When wanderlust strikes in early fall, palmettos waving in the ocean breeze and the rhythmic clip-clop of horses’ hooves on cobblestone often lure travelers to what some call the South’s best city—Charleston. Once there, no one wants to wake up in a generic chain hotel with no sense of place. Cue The Vendue one of Charleston’s top boutique hotels that offers a twofer: historic charm and an art gallery.
A roughly five-hour drive can provide local, suburb-weary residents all Charleston has to offer, and Chief Marketing Officer Kris Altman said The Vendue, steps from Charleston’s iconic Waterfront Park and the Charleston Harbor, “puts you directly in the thick of it.”
Located in Charleston’s historic French Quarter, the Vendue is named for the auctions once held here and is comprised of two different properties located across the street from each other. Created from historic warehouses built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that included bedrooms upstairs for seafarers and fisherman, 19 Vendue and 26 Vendue offer 84 unique guest rooms furnished with period antiques and reproductions. And although the rooms are outfitted with modern amenities, they have not surrendered their wide, heart pine floors, exposed brick, wooden beams, high ceilings and functioning fireplaces that acknowledge their original architecture.
Despite its provenance, The Vendue is never stuffy. Juxtaposed against the historic, is the art, some of it downright funky. The Vendue became Charleston’s first dedicated arts hotel after a 2014 renovation. It now features more than 300 pieces of original art that is frequently rotated, making each visit an original experience. Exhibited in the hotel’s public spaces and sprinkled throughout, any art piece that strikes a guest's fancy can be purchased. Hotel art tours are available, and 26 Venue has its own working art studio complete with an artist in residence.
While the art is a feast for the eyes, The Vendue’s three restaurants make sure the appeal to the senses doesn’t end there. The Revival, which is reservation only, offers modern variations of traditional Lowcountry dishes such as Lowcountry Pirlou and Forbidden Shrimp and Grits in a formal dining atmosphere. For a more casual experience, The Rooftop, located atop The Vendue, serves appetizers, salads and sandwiches al fresco with delicious views of Charleston Harbor and other iconic sites. For breakfast, there’s the lobby lounge, Drawing Room, which also serves shareable plates and live entertainment in the evening.
With so much to do inside The Vendue, don’t forget there’s Charleston to explore. Whether it’s shopping for sweetgrass baskets at Charleston City Market, enjoying a day at the beach, exploring the famed Rainbow Row of brightly colored historic homes, or savoring a romantic carriage ride, there’s plenty to experience. Luckily, most popular sites and activities are within walking distance—a big plus that offsets the extra charge for parking at The Vendue. For sight-seeing that’s out of walking range, the hotel offers complimentary bikes, or guests can take the free Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH).
Voted Travel + Leisure magazine’s #1 Charleston hotel in 2017, The Vendue has remained in the top five every year since. Although several package deals are available, room rates range from $149-$429 per night based on season, day of the week and room type. September is a great time to visit Charleston before rates begin to rise during the peak travel season in October.
For more information about The Vendue, visit www.thevendue.com.