A Very Charleston Thanksgiving

As much as I love checking certain destinations or hotels off my bucket list, it also warms my heart to return to a place that I love. Going back to Charleston was just that, and the short plane ride (both of our flights landed a half hour early) is simply an added bonus. Because long flights are exhausting!

It seems like every year new and wonderful hotels are popping up in Charleston. We wanted to try out one of these new places but also return to the hotel we stayed at last year, which we loved so so much. So, we ended up staying at two of the city’s very best hotels — each of which you can read about below.

Hotel Bella Grace

Just over a year old, this beautiful modern boutique hotel is in the historic Ansonborough neighborhood and is the perfect blend of preservation and the most up to date luxury. A stunning intimate courtyard separates The Delaney House, a circa 1830s oyster restaurant and bar that serves as the hotel’s breakfast and gathering place, and the 50 guest rooms, cozy lobby and fitness center (open 24 hours!).

Upon walking into the elegantly appointed entrance lobby, we were greeted by the most delicious scent of a vanilla/tobacco candle. Imagine my surprise when we were gifted the very same one in our suite!

And about our suite, indeed! We were given the King Studio Suite, which had the sleekest built in kitchen amenities I’ve ever seen (35 of the 50 rooms include these kitchens). The floors, TV, bathroom…everything was as mint and cutting edge as can be. Beautiful artwork as well. And every guest receives complimentary breakfast at the aforementioned Delaney House, which included an assortment of eggs, frittatas, crumb cakes (my personal favorite) and, of course…grits.

The service was impeccable for our entire stay, with incredible attention to detail. If you want to stay in a truly elegant and understated boutique hotel in Charleston, I could not recommend the Hotel Bella Grace more highly.

Belmond Charleston Place

For the second half of our trip, we returned to the hotel we stayed at last year and that marked the start of our love affair with this great historic city: the Belmond Charleston Place. If you want the full resort experience with every amenity under the sun, then this is the place for you. There is also something wonderful and incredibly heartwarming about returning to a place that you love. Many of the same people were still there, and I got an overwhelming number of notes, personal greetings, and phone calls welcoming me back, and it truly melted my heart. They even remembered how obsessed I became with pimento cheese (I had never tried it before our trip last year) and sent it up to our room as part of our welcome gift! Now, that is what I call dedicated service!

Another favorite part of Belmond Charleston Place are the Christmas decorations in the lobby: a gorgeously grand Christmas tree, a stunning double circular staircase, and a fun, elaborate train display. Nothing could get me more in the holiday spirit; and for families, the trains are something the young kids especially enjoy watching.

Once again, we stayed in a room with access to the Club Lounge, which is a huge highlight of this hotel. This time around, we stayed on the 8th floor — the same floor as the actual lounge, a mere couple doors down. I can’t tell you what a great thing this was. Like literally having your own personal kitchen and dining room!  It serves food and drinks all day: a deluxe continental breakfast,  afternoon tea (pistachio scones with lemon curd and — of course — pimento cheese tea sandwiches were a highlight), evening cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres (we had to make a concerted effort not to spoil our appetite for dinner), and after dinner cordials and desserts. And in the between hours, there is always tons of Brie, fruit, crackers, beer and wine, and coffee or tea to be had. Plus, you can always take food and drinks back to your room should you be hit with an unexpected craving. It’s pretty amazing.

We arrived at the hotel fairly early in the afternoon, so we decided to have an indulgent, lazy lunch, Southern Style, at the Palmetto Café — a lushly beautiful garden-style restaurant that’s open for breakfast and lunch. To accompany my perfectly dry rosé de Provence, I had the smoked salmon carpaccio, which was of the most thin, delicate quality and perfectly punctuated with a hint of dill and horseradish cream. My husband had the seafood club, of which I had…well let’s say a taste. I think you all know by now to come to Charleston with a healthy appetite!

Part of me wishes that I had booked a spa appointment when I was there, but the weather was especially beautiful this time around (around 70 degrees, sunny or partly sunny) so I was inclined to taking some long walks (along Rainbow Row, and the mansions by the water). The spa also features a 50 foot saltwater pool which may just be the grandest indoor pool I’ve seen. It has a retractable roof for when it hits about 75 degrees — we didn’t quite make the cut for that this year, but the pool itself is surrounded by a stunning outdoor rooftop and bar that has incredible panoramic views of the city. It was so nice and relaxing to chill a bit there and take in those views on the beautiful warm sunny days that we were so blessed to have.
For a truly luxurious and pampering resort experience, there are few places more perfect and timeless than the Belmond Charleston Place. I am so grateful that we got to have two distinct hotel experiences and have what was undeniably the best of both worlds: the understated elegance and chicness of a top of the line boutique hotel, and the endless amenities and traditional grandness of one of the country’s best resorts.  

Thank you to both the Hotel Bella Grace and the Belmond Charleston Place for making our second stay in Charleston even sweeter, and for allowing us to review your wonderful hotels in exchange for a stay.

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