My husband and I had been to Charleston once before, staying in the French
Quarter. The FC consistently gets rated on of the top 100 hotels in the world by Conde Nast and always receives high accolades from other magazines like Travel and Leisure. It was lovely. I wouldn’t say really “special”, but very nice. This time we thought we would stay at the Market Pavilion. One of the Leading Hotels of the World (LWH). Both hotels were choices based on the fact that we wanted to park and leave the car – able to walk to sights and restaurants.
Parking is $20/day. I know this sounds like a lot. But parking is really a pain in Charleston, and I can't tell you how convenient it was to just call and have your car brought around and waiting for you. We originally thought it was a rip-off. Nope. Great convenience. We had our car in and out at least 2 times a day.
The Market Pavilion has a great location. We knew that and it didn’t disappoint. The room was about $433/night I believe, and that came with a $50 per night voucher that could be used for lunch either upstairs or at Grill 225 (their lovely steakhouse restaurant), dinner at Grill 225 drinks in the restaurant or dessert there if that was your pleasure. Very clever of them. They get to charge you more for your room and you think you’re getting “free” something but there ain’t no free lunch – we all know that. But it gives you a nice feeling of getting something for nothing.
We were given room 328 – a concierge level room – and was told that we were upgraded. I’m not sure about that, but they said so, so I have to believe them. So why did they upgrade us without our even asking? I don’t know. We had a “concierge corner king suite” overlooking the Customs House. When I think of a “corner room” I think of it as having windows on at least 2 sides. This did not. No matter. The room was magnificent. Truly. Everything was near perfection. The linens – luscious, the pillows – wonderful, the furniture – lovely, the bathroom – awesome, the bathrobes and towels – plush, the huge Jacuzzi – very romantic and can fit 2 comfortably, Hermes toiletries. Marble everywhere (but only one sink – unusual for a room of this caliber). A bit of an awkward shower as you had to step all the way into it to turn on the water (the controls were on the back wall of a long narrow shower) so you got covered with cold water until it warmed up. Turn down service every night, at an hour we requested. Turn down was immaculate too. Corners of the duvet turned down just so, robes placed perfectly on the bed, a little goodie to eat, and a pair of slippers right by the bedside.
So….a couple of the downsides because everything can’t be perfect. You know those slippers I was talking about by my bedside? I put my feet in them after showering, and was walking around the room. I felt something weird on my foot, and when I took my foot out, in the slipper was a disgusting, used, old band-aid. Sorry. Really gross and inexcusable for a hotel of this caliber. A Leading Hotel of the World!!! So I went down to the front desk with the slipper and band aid still in it, and asked to speak with the manager. I had to wait over 20 minutes to talk with her. Also kind of inexcusable. At least come out from behind wherever you are and tell me you are busy and to come back or tell me it will be a bit of a wait. Nothing. Once she surfaced, she (correctly) apologized, assuring me that the slippers were washed after every guest. OK. Not sure I buy it. Especially in light of the band-aid. It went through a washing machine? OK. She offered to discount our room $50/night (the right thing to do) although I did not ask for any compensation. That was very nice. And classy. And appropriate.
As stated previously, we were on a Concierge Level. You need a key card to get off not only on your own floor, but on the Concierge floor. I guess that’s to keep out those who aren’t paying for what is offered on this level. So we went up every morning for breakfast. Not great. But some sort of egg dish every day, along with fabulous bacon, sausage (which I did not try), potatoes, yogurts, cereal, pastries, coffee, tea, etc. They also offered juices and bottled water. Typical fare really. Not hot and not great, but not bad either, and certainly enough to get your day started nicely without having to stop and have lunch if you didn’t want to. However, there really wasn’t enough seating. There was one morning when we got up to the floor and there was no place to sit except with others on a couch with 2 chairs on either side. Awkward. They need another table or two. In the afternoon around 2pm on the Concierge level (4th floor) they put out finger sandwiches (cannot comment as we never had them) and cookies. The cookies and some sort of “bar/cake” were great. That came along with iced tea, coffee, etc.
At 6pm it was time for hors d’oeuvres and wine. Very nice. Basic white and basic red. You could have as much as you like. And the hors d’oeuvres were very good. I believe that was from 6pm – 8pm. There was always someone there when they were serving something and they were willing to chat, help you with your meal or goodies, or talk to you about things to do while in town.
Every night we went out to dinner, but made sure to come back to Grill 225 to spend our $50 voucher on dessert (each daily voucher was only good until midnight of that day). I must say, they had THE most awesome dessert menu I have every seen. I could have had one of everything. If you like Panna Cotta, this was the best I have ever, ever tasted. We did this every night until the last night when we decided, even though so prohibitively expensive, we would have dinner in the restaurant. We had only made a reservation that day, but they accommodated us with no problem. The dining room is elegant. We were seated at a lovely table and the service was impeccable, as had been the service everywhere throughout our stay (with the exception of one housekeeper on our floor who just had a bad attitude when asked for another shampoo). We ordered steak because what else would you order in a steakhouse? My steak was well cooked, and very tasty. My husband’s on the other hand was not good. Very fatty. And we ordered 2 sides, a hash brown type of potato dish and caramelized onion which were awful (I believe they were $8 and $10 respectively, or $10 and $12 respectively). The onions were nothing but sautéed to a creamy mush, and were white. Caramelized? No, they were not. Gross? Yes they were. The potatoes also were not great, but acceptable. When we told the waiter that the onions were not caramelized he just said “well, those are our caramelized onions” and went to tell the maitre d’. The maitre d’ came over with a menu and asked if we wanted something else but by that point we were done with our steaks and just wanted to leave. The maitre d’ told us they would take it off our bill. Yes, I would hope so. Our waiter never bothered to ask us if we enjoyed the meal, if everything was to our liking, nothing. And then he brought the check. I believe the check came to $161. With the check came a card with a “How Did We Do” type of questionnaire. So I told them. I wrote quite a bit, of both the good and bad. Again, the service was impeccable, until there was actually a problem and then our waiter wasn’t so friendly or so attentive. The rest of the staff though was excellent. We charged the bill to our room and left.
When we went to check out, I took a look at the bill. They did not charge us for most of the meal. It was the right thing to do, although I’m sure that would not have happened had I not written what I did on that card. Nonetheless, it was the sign of a very classy hotel and there is no doubt, if in Charleston, we would return.
All in all, the hotel is wonderful. Staff is attentive, rooms impeccably clean (or at least ours was – we didn’t see others) and accruements and service to the highest level.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to the Market Pavilion Hotel, Charleston's most luxurious hotel. A proud member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Located in the epicenter of Downtown, we're just minutes from the waterfront, tour guides, shopping and grand old homes. Set among some of Charleston's most historical landmarks, the Market Pavilion Hotel offers the most decadent guest rooms in the city and countless amenities such as Grill 225, a member of the Great Steakhouses of North America, and Charleston's most popular night spot, the Pavilion Bar, which boasts the best view in the city. Most importantly, we're redefining the Art of Southern Hospitality. So whether you join us for a leisurely getaway or company meeting, to pop the question or seal the deal, you'll indulge in The Market Pavilion Hotel's premium value and service. Welcome to the Art of Southern Hospitality. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Travel Republic (UK), Booking.com, Ebookers and DerbySoft Ltd Shanghai HQ so you can book your Market Pavilion Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Market Pavilion Charleston
- Hotel Market Pavilion