Wow... well, this could have been a disaster but ended really nicely. I booked a King Studio Suite through Priceline for a fraction of what the resort's website had it going for, so I was really excited. It was a rare weekend getaway for my husband and me, and I was looking forward to a nice, big room with a huge balcony (the suite had that). The morning of our trip, I decided to call and confirm. As it turns out, there is some major miscommunication between the resort and priceline. The agent told me she had us in a Standard King/Inland room. OH NO... no way. I had the confirmation in front of me and explained that I had booked the large corner King Suite room. She said none were available. I asked to speak to supervisor, yadda yadda yadda. 20 mins and some arguing later they had given me a really sweet deal - a smaller room but one of the upscale deluxe ones with a balcony overlooking the harbor for dirt cheap, free breakfast both days, free carriage ride, free aquarium tickets, etc. It turned out better than the original would have been and we actually saved quite a bit over what we would have paid through priceline. The agent called priceline and cancelled our reservation through them, and priceline gave us a full refund.
Check in was very easy. The staff (both Brians at the time) were great; very funny, easy-going guys who were eager to answer any questions and do anything for us. We went up to our room and were pleasantly surprised. They only had the 2-queen bed deluxe room but it was fine. It is NOT a large room, but it's really beautifully decorated with tons of gorgeous moulding and built-in cabinets, lovely nautical toile bedding and draperies, etc. There were two plush terry robes in the closet but we never used them. There is a safe in the closet but again, never used. Large-screen plasma TV was nice. Vanity. Lots of cabinets. Small fridge with (overpriced) drinks and a variety of (overpriced) snacks available. The Wi-Fi was finicky but it finally started working. The bathroom is nice - smallish but pretty. Weird acrylic shower "curtain" - it's just a piece of clear acrylic that is stationary and only covers half the length of the (jet) tub. Hair dryer. Good toiletry brand. Lots of nice soft towels.
The view from our 3rd-floor balcony was lovely. We were on the south facing side so we were shaded from the afternoon sun, whereas the west-facing balconies were full-sun. It was a huge relief. I would request the south-facing side of the resort for that purpose, especially in the summer!
We put our things away and had a drink on the balcony before exploring the grounds. We arrived on a Friday and they were gearing up for their Friday night resort party - very busy hustle and bustle. We walked the piers (one for the charters, one just a pier). We noticed that there was a soda-machine on the charter pier and 20 oz bottles of soda were only $1.00, whereas they were $3.00 for the same thing at the resort. It's literally steps away from the resort so if you need soda for a mixer (or just want some to drink) and didn't bring any, go to the charter pier! It's the pier where the water taxi picks up and drops off.
We went to the bar to have a drink but they had moved all the seating out for the party. That was sort of lame, but we found a place outside near their man-made "beach". NOTE: there is an entry fee for the party, but only for non-resort guests! We nearly paid $5.00 each just to go in and see what food they had available. Ask for a free wrist band in the bar and they'll confirm your room number and give you one. What does it entitle you to, you ask? Nothing! It gets you "in" so you can pay $5.00 for a crappy burger or taco. And it allows you to pay for drinks! They had a deal of $3 domestic beer or something of the sort for those wearing wrist bands. It also gets you in to hear the live band so I guess that's cool. We had brought our own (better) beer, so we bought a couple of burgers and went back to our room where we could enjoy the live music from our balcony.
Beds very comfortable with 4 pillows on each. Pillows too smooshy/soft for my taste, but not bad.
Breakfast was -marginal- and if they hadn't given us complimentary breakfast, I would have been p.o.'d. The continental buffet (breads, pastries, a few fruits, yogurt, juice, coffee) is $11 per person. The full American buffet (scrambled eggs, cheese grits, potatoes, bacon & sausage, plus the continental fare) is $16 per person. WAY overpriced for what you get. The coffee was good and the food was decent, but again, I wouldn't have paid the asking price. If you can't finagle free breakfast there, I would definitely venture out for something much less pricey.
The trolley is very convenient and we made use of it. Of course you are paying an $8 "resort fee" per day for the privilege of the "free" trolley but again, very convenient. Grab a trolley schedule at the front desk and plan to use "Ollie the Trolley" to get to and from the C'ton peninsula. Its last departure from the peninsula back to the resort is 10:15 pm.
The resort is centrally located to both the Charleston Peninsula and the Isle of Palms/Sullivan's Island beaches. We found it very easy to get around, though there's not a lot around the resort itself as far as other restaurants, shops, etc. They do have rental bikes that would be nice but we didn't use them.
We spent Saturday on the Isle of Palms beach, right near the Windjammer bar/grill. That was the -ticket-. Park right near the Windjammer (pay for a ticket at the kiosk - .75 per hour - or maybe half-hour, my husband paid it so I can't remember), then access the beach using the Windjammer. There is beach volleyball right there, also they usually have a couple of nets set up out on the beach right outside the bar/grill. Set yourself up on the beach near the Windjammer and you have restrooms and drinks/food at your fingertips. The food is good and very reasonable. They have free water also. BUT DON'T LET YOUR PARKING TICKET EXPIRE! They go up and down ticketing cars that haven't paid enough. Alcohol is prohibited on the beach as is glass. Dogs are allowed but must be on leash.
We went back to the resort to clean up and then had dinner at 82 Queen. It was a very nice place. The food was pretty good. The She-Crab soup is good but a tad too salty for my taste. Sweet potato bisque delightful and flavorful. The Frogmore Stew was good but again, a tiny bit too much salt. Wonderful creme brulee. The cheddar/garlic biscuits they brought out would have been great if they hadn't been so underdone.
The carriage tour in downtown Charleston was great and very informative. We recommend it. We saved our free aquarium tickets for next time when we bring our kids back, and we will be back.
We really enjoyed the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina and definitely plan to come back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated directly on the Charleston Harbor lies a hidden oasis. The Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina is a harbor front sanctuary that allows you to relax your mind, explore your imagination, indulge your senses, and invites you to relive the historic past that is Charleston. With its uncommon blend of unique low country culture, exciting downtown revelry, and resort style pampering, the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina offers a vacation experience like none other. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Charleston Harbour Resort And Marina
- Charleston Harbour Resort & Marina Hotel Mount Pleasant
- Charleston Harbor Resort Marina
- Charleston Harbor Hotel Marina
- Hilton Mount Pleasant