwave and free coffee and tea. Other features include luggage storage, concierge services, and vending and ice machines. There's also a pool facing the beach with lounge chairs and the inn provides beach towels for guests. A car is necessary to explore the area and parking costs extra, but freebies include Wi-Fi and there's a computer, a fax machine, and photocopier for guests to use. Kids 12 and under stay free here, but the Seaside Inn charges for cribs and rollaway beds.