There are lovely hotels and luxury hotels and places that are just plain special. And then there is The Dewberry. Charleston’s newest five-star hotel combines thoughtful design, attention to detail, and genuine hospitality to create a true home away from home.
I recently spent a sunny Friday afternoon getting a behind-the-scenes tour of The Dewberry and I have a confession to make: by the end I wanted to check myself in and spend the weekend soaking in the oversized tub, relaxing in the spa, and having drinks in The Living Room. It’s more than just a beautiful hotel—it’s an experience.
The Dewberry Offers Attention to Detail
Walking through The Dewberry, it feels as if every detail has been thoughtfully considered, because it has—from top to bottom, inside and out. Housed in an old government building, it bears all the hallmarks of midcentury design, but with softer edges. The red brick exterior has been given a gentle lime wash, turning the brick a warmer, welcoming grey. The brass fittings have been left unpolished, allowing a rich, glowing patina to set in. The walls are wrapped in warm wood, trimmed in burnished brass. It’s all so subtle it’s hard to put your finger on why everything feels right, you just know it does. The combined effect creates a space in which you instantly feel at home.
The Dewberry is a Favorite Meeting Spot for Locals
There’s a large, open Living Room that acts as lounge area, hotel bar, and meeting spot for locals. I’ve spent more than one late afternoon enjoying a drink in the cozy armchairs, and a morning or two starting the work day with coffee and my laptop by the large windows.
The beauty of The Dewberry is just that: It’s beauty. You’ll find special touches throughout the hotel. Step into The Swanston Room and be surrounded by a swirl of gilded cranes. Look up at the chandeliers and catch a glimpse of palmetto leaves. Glance behind the concierge desk and find the building’s original cornerstone. Everywhere you turn there’s a story. My favorite: a portrait of Gary Dewberry, the hotel’s namesake, just adjacent to the bar. A minister from a small town in Virginia, in his leather jacket and wry smile Mr. Dewberry looks more like James Dean than the ministers I grew up with.
The one-of-a-kind elements don’t end there. Fans of Charleston-based magazine, Garden & Gun, will love Fieldshop, G&G’s first retail outlet. Filled with products from Southern artists and artisans featured in Garden & Gun, Fieldshop is divided into two shops—Hunt & Gather—one a bit more Garden and the other a bit more Gun, both pretty great.
Get Cozy in Your Room–You May Not Want to Go Home
The same level of care has been paid to the guest rooms, from the ultra-soft Irish linens on the bed to the pretty floral print decorating the armoires. That print exemplifies the attention to detail found throughout the hotel. It’s not just a pretty pattern. Designed by local artist, Becca Barnet, the fabric design features flora and fauna native to the Lowcountry, as well as the delicate white dewberry flower. Will any of The Dewberry’s guests recognize those flowers? If they’re like me, probably not. But that’s beside the point. What matters is that someone cared enough to think about all of those details, even the ones you don’t notice.
The Dewberry has a range of rooms, from the not-so-standard standard room to very sweet suites. All of the rooms are furnished with Irish linens and come stocked with local snacks in the minibar. The largest suites make room for a soaking tub to move your stay from relaxed to sublime.
Another small detail that I loved? Library books in every room. I realize I’m biased because I do this for my own clients (and houseguests!), but I love finding a selection of books stacked next to my bed. The Dewberry’s collection was handpicked from the Charleston Library Society and is just one of the many thoughtful details that makes The Dewberry a special place.
I could go on—the recently opened spa that’s lovely and truly meant for relaxation, the mile-high ceilings of the ballroom, the walled garden, the story about the Dewberry Oak—but I will leave you with this . . .
I spent several hours touring The Dewberry, meeting folks, and learning all about the fabrics and the library books and the design. I was so busy talking and listening that I forgot to take photos. After pulling myself away from The Dewberry, I spent the rest of the afternoon working and running around all over town. It was one of those days. By 5 o’clock I felt like I’d run a marathon and I still had plans to see opening night at a local theatre. Even still, I stopped back by the hotel to get some photos. It was such a pretty afternoon that I decided to slow down and have a drink on the patio at Henrietta’s, The Dewberry’s brasserie-inspired restaurant.
No one there knew I had just spent hours touring the hotel. No one knew I was going to do a little write-up. I was just another person enjoying a pretty day, and I was still treated like a special guest. My waiter knew I was headed to the theatre later and thoughtfully brought my drink quickly. When he learned I was local, we talked about our favorite local bands and where we like to hear music. The chef asked if I had time to try a little something, even with the theatre. I did, and I’m glad I did because the “little something” was a fresh take on a classic nicoise salad. It was amazing.
So what does that story say about The Dewberry? Everyone went out of their way to make my day a little better, and that’s what hospitality is all about. Want to experience The Dewberry yourself? They’ll take good care of you. Believe me.
The Dewberry, thedewberrycharleston.com, 334 Meeting Street, Reservations: 877.835.6530.