Hotel Emeline redefines luxury in Charleston

The new kid on the block blends hip and cool with understated luxury.

By Robin Gibson

Vintage Spoleto posters dot the walls while a chic living room boasts a seventies-style, sunken-den aesthetic.

Hotel Emelineis your ticket to chill. It transports you to a vibe of relaxed elegance, even if you don't feel cool enough for the trip. Pretension is not served here; in fact, it's nowhere to be found. Instead, a sophisticated southern hospitality exists complete with a complimentary cocktail to put you at ease. For locals and travelers alike, it's a destination on its own.

Recently, I was invited to experience the boutique property once inhabited by Doubletree. I can assure you it bears no semblance to its hotel-chain predecessor.

Everything about the space is fresh and new as it flirts with the past. Vintage Spoletoposters dot the walls while a chic living room boasts a seventies-style, sunken-den aesthetic. In it, guests will find a collection of books and vinyl plus an old-school record player that can pipe into the loud speaker upon request.

Not to be outdone, each room is outfitted with a record player, as well. My playlist?The Avett Brothers,Billy Joel,and the signature Emeline Travel Edition Volume 1. 

This is a picture of albums on a table.
The selection of albums in my room.

The location isn't wasted, either.Rockbridge,a capital investment firm specializing in hospitality that owns the property called onMakeready,a management team out of Dallas, Texas, and Swoon, a branding studio, also out of Dallas, to bring Hotel Emeline to life. Together, they went above and beyond to connect to the Holy City.

In addition to the festival, nods to local artisans are showcased throughout. Mural artist Whitney Stoddard, for example, graces the wall behind the front desk, and ceramicist Susan Gregory's handcrafted soap dishes occupy every room. These are just a few of the touches that pay homage to its home. 

Amenities and dining

Clerks Coffee,Frannie & the FoxandHank's Seafoodround out food and beverage offerings. Although, water beverage stations called The Nook on every floor deserve an honorable mention — each one dispenses still, sparkling or ambient water at the touch of a button into glass carafes provided for guest use.

The first two, Clerks Coffee and Frannie & the Fox, flank either side of the main level. Hank's Seafood, which is part of the hotel property's portfolio, is steps away just across the street on the next corner.

Clerks Coffee serves Charleston's ownSecond State Coffeeexclusively, and provides complimentary coffee each morning to guests staying at the hotel. A quick call to the front desk results in a delivery straight to your door.

Frannie & the Fox is an Italian, wood-fired eatery led in the kitchen by Chef Tim Morton. As a dining experience, it lends itself to the same approachable luxury defining the hotel at large with both indoor and outdoor seating available. Hank's Seafood, a beloved Charleston staple for years, answers the call for a refined, upscale dinner option.

No visit is complete without perusing the unique treasures that Keep Shop has to offer. In the upper lobby of the main level, everything "Charleston" is available for purchase from clothing, accessories, jewelry, home goods, hand-crafted items and more.

Guests arriving interested in fitness can take advantage of the hotel gym.

What I love about it

In short, everything. I grew up learning from an early age that an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure. Hotel Emeline embodies this with a subtlety belying the luxury within. I had a mix of vibes from tropical to Mad Men to SEWE (as inSoutheastern Wildlife Exposition— peep the taxidermy) that blended perfectly into a comfortable, low-key, high-end experience.

Something else I loved? The Foxhole at Frannie & the Fox separating the kitchen from the bar and dining area. Pets are allowed so if you're staying with yours and want a drink, this is where you'll go to ring for the bartender's attention. A partition will open and you will be served through a cubby hole. This feature is worth checking out with or without a furry friend.

There's more

Follow Charleston Grit on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for exclusive photos and content from my visit. And stay tuned here for a review of Frannie & the Fox.