On the 2nd leg of our trip from the Great Garden State to Hilton Head, SC, we spent a night at the Best Western Airport Motel in North Charleston. It was a 7 ½ hour drive from our previous location in Williamsburg, VA and we arrived late in the day. We booked the reservation online through Orbitz and received an email confirmation of our reservation. Upon plugging the address on our confirmation into the vehicle navigation system, we learned that the street didn’t exist. My guess is that the street didn’t exist in 2008 when my navigator software was installed. (Guess I should have spent the $150 for the updated maps Honda offers.) Anyhow, I called the hotel and was given an alternate address which was close to the motel. The specific directions were “We’re located just behind the Cracker Barrel restaurant.” Given all these hints, we found the motel nestled in a little cul-de-sac with 2 other motels. The lobby was very small. Our first disappointment was that there were none of the usual amenities – no coffee urn, no tea, no newspapers, no cookies. I guess you’d call it bare bones. Upon checking in we had our 2nd disappointment. I was informed that my “Best Western” motel club card was not valid because my reservation was not booked directly. LESSON LEARNED - Apparently if you book through Orbitz, or Expedia or any other similar online service, you cannot accumulate Best Western club points.
The room was clean but had the odor of cleaning materials - kind of a bleach smell. The air conditioning unit seemed to have some kind of governor on it. It was very warm when we arrived. We set the thermostat to 68 degrees to cool the room. Every 10 minutes the unit would shut down and then just as spontaneously, it would turn on a few minutes later. You would think with the thermostat set so low, that it would work continuously. We left it set very low and went out for dinner. Our thinking was that if the room didn’t cool off, we’d ask for a change when we returned from dinner. Upon returning from dinner the room temp was tolerable…but still not down to the setting. We were tired from the long day of driving, and decided it was “good enough.” The next morning we had another “surprise.” The wall mounted hair dryer didn’t work. I went down to the front desk to report the problem and ask for a portable dryer. Good News, Bad News! Yes they had a portable dryer, but we’d have to wait till 8:30 for the housekeeping staff to arrive. They had sole possession of the locked cabinet in which it was kept. Of course that didn’t mesh well with our scheduled early departure. My wife skipped her hair washing and we entered the dining area for our complimentary buffet breakfast. In a word, I would characterize the offering as adequate. There was nothing special about it. The scrambled eggs were cooked dry, there was no yogurt and the fruit salad came from a large can. The most popular item was the make-it-yourself waffle iron. Many people were partaking of that.
In summary, I would not recommend this motel. Though the staff is friendly, they are not particularly accommodating or empowered. (The manager can’t even open the housekeeping cabinet) The amenities were quite sparse and certainly well below those offered by competing motels in the same price range. If you ever happen to find yourself in Room 306 at this motel, send me an email and let me know if the hair dryer was fixed!
For dinner we drove into the tourist area of Charleston. It was about 11 miles and a 20 minute drive from the motel. Upon arriving in Charleston we found a parking lot ($2.00 per hour seems to be the going rate all over town). We walked through the Market Street vending area which is set up like an indoor flea market with numerous interesting vendors selling clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, puzzles, food, etc. Unfortunately we didn’t get there until 4 PM and many of the venders were closing down for the day. Upon the recommendation of one of the vendors, we decided to try a local favorite for dinner. Located on Meeting Street just 2 blocks north of Market Street, Hyman’s restaurant was a short walk from the shopping area. It’s a very popular informal dining establishment with a sterling reputation as one of Charleston’s gems. Its walls are adorned with photos and plaques of the many celebrities they have hosted. I saw a plate signed by Jimmy Buffett and we sat a table that once hosted Yitzhak Pearlman. Hyman’s has been recognized 9-times by Southern Living as one of Charleston’s best. I would characterize it as affordable, informal, down-home, low-country cooking at its finest. With a coupon we received a ½-price dish of exceptionally good, home-made crab dip as an appetizer. This came with a complimentary plate of delicious hush puppies. For entrees, I had their signature fried flounder served with Cole Slaw, French Fries, and more hush puppies. The flounder is scored with a knife, the head removed and the body deep fried (skin and all). Because of the score marks, the fish falls apart with a little nudging from a fork. After you eat one side you turn it over and eat the other. It was an unusual preparation method, a very large and tasty meal. My wife enjoyed some well-made, meaty crab cakes as well as a healthy portion of my flounder. The dinner was delicious. Our server, Ellen, was both attentive and helpful in guiding us through the menu choices. If you’re ever in Charleston, I highly recommend you give Hyman’s a try. I think you’ll find it to be a great value, and a memorable dining experience.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.