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“Not as pictured” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Francis Marion Hotel

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Francis Marion Hotel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403   |  
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10% off room rate
Ranked #26 of 57 Hotels in Charleston
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Not as pictured”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2014

Stayed at the Francis Marion for a wedding in August. The rooms were not as pictured. Very old, mold like smell, the smallest bathroom and room that I've ever stayed in. Completely unsatisfied for the money spent. Very friendly staff, especially the valet men. If you stay in the historic area be prepared to pay for parking or valet.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
I'm sorry to hear your room didn't meet your expectations, Jordan. As your know, ours is an historic hotel, so the rooms and bathrooms are smaller than those in more modern hotels. We like for our guests to feel right at home when they stay with us, so if you have any ideas on how we can improve the overall experience, please don't hesitate to let me know!

Safe travels,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
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1,493 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (381)
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English first
Manassas, Virginia
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2014

This was my first visit to the Charleston area. I fell in love with the area. Very nice! I do not recommend staying at this hotel while visiting Charleston. The room I stayed in felt like it was once a storage closet that someone decided to turn into a guest room to make extra money. The bathroom was so small the toilet lid would not close because of the exposed pipes. (see pics) The room was extremely dark even though it had two windows due to the view of the brick wall and view of large pipes; no sun could come into this room. (see pics) The room was also not clean. (see pics) I was extremely disappointed. Even though this was a work conference, I was staying three nights and I was uncomfortable for these 4 days. We had a room rate break due to our conference in the hotel but I unfortunately was exposed to what other rooms were like before seeing my room which added to my disappointment. After expressing my discomfort and displeasure to many friends, it occurred to me I should give the hotel the opportunity to understand, express concern or fix my issues. I spoke with a lady at the front desk who was not friendly, not helpful and was not interested in my concerns. I should have known something was up when signing in at the front desk they have you initial a form that says you will be responsible for a certain amount of charges if you want to leave early. I think it was 50% of the room rate, but I am not positive of the amount. I travel often and that is not something you normally have to agree to before seeing your room. The exterior of this hotel is wonderful. The location is fantastic. I would recommend that you do not stay on the back of this building as there are many, many rooms with the view of brick walls and outside pipes on several of the lower floors if you decide to stay here. I think you need to be on the 5th floor or higher. The problem I have with this hotel is you pay the same for these rooms on these lower floors that are dark and dingy as you do for the rooms that are a bit higher. This is a case of buyer beware! Thank goodness for TripAdvisor because now you can beware.

Room Tip: I would recommend that you do not stay on the back of this building as there are many, many rooms wi...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, March 2, 2014
I'm sorry to hear you were uncomfortable in your room, and I'm sorry to hear our front desk staff didn't seem interested in listening to your concerns. Guest satisfaction is and always has been our top priority, but it sounds like we really let you down; for that I apologize.

However, I hope you'll understand that because ours is an historic hotel, the rooms vary in size and shape. Similarly, I hope you'll understand that when we have big groups and conferences staying with us as you were, it's not always possible for us to change or upgrade someone's accommodations. We certainly didn't mean to cause you any frustration!

Sincerely,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
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Ohio
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

If you want all the modern convinces of a new hotel this place is not for you but if you are like me and love historic charm this place is perfect. Are room was small and quant just big enough for our need. Very clean room, bathroom and hotel. I am very picky when it comes to beds and I was very comfortable every night. We were in 15-20 minutes walking distance of everything. I highly recommend this old but classic charmer in the heart of downtown Charleston.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, March 2, 2014
Thanks for your recommendation! It's great to hear you appreciate the historic charm we work so hard to preserve here at the Francis Marion. We'd love to have you back next time you're in town!

Very best,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
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Randolph Center, VT
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

Spent 3 days here for a conference and was quite comfortable here. Amenities are basic. For example, since there's a Starbucks downstairs the in room coffee is minimal. Friges are available for $10 a night if you need; there's a Harris Teeter within walking distance, and it's about a 10 minute walk to Riverfront park and the water. Charleston is flat, so it's a great walking city (only for the experienced in high heels, however; lots of uneven surfaces and cobblestones.
Staff was personable, friendly, very nice. Room was clean, lobby has lots of very nice nooks and crannies and places to cozy up.
The bed was quite comfortable and I liked that there was a range of pillow firmnesses to chose from. For an older hotel there were enough outlets for charging things in places where you could get to them. My room had a small loveseat which was quite handy. Bathroom was small but functional; strange toilet, though; flush handle sticking out parallel to where you sit.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, February 27, 2014
It's great to hear you felt right at home during your stay! I appreciate you explaining a little about our amenities in your feedback. Other reviewers undoubtedly will appreciate your attention to detail as much as I do!

Until next time,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

I had stayed at this Charleston classic, where a classmate held her wedding reception many years ago. At that time it was a little tarnished, like much of downtown, but still had lovely and gracious bones. Some things about my recent visit were delightful improvements, some a little disappointing and some just missed the mark of my expectations in reviving what was once quite a show piece.

What is good about this hotel....
This is a grand dame of Charleston hotels. It has recently been updated, but retains a lot of historic charm. By Charleston standards it is pretty huge: a skyscraper. Great views from the top floors. The location is good. It is on the park outside the old Citadel and on the trolley line. Right in the middle of the college of Charleston. Very convenient for King Street shopping, as well as touring the Market area and French Quarter. The staff is professional, pleasant and helpful. We had breakfast at the restaurant and the food was quite good and it was reasonably priced.

What is less desirable about this hotel...
It is old. Yes, it has been maintained and updated, but the bathrooms are smaller than any I have ever been in NY, maybe even Europe. They are more than adequately appointed and the early 20th century fixtures are in pristine condition and quite charming. The bathrooms are original in their footprint and therefore t-tiny. In another aspect I miss the original configuration of the hotel. Since my last stay at the hotel, 25+ years ago, air conditioning is present throughout the hotel. This is great, except for there used to be a great bar on the top floor of the hotel and they would open the window for an incredible breeze and view. The lobby area doesn't seem quite as grand, either. It has been updated and renovated, but the Starbucks in the lobby just doesn't scream glamour. Perhaps an upscale bar or meeting location would feel more opulent. Then again this is a business...what do I know.

Overall, it is a lovely historic hotel. The rooms, if not the baths, are spacious and decently appointed. The staff is helpful and pleasant but not overbearing. The concierge, when called upon, are very responsive and thorough. The downtown location is great! The price is not cheap, but it isn't exorbitant. This is not the Four Seasons, but you aren't paying for it, either.

Room Tip: The top floors are great, but if the electricity goes out, like it did during our stay, it can be a...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
I'm so glad you paid us another visit after all these years! Our building has changed quite a bit since you were here last, and I'm sorry some of the things you enjoyed most about our hotel are now gone. However, it's great to hear you appreciate our efforts to preserve the historic charm of the Francis Marion. I hope you'll come back and see us again sometime!

Safe travels,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
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Ventura, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

We stayed at the Francis Marion for 5 days to attend a destination wedding. The entire staff was very friendly and welcoming. The concierge service helped us find an educational tour that fit our time frame. We ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant using both the buffet and ordering from the menu. We enjoyed quality food at an affordable price. Restaurant staff were professional. The hotel location is convenient for walking to numerous restaurants and doing some shopping. There might be fancier hotels in Charleston but they are not nearly as well located to historical downtown.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
Thanks for pointing to our convenient location in your review, Dean! I'm glad you had a chance to explore the Francis Marion and downtown Charleston when you were in town for the wedding. Our staff undoubtedly will appreciate your compliments as much as I do!

Thanks again,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
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Surfside Beach, South Carolina
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

Rooms could use a up lift. I know that the hotel has charm and is in great shape for its age. A new color scheme & fresh paint would be nice and much more comfortable furnishings in the grand lobby. It would nice if the hotel would have a concierge service that could recommend good restaurants, pubs, wine bars & set up dinner reservations also reservations for tours for different attractions in the area.

Plus is a Starbucks located on the main entrance level.

Room Tip: I was lucky to have had 2 double beds with 2 bathrooms that was specious compared to other rooms tha...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FMH_Manager, Manager at Francis Marion Hotel, responded to this review, February 25, 2014
Thanks for following up with us after your stay! We actually have an experienced concierge on duty from 9 AM to 6 PM daily for just the reasons you listed. As for the building itself, I appreciate your suggestions; we'll certainly keep them in mind going forward. We're continually working to improve our historic hotel, and your candid feedback will help us preserve the past!

Safe travels,
Gayle Karolczyk, General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Francis Marion Hotel

Address: 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Phone Number:
Location: United States > South Carolina > Coastal South Carolina > Charleston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Business Hotel in Charleston
#22 Romantic Hotel in Charleston
#24 Family Hotel in Charleston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Francis Marion Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 234
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience unsurpassed views of the historic harbor at the Francis Marion Hotel, the only high-rise hotel in Charleston’s historic district. All 234 guest rooms including 10 Suites and 7 Penthouse Suites are tastefully furnished for today’s sophisticated traveler, and provide modern conveniences from wireless Internet access, voicemail and data ports to on-demand movies. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Francis Marion Charleston
Hotel Francis Marion

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