I went to this hotel with exceedingly high expectations. After all, it is rated as tripadvisor's seventh best hotel in the U.S. I left the hotel shaking my head. Have most reviewers been blinded by all the free cheap food and drink at this hotel?
There are some nice things about the hotel. The lobby and staircase are lovely. I appreciated the coffee and tea service set up on each floor's hallway in the morning. The front desk staff were happy to recommend restaurants and make reservations. I liked the classical music left playing in my room by the maids. But, my room was more than $500 per night, so these positives should be expected, in my view.
As for my room, the furnishings were nice, though I didn't like the cheap large photo of Paris hanging on the wall. The bathtub was what one would expect in an older Holiday Inn-- please see the photos. Seriously? In a $500 per night room? We had a large terrace attached to the room, but it seemed quite sterile. A potted plant or two would have helped its appearance. Other common-area terraces similarly lacked pizzazz.
What I found completely lacking was the quality of all the "free" food and drinks. You get inexpensive champagne at check-in. There was a wine and cheese spread in the evening-- again, inexpensive wine and a cheese platter I myself could put together by visiting my grocery store's deli counter. Nibbles (like m&ms and nuts) and iced tea were available during the day. Seriously-- m&ms. Nice, but nothing to write home about. There were milk and cookies put out at night. With a gourmet restaurant downstairs, I thought the cookies would be something special. But, I'm pretty sure they were the same ones that copy services deliver to my law firm to lure our business (dough from a bucket-- or perhaps frozen). Finally, breakfast was nothing special. Things like Dannon yogurt, cold cereal, Quaker Oats instant oatmeal, Nature Valley granola bars, uninspired bread, bagels and pastries, and a fruit salad that I would not have put out for guests. (If you can't get good fruit, then don't serve any. That also goes for the grapes on the cheese platter.) Do I sound hyper-critical? Perhaps. But this is supposed to be one of the top hotels in the U.S., so shouldn't these food and drink offerings be unusually good? The free evening wine was akin to what you get at Kimpton Hotels. I say this not to bash Kimpton, where I often stay when traveling on business, but as a point of comparison. Kimpton's rooms are usually $175 to $275 per night, making its wine seem much more "free" that the FQI's. The FQI's complimentary breakfast offerings are similar to what you will find at Hyatt House or Delta Sky Clubs. (Actually, I take that back. Some Sky Clubs have precooked oatmeal and toppings like dried cranberries and brown sugar, not instant oatmeal.)
Be advised that there is no fitness center on the premises or a restaurant that serves hot breakfasts or lunch. This didn't affect my rating, as I knew this going in, but prospective guests should be aware of these limitations.
In sum, I think this is an "average" luxury hotel. Nothing really to set it apart from other expensive hotels and, in my opinion, not at all worthy of its exceedingly high rating on this site.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The AAA Four Diamond Inn's newly redesigned rooms are inspired by the old world elegance of a Parisian chateau set against the architectural backdrop of Charleston's classic French Quarter. Red medallion-patterned draperies and damask chenille upholstery in hues of black, white and gold create a rich distinction between the fabrics and furniture, of the highest quality.Among many other amenities, guests of the hotel enjoy complimentary items such as: champagne and lady fingers at check-in, an evening wine and cheese reception, freshly baked cookies and milk, evening turn down service and gourmet continental breakfast in the lobby or served to your room. The over-sized guest rooms, some with working fireplaces, private balconies, and whirlpool tubs, provide imagery of an era gone by, but still grants contemporary amenities a sophisticated traveler has come to expect. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- French Quarter Hotel Charleston
- French Quarter Charleston
- French Quarter Inn Charleston Sc