Most of the time it’s hard to get enthusiastic about an airport hotel. They’re often lacking in character and capitalizing on the business traveler who is in and out in a night. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find a few airport hotels that don’t feel like soul sucking chains of blandness, and was pleased to add the Crowne Plaza Charleston Airport to the list (see also the Westin Denver Airport for another example).
My stay at the Crowne Plaza Charleston was a business trip, the hotel picked by someone else for its proximity to the airport. It’s in North Charleston, a short shuttle ride from the airport and about eight miles from the downtown area. I arrived excited about visiting Charleston, it was my first visit there, but I had much less enthusiasm about the hotel. However, I was warmly welcomed in that charming southern way with a check-in process that was seamless and efficient. When the front desk staff learned that it was my first time there, they were a wealth of information providing a map, information about the local bus, and asking questions about the type of things I liked so they could make personal recommendations. Whether that’s great customer service training – or just southern hospitality – I can’t say, but after nearly a full day of travel, I appreciated it.
Walking to the elevators takes you into the atrium and past the lobby lounge and bar. The 166 rooms are built around the atrium, providing lots of light and a feeling of spaciousness. I found myself returning to this area frequently, whether to work, eat, or have a drink. The bar itself is a beautiful wood piece and has a large television screen behind it. I imagine it can get pretty lively when there’s a local game on, but during my stay, I found that seating at the bar was rather lively, but by moving to the communal table or one of the lounge chairs it was quiet enough to work.
The hotel has conference and meeting space and this can tax the two elevators. While I didn’t have to wait long to get up to my room upon arrival, the rest of the time I opted to use the stairs (going down) and only battle the slow elevator when going up or carrying luggage. I understand they are working on getting this resolved, but I’m not sure there’s really a resolution other than adding elevators (and I don’t see that happening).
I had a King room and thought it spacious and well laid out. There was a seating area on one side of the bed with a beverage area and desk on the other. The hotel seems to have a commitment to sleep, providing upgraded bedding and pillows conducive to personal sleep styles, as well as dedicated Quiet Zones rooms where external noise in minimalized. I usually don’t have any problem getting or staying asleep, but if you do, be sure to request this area of the hotel.
The workspace in the room was right next to the window, sort of a good news/bad news proposition. I love having the natural light to work with, but the sun coming through the window made it hard to see my computer screen. It also got pretty darn hot sitting there. The weather was a mixed bag while I was there, one minute bright and sunny and the next stormy, and I can imagine this would be a major annoyance in the hot summer months. The desk had plenty of room to work, well-placed plugins and chargers, and – perhaps most importantly – free wifi. The beverage center includes a refrigerator, coffee maker, coffee, tea, and the usual accompaniments. The room had the expected entertainment amenities.
The bathroom had a shower only, a large one, which was fine with me. If this is an issue, request one with a bathtub (I understand some rooms have them). I liked the details in the bathroom, especially the heavy lion towel holder.
The hotel is conveniently located near the Convention Center and Performing Arts Center, about half a mile away, making this a great choice if attending an event there. The Tanger Outlet Mall is across the street, and it’s about a 10-minute ride to historic downtown Charleston (you can catch public transportation near the hotel or call for an Uber). Or, head to the outdoor patio and pool in your free time and log a few miles in the fitness center.
Sweetgrass Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serves in the restaurant, poolside, patio, and lobby bar. Breakfast is offered a la carte or a reasonably priced breakfast buffet. For lunch and dinner, I’d call it modern Southern cuisine. Think of it as some of your favorite southern dishes with a bit of a twist. You’ll see dishes like fried green tomatoes, cornmeal fried dill pickle chips, she-crab soup, and shrimp and grits. Happy hour specials are available Monday-Thursday, 4-7 pm. 24-hour room service is also available.
While I didn’t make the decision to stay at the Crowne Plaza Charleston Airport, someone else made the selection, I’d give it personal consideration for a future visit. Its convenient location and reasonable rates make it a viable option not only for business but for a vacation as well. You can make your reservation and earn loyalty points at the IHG website. Or try a booking site such as Hotels.com or Travelocity.
The Crowne Plaza Charleston Airport is located at 4831 Tangier Outlet Boulevard, North Charleston. Rates start around $135/night. Parking is complimentary, and there is a complimentary airport shuttle. The shuttle also transports guests within a five-mile radius of the property.