Evoking the Antebellum South in almost every corner of the city, Charleston is one of the oldest cities on the East Coast. A historic port and strategic landmark during both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Much of the city is walkable, and it’s highly recommended to explore the historic section as part of a themed tour to get the most from the experience. The four-star attractions of stunning Wentworth Mansion allow guests to travel back to Charleston’s Gilded Age heyday, where a slower, more elegant pace of life can still be enjoyed amidst the modern city.
Accommodation type: 4-star
No. of Rooms & Suites: 21
Pricing: starts at $400 for East Wing rooms, at $475 for Garden rooms, at $530 for Mansion rooms. At $600 for Mansion suites, at $780 for the Grand Mansion Suite
High season: March through October
Nearest airport: Charleston International Airport (CHS)
Suitable for: couples, honeymooners, families, pet owners
• TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award “#2 Best Luxury Hotel in the US,” 2017
• Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s “Top 25 Best Hotels in the US,” 2017
• Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards “#35 Best Hotel in the World,” 2015
Wentworth Mansion was built for the affluent family of a Charleston cotton merchant in 1886. Tiffany glasswork, Philadelphia brick, European marble and rare wood all embellish the public spaces and private rooms. Rising four stories high in the heart of Charleston and with an almost 24,000-square-foot floor plan, it was among the most luxurious homes of its day.
After decades as a family home, it was converted for use as a Masonic temple before being refurbished to its former glory in 1997 as a boutique hotel. Guests can glimpse the home’s glory at the height of the Gilded Age in each room of the mansion, from its detailed plaster ceilings to its inlaid floors.
Guest rooms feature extravagantly beautiful original features like crystal chandeliers and historic antiques. Gas fireplaces, large bathrooms, whirlpool tubs and private sunrooms all offer the sense of the refined luxury of a lost age. Full breakfasts are included in the cost of rooms, as well as thoughtful touches like mini refrigerators with complimentary drinks. Also, turndown service with homemade chocolates and evening glasses of sherry.
• Circa 1886 Restaurant — located in the former carriage house on the mansion’s grounds, this acclaimed restaurant incorporates food with Southern flair and a garden-to-table ethos. Dishes can include surprising ingredients like antelope or the more traditional rack of lamb. Cassoulet, foie gras, salads; featuring blue crab and dishes with pork and duck are hearty, fresh and imaginative. Desserts include favorites like strawberry shortcake, cheesecake and bread pudding.
• Spa at Wentworth Mansion — facials custom tailored for both men and women, hot stone massages, detoxifying wraps, and waxing, are just some of the treatments on offer for guests. Natural light streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brickwork, wooden beams and fun touches like horseshoe embellishments remind guests that the spa space was once used as Wentworth Mansion’s stable.
Guests can use a fitness club located close to the hotel as a complimentary activity. It includes a range of cardio equipment as well as yoga, pilates, spinning and other classes.
At just 12 miles away and 20 minutes of driving time, Wentworth Mansion is rather close to Charleston’s airport. There’s a taxi queue at the airport or visitors can book airport transfer services right to the hotel before their arrival.
For those guests planning on renting a car at the airport:
- Follow signs for I-526 East upon leaving the airport.
- After approximately two miles, take I-26 East for eight miles before bearing right onto Sheppard Street.
- Then after one block, take a left onto Rutledge Avenue.
- After a mile and a half, take another left onto Wentworth Street.
- The hotel will be on the right one block down, just past Smith Street. Parking at the mansion is complimentary.
Main Attractions Around Wentworth Mansion
1. Magnolia Plantation
For a glimpse of the Antebellum South at its height, this plantation dating to 1676 is also an award-winning garden, offering visitors the chance to see native birds and blooms in the gardens and a glimpse of local wildlife in the Zoo and Nature Center.
The tour of the house lasts just under an hour. With ten rooms showcasing antiques and memorabilia from the family who lived in it for more than 300 years. The gardens offer a Monet-like backdrop of beautiful flowers, delicate bridges spanning ponds and romantic trees draped in Spanish moss. Families will enjoy a visit to the Zoo, where native gray foxes, copperhead snakes, and bobcats keep even little ones enthralled.
2. Waterfront Park
This 12-acre park allows visitors the opportunity to stretch their legs with ample walking opportunities along the Cooper River. The tree-lined esplanade is especially notable, as it fronts the water and allows for pretty views of the wharf. Plenty of fountains, including one that’s in the shape of a pineapple, fill the air with a refreshing mist. There are also nearby salt marshes that offer the opportunity to spot species of seabirds.
3. South Carolina Aquarium
Charleston’s place in the wider ecosystem of the South is explored in exhibits that range from life beneath the waves to mountain habitats and coastal swamps and saltmarshes in this amazing aquarium. Sea turtles swim lazily through the two-story ocean tank along with sharks and aquarium staff in diving suits. A stingray tank allows guests to interact with the shy creatures by feeding them. There are also alligators, river otters and other creatures native to the local area.
Atmospheric graveyards, lush gardens flowing with Spanish moss, cobblestone streets, quaint churches and Civil War-era plantations and forts all recall Charleston’s historic past. But the city also has much to offer visitors in the modern era, from its fascinating cable bridge to its Market Street shopping district. Have you spent time in Charleston or visited Wentworth Mansion? Let us know about your trip in the comments below. Also, for more South Carolina traveling, you can always visit the Montage Palmetto Bluff as well.