Let me state the obvious: 2020 has caused a bit of a disruption in our collective plans. Among the many issues we face today, most of us have been unable to travel and take our planned summer getaways. I didn't realize how much I needed a break from the current "norm" until after spending about 24 hours at downtown Charleston's newest hotel, Emeline.
When I was offered the opportunity to check out the amenities and spend the evening on the property, I jumped at the chance. "Getting away" in your own town can be fun and relaxing no matter where you stay, but crashing at brand new luxury hotel certainly takes it to another level.
Rockbridge earlier this week announced the opening of Emeline at 181 Church Street with 212 all-king rooms, a new restaurant, coffee shop, multiple living rooms, a garden-esque courtyard, a retail space, and more.
I knew I was going to have a great stay as soon as I walked in the door. The interior was crisp, clean, expansive, and inviting. The hotel's design is mid century modern with elements that were inspired by Charleston’s flora, fauna, and its history as a port city.
The staff was immediately ready to assist with the check-in process, which didn't take much time at all. I was brought up to my room and settled in. I was put in one of the 450 square-foot Collector’s Suites, which features one comfy king bed, a cozy living room, a Crosley turntable with custom Emeline vinyl, two Smart TVs, and more. Just down the hall was a water station where I had the option of sparkling or flat water to bring back to my room. I threw on the record (I also had the option of Simon & Garfunkel and Adele), sat at the living room table, sipped on sparkling water, and got some work done thanks to the complimentary Wi-Fi. The Cooper River Bridge was visible out my window, which provided for a nice view when I looked up from my laptop.
After deciding work was for the birds, I decided to check out the rest of the property. The coronavirus is certainly on the forefront of many people's minds right now, so I was relieved to see all the precautions Emeline was taking. Everything was clean, all of their staff were wearing masks (some wore gloves too), there was ample hand sanitizer placed around the hotel, and there were tissues outside the elevators that you could use to press the buttons.
The lobby level was home to a relaxing common area with music adding to the cozy, but fun vibe of the hotel. The hotel’s retail experience, Keep Shop, could also be explored on this floor. The space (from Makeready) features over 40 local makers and artists who have unique products for sale. It's a nice spot to grab gifts, accessories, books, and more.
Nearby was Emeline's restaurant Frannie & The Fox, which boasts Chef Tim Morton's menu of sharable dishes featuring wood-fired regional ingredients with an Italian influence. Guests could dine inside or in the outdoor courtyard. I opted for some vegetables to start and the delectable Goat Cheese Tortellini for dinner. Instead of standard dessert, I opted to get the wood-fired Fennel Sausage pizza (right) to go. Most people in the restaurant seemed to include at least one of the pizza options in their dinner spread.
The hotel’s courtyard was insulated from the busy nearby Market Street and thankfully had plenty of open-air areas. It was a nice space to gather my thoughts and relax after dinner as the sun went down. For the cooler months, there is a large fireplace that you can sit by and there was also a 'greenhouse' that is available to rent for special occasions.
After a quiet evening reading in my hotel room, I quickly drifted off to sleep in the comfortable king bed. It was difficult to leave the comforts of that big bed, but unfortunately, my visit was coming to a close. After a rejuvenating hot shower, it was off to Emeline's bright café, Clerks Coffee Co. I grabbed a latte and got back to work. Clerks offers beverages from Charleston-based Second State Coffee, breads and pastries made in-house, and more. For those looking for a new spot to do work, the café has ample seating and plenty of outlets.
There were several other amenities that I didn't take advantage of including a valet service, a fitness center featuring Fitness on Demand classes and a Peloton bike, custom Emeline house bikes to explore the city, large conference rooms, Charleston Wildsam Field Guides in the room, and more. For those with dogs, the hotel is also pet friendly.
My short stay at Emeline was perfect and I honestly can't wait to go back. Locals may not stay at a local hotel often, but with so many trips and events being canceled, this is a great opportunity to feel like you're getting out of town without actually leaving. I was able to fully relax and forget all my stresses for a day, which I didn't think was possible in 2020. I highly recommend giving this hip luxury hotel a shot, especially this summer. You should also suggest the hotel to any visiting friends and family because you'll certainly want to join them on their vacation at Emeline.
To learn more or make a reservation, visit hotelemeline.com or call 843-577-2644.