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“Could have done better...”

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Francis Marion Hotel
Ranked #23 of 61 Hotels in Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Could have done better...”
Reviewed September 16, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Francis Marion for one night. I'd chosen it because the rates seemed reasonable and while there were some negative reviews, there were also positive ones. I'm giving my take on both positive and negative.

First the positives: 1) close to shopping district, 2) very friendly and helpful staff, 3) elegant lobby, 4) quiet room, and 5) comfortable bed.

Now, the negatives: 1) very close to College of Charleston so encountered a lot of drunken college activity (some may count this as a positive I suppose) on the streets, 2) moderately decrepit rooms- cracked plaster, stained carpets and tight quarters, and 3) needs better housekeeping attention- crumby hallways, grungy bathrooms.

Would I stay here again? Probably not. As indicated in my title, I think I could have found a better option for staying in Charleston.

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CO_sojourner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Broadway, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed September 14, 2008

We love America's historic hotels and have found most of them to be well appointed. We were therefore saddened to find the Francis Marion in need of a refurbishment. Our room while just about acceptably felt as if it needed a good airing. The bathroom needed a refit and it would have been nice to have found it without the last residents hairs in the bath!
Whilst just about acceptable the check in staff seemed a little complacent and unattentive.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TheBearsAway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco, ca
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 9, 2008

This is definitly an older review as it has been over 2 years since we stayed here. I'm just catching up on some reviews. My now husband booked a suite for us the weekend we got engaged. The views were spectacular. We had full view of the bridge as well as most of downtown! The room was extremely clean and very spacious. We really had no need for any extensive service so I can't comment on that. But check in and out was a breeze. I would definitly stay here again. Not only for the memories but for convienance, views, and comfort!

  • Stayed April 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank thetraveling-wilsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed August 17, 2008

Just stayed at the Francis Marion for the second time in six weeks and both experiences were very good. I would most definitely stay again. The location is unbeatable if you have a child at the college or if you want to be in the heart of King Street's shopping and restaurants. Both visits, my room was newly renovated with fresh upholstery, carpet and bed covers. This time, I opted for a room with two full-size beds -- the room was larger than the former king size one I stayed in. And, for the pposter who complained that the room is too small: let's be real here. It's an 80-year-old traditional hotel so the rooms are not all the same, cookie cutter size. If you require a space with some extra breathing room, just ask when you check in. I did find that not all of the front desk clerks were created equal (one young woman was simply a crab) but I saw a manager near the desk every time I was in the lobby so you can go to the top. A male manager I approached for dining advice volunteered to call and was able to get us an impossible reservation at "Virginia's" up the street. Also, for those with children: keep in mind that it is ALMOST ALWAYS a miserable experience traveling with a toddler UNLESS you stay at a new, "HolidayRamaDaysSummerfieldChainInn". Stick with those if you want a family experience with a pool, playroom, free breakfast bar and ample room for your little darling to do his/her thing.

Stayed August 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank impicky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2008

We had purchased a timeshare vacation tour through Bluegreen, and were offered the chance to upgrade from the hotel they were going to put us in, to the Francis Marion Inn. We paid $49 for the Bluegreen timeshare vacation tour and an additional $138 for the upgrade to stay TWO NIGHTS at Francis Marion Hotel. We found that regular rates started at $225 per night so we felt as if we found a bargain, even if we did have to take the timeshare tour at Lodge Alley Inn. (Will review that seperately - learned to AVOID BLUEGREEN at all costs, lol).

I checked out the hotel's website, http://www.francismarioncharleston.com, and then tripadvisor, which we always do. I had read some less than good reviews on here, so was a bit apprehensive. I am happy to say we had nothing but pleasant experiences during our weekend of August 8 - 10.

When we pulled up to the hotel, two bellhops came out to greet us, unloaded all our luggage, while we went ahead to check in. At check in we found that valet parking was $36 for our entire stay and I would definitely recommend it. It's only a few dollars more than the fee to park at the garage yourself, and it was worth every penny for the experience. We gave the bellhop our room number and gave him the keys to inlaws van and they took care of parking it while the other bellhop took our luggage and inlaws luggage up to our rooms. We felt like royalty.

I have to say, every time we entered or exited the hotel, we saw at least two or more bellhops standing just outside the glass doors, and they always opened the doors for us to enter and exit, and greeted us with Mr. ---- or Mrs. ----. Imagine that, with a hotel booked to capacity, they remembered our names.

My husband and I had a queen room on the second floor, with one window, overlooking the park across the street from the hotel, Marion Square. It had a small closet with extra towels, an ironing board and iron, and two suitcase tables. Our in laws had a similar room, but theirs was a corner room, and had two windows. It was a bit more spacious than ours, so I would recommend asking for a corner room if space is an issue. While we had a loveseat that folded out to a sleeper, our inlaws had two chairs placed on different sides of the bed. We had one window, which gave our room a cozier feel, while our inlaws room felt more airy with their two windows. The flat screen TV was nice, as were the in room coffee maker and bottled water. Nice touches. The room was nicely appointed, furnishings, decorations, loved it. The bed was heavenly - plush duvet and feather pillows and luxurious mattress, we slept wonderfully.

The bathroom was small, but we expected that, from the other reviews. (We heard from a rep at the Lodge Alley Inn that historic properties are limited in their structrual changes they can make, and even they had to adhere to the limits when they renovated - maybe thats why the bathrooms are small ?) We both enjoyed the shower, the water pressure was fantastic. We did laugh about the smallish toilet with the noises it made - we noticed it "burping" water bubbles even when we were in the bedroom - must be water pressure from the higher floors. Again, it was one of those things we found charming about this older historic hotel.

The lobby, and other areas of the hotel, gosh.....how beautiful. The feel of the wood railings on the staircases made it fun to take the steps down every time instead of the elevators. We truly felt as though the historic details of this hotel were preserved, with the beautiful carpeting and furniture throughout this hotel. The numerous crystal glass fixtures overhead were all sparkling and I could go on and on about the overall effect of this beautiful older hotel. Off of the main lobby were several groupings of furniture and tables in which to relax, including an elevated Mezzaine level with railings overlooking the lobby, and a balcony of sorts, overlooking the steps down to the street level.

Ah, and then there is Starbucks. It's right there half in the hotel, with its own entrance to the street as well, and an entrance to the hotel too. Made several trips for drinks and treats there, and also to sit outside at one of the iron tables and chairs, with MIL, who is a smoker, and couldnt smoke inside the hotel. This hotel is TOTALLY NON SMOKING and that includes the rooms. There is a sign that you will be fined if they find evidence of smoking in the rooms, so thats something to consider. Late at night we'd walk down to sit outside there, and watch the passersby and it was fun! Felt we were right in the middle of the historic district with all the activities. Yet, in a good location for safety.

There was a spa on the ground floor of this hotel, which we peeked into, but didnt use. But it was nice to know it was there.

There is also Swamp Fox restaurant in the hotel, which we ate Sunday brunch at. It was a wonderful brunch, at $15 per person it was worth it. They had a piano player there playing clasics, and a wonderful omelet station, with just about everything you could ask for. My MIL and I had to try one of the Mimosas. WOW. My husband said they have the best link sausage he's ever tasted. I was impressed with it all, as were my inlaws, and we ar picky eaters.

The location was good too. We walked about 6 blocks to dinner at Hymans, then walked around the historic district, passing Williams Sonoma, as well as other nice shops, before we found our way back to the Francis Marion.

Just about everywhere we went over the weekend, we ended up driving, so we did use the valet parking often. On average we would ask for our van about 10 minutes before we needed to leave, and every time they had it there ready for us. I was impressed, since the check in staff did inform us they were at full capacity.

Contrary to what I read in previous reviews, there is nothing run down about this place. It has been there for a long time, it is known that it is a historic hotel, and every thing we saw was an indicator that this place has been lovingly cared for and preserved.

My husband, my MIL and FIL and I all felt like we were treated as royalty, and truly enjoyed this stay. We didnt have our kids with us, and if we had, perhaps we might not have been able to appreciate all this hotel had to offer, but for older adults, or couples, this place is a wonderful getaway. There was also a wedding going on while we were there, and a family reunion, so we were able to peek in some of the lovely private rooms they had set up, and we met some of each party, downstairs or outside Starbucks and chatted with them, and they were all impressed with the level of service offered to them.

I'd definitely return to this place !

  • Liked — The historic property and perks, Starbucks, Swamp Fox Restaurant, Valet Parking, location !
  • Disliked — Pricey rates when booking direct with hotel
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank ChippyandTracy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IL
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2008

My new husband and I chose the Francis Marion to stay in during our honeymoon. After reading a few reviews on this site we were a little wary but decided to give it a try. We are VERY happy we did. We stayed at the hotel for 10 wonderful nights and the staff was top-notch the whole time. They gave us a corner room with three GLORIOUS windows. One facing King Street and Marion Square, the others facing Calhoun with a great view of the shopping district. We could see the USS Yorktown and Fort Sumter from our room on the ninth floor. The room itself was very spacious with great linens and nice work areas. The bathroom is small but manageable. There is a small shelf for toiletries (I used the vanity in the room instead), but a LARGE, DEEP bathtub. Buy some bubble bath because the tub is a soaker! During our stay there was a family with very noisy children next door for one night. My husband called the front desk and about 5 minutes later we heard a hotel employee knock on the door and ask the family to respect the other guests. Room service prices are reasonable (we both ate complete dinners with sodas for under 20 dollars) and if the meal is not delivered in 30 minutes it's free! The hotel is in the center of the city and we walked almost everywhere while we were downtown. If you do bring a car the parking fee is $12, but you get unlimited in/out for the day. Overall it was a great experience from the first time the doorman opened the door (and he never misses, he always opens the King St door!) to the time he helped us load our bags. Will stay here again and again when in Charleston.

  • Liked — The view and the overall service!
  • Disliked — Noisy children slamming doors at midnight.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank adurst08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern US
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2008

I stayed at the Francis Marion with my husband and 4 year old while attending a conference there. This is not a hotel for families with young children. The standard room we stayed in was too small. There was about 6 inches between the bed and the dresser at the foot of the bed. We had to turn sideways to squeeze through. There was a 2 seater sofa in the room that had a pull out bed. When pulled out, the bed touched the desk so there was no room to pass between the two. Our 4 year old had to stay on the bed the entire time my husband and I were in the room together because there was no space for 3 people to maneuver around the room. The bathroom was the smallest hotel bathroom I had ever seen. Not more than one person can fit in it. The sink was a pedestal sink with no vanity- just a small glass shelf that barely fit a few toiletries. The fixtures in the bathroom were old and not well maintained. Overall, the bathroom was dingy. On the plus side, the room did have updated furniture and a comfortable bed. The room was the biggest drawback to this hotel, especially since we had our child with us. It was difficult for us to manage with a young child in such a small room. Also, there was no pool or anything else to keep young children occupied. Fortunately, we didn't spend much time in our room as there was so much to do and see in Charleston.

The big advantage to this hotel was the location. It’s in the historical district and within walking distance of many good restaurants, boutiques, shops, galleries, etc.. We didn’t use our car once in the 3 days we were there. Also on Saturdays, there is a farmer’s market across from the hotel. The hotel staff was pleasant and helpful, especially the concierge who gave us directions to every place we asked.

I like historic hotels such as this one. I would've enjoyed it more had I been traveling alone. I wouldn’t stay here again with young children.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Small room and dingy bathroom
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank krmik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Francis Marion Hotel

Property: Francis Marion Hotel
Address: 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403-6468
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:
#5 Spa Hotel in Charleston
#13 Business Hotel in Charleston
#15 Luxury Hotel in Charleston
#21 Family Hotel in Charleston
#24 Romantic Hotel in Charleston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Francis Marion Hotel 4*
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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