The Element of Surprise
Charleston’s newest hotel, Emeline provides a respite for the savvy traveler
Set in the heart of Charleston, the fresh-faced Emeline hotel blends whimsy with wanderlust. Originally built in 1852, the space once served as a mercantile, and for many years, a brand-name hotel. To honor that history, Emeline’s parent company MakeReady (also of Noelle in Nashville and the Alida in Savannah) filled the space with nods to the past, most notably with art and decor from a host of independent creators from Charleston and beyond. MakeReady’s specialty is the unexpected: Look for the wall of curios—taxidermy, coral, driftwood—hidden within the lobby. One hallway reveals a foxhole: two side-by-side order windows at the back of restaurant Frannie and the Fox’s bar where they’ll pass you a top-notch negroni. Keep Shop, a centerpiece of the check-in experience is stocked with custom-made Stetsons, oyster-themed jewelry, hand-printed scarves, and much more. Gracious and friendly, the staff here is eager to ease you on your journey.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: A block from the historic Charleston City Market, Emeline is a prime spot if you’re looking to explore the lower peninsula by foot. You’re a quick walk to King Street’s shops and galleries, as well as the waterfront and Marion Square park.
THE FOOD SCENE: Clerks Coffee Company, named for the those who originally populated the former mercantile, is a coffee shop and daytime cafe—if you order a morning pick-me-up to your room it arrives from Clerks in a lovely, pale green wooden caddy complete with a sidecar of milk and sugars. Served until 3 pm, the menu offers housemade pastries like provolone and pepper biscuits, sandwiches at lunch, and coffee from local outfit Second State Roasters. Frannie and the Fox, meanwhile, is a dinner-only, wood-fired oven spot that focuses on regional ingredients, sourcing from local purveyors like Abundant Seafood and Storey Farms. There are superb craft cocktails, (including a rotating draft selection), an all-Italian wine list, small plates of delectable head-on shrimp and blue crab fritters, puffy, wood-fired pizzas (go for the guanciale with slivers of fresno chiles and green olives), plus a selection of pastas and seafood. The smart choice would be to pick a table on the charming outdoor terrace, which is anchored by a white-brick hearth, for a night of snacking with friends.
THE DIGS: Where polished wood, glass, ironwork, and original art inspire the lobby, blue-green hues, gold accents, and velvet furnishings mark the comfortable yet stylish guest rooms. Some are equipped with a turntable and selection of LPs, plus there are other thoughtful details throughout, like still and sparkling water stations on each floor and a Peloton in the fitness center.
- by Robin Roenker
- by Maggie Ward