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“Location is its only redeeming quality”

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Francis Marion Hotel
Ranked #21 of 62 Hotels in Charleston
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 15, 2009

I travel often, and I have stayed in some absolutely amazing hotels with the price tag to match. I have also been a guest in very basic hostel-like accommodations, but when I go into a situation not expecting much, the let down isn't as great. Given the price we paid for this room, it was by far the most disappointing hotel experience I have ever had.

First, let's examine the obvious. This place hasn't been updated in decades. The rooms are tiny, and the bathrooms are tinier. The decor was dark and it had a musty smell.

What led me to write this review, though, was the nearly laughable service we received at the hotel. I was in town for a wedding, and the bride and groom stayed at the Francis Marion for their wedding night. On her wedding day, the bride asked me to bring her bag to the hotel and drop it off at the front desk so she wouldn't have to worry about transporting it from the reception site. I left it at the front desk and even asked for them to leave it in the care of their events manager (who the bride told me was in charge of the honeymoon suite) who would ensure that the bag would be in the room upon their arrival. After the wedding, I came back to my room to answer a phone call from a teary bride. She told me that the hotel claimed they did not have her bag and had no idea where it might be. Mind you, this is her wedding night. I told her that this wasn't the case, and went downstairs. After dealing with an unresponsive receptionist, I approach a bellman and ask him to take me into any space where her bag might be. After searching a couple of rooms, I find it on a chair in an office with a sticky note that had her name clearly written on it. The bellman took the bag up to their room, and when we were sharing an elevator up I told him that they needed to do something very nice for the newlyweds whose wedding night they likely ruined. His response, "yeah, I took some strawberries up earlier".

To make things worse, the next morning when the bride and groom composed themselves and complained, the manager grilled them about every aspect of the situation for an extended period of time. The hotel eventually (after much arguing) ended up comping the room, but that was barely compensation for what was a very stressful and disappointing wedding night for my friends!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank brownal1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,805 - 2,811 of 3,073 reviews

Reviewed October 8, 2009

I was not a guest of the hotel- stayed nearby- and decided to enjoy a day at the hotel's Spa Adagio. It is on the lower level, small, and what you'd expect to see in a typical boutique hotel- not a large historic hotel like the Francis Marion. My partner and I chose this spa because of the Dermalogica products they use. Simply put- the spa is a hidden jewel. No frills, but very professional, quiet, private and a highly trained staff. I had a facial, massage, salt scrub, mud wrap- all were fantastic. The spa is small- which is a plus. The treatment rooms are all first class. The mud wrap/salt scrub room has a convenient shower attached to it. I also had a manicure and pedicure, which was my only disappointment. I would not recommend this unless there is a change in staff.
The staff arranged for a wonderful lunch to be brought to us from the hotel restaurant, which we enjoyed sitting quietly in the spa with our robes on.
If you are in Charleston and want a great spa experience, Spa Adagio is the perfect choice! We will definitely make it a part of our next visit to Charleston.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AshevilleNCguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2009

I was pleasantly pleased with this hotel. Other reviews seemed quite critical, so it exceeded my expectations. There were some tradeoffs (not *quite* as centrally located as some others, not *quite* as updated as others), but they were offset by very friendly and helpful staff, the charm of the hotel and also because this hotel did not have a 2-night minimum on the weekend we needed it! Our room was small (even though it was "deluxe") and the bathroom definitely did not accommodate more than one person at a time, but the king bed was comfortable and the wi-fi worked well. The Starbucks off the lobby was a great amenity. We also had a lovely view of the rooftops of Charleston from our 8th-floor room. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Newfound1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2009

I have to admit that I was terrified to stay at the Francis Marion after winning this hotel on Priceline and then reading the relatively poor reviews on here. I went in with zero expectations and came out beyond relieved - I was very very happy with my stay at the Francis Marion.

Everyone has commented on the great lobby - yes, it is great. The floral smell some people have complained about are the flowers they have in the lobby (I can't remember what they are but we asked). Regardless, they were not offensive to me.

We had a king sized room which was HUGE. It had a large desk, enough dresser space, a large separate seating area with a couch and big armchair, a big flat screen TV, a duvet and cover (instead of the gross comforters that never get washed at other hotels), a large double closet, and a decent sized bathroom. The bathroom was standard but it did have a vanity, shower and bathtub, which other people have complained to be lacking. The bathroom was cleaned everyday and there was no mold. This is an older hotel so you have to expect that it will not be as pristine as a brand new hotel just as an older house will not be as pristine as one that's never been lived in...nonetheless the older house will have more character! :)

The service was great. The concierge was very helpful in giving us maps and directing us to local attractions. They also have a staff member on site (her name is Wendy) who will basically set up your day or weekend for you giving you names of things to do, directions and coupons. We also always had the door being held open for us on our way in to the hotel from the Starbucks entrance. Speaking of which, the added bonus of this hotel is the Starbucks which is open very early and late (maybe even 24 hours?).

We loved the hotel location. For those that want to be right in the "historic district" be prepared to pay at least $200 a night. But if you want to spend a lot less (I think we paid $108/night on Priceline) you will not be missing out. In fact, I think I would prefer our location which is right across from a massive park. On Saturdays, the park turns into an awesome farmer's market that sells baked goods, local produce, and where local artisans set up and show off their art. They also have several food booths where you can get beignets, crepes and other food. On other days, the park is filled with people playing sports, tanning and there are lots of dogs (which we loved to see since we missed ours). Oh - there is also a FABULOUS cup cake shop just down the street from the hotel on the same side of King Street. We got cupcakes and sat in the park for some much needed down time. The hotel is basically at the top stretch of King Street which is the shopping street. For those who complained about the hotel being too far from the main historic area, it's about a 15-20 minute walk but you're walking through other parts of downtown (and walking all day is what you do on vacation right?!). I would under no circumstances agree with the suggestion that this hotel is not right downtown. It is.

All in all, everything about the hotel led to a great first experience in Charleston and I would stay again in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jtyas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2009

Very nice hotel, with a very nice staff!
Close to all the great food and stores.
Just near the old Citadal.
Ask for a view room of the old parade grounds.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled on business
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1  Thank fwbrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2009

The hotel itself had some good and some bad. The lobby was large and very elegant, but had an extremely strong perfume odor. At first I thought perhaps someone wearing too much perfume passed through just before me, but I experienced the same smell every time I was there.

The room was small, a fact not helped by that fact that there was a lot of furniture (so of it unnecessary). The staff however was friendly. Service was prompt, and parking charges were reasonable. It's in a nice area, very close to shopping, places to eat, and only a short drive from places like Sullivan's island.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled on business
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1  Thank purplefreshia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2009

Stayed at the Marion with my wife and daughter while visiting the College of Charleston. The location is good, but the good stops there. The hotel is run down, cheaply appointed and a big disappointment. The rooms ate tiny but the bathrooms are horrible. They are about the size of most hotel showers with a pedestal sink and no vanity. We had to keep our toiletries on the floor! There are no shelves or racks in the shower for shampoo or razors and the top sides of the tubs are rounded so nothing can be placed on them either. We discovered, however, that you could drop the cheap three dollar plastic toilet seat lid and place toiletries on it while showering. When we arrived, the television was inoperative and only hot water was available in the bath fixtures, scalding water at that. The rooms have an old 60's style thru wall hvac system that has no off control on the thermostat and no filter system. You can barely call this central heat and air. Everything about this place screams cheap cheap cheap! Do yourself a favor and stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank cgall92016
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

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 Family Hotel in Charleston
#13 Business Hotel in Charleston
#15 Luxury Hotel in Charleston
#24 Romantic Hotel in Charleston
Price Range: $167 - $418 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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