Southeastern US Road Trip
Embassy Suites Charleston Historic District
Anderson Ocean Club and Spa
Country Inn & Suites Asheville Outlet Mall
The next stop on our road trip was the Embassy Suites Charleston Historic District in Charleston, SC. We arrived in the early afternoon on a rainy day and didn’t have to wait too long to pull under the covered area where we were met by the valet. We had taken our time on the drive up from Savannah but had still reached Charleston well before check-in time. However the valet proactively offered to check to see if our room was ready and, to our delight, it was. Not only that but as our bags were being unloaded from the car, someone from the front desk actually brought out our room keys to us. I can only assume my Diamond status played a part in that.
There is no free parking anywhere in the area. The valet service is $35 per day and the cars are parked right across the side street. There is a parking garage next to the valet lot that is the same price or slightly higher. The hotel does mention another garage that’s a dollar or two cheaper per day but the bottom line is that you’re going to pay a pretty penny for parking here. We used the valet the first day as it was raining and we were still getting our bearings but the second night we parked in the nearby garage. When we checked out we found the valet charge had automatically been extended to the second night but I mentioned we had not used the valet the second day and was assured the charge would be removed. I did have to follow up a day or two later, but the charge was eventually credited back.
The lobby had beautiful hardwood floors and was quite spacious. Upon entering, there was an area on the left with a couple of high-top tables and a bar. During our stay this bar was only used during the evening free drinks that are standard at the Embassy Suites. I would assume it’s limited to two adults per room and you’ll need to visit the front desk to get your drink coupons for the evening. Also the “appetizers” that were available during our stay were simply small bags of chips. Hopefully as the pandemic eases some fresh appetizers will be available.
On the right side was a seating area and a stall where hand-made woven baskets are sold. It’s very common to see these times of items on sale in this area. They’re a legacy of the Gullah culture of the region. To get a better understanding of the Gullah culture I can recommend visiting one of the plantations in the area (we visited Boone Plantation) and learning about the Gullah people.
The beautiful floors continued down a central hall and the front desk was immediately to the right. Across from that was the room where breakfast was served. During our visit the menu was still restricted. Most items were pre-packaged but there were some hot items available. Breakfast is available to all guests from 7:00-9:30 AM each day.
Walking deeper into the hotel it them opens up into a giant atrium with rooms all along the outer edges. Our room was on the top floor on the left.
Our room was long and thin with a sitting room near the door, the bathroom on one side halfway down and the bedroom just beyond.
I was a bit surprised at how small the bedroom was. While our two double beds did not touch the respective walls on one side, there was certainly no room to walk anywhere but between them and at the foot of the beds. There were not many outlets in the room and there was only one outlet between the beds and the alarm clock used one of its ports. Fortunately we’d planned ahead and brought an extension cord that could handle 3 plugs. That allowed us each to charge our phones bedside at night.
Across from the beds were the desk, a small chest with the TV atop it and the wardrobe.
The wardrobe had a safe and the bedding for the sofa.
I don’t know if it’s because we used points for our stay but the window by the bed had a decent view of the park next door – but it was hard to see that view from anywhere but on the bed….
… and the other window had a view of the crenelated edge around the top of the building. In other words, that window was useless except to let natural light in.
The interior walls were a little battered too.
The sitting room was rather dark because there was no natural light. On one side was a sleeper sofa and an easy chair.
On the other side was a small, 2-person table and a chest with the TV. I assume the drawers in the chest would be for the folks sleeping on the couch.
Across from the bathroom was the kitchenette which had a mini-fridge, a microwave and a sink. While we only used the fridge, we appreciated all the extra counter space just for setting down all the “stuff” we’d crammed in the car for our road trip. We were surprised there were no recycle bins in the room.
The bathroom had the sink and vanity on the right, the tub shower on the left and the toilet straight ahead.
The position of the shower head could not be changed but at least there were several spray options so you can select one that you prefer.
It was here that I most noticed the wear and tear on this property. There were rust stains by the sink faucets and we had a very difficult time determining just where to put those handles to keep the faucet from dripping.
There was a rust stain behind the toilet.
And the bottom of the bathroom door and the floor at the entrance to the bathroom just seemed to have been beaten up over the years.
As usual for the lower-end Hilton properties the toiletries were by Neutrogena. While it’s certainly better than having wall-mounted dispensers, I find these products dry out my skin after only a few uses.
Like many hotels there were relatively few towel racks and only one hook on the back of the door which meant there was nowhere to hang wet washcloths. Fortunately, my friend had brought command strips with hooks so we were able to use those.
The hair dryer may have been overdue for cleaning or replacement. It had enough wattage to blow more powerfully than it did. As it wasn’t hugely important to us we did not mention it to the hotel staff.
The hotel has a very tiny pool sandwiched between the restaurant and the park next door. At least pool towels are provided so you don’t have to use your room towels.
The even tinier gym is located in the building beside the pool.
In the end
All the staff members we interacted with were very friendly and glad to have tourists again. The hotel has a good location for those interested in the historic district and we were able to walk to a great many tourist spots. But the hotel needs some TLC though I recognize that’s been hard over the last year. I hope that after the summer influx improvements can be made to restore this hotel to what it can be.