Mills House Hotel Review
The Mills House Hotel has perhaps one of the most interesting histories for a hotel establishment in downtown Charleston. The building itself has been through many reincarnations from the earlier 1800's it has served as a private residence, a boardinghouse, a courthouse, a dorm for Baptists Charleston Southern College and a post office.
After the addition of two floors to the roof and expansion additions to the original residence, the structure opened as a luxury hotel in 1853 boasting steam heat, indoor plumbing, five baths for women and two for men. During the Civil war the hotel was taken over and served as the field headquarters for General Robert E. Lee.
The hotel survived the Civil War and on separate occasions, in the late 1800's survived fire, hurricane and earthquake as well. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt stayed in the hotel and occupied the same room as that of Robert E. Lee.
But after years of neglect through the early to mid 1900's and eventually, abandonment, the hotel was salvaged and rebuilt in the late 1960's to bring it to sound structure and was reopened in 1970, Most recently the building underwent a complete multi million dollar restoration in 2008.
Entrance into the foyer in the original home introduces one to the elegance and gentility of a graceful southern home. The open foyer is graced with an impressive double staircase, quality antiques and interesting art selections. The high ceiling is adorned with an 1860's crystal chandelier from India and the customary double parlors are arranged on either side of the foyer through ornately arched doorways and high arching parlor windows mimic the doorways allowing for a bright and bustling atmosphere. Anyone with an eye for antiques will recognize well-preserved down-filled couches, a captain's tilt-top table from 1790 and a great round mirror from Ireland with original gilt from 1850.
The Mills House Hotel is the real deal with its history, attention to real period pieces and preservation of the integrity of the point in time when the original home was an example of affluent southern living. The Mills House management and staff take obvious pride in paying scrupulous attention to providing personal attention and authentic luxury accommodations for their guests.
In keeping with every comfort and genuine period pieces, upper and lower courtyards are provided for exterior relaxation and a lighted, operational tiered fountain from 1810 can be enjoyed from the lower courtyard. A pool area is also available for guests, discretely enveloped in wrought iron and plantings to ensure privacy. Although the Mills House Hotel is right in the heart of downtown Charleston and near to many restaurants, guests will want to make sure they stop in to The Barbadoes Room, an in-house restaurant providing delicious meals of the highest quality and freshness with a West Indies connection and a southern flair as well. Sunday brunch at the Mills House Barbadoes Room is a particular treat.
The Mills House Hotel has unique meeting space available in the form of the Hibernia club building which is right next door, so close in proximity in fact, it might be mistaken as one of the additions to the hotel. This open spaced Hibernia building can service up to 225 people with catering through the Mills House Hotel. Weddings and other functions are smoothly accommodated at the Mills House whether in the Hibernia Club building or one of beautifully appointed ballrooms or function rooms within the hotel.
This is a regally appointed older hotel but the age does not hinder the amenities. The preserved charm and period flair serves as a point of interest and the many artful accents and antiques are pieces of history. The Mill House Hotel has 214 non-smoking rooms, each offering guests a truly full service stay. Now with 7 floors, the hotel offers 15 petite suites and 19 full suites, with 1-3 bedrooms, each with a king bed, a sitting area, wet bar and refrigerator. A desk, bedding package, WiFi and turndown service is standard service in all rooms, which are all well maintained in a tasteful pallete offering a pleasing and luxurious environment for every guest.
Ideally located, the Mills House Hotel is walking distance from the open air market place, the Dock Street Theatre, King Street Antique District, Charleston's finest dining establishments, countless art galleries, waterfront park and all else that Charleston has to offer. Concierge service is available to help plan the perfect day or evening to suit ones needs. Literally everything one could want in a hotel can be found at the Mills House Hotel. For history, atmosphere, attentive service, amenities and value, The Mills House Hotel earns the highest available rating, 5-diamonds *****.
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