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Hotel Love: Charleston’s Spectator Hotel

Over the last ten years, the city of Charleston, South Carolina has put itself on the map as a luxury tourist destination. It has been on Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards list four times since 2013 and the city’s restaurants, cultural institutions and hotels continue to draw travelers from around the world.

One of the newest additions to this growing reputation is The Spectator Hotel. Opened in 2015, this hotel caters to a slightly different crowd than the typical Charleston visitor that is looking for historic charm. The Spectator’s vibe is more about modern luxury than most other hotels in the largely historic downtown area with décor that is more a nod to the Art Deco style of the ‘20’s, than its neighbors. Even so, The Spectator was named the number one City Hotel in the Continental U.S. in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards last year and placed second on the list of Top 100 Best Hotels in the World. Just a single night at this hotel will be enough to figure out why. 

[Tap the sliding images at the top to see more of The Spectator]

Getting There: Getting to Charleston, South Carolina (CHS) is fairly easy. Several direct flights land daily from all across the country and international transfers are available from most major airports. The Spectator is right in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, so a quick taxi ride is all that it takes. Thanks to its ultra-modern façade the hotel itself it’s easy to spot.

Your Experience: If I had to describe The Spectator in one word, that word would be “swanky.” From the opulence of the lobby to the elegance of the room, this hotel had the classy feeling down pat. The décor managed to convey an updated Gatsby era feel that I really loved, modern, but with just enough old fashioned touches to keep it from feeling cold.

My room was done mostly in white and blue, which gave it a light airy feeling. The amenities included in the room were to die for, snacks and coffee on arrival, artisan chocolates and port at turn down, the list goes on. What was even more impressive was that most of these little perks were locally sourced from artisan food businesses in the Charleston area, a detail you don’t always see in luxury hotels. For me, the only downside of this hotel was that it didn’t really “feel” like Charleston, which seemed a bit odd for its location in the historic downtown area.

How To Stay: Rooms at The Spectator are all about elegance and posh amenities. The hotel has a mix of rooms with two Queen beds, single King rooms and Suites; each room is decorated with sleek, modern style and several of the suites come with balconies.

What really makes these rooms though, are the amenities. Each room, whether suite or guest room, comes complete with its own butler. Yes, you did read that correctly. Butlers, most of whom train at the Charleston School of Protocol, carry your luggage, pack, unpack and press your clothes, make restaurant or tour reservations and generally assure 24 hour concierge service for each room that they serve. The rooms also come fully stocked with locally sourced artisanal snacks and beverages, C.O. Bigelow bath products and Nespresso machines. Reservation desk offers specialty cocktails to guests just checking in and your butler will provide a port wine nightcap with your turndown service.

Where to Eat: Because of its location in the heart of downtown Charleston, The Spectator is within walking distance to some of the best eats the city has to offer. Top rated bars and restaurants Husk, Cane, Magnolia and S.N.O.B are all within a few blocks of the hotel, and your butler is a great resource for both recommendations and reservations.

The Spectator also has one of the most celebrated cocktail bars in Charleston on site. Simply called The Bar, its modern speakeasy style fits right in with the Art Deco hotel interior. The Bar’s resident “cocktail artisan,” Allen Lancaster, creates a variety of unique beverages using local ingredients.

Pros & Cons:

  • A bit pricier than other options in the area, though you do get a more upscale experience here.
  • There’s none of the historic charm that makes up much of downtown Charleston at the Spectator, instead the décor is more of a modernized Art Deco style.


  • The location of this hotel is unbeatable, right downtown around the corner from the historic Charleston City market.
  • Almost everything here is locally sourced, from the drink ingredients to the in-room snacks. You really feel like you’re supporting the local economy when you stay here.
  • Did I mention the butlers?

[Tap the sliding images at the top to see more of The Spectator]

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