Our editors' favorite hotels and resorts of all time.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
How did it strike you on arrival?
Tucked behind wrought-iron gates, you might think you've trespassed into the meticulously manicured grounds of someone's private residence, or five residences to be exact—three restored "Charleston singles" and two carriage houses. Past the climbing roses and espaliered magnolia, a reception sign leads you into the ground floor of the main 1804 building, where you'll be greeted with a glass of bubbly. The welcome desk shares space with a quietly bustling designer kitchen meant to entice you to stay for dinner.
What’s the crowd like?
Couples mostly, of all ages, both well-heeled veteran travelers and young romantics. Business travelers too, seeking an authentic Charleston home-away-from-home vibe.
The good stuff: Tell us about your room.
My Veranda Queen would have fit in a refined older home, yet it was not at all stuffy or dated. Starting with its gorgeous bones (pine flooring, large fireplace, cream-colored wainscoting, and plantation shutters for leveraging light and privacy), the room still managed to feel fresh and bright, with spotless Italian linens and modern lamps. Bathrooms are on the small side, but they're state-of-the-art. Mine had a glassed-in shower, gleaming white subway tile surround, dual shower heads, and large dispensers of Malin + Goetz products. It's tempting to linger longer when you have richly lathered spicy rum body wash and a well-pressured rain shower. Bonus: enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon glass of wine on the room's porch overlooking the courtyard, with a linen drape for added seclusion.
How about the little details? Any of that worth a mention?
A Nespresso machine hides within a custom-crafted armoire, as does a roll-out mini-fridge filled with complimentary Izze sodas and waters. At turndown, a rotating selection of locally baked Grey Ghost cookies appear, plantation shutters flip tight, lights dim, and the creams and golds in the room really glow. An optional bedside sound machine plays rolling ocean waves all night long (or country crickets if you choose), enabling a deep sleep, as does the sound-blocking magic of double window panes. The hotel's sea foam-colored bicycles with leather seats are perfect for exploring the city or orchestrating picnics. Take your drink of choice or newspaper and wander behind the carriage house to find the hotel's hidden corner garden with a calming fountain, and love seats poised on crushed oyster shells.
Food and drink: What do they have here?
A destination in its own right even for those not staying here, Zero Restaurant's menu has shifted from a la carte to a prix fixe multi-course extravaganza (I counted seven courses including small bites). A petite candlelit dining room migrates to the open patio in good weather, so guests dine beneath palm trees, Japanese maples, and moonlight. Button-sized, tucked into the ground floor of the main house, Zero Bar revs up at happy hour with a speakeasy vibe, bespoke cocktails, and excellent bites, including a flight of deviled eggs and Chef Petrillo's whimsical take on a lobster roll. Rumor has it the chef has a few truffle-shaved burgers up his sleeve for those who know to ask.
Bottom line: worth it, and why?
Zero George is pure Charleston fantasy for those who dream of owning a tasteful, historic peninsula residence... without the headaches of actually maintaining one. It's a pristine, top-shelf, boutique hotel.