The John Rutledge House Inn is a historic luxury hotel and inn in stunning downtown Charleston, SC. Annually, the property garners local, nationwide, and international accolades for hospitality, and its central location made it the perfect spot for us to journey downtown and soak up all the beauty of Charleston on foot. If you’re looking for an inn rooted in local history that doesn’t neglect to pamper its guests, you’ve found it.
John Rutledge House Inn
Location: Charleston, SC
Address: 116 Broad Street
Rating: 4-Star Hotel
Number of Rooms: 19
Staff Helpfulness & Friendliness: 5/5
Room Amenities: 4/5
Room and Bed Comfort: 5/5
Valet Parking: No
Pool & Hot Tubs: No
Proximity to Other Points of Interest: 5/5
Arrival at John Rutledge House Inn
Our check-in was a breeze. The concierge outlined the available amenities, such as the included made-to-order breakfast that could be enjoyed in our room, on the balcony, or in the main dining room. Everything was beautifully adorned, and fresh flowers abound. A bellhop brought our luggage up to our top-floor room.
Ambience of John Rutledge House Inn
John Rutledge House Inn was very charming and peaceful despite the history of the man for whom the inn was named. John Rutledge lived in the 1700s, and like many wealthy men of that time, he enslaved Black Africans and Caribbean men and women. He also ran for political office and held several titles, including President of South Carolina, signer of the U.S. Constitution, Chief Justice of the United States, 31st governor of South Carolina, and numerous other titles. While he claimed to personally be opposed to slavery, he enslaved around sixty people at one point and supported it politically at the behest of his constituents.
On the other hand, his wife, Elizabeth Grimké Rutledge, freed all of the enslaved people she inherited from her parents and was related to numerous abolitionists. However, her parents had, at one point, enslaved hundreds of people. I tried to find more information on her, but nearly every article I came across spoke about her husband’s achievements instead of hers. John Rutledge built the John Rutledge House Inn for her as a wedding gift, and the couple lived there together their entire marriage. I wonder what it must have been like for someone like her, who advocated for the end of slavery, to have married someone like him.
Understanding the local history is part of why I love traveling. Now independently owned by Charming Inns, the inn’s regional history draw is undeniable. Indeed, many buildings in Charleston, SC, and any other city where slavery was once legal have similar tragic histories that those of us in modern times find shocking and abhorrent, but not learning about history won’t change the fact that it happened and it’s vital to learn.
It’s important to acknowledge history, particularly when a building still maintains historic ties through names, so we can learn from the past and do better going forward. I recommend always looking into the history of where you stay when you travel, even if it’s only a passing curiosity, so you can continue to learn and vote to prevent the past from repeating itself.
Our Suite & Its Amenities
Our room was lovely. The only one available to us had two beds instead of one, but that was fine. We had a stunning view of the city from our room and a large bathroom. It had standard amenities for a four-star hotel and was very comfortable and quiet. The inn’s proximity to downtown made it the perfect place to explore Charleston.
We had a wonderful stay here. The hotel does a good job preserving the history of the building, and the concierge was happy to answer my questions about the building’s past. The staff we saw, as were the other guests, were diverse, which says quite a bit about modern Charleston’s progressive ideals. Everything about our stay was splendid, and if you’re passionate about learning history, the hotel even has several museum-style cases featuring historical artifacts related to John Rutledge House Inn’s past that are fascinating and informational.