The Francis Marion is a charming 330 room hotel built in 1924 that has achieved a coveted spot on the National Historic Registry. Restored with care and a thoughtfulness to retaining the finer details of the 1920’s, original elegant crown molding, wrought iron railings and sparkling crystal light fixtures provide guests with a stay that shines with southern history.
Located on King Street, or as we call it, shopper’s paradise, the Francis Marion is a moderately priced hotel (see hotel price comparison below) that boasts views of Marion Square, some of the best restaurants in town, historic churches and a museum, all but a short walk away.
The hotel lobby is a celebration of the roaring 20’s with splendid antiques and elegant fabrics in hues of salmon and gold. With statement-making vases dripping with elegant fresh flowers, tall windows that provide views of downtown Charleston and original detailing, this is a hotel lobby with both personality and charm.
If you are a fan of historic hotels, check out our review on their sister property located in beautiful downtown Greenville, South Carolina, Poinsette Hotel HERE.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted at the front desk by Caroline, who was friendly and helpful as she checked us in. Later in the day, I ran into Caroline again, and she asked if we were happy with our room, an example of the level of customer service we encountered during our stay.
For the coffee and tea enthusiasts in the house, the Francis Marion graciously provides a complimentary hot beverage bar each and every morning so you don’t have to wait for that caffeine fix. The coffee was fresh, hot and good to the last drop!
The PR Department at the Francis Marion Hotel spoiled us with a beautiful gift basket which was waiting for us in the room. From chocolates, to Praline Almonds, decadent and addictive cheese crackers and bottles of Perrier, we started our visit out in style and were grateful for the warm welcome.
Our room was lovely, decorated in a soothing and very southern wedgwood blue, with elegant gold and blue fabrics, thick carpeting, antique furniture, crown molding and original doors. From the bathroom to the room itself, it was sparkling clean ~ let’s hear it for great maid service!
The bed was comfortable, but certainly not the best we’ve ever slept upon. The pillows were over-stuffed (in our opinions) and man-made, nary a feather nor down to be found on the entire bed (note the sadness in my writing?). The “comforter” was as thin as a sheet and provided no warmth, although there was a plush blanket in the drawer in case we needed it (we did).
The closet (right) had a safe and cotton robes.
Two cotton robes awaited us in the closet.
The room had a desk, free wifi, two chairs plus a small table to read the local magazines that awaited us.
We truly appreciated the original hotel fixtures that can be found throughout the hotel. This gorgeous crystal piece was located on the ceiling outside our bathroom.
We can choose to look at the bathroom as either a plus or a minus, depending upon the experience one is expecting. It was SMALL in every way. Because they made a huge effort to retain the historic ambiance of the 1920’s when they restored the Francis Marion, you will find original fixtures in every bathroom. The toilet is VERY small and low to the ground, which was fine for me at 5’2″, but certainly a challenge for the hubster at 6’5″.
You’ll have a difficult time squeezing two people into this bathroom unless one is a small child. Let’s face it, this bathroom is pocket-sized. If you are looking for the true historic hotel experience, this may not be a deal breaker for you, but if your expectations are the modern day jumbo-sized hotel bathroom, my guess is you won’t be a happy camper at the F. Marion.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The breathtaking view from our room included unforgettable ocean sunrises, Marion Square and eight stunning historic church steeples. Talk about being at the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time!
Marion Square is a hub of activity year round, plus the freshest fruits and veggies Charleston has to offer at the Farmer’s Market ~ open April 9th through November 26th, every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Feel like a little shopping or an unforgettable meal ~ King Street has it all and more. Fortunately for guests staying at the Francis Marion Hotel, it’s all but a moment’s walk away.
CHARLESTON HOTEL PRICE COMPARISON
Let’s infuse our hotel review with a little perspective, shall we? To stay in a room similar to ours at the historic Francis Marion would cost you $330.00 on a Friday in early June, 2016. Now let’s compare that to a popular luxury property located within walking distance, The Belmond Charleston Place (you can read our hotel review HERE). A deluxe room with views the same night at Charleston Place costs $505.00. As you can see, it all boils down to what you want in a hotel and the price you are willing to pay.
Our three night stay at the Francis Marion was unusual in the sense that I tagged along with my husband on a business trip. As a company, we took up many rooms in the hotel and I pounced upon the opportunity to gain the perspective of my hubby’s co-workers for this review.
To be honest, their reviews were mixed, (I am committed to bringing you the good, bad and the ugly) with some embracing the authentic historic hotel experience even if that translated to smaller bathrooms and closets. While others in our group found the limited in-suite real estate to be a deal-breaker.
Carl and I would stay at the Francis Marion again, with a very important caveat… we would call the front desk and be EXTREMELY specific about the type of room we were requesting. This is one hotel I would absolutely never book through a third-party discount hotel company, EVER!
The historic look, feel and decor of this beautiful hotel
Clean hotel and hotel room (YEA)
Affordable room service and restaurant menu
Views from our room inspirational enough to get me out bed every sunrise
Located in the HEART of historic Charleston on King Street
Not So Much
Although our room size was fine, the bathroom was WAY too small
Rooms and amenities are not consistent from room to room
No comforters on the bed, only top sheets (thumbs down)
Limited room service hours
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What’s your favorite Charleston hotel? Drop us a line and join the conversation in the Comment’s Section below.
Live, love and travel, darlings,