A convenient King Street location, historic decor, and classic southern cuisine make for a worthwhile stay at the Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.
Basics of the Francis Marion Hotel Charleston, SC
Check in/out: 4 pm/12 pm
Parking: Valet or Garage – both for a fee
Pet Friendly: No
Fitness Center: Yes
Extras: Member of Historic Hotels of America, Starbucks coffee shop on site
Stop number three on my September road trip from last month that I’ve been sharing with you was exploring downtown Charleston, accompanied by a stay at the Francis Marion Hotel. There are a number of historic Charleston hotels, but this one unmistakably stands out! First of all, you absolutely cannot beat the location. It’s right in the heart of Charleston’s downtown historic district and serves as a great central landmark for navigating the breathtaking city. The downtown part of Charleston is actually quite small, so there’s so much you can easily get to if you’re up for walking!
A King Street Hotel with History Behind It
The hotel is right on King Street – one of the main drags in Charleston’s Historic District known for its Southern charm and shopping. Across the way from the Francis Marion Hotel you’ll find Marion Square, which acts as a venue for all kinds of festivals and farmer’s markets throughout the year. Both the hotel and the square are named after the Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion.
From the moment the Francis Marion Hotel opened in 1924, it instantly became a landmark and was the place to be during the Charleston Renaissance. Despite numerous major renovations throughout the years, you can still soak up the graceful glamour of the 1920s as soon as you walk in. My favorite place in the hotel was the lobby. Honestly, I could have spent all day in it because of its natural light and endless charm. The moment I stepped through the classically preserved doors that welcome you to the hotel (which are always opened for you by friendly doormen!), it was as if I entered a time machine and was stepping right into the 1920s.
Catch the Best Views of Charleston
With all the love I’m showing toward the lobby, don’t get me wrong: I did adore the room, as well! To set realistic expectations, it’s important to note that in historic hotels where much of the previous structure is preserved, you might find smaller bathrooms, furniture adorned with imperfections that prove its antiquity, and decor that should be considered authentic rather than outdated. I am always okay with these elements because I appreciate any space that makes me feel like I’ve taken a step back in time. The room was complete with Great Gatsby-like touches, a vanity to compensate for the smaller bathroom, luxurious bedding, a dedicated desk to work at, and even a seating area. It was very clean, and I also found it to be very quiet – which is also a factor that is missing from many historic accommodations. The most notable feature of the room (the decor was a close runner up) were the incredible views of the city that you could catch out of either set of windows. One morning I woke up early to walk to a barre class down a few streets, and I happened to catch the sunrise from the room, which was just an indescribably gorgeous sight.
Another distinguishing aspect of the Francis Marion Hotel is the property’s restaurant, The Swamp Fox, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Known for a menu filled with classic southern cuisine, you can expect hearty portions and attentive service when you dine here. The decor experiments with a few more modern touches, but not at the sacrifice of the historical identity of the rest of the hotel. While I was there for dinner, they had a live pianist playing, which added a uniquely lovely, calming touch to the atmosphere. The timing happened to work out for me to try their menu for Charleston Restaurant Week, and everything was so far beyond good! I had the pleasure of indulging in a deliciously prepared three course meal, and I have to say that everything, from the presentation to the service to the taste, was top notch. A moment ago I saw on their website that they currently have a “White Chocolate coated Red Velvet Bombe Cake” and if that doesn’t make you want to book a room and eat at The Swamp Fox right now, then you’re missing out. I feel like I need to make another trip back specifically to try this!
Going back to the location, there’s so much that you can get to once you step out of the hotel’s doors. From chain restaurants and jazz clubs to local boutiques, fitness studios, and popular stores, there’s plenty to do nearby! I had been itching to see the iconic, historic homes of downtown Charleston near The Battery, so I took a pedicab from the hotel to stroll through the streets where it’s almost as if time stood still. There are a lot of renovation restrictions to preserve the historic architecture of these homes. Even things like paint color changes have to be approved!
While you can’t go wrong with a stay anytime at the Francis Marion Hotel, I would especially recommend this property if you’re visiting Charleston for the first time or if you’re just coming down for a weekend, since the location is just so spectacular. It’s the perfect place to stay to guarantee you get the full experience of everything this seemingly timeless city has to offer. I really enjoyed the sophisticated, but welcoming, atmosphere, which could not have made a more perfect backdrop for me to grab a few photos in my Gal Meets Glam Collection Kate Dress!
The Look: Details Here