May252014

Historic Charleston, SC 1853 The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel

The Mills House Charleston, South Carolina is centrally located in the heart of Charleston’s historic district. The hotel dates to 1853, yet all modern comforts are available at this Wyndham Grand property including restaurant with indoor and outdoor courtyard dining, outdoor swimming pool and a multi-level parking garage connected by walkway to the hotel.

 

Charleston Mills House sign

The Mills House is a Wyndham Grand Hotel. I paid 30,000 points per night when the room rates were $300 per night after tax in early May.

Charleston, South Carolina is an expensive hotel city. Historic Charleston is on a peninsula which limits the number of hotels in the heavily touristed section of the city. Parking is expensive and can be difficult to find in mid-day when many of the parking garages are filled to capacity.  This is a city suited for walking. There are free shuttles in Charleston from various points on the outer edges of the peninsula to the historic center if saving money is more important than saving time. I also stayed at the Marriott Charleston three miles away from The Mills House and without question, a historic downtown hotel location is preferable, especially when the temperature is in the 90s and quickly getting back to the hotel room is desirable.

To convey the degree to which The Mills House location is in historic Charleston, there is diagonally across the street the Historic Marker for Institute Hall. This city meeting space held 3,000 and was the largest antebellum meeting space in Charleston, and the location where South Carolina legislators voted to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860. Institute Hall burned down in 1861, nearly one year to the date of secession in a great fire that burned hundreds of Charleston’s buildings. The fire destroyed Institute Hall and caused the evacuation of The Mills House. There is a fascinating read from a New York Times article from December 1861 on the great fire of Charleston posted on the webpage in the link above.

Institute Hall

Institute Hall Plaque

This building stands on the site formerly occupied by S.C. Institute Hall where on December 20, 1860 was signed and ratified the Ordinance of Secession which withdrew the state of South Carolina from the Union and led to the formation of the Confederate States of America and to four years of war between the North and the South. The building was totally destroyed in the conflagration of 1861.

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, Charleston, SC

Mills House parking bridge

Parking Bridge on 4th floor of garage connects to second floor pool deck of The Mills House. Parking was $20 for 24 hours in May 2014.

The lobby was fancy looking with marble floors, chandeliers, artwork and fresh flowers. This was not typical of a Wyndham brand hotel and I was wearing shorts and t-shirt, certainly not looking stylish after a day driving back roads through swamps and around old plantations and generally overheating my body on a record-temperature hot day driving the 100 miles between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.

Check-in at the hotel was easy and I headed to my 7th floor room.

Mills House bed

King bed at The Mills House.

Wyndham Rewards changed points levels for some hotels this week. The Mills House Charleston remains a category-8 hotel at 30,000 points per award night. The one item that did not sell out in Daily Getaways is Wyndham Rewards points for $6.00 per 1,000 points or $5.40 per 1,000 with American Express payment. This means The Mills House can be booked for 30,000 points per night which is $162 in points and a far lower rate than generally available for rooms at this Charleston, South Carolina hotel.

Mills house desk-2

Mills House King room desk, chair, ice bucket, coffee maker and TV.

Room entry

The front entry was narrow and empty space. This area could use some kind of art on the stark wall, but I can imagine how that would be a liability in the narrow space.

Mills House Bathroom-1

Mills House bathroom.

The bathroom was a good size with great water pressure, tiled shower and bath amenities. There were plenty of grip bars all around the bathroom which considering the age of the average tourist I observed in my walks around the city is probably a well-used feature.

Mills House toilet area

Mills House bathroom offered plenty of towels. The first thing I did after arrival around 3pm was hop in the shower, then head out for several hours walking around the town until after dark. When I came back to the room, there had been a turndown service for the bed with chocolates and the bathroom was refreshed and a full ice-bucket was on the TV counter.

There is a Wyndham Days Inn on the same street in historic Charleston at category 7 for 25,000 points after this week’s Wyndham Rewards changes. It was category 6 at 20,000 points before last week. I wonder if the Days Inn offers Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities?

Mils House G&S

The Mills House Gilchrist & Soames bath products.

The best feature of the room was the view to historic Charleston and Charleston Harbor in the distance.

Mills House view

The Mills House room view to Charleston Harbor.

The facilities of The Mills House is one of the best features of this hotel. My room view also looked over the swimming pool and the place was packed with sunbathers desiring that full body tan. I spent my week in the southeast lathered in sunscreen trying to limit my sun exposure, which was difficult considering I had not seen a cloud in the previous four days of record and near record high temperatures from St. Augustine, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina. The National Weather Service called the pattern an anti-cyclone event that lasted five days, producing clear skies day and night.

Meeting Street view

View from Meeting Street near front of Mills House. Mills House is located on Meeting Street where many of the chain brand hotels are located in historic Charleston.

Mills House lobby

Mills House lobby with reception desk on right.

Mills House entry

Mills House Meeting Street front entrance.

Mills House parlor room

Mills House front entrance parlor room with Concierge desk.

One of the more charming features of The Mills House is the outdoor courtyard at street level. Morning breakfast service is offered in the courtyard. Dinner service is also provided here.

Mills House courtyard

Mills House courtyard seen from Meeting Street. This photo was snapped around 4pm between main dining times when the courtyard was mostly empty. The courtyard dining option looked to be a popular space during meal times in the evening.

Mills House pool

The Mills House pool deck (prior to pool opening hours). Parking garage with connecting walkway on second floor pool deck level is seen in background.

Mills House poolside rooms

Poolside rooms on the second floor featured wrought-iron decorative patios.

Pool deck dining

Pool deck tables and sun chairs on second level adjacent to pool deck.

The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, 115 Meeting Street, Charleston, South Carolina has 216 rooms.

Sample Mills House hotel rates

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 = $179 King room, or $204.26 after tax. $199 King City View (my room type with with room view photo seen in this post). Or pay 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points. Update 6/21/2015: Wyndham Rewards changed all hotel free nights worldwide to 15,000 points per reward night in May 2015

Friday, October 10, 2014 = $399 or $453.96 after taxes. The Mills House hotel is available for 30,000 points on this date.

Currently, U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways offers for Wyndham Rewards points did not sell out on the day they were offered last week. Points can still be purchased for $6.00 per 1,000 points or get a 10% discount when paying with American Express at $5.40 per 1,000 points.

Daily Getaways points allows booking The Mills House Wyndham Grand for 30,000 points per night at a cost of $162 or $180 per night. In comparison, Days Inn a couple blocks away on the same street is over $200 per night room rates for Friday, October 10, 2014.

Daily Getaways wyndham-2

U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways offers Wyndham Rewards points at discount until these offers are sold out or the last day to purchase on July 4, 2014.

*****

This post is part of my road trip series when I rented a car in Jacksonville, Florida for one week at $105 all-in with a drive out of Florida seasonal special.

The Mills House stay was night 3 and day 4 of my seven day road trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia with visits to St Augustine, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Atlantic Beach, North Carolina; and ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke Island and Highway 12 along Outer Banks of North Carolina; Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Related Posts to Jacksonville, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia road trip:

Jacksonville and the St. Johns River (May 4)

St. Augustine, Florida: History in Black and White (May 5)

Casa Monica St. Augustine, Marriott Autograph Collection (May 6)

$15 to $20 per day in May for one-way rental cars out of Florida (May 7)

Notes from the Atlantic Intracoastal Road (May 9)

If I’m Ever Back This Way (May 9)

Images of Historic Charleston South Carolina (May 10)

Hotel Review: Savannah Andaz Suite (May 11)

Road tripping Highway 17 St. Augustine to Savannah, Georgia (May 13)

St. Simons Island of Georgia’s Golden Isles (May 14)

Hotel Review Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Marriott Autograph Collection (May 14)

Southern City in Green: Savannah’s 22 Squares (May 17)

Savannah’s ’Crown Jewels’ Monument Squares (May 18)

Red wolves, alligators, dolphin and birds at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge South Carolina (May 24)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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  1. […] The Mills House Charleston, South Carolina is centrally located in the heart of Charleston’s historic district. The hotel dates to 1853, yet all modern comforts are available at this Wyndham Grand property including restaurant with indoor and outdoor courtyard dining, outdoor swimming pool and a multi-level parking garage connected by walkway to the hotel. Read full article […]

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