In a city ruled by history both figuratively and literally in the form of strict historic preservation laws, wandering around downtown Charleston feels like strolling through a living museum. The stone, brick and wood facades of homes painted in various pastel hues, covered with ivy and framed by palm trees, are a beautiful memory of a complicated bygone era. The preservation is so complete, as a visitor one is transported to a time when skylines were dominated by church steeples and the main mode of transportation was by horse and buggy.
The hotels of the town follow suit by emphasizing the charms of Charleston in its cotton and rice selling heyday. Yet one hotel takes its cue from another era—the creative renaissance of the 1920s. The Spectator is a 1920s Art Deco gem in the heart of the French Quarter.
General Manager and South Carolina native, Brent Gresham, answers our questions about The Spectator’s most requested room and just what makes this historic hotel such a decidedly modern stand-out. Not to mention the fact that the entire hotel is a showpiece for local architecture, design, art, food, drink… even the mattresses were made by a fourth-generation Charlestonian family company.
What is the most requested room at The Spectator?
The most requested room at The Spectator are the Grand Suites, which are room numbers 104 and 204.
Why is it the most requested room?
The Grand Suite is the hotel’s largest room type (over 550 square feet, which is well over the industry average), featuring a separate spacious seating area with a luxe couch overlooking the best views of State and Market Streets through a beautiful floor-to-ceiling window. The suites feature one king bed with a luxury, locally-sourced mattress, linens, and custom pillows, along with lavish comforts including a built-in armoire, two flat-screen HDTVs and a separate wet mini-bar area with wood countertop, table and two chairs.
The spacious spa-like bathroom includes oversized double vanities, floor to ceiling tile, extensive white marble, heated towel racks, a glass walk-in shower and separate soaking tub with French doors that open to the entire suite.
What makes it so special/unique?
Guests love how residential the Grand Suites feel. The versatile furniture and vast seating with separate nook areas make it a very spacious and expansive space for small families or group of friends who are looking to stay more than two nights on property. The wife could be getting ready in the bathroom while the husband sits in the living area watching football – it gives guests the chance to spread out and not be on top of each other.
Additionally, the Grand Suites can be booked with a connecting room; when that door opens, the combined space turns into upwards of 900 square feet.
What is the nightly rate?
Varies with the season but can be as low as $499 and go upwards of $899 during the high season.
Which room is your personal favorite?
My personal favorite room on property is the Premier Balcony Suite on the third floor.
I particularly love that room because of the furnished wraparound 100 square foot balcony that boasts beautiful views of the French Quarter’s church steeples and historic market area. The suite also has a separate seating area with a luxe couch, mini-bar with wood countertop and a beautiful, spacious bathroom that offers tremendous natural light through the window.
Have you all had any celebrity guests?
Yes, Lee Greenwood, Meghan Trainor, Hall & Oats, J. Cole, Hootie & the Blowfish, Kate Middleton’s brother, James William Middleton, Bradley Whitford, Edie Falco, and Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer.
What are some interesting/noteworthy tidbits about the hotel that make it an iconic property?
As the only property in Charleston with a design that marries Art Deco style with an air of southern charm, The Spectator was named after the classic 1920s Spectator shoe and embodies a similar sense of community as Charlestonian’s did in the ’20s. Stemming from the artistic renaissance that took place in Charleston during that time, the city is now home to so many creatives, which provided the local man-power to truly own, build and design a hotel exclusively made by local artisans. Everything from the architect to the interior designer to the branding firm are all based out of Charleston. To this day, we pride ourselves on using as much local resources and product – our mattresses and linens are all hand-made by a fourth-generation mattress maker out of North Charleston called Southern Lady and our pillows are made by a third-generation pillow maker out of Beaufort, South Carolina called Harris Pillow Supply.
The main lobby’s opulent chandelier was designed by our local interior designer, Jenny Keenan and features 1,800 hand-blown and hand-strung crystals.