Hotel Group: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Hotel Status: Gold
Booking Type: Points booking (15,000 points)
Room Type: Deluxe King
Date of Stay: April 2018
The Mills House as we know it opened in 1970, but it’s based off of the original Mills House/St. John Hotel that sat at this exact location that opened in 1853. The original building was one of only a few that still stood after much of the city was destroyed during the civil war. Around 1900 the hotel was renamed St. John hotel. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt stayed in the hotel while visiting the South Carolina inter-state and West Indian Exposition. In 1968, the hotel was sold at auction to a group of investors who had initially wanted to restore the hotel but found it unsalvageable. The hotel was later demolished, and a replica was built using the original ironwork and cornices.
When the Mills House reopened in 1970, it was under the Hyatt umbrella. In 1983, it became a Holiday Inn. In 2013, after thirty years under Holiday Inn, it became a part of Wyndham, which it still is to this day.
The hotel offers guests one of the best outdoor pools in Charleston, a fitness center, two different bars, an award-winning restaurant, a courtyard, and business center. Overnight valet parking is $32.
Something to note, they do a Champagne toast between 3pm-4pm in the lobby. Hopefully, you are checking in at that time and can grab a glass of champagne while you head to your room.
The cash rate during my stay would have been $761.54 for two nights. Luckily for me, I had a nice balance of Wyndham Reward points, so I chose to use 30,000 points instead. Wyndham has a unique points system where they charge 15,000 points per night for a standard room at all their hotels. At an expensive hotel like this, you can get good value for your Wyndham points, not so much, on the lower end though.
Check-in was a breeze. The front-desk associate was welcoming and thanked me for my gold status. She finished the formalities quickly, and I was off to the room. As for the lobby, it’s one of the most elegant spaces in the hotel. I loved the old-school charm of the light fixtures and marble.
My standard room felt a bit tight. I would recommend a balcony room or junior suite if you could fit it in the budget. I was traveling alone so it wasn’t a big deal, but it’s always nice to have ample space. I would like to see them upgrade the TVs as they were slow to react to the remote, which is annoying, and the coffee machine was about as basic as it gets.
The bed, on the other hand, was a highlight. I love an extra soft bed, and this did not disappoint. It was one of my favorites in recent memory. Both night stands had access to outlets on each lamp.
The in-room Wi-Fi was just awful. I could barely load webpages. Most of the time I had to rely on my cell service.
My view was just ok. The two buildings on the left are restaurant Husk. I highly recommend eating there. Chef Sean Brock is one of my favorite chefs. You will not be disappointed.
There is absolutely nothing special about the bathroom. The Institut karite toiletries were nothing to write home about, and the Andis 1600 hairdryer was weak and had no concentration attachments.
I had to call guest services for a bathrobe. It wasn’t that great but it was delivered to me still warm which was nice.
The pool is located on the second floor with views of the Mills House courtyard. From my experience and other reviews, it seems they don’t provide a wait staff at the pool, so it’s up to you if you want food or drinks. One of the main draws for me is the pool actually has a deep end, 7ft 6in. After doing a little research, I couldn’t find a better downtown hotel pool than this one. So I could see staying here just for the pool during the summer.
The gym is located at the end of the hall on the second floor. There were only cardio machines with one set of free weights. I was expecting a little more, but with the space, there isn’t much you can do with it. At least, some of the cardio machines have views of the pool.
The Mills House offers the Barbadoes Room restaurant, a beautifully designed courtyard, and a cocktail lounge. I was told the lounge is only open on the weekends, so I didn’t get to experience it but was able to get a photo.
The courtyard is just outside of the Barbadoes Room. I enjoyed a nice breakfast one morning there. The smoothie and their take on loxs’ were well executed. I would recommend it even if you’re not staying at the hotel. As long as the weather cooperated, this is a great place to relax and have drinks or dinner.
The Barbadoes Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I only had one drink and a small appetizer at the bar while I was there. The Littleneck Clam Ravioli with Chorizo was excellent, 8.7/10.
For two nights in a hotel, I spent very little time there. I can say the front-desk staff, and the housekeeping did a fantastic job. The nightly turn down service was great. Not only did they turn the blankets down, but they also brought ice, put waters beside the bed, straightened up the bathroom, and hung the bathrobe up. I’m usually less than impressed with hotel turn down service but this place actually put a little time into it. I’ll give service an 8.3/10.
The Mills House has a lot of hits and misses. I did enjoy my stay here and slept like a baby in their beds, but I feel they charge too much for what you get considering the other options around town at the same price point. If you can get a good rate ($100-$200) I’d say it’s worth it, especially if you are looking for a pool. Personally, I would never pay $350 a night to stay here. I paid $400 for the Dewberry down the street, and it’s by far a better hotel than this place just minus a pool.
Have you stayed here? What is your favorite hotel in Charleston?