Our hotel in Charleston for the 2008 trip was a magnificent mid 18th century mansion built by (and so named for) John Rutledge, one of the original signers of the United States Constitution.
The location is perfect, just a couple of blocks from Meeting Street, the epicenter of historic Charleston. The home itself has a distintively New Orleans vibe to it with lacy iron work on the multi-tiered front porches and a wide center hall running the length of the building.
The rooms range from really nice to spectacular. Seriously — we are talking a three room suite in the old parlors downstairs with a marble fireplace that wouldn’t be out of place in a palace. Not impressed yet? It’s the place where George Washington used to bunk when he came to town apparently.
A gorgeous garden separates the main house from the carriage houses where our rooms were. If it hadn't been so ungodly hot, we would've spent much more time out there - it truly was a lovely spot.
The rooms somehow manage to be classically appointed yet modern. Yes, the furnishings are antique or at least antique-looking, but it's all comfortable and not at all rickety and there are plenty of conveniences such as much-needed central air, a big TV, wireless Internet, an in-room miniature fridge, and more. Rick’s room had a lacey canopy bed and for once Mary didn’t say “Oh, yeah, that’s MY room,” though she’s still considering it. (He can’t be that hard to push out of bed)
We were bummed to hear that our timing was just wrong and we were going to miss the usually delectable afternoon tea — the concierge wouldn’t even tell us what it was, because the disappointment would be too great. “Best not to dwell,” he wisely said.
While we're on the topic, we have to really call out the service here. Personal, friendly, gracious, efficient - everything we asked was answered quickly and expertly. It made a great experience even greater.
And as if we weren't already smitting, the John Rutledge really won our hearts completely in the morning with breakfast. We had easily over a dozen different options including that day's hot dish of shrimp and grits. Both of us got the house made biscuit with excellent sherry-stewed fruit which is a good way to start a day.
We are still bitter about missing afternoon tea, though. Will someone go stay there and report back, please? Thanks.
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