Jun122014

Hotel Review: Charleston Marriott South Carolina

There is nothing wrong with the Charleston Marriott. There is nothing particularly exciting about the hotel either, except parking is free. My main regret for my hotel nights in Charleston, South Carolina is that I switched from The Mills House, Wyndham Grand (link is my hotel review) in a central location of the historic downtown to the Marriott on the west side of Charleston peninsula two miles away. If touring Charleston is your plan, then being as close to the historic downtown center is the best course of action for this city.

Charleston Marriott

Charleston Marriott

Charleston Marriott in Charleston, South Carolina is located about 2 miles from the South Carolina Aquarium and the ferry port for Fort Sumter tours.

Hotel Review: Charleston Marriott South Carolina

In my mind, I pictured a two mile walk across the Charleston peninsula as no big deal. In the 93 degree heat at 11am, the idea of walking across Charleston for six to eight hours of all day touring seemed like a major effort after having spent the previous two days walking in Savannah and Charleston for six to ten hours in the hot sun. And remember, this was early May when I was there and not in the sticky humidity of sweltering August.

The view from my room over the Marriott convention center rooftop with AC units was so uninspiring that I never even took a photograph.

In contrast, here was my room view from The Mills House Wyndham Grand hotel in the heart of historic downtown Charleston.

Mills House view

View of historic Charleston from Wyndham Mills House.

To be fair to Marriott, there were probably better views from the opposite side of the Marriott hotel which would look to the Ashley River where I snapped the photo of the Charleston Marriott.

Ashley River

Ashley River across the street from Charleston Marriott hotel.

Marriott runs an hourly shuttle from the hotel to Waterfront Park on the east side of the peninsula. Tickets cost $6 per day. There is a free trolley operated by the City of Charleston that stops at various points around the peninsula. There is a stop near the Marriott and the trolley schedule showed every 30 minutes. I missed the scheduled time by a few minutes when I arrived at the trolley stop. Insted of standing around a half-hour at the trolley stop, I crossed the road and talked to some African-American fishermen and snapped a few photos while I waited for the next shuttle. The shuttle times turned out to be completely unreliable. I finally went to my car parked at the Marriott (no parking fee) and saw the free every-30-minutes trolley arriving 30 minutes late as I was driving my car out of the Marriott parking lot. At least the Marriott shuttle runs on schedule.

The Room

Marriott King

Comfortable King bed at Marriott.

I recall the doors slamming in the hallway as a constant annoyance during my stay as I worked at the desk. The heavy room doors closing were very loud and frequent.

Marriott King-2

TV seemed small for this hotel room. There is an empty refrigerator in the cabinet.

Marriott desk

Marriott desk.

Not really sure why I was given an ADA bathroom. My Silver elite status did not seem to count for anything at this hotel with my reduced best rate guarantee room rate. Usually I find myself at least in a preferred view room. Not this stay though.

Marriott ADA room

ADA bathroom.

King Room window

The room view was better with the curtains closed.

Charleston Marriott Public Spaces

Marriott pool

My room was on the 5th floor near the right side with no view of the pool.

Marriott pool-2

The elevated patio behind the pool is the 3rd floor Aqua Terrace evening bar for the hotel.

Aqua Terrace

Charleston Marriott Aqua Terrace.

The fitness center seemed small for the size of the hotel.

Marriott fitness

Perhaps there was another room behind the door. I snapped this photo from the door to the pool.

The layout of the property basically meant pool access required walking by the hotel restaurant.

Outdoor patio

Patio area outside between restaurant inside and pool outside.

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating near pool area.

Inside lobby

Ground floor lobby and walkway from reception to elevators.

Marriott reception

Charleston Marriott reception desks.

Marriott Concierge

Charleston Marriott concierge desk and computer touchscreen information kiosk.

Charleston Marriott is a decent hotel, although, for the $126.42 I spent on the more than 50% off room night, I could have stayed another night in the far more interesting Mills House in the center of historic downtown for 30,000 Wyndham points.

You can buy 30,000 Wyndham points for $162 right now through U.S. Travel Association Daily Getaways until they sell out or July 4, 2014, whichever comes first.

Google Maps Charleston Marriott

Google Maps Charleston Marriott and The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel.

Charleston Marriott is Marriott Rewards category 7 hotel at 35,000 points per night. The Charleston Marriott hotel is currently ranked #39 of 54 hotels in Charleston, South Carolina on TripAdvisor with 68% thumbs up. Courtyard by Marriott Charleston Historic District is ranked #14 with 90% thumbs up and is also Marriott Rewards category 7.

Charleston is Hotel Expensive

Marriott Look No Further approved claim saved me over 50% on room rate.

Charleston is an expensive hotel city. I booked the Charleston Marriott for my stay in early May 2014 specifically to make a Best Rate Guarantee claim using Marriott’s Look No Further policy.

Marriott website: $229 King for a rate of $260.92 after tax.

Only once in all my travels have I paid over $250 per night for a room. I once stayed at the Amsterdam Pulitzer Hotel and paid $280. That $280 room night earned over 20,000 starpoints in an SPG promotion. This stay with Marriott happened to be the week after the MegaBonus promotion ended and there was no lucrative bonus points offers for the hotel.

I booked the $261 room rate on Marriott.com and immediately filed a Marriott Look No Further best rate guarantee claim against a $147.19 rate on getaroom.com.

My claim was approved and Marriott reduced the $147.19 rate by 25% to $110.39 per night. I paid $126.42 for the hotel room night after tax which was less than 50% of the original rate I booked.

*****

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.

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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.

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Comments

  1. Good review.

    The Cat. 7 Courtyard Marriott in the HD has a pretty diehard location. It’s no Mill’s House, but it’ll do in a pinch.

    The main issue with any chain hotel in a city like Charleston is lack of character. Wyndham is running with a good thing in the Mill’s House. Otherwise, Charleston is a town where it’s not worth sticking to a cobranded hotel.

  2. There are several highly rated independent hotels in Charleston. The $300+ per night rates are the limiting factor.

    I would go with a brand hotel in Mount Pleasant and drive into downtown if the hotel rates are unaffordable in the historic area. There seemed to be more attractions in the Mount Pleasant area than the Savannah Highway strip side of the Charleston peninsula.

  3. Agree the chain hotel situation is very difficult in Charleston. I had actually meant to comment on your previous post when you were thinking of booking Marriott Charleston and tell you NOT to do it. No sense in going to Charleston and staying way out there, heck you might as well just have stayed near the airport (which coincidentally has some very decent options chain-wise). I stayed at Mills House back when it was a Crowne Plaza and liked it a lot, it was a great redemption back then. Otherwise I’ve done Courtyard HD as the above commenter mentioned and enjoyed that as well. There’s a pretty decent option just outside Charleston for 30k Choice pts as well (one of only a handful of hotels in the USA that is both AAA 5-Diamond hotel and AAA 5-Diamond restaurant, and has been that way for like 20 straight years IIRC). We really enjoyed that hotel and it was something completely different. Called Woodlands Inn IIRC. Otherwise I try to book the night I land at CHS at an airport hotel and then the night before I fly out (if early flight) also at an airport hotel, then pony up the high pts for nights in between in the HD as there’s no sense staying elsewhere while in Charleston.

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