Hotel Group: Dewberry Capital (first hotel in the group)
Hotel Status: None
Booking Type: AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts
Room Type: Charleston Flat
Date of Stay: April 2018
Dewberry Capital, led by John K. Dewberry, purchased the historic landmark L. Mendal Rivers Federal building in 2008 after the building was left vacated in 1999 because of damage left by Hurricane Floyd. The building, originally built in 1964, was the first federal office building to be built in South Carolina after World War ll and was commissioned by President Lyndon B. Johnson (maybe JFK, I’ve read mixed reports) to commemorate Democratic U.S. Representative L. Mendal Rivers, who represented the Charleston-based 1st congressional district for almost 30 years.
John Dewberry had a vision of “Southern Reimagined” with a mid-century modern feel. That vision took eight years for architects and designers to create, but by the time it opened its doors to guests in June of 2016, they had accomplished what I consider a truly inspiring design.
Complimentary bicycles are available on a first-come first-served basis, and the Concierge would be happy to help you plot your course. The Dewberry house cars are Volvo’s and available from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on a first-come first-served basis. Other amenities include an award-winning spa, a small fitness studio, as well as open air yoga classes on the 8th floor rooftop, a cocktail lounge called the Living Room, and restaurant Henrietta’s.
The Dewberry has been nominated for the 2018 Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards Poll, among many other accolades and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.
The Dewberry has partnered with several luxury travel advisors and companies, including two of my favorites, AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso. I booked through AmEx, so I could receive elite benefits. I’ve talked about the program several times in other reviews but below is a list of benefits you receive. I booked a Grand King for $378.15 + tax but was upgraded because of AmEx to a Charleston Flat. These rooms usually run $100 more depending on availability.
I was excited to check-in, so I left my previous hotel around 12pm so I could get to The Dewberry as soon as possible. When I arrived, the valet guy was quick to greet me and assist with luggage. The front-desk associates were friendly and welcoming. They went over all the benefits I received for booking through AmEx and said they had a room available, but if I wanted to wait, they could upgrade me. I’m not one to turn down an upgrade, so I happily accepted and went to the bar for a few drinks until my room was ready.
The moment you step into the lobby you immediately see and feel the design John Dewberry was after. The mid-century modern decor feels like your on the set of Mad Men. They have a place to shine your shoes and even a Fieldshop boutique.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about hotels. If you want to know how clean, and what to expect from the rooms go look at their public bathrooms. A great hotel is not going to have bad public bathrooms, and this place was no exception.
The only hiccup I had during check-in was while I was waiting for my room, I left my bags with the bellhop. After I got the call and collected my room keys, they informed me my bags would be brought to my room immediately. After waiting in my room for 20 minutes without bags I tried calling guest service to have them brought up but no one answered the phone. I had to go back to the reception desk to collect them myself. I wasn’t thrilled about that.
The Dewberry has 155 guest rooms, including 48 suites. Seven room types are offered, and my room was a 511 square foot Charleston Flat. These rooms are located in the corners of every floor and consist of hardwood floors, a welcoming living room with a mohair sofa, in-room dining area and glass enclosed bath suites. The plush terry bathrobe and slippers along with the safe are located in the signature Dewberry Amorie with designs of native South Carolina flowers on it.
My king canopy bed was complete with incredible Irish linens.
The seasonal mini-bar is curated by the hotels executive chef. The prices are somewhat reasonable considering the quality of the hotel.
The views from my room were overlooking the valet area.
The in-room Wi-Fi was pretty good considering most hotels I stay in struggle to offer anything above 2 or 3 Mbps.
The only thing I could see being a problem with the rooms is they don’t offer a coffee maker. They do, however, offer coffee and tea in the lobby, but most people don’t want to get out of bed and put clothes on just to get their coffee. I stayed in a Kimpton not long ago, and they didn’t offer coffee makers in the room, but they would bring one up if you requested it. I talked to the front-desk agent about this, and he never mentioned that being an option, so I have to assume they don’t offer that option.
The bathroom was done in select Vermont marble and featured a double vanity, walk-in shower, and deep soaking tub. I was a huge fan of the bathroom. The design was gorgeous.
The toiletries are inspired by the native southern Dewberry plant. It’s a blend of full-bodied berries, botanicals and notes of warm woodsy spice.
The fitness studio is located on the second floor opposite my room. It’s rather small but for a hotel with only 155 rooms, I doubt it ever gets too busy. They do offer personal training sessions upon request.
The spa is also located on the second floor just left of the elevators. I didn’t have any treatments, but I did get a tour. There are five treatment rooms with the ability to turn one of them into a couple’s room and steam room. Handcrafted wallpaper and NC Cypress wood adorn the walls around the spa.
There are plans to turn the rooftop into the Citrus Club, featuring food and drinks. I hope they still have plans for this, because it will be one of, if not the best rooftop in all of Charleston. I practically begged them to show me around, but they just wouldn’t do it. As of right now, you can’t go up there unless you sign up for their yoga class. Lucky for me, I know someone with photos of the views and seating up there, so I’m happy I can share them with you.
There are two dining options available in the hotel, Henrietta’s, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a weekend brunch.
The Living Room offers a variety of appetizers, including raw oysters. They also have an extensive cocktail list that is very inviting. The floors are constructed from an old tobacco farm in Virginia. Mr. Dewberry certainly left nothing unturned.
I had dinner twice at Henrietta’s and cocktails once in the Living Room. Both times I had dinner, I arrived in time for Happy Hour which goes from 5pm-6:30pm, featuring $1.50 oysters, $5 select wines and $3 draft beers. The first evening I ordered oysters and escargot. Needless to say, they were both delicious.
The second evening I ordered the lobster omelette. I’m very picky about my omelette. I will only order a French style when out at a restaurant. I don’t much care for a country-style omelette. I was apprehensive about ordering it, because so many places have a hard time making a classic French style, but they assured me I wouldn’t be disappointed, and I wasn’t. It was one of the best I have ever had.
I sat at the bar both times for dinner and was taken care of by Greg the first night and Jessica the second evening, plus both bartenders were excellent. They were very knowledgeable about the menu and cocktail list, and we had great conversation throughout dinner. It was a real treat to be waited on by them.
For breakfast, I was allocated $30 per my free breakfast benefit. I ordered room service and choose the omelette. It was that good. I had to order it again. Breakfast arrived in 20 minutes and was delivered by an enthusiastic waiter. He asked me what I did for a living, and after I said caddie, he was excited to talk about golf.
I also ordered via room service – cookies and milk. I asked them to be extra soft, and they were delivered exactly how I like them. Sorry for the poor photo quality, it was late that evening, and I was several cocktails deep by the time I ordered cookies. I guess I didn’t realize the photo I took stunk.
I’ll give service an 8.5. Besides the bellhop forgetting to bring my luggage and guest service not answering the phone to help, the concierge forgot to email me photos of the rooftop. She assured me when I left the hotel she would, but at no time heard anything about it again. I don’t know if she ever had intention of sending them, or if she just forgot but either way, it was quite disappointing. Thankfully, the wait staff in the bar and restaurant were top-notch. This property should produce scores in the 9s on every stay, but they failed to do so during mine.
With that said, an 8.5 service score isn’t going to ruin a stay and certainly not going to stop me from giving it another try. This was my favorite hotel I have stayed in this year and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great hotel in Charleston.
What’s your favorite hotel in Charleston?