We stayed here on the recommendation of some friends, who live in the area. The flight to Charleston had its usual mishaps with delayed flights, but is good to remember you can either catch a taxi and pay around $30-40 or share a cab with 2 or 3 others at $12 one way. It does mean you take a little longer to get to your hotel if you are not the first drop off, but as the airport is only about 20 mins from downtown Charleston it is hardly a long drive.
The Vendue Inn is on the edge of the historic district, literally a hop skip and jump from some of the top restaurants in the town.
I was told the building is actually 3 old buildings made into one, which gave the nooks and crannies a special charm all of their own. It is not a cheap place to stay, but what was nice if you had the children with you, some rooms were organized in a way that you could close off a door to 2 rooms, and also got a little seating area, away from beds but still behind a locked door.
The room we had was full of southern charm, complete with fireplace and an over sized tv above - which in a place like Charleston seemed not necessary, but then maybe that is because I love old buildings and history more than fox, CNN or msnbc!
The bed was a king, and stood off the floor at hip height so at 5'6" this is quite a way off the floor. The cute thing was the little step stool you needed to climb up into the bed and out as I could not touch the floor while sitting on the bed so was needed to help you out too! Now I could go into the history of why beds used to be this high off the floor, but I won't, all I would say was it was a nice old world charm they did not remove from the hotel. There was enough drawer space and just enough hanging space for us, but if I was there for an event that required a ball gown, I would have struggled where my husband and I would have hung our clothes.
The bathroom had a jacuzzi bath - which we did not use so why did we book a room with one??? - who knows, but then we do not use the jacuzzi bath in our own house! The toiletries they provided were lovely and clearly not the sort that dried your hair out. The hot water did not run out, and the shower had a lovely big rain head. Hair dryer was provided which is a must and for once it actually had some clout behind it rather than the less powerful ones you find in a lot of hotels.
There was a lack of power points in the room, which bearing in mind the age of the building I can understand, but in this day and age where everyone has an iPad, iPod, phone, laptop etc each that makes 8 things to charge a charging station might be an idea to provide in future.
There was no safe in the room either which we have come to expect, especially when you carry so many high cost but n the palm of your hand items these days. This we find a little annoying as when you travel for work and have laptops in tow it is nice to lock them away and take them out of temptations eye view.
The only down side was the first night, the air-con seemed to have a rattle and a squeak. Not sure where it was coming from and kept me awake, but then it disappeared and did not reappear for the rest of our stay. Bearing in mind these properties were built well before the invention of air-con I can live with the short lived squeak for one night.
We joined their preferred guest and breakfast was included. As the Inn is 3 old houses made into one, there were several little breakfast rooms, which was a nice touch and you were not overcrowded. You had a choice for breakfast, and there was something that would suit everyone.
The Inn also held a manager's reception each evening with wine cheese, fruit etc. which was a nice way to start your evening before heading out for dinner. At 9pm they put out a tray of cookies and milk for bedtime - where else but in America !!! The cookies were lovely and clearly very popular. We were told if we were late back in the evening, if we wanted cookies and milk just to ask the staff and they will sort it out for us.
Restaurants abound in Charleston and there are several exquisite ones literally just across the road - but that is for another review. But a reservation for thursday, friday and saturday is a must if you do not want to be sitting holding the bar up until a table becomes free. Staff are helpful, and are also able to book you a table at one of the restaurants. I was quite impressed with this as they clearly have a central booking system, so the hotel could see what times tables were free and book us accordingly - none of this having to telephone around the restaurants and see what they have available.
As for location, you are right by the waterfront and the park. If you want to go to Fort Sumter it is quite a walk down to the pier which is at the other end of the historic district and I would advise to save your feet you get a cab or a little peddler carriage, which I am sure are manned by university students a what a great way to supplement your finances!
However if architecture is your thing and you want to wander the old streets and houses of Charleston and imagine yourself sitting on one of those glorious piazzas cooling down from the on shore breezes, then this is literally just around the corner.
We did not eat in the Inn's dining room for dinner, but we did enjoy the roof top bar the first evening we were there, whilst there is not that much to see by comparison to other cities, it was enjoyable to sit up there on a balmy October evening.
I would definitely put this place on my revisit list for future years