Charleston checks all the boxes for my kind of summer-weekend getaway: Cute boutiques lining charming cobblestoned streets, easy access to nearby beaches, and an impressive homegrown dining scene, from Husk in the historic city center to Leon’s Oyster Shop in the up-and-coming North Central neighborhood. On a recent visit, I checked into The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, a 92-room coastal-chic retreat across Charleston Harbor from the city – it’s the only waterfront luxury property in Charleston. And while urban stays definitely have their perks, I quickly learned that a more resort-style approach provided a great new perspective for falling under Charleston’s spell. Here, five things I loved about my recent visit to The Beach Club.
The location. Being across the harbor from downtown Charleston means your desire to explore on a whim will need at least a little bit of foresight: It’s about a 15-minute drive or water-taxi ride from The Beach Club’s Mount Pleasant location to downtown Charleston. (The hotel provides complimentary van shuttles every hour, so don’t worry about a rental car.) That said, it was refreshing to retreat to a sprawling resort to kick my feet up when I needed a break from all of that walking down cobblestone streets. Two pools meant there was always a lounge chair to claim, and the marina perch made it easier to hop on a sailboat for an on-the-water excursion. It’s an especially great choice for families, thanks to those aforementioned pools, a popular kids’ club, and the resort’s Family Parlor Suites, which feature separate rooms with twin beds for children.
Several ways to stay fit. The resort partners with retailer Athleta for a summer wellness program that offers guest an array of options to work out. There’s something new every day, from water barre classes in the pool (harder than it looks!) to yoga overlooking the harbor and morning jogs along the boardwalk to the neighboring USS Yorktown memorial. Another great idea: Grab one of the resort’s complimentary cruisers and pedal 6.3 miles to Sullivan’s Island. It’s an easy ride, and there’s ice cream waiting at the end.
Pimento cheese by the pool with no shame. Any resort that includes a cheese dip of sorts on their poolside snack menu immediately earns a special place in my heart. (Bonus points for frosé too.) This classic Southern spread – made with cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos and, at Beach Club, paired with crispy-thin housemade chips – is a Southern staple, and while it may not seem like the most logical of poolside choices, it’s a popular item on the Tiki Bar menu. (When in South Carolina, right?)
Sustainable seafood. The Beach Club’s main restaurant, the Charleston Harbor Fish House, is a casual space overlooking the water. Seafood is, of course, the main draw, but I loved learning more about chef Heyward Davis’ sustainable approach to sourcing ingredients. The restaurant is part of the state’s Good Catch Program, and almost everything on the menu comes from somewhere across the state. It’s the kind of place where French fries and hush puppies take a backseat to seasonal vegetable appetizers and catch-of-the-day blue cobia that arrives with a side of local farro and heirloom tomatoes.
The bathrobes. I live in Seattle, a city with a style vastly more subdued than the bright colors and Lily Pulitzer dresses around every corner in Charleston. That said, I fully embraced the coastal-chic style for the weekend: The Beach Club’s guest rooms feature a “Wes Anderson goes to the beach” kind of vibe, with lots of symmetrical patterns, nautical stripes, and funky accessories like brass pineapple lamps. And I even took home one of the hotel’s seersucker bathrobes, a cozy accessory I’ll be living in all winter.
Virtuoso travelers receive a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, and a $100 resort credit.