It calls itself a boutique hotel, perhaps because each room is totally different and sumptuously appointed. But the charming Andrew Pinckney Inn (199 Church St., 843/937-8800, www.andrewpinckneyinn.com , $200–290) is very nearly in a class by itself in Charleston  not only for its great rates, but for its casual, West Indies–style decor, charming courtyard, gorgeous three-story atrium, and rooftop terrace on which you can enjoy your complimentary (and delicious) breakfast. For the money and the amenities, it’s possibly the single best lodging package in town.
Free parking, a great location, friendly staff, and reasonable prices are the highlights of the Best Western King Charles Inn (237 Meeting St., 843/723-7451, www.kingcharlesinn.com , $200–250). It’s not where you’d want to spend your honeymoon, but it’s plenty nice enough and frequent visitors to town swear by it.
If you plan on some serious shopping, you might want to stay right on the city’s main shopping thoroughfare at the Kings Courtyard Inn (198 King St., 866/720-2949, www.kingscourtyardinn.com , $240–270). This 1853 Greek Revival building houses a lot more rooms—more than 40—than meets the eye, and can get a little crowded at times. Still, its charming courtyard and awesome location on King Street are big bonuses, as is the convenient but cramped parking lot right next door (about $12 a day, a bargain for this part of town), with free in/out privileges.
Though a newer building by Charleston standards, the Mills House Hotel (115 Meeting St., 843/577-2400, www.ichotelsgroup.com , $285–380) boasts an important pedigree and still tries hard to maintain the old tradition of impeccable Southern service at this historic location. An extensive round of renovations completed in 2007 has been well-received. Dating to 1853, the first incarnation was a grand edifice that hosted luminaries such as Robert E. Lee. Through the years fire and restoration wrought their changes, and the modern version basically dates from an extensive renovation in the 1970s.
Because of its healthy banquet and event schedule—much of it centering around the very good restaurant and lounge inside—the Mills House isn’t the place to go for peace and quiet. Rather, this Holiday Inn–affilated property is where you go to feel the bustle of downtown Charleston, and be conveniently close to its main sightseeing and shopping attractions. Some of the upper floors of this seven-story building offer spectacular views.