Charlestown is one of America’s hottest cities, with old-world charm and its vibrant restaurant scene the town is having a mini-boom period with New Yorkers moving there by the hundreds.
We check our the former DoubleTree on this site has been completely transformed into Hotel Emeline, with the only consistency being the ancient front door. With a raucous Motown soundtrack, Emeline’s enormous foyer feels more like a cool living room than a lobby. Check-in by walking up the middle stairs, where you’ll be offered a powerful punch cocktail (or house lemonade if you wish). Take a detour down the concealed wheelchair ramp to find a hidden curio cabinet full of Lowcountry treasures, including a taxidermy shorebird, turtle shell, barnacle-covered sea glass, cicada, guinea feathers, and more.
Visionary in the field of hospitality Makeready, the company behind the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, The Alida in Savannah, and Noelle in Nashville (among others), has a knack for collaborating with local craftspeople to create unique settings. They enlisted the help of local lighting designer Urban Electric and vinyl record expert Mike Gomez to construct a playlist.
Tell us everything there is to know about the accommodations. Any recommendations on what to book?
It’s only natural to settle into your room by slipping a record out of its sleeve, placing it on the Crosley turntable, and setting the needle, with a vinyl record collection of 500 and expanding. Abbey Road was the first Beatle’s album I released.
Before going on a tour of my suite, I took the road. The sitting room was penetrated by a steel beam, a vestige of the building’s pre-Civil War commerce roots. A second layer of gauzy privacy drapes was hidden behind thick blackout drapes the color of raw mustard. Walls were covered with vintage Spoleto art festival posters. The state-of-the-art bathroom, which included a walk-in rainshower, smooth travertine underfoot, and distinctive amber and spice products, was personalized with a locally created ceramic soap dish. The Wi-Fi was both free and reliable.
The food options are amazing, Frannie & The Fox, Emeline’s restaurant, is a destination in and of itself. Dim globe lighting, low ceilings, potted plants, and comfortable leather chairs lead to a huge open inner courtyard with a burning fire and trellised jasmine. Chef Tim Morton built his cuisine around a central wood-fired oven, so blistered pizzas are a popular choice. We ordered crispy-creamy blue crab fritters, local wreckfish, and a charred corn, feta, chilis, and shredded mint side dish. You can also eat across the street at Hank’s, a well-known upmarket seafood restaurant in Charleston. Emeline has its own sunny café for breakfast, which serves superb pastries and features local roaster Second State Coffee.
The ancient open-air market is directly north of Hotel Emeline. Despite the fact that this is a popular tourist destination, Emeline seems very private, especially on the upper floors and in the “masonette” bi-level townhouse-style rooms that open into the inner courtyard. Numerous restaurants, including award-winners Peninsula Grill, F.I.G., and Husk, are all within walking distance. You may take a horse carriage right out the front door or pedal around town on one of the hotel’s beach cruisers.
Take your time exploring the hotel because it is full of little surprises. Take a peek at the circular iron staircase that leads to a mezzanine balcony with a view of the entrance. The lobby-level “Keep Shop” is brimming with carefully picked local collectibles, some of which are custom-made for Emeline, such as J. Stark’s hand-stitched leather tote in characteristic Emeline green. There’s plenty of artistic eye candy in the hallway between the kitchen and the bar, including a deconstructed skateboard wall-hanging. Stop by the kitchen window to see the chefs hand-pull mozzarella. Alternatively, enter the “foxhole” speakeasy drink window, a covert direct access to the bar, by pressing a button on the opposite wall. Was it worth the money? Absolutely, and a nice new addition to the hospitality scene in Charleston at that.
Charleston, South Carolina, 29401