Charleston is known as the “Holy City” of South Carolina, but it is also a playground of indulgences, including a seemingly endless well of libations and flourishing culinary landscape on par with cities double its size and triple its population. It is at the crossroads of these two vices—the sipped and the savored—that you’ll find the effortlessly chic Grand Bohemian Hotel.
Situated in the seams of downtown Charleston’s energetic Historic District, the boutique lodging is one of eleven diverse hotels within the Kessler Collection, a body of luxury properties founded and operated by Richard C. Kessler. Like its counterparts in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida, the Grand Bohemian’s design identity is devised from the cultural layers of its host city. Here, Charleston’s dual personalities—storied antebellum gentility and winsome, understated style—meld together like butter in hot grits.
The ornate red chandelier suspended at the entrance of the hotel’s in-house art gallery, the rhythmic pulses of eclectic music snaked through the speakers, and the broad array of artworks that trim the common spaces and every one of the property’s fifty rooms reflect the Grand Bohemian’s intentionality. Even the lighting temperatures (hand-chosen by Kessler himself) are but another minute, yet purposeful contribution to the dynamic flow of sensual appeals.
The executive chef of the Grand Bohemian’s exclusive Élevé restaurant, culinary veteran Ryley McGillis was tasked with crafting a one-of-a-kind dining experience in a city teeming with trendy options on every street corner. In the year since the hotel’s opening, McGillis has made good use of the Lowcountry’s own generous pantry of provisions, offering an across-the-board sampling of indulgent meals that still feel distinctly “Charleston.”
And Charleston they are. Much of McGillis’s gourmet cuisine is a veritable farmers’ market of what’s in season. It’s not uncommon for McGillis to call up his local fisherman to inquire about catches of yellow fin tuna, bass, and grouper, integrating those and other fresh ingredients into a cyclical menu of providential pairings. Élevé’s bill of fare is in a continuous state of culinary evolution, so don’t cheat yourself with only one visit to Chef Ryley’s table.
In addition to its culinary allegiance, the Holy City has had a prolonged love affair with spirits—whether they go bump in the night or come served with a dash of bitters. While Charleston’s diverse breweries and distilleries quell the curious and tempt the thirsty, the Grand Bohemian Hotel has concocted a more hands-on venture for guests to, quite literally, imbibe their own ideas.
Designed like a (much) more fun chemistry lab and instructed by the hotel’s on-site sommelier, the Bohemian Wine Blending Classes are a unique opportunity for guests to taste, measure, mix, label, and bottle their own handmade wine—with a little vino philosophy thrown in along the way. Cork your creation and head up to the fourth oor, where an en plein air rooftop lounge awaits to reward the fruits of your labor with brilliant cityscape views under the Southern sky. With its chic armchairs, plush sofas, mood lighting, oversized seating, and plenty of surfaces to stash your cocktail, the Grand Bohemian’s lofty elegance is primed for both intimate date nights or libations Sunday brunches.
The Grand Bohemian, 55 Wentworth St, Charleston. (843) 722-5711, grandbohemiancharleston.com