Any list of upscale Beaufort  lodging must highlight the Beaufort Inn (809 Port Republic St., 843/379-4667, www.beaufortinn.com , $152–425), consistently voted one of the best B&Bs in the nation. It’s sort of a hybrid in that it comprises not only the 1897 historic central home, but a cluster of freestanding historical cottages, each with a charming little porch and rocking chairs. With everything connected by gardens and pathways, you could almost call it a campus.
Still, for its sprawling nature—44 rooms in total—the Beaufort Inn experience is intimate, with attentive service and top-flight amenities such as wet bars, large baths, and sumptuous king beds. Within or without the main building, each suite has a character all its own, whether it’s the 1,500-square-foot Loft Apartment (complete with guest bedroom and full kitchen) or one of the cozier (and more affordable) Choice Rooms with a queen-sized bed.
The 18-room, circa 1820 Rhett House Inn (1009 Craven St., 843/524-9030, www.rhetthouseinn.com , $175–320) is the local vacation getaway for the stars. Such arts and entertainment luminaries as Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Ben Affleck, Barbra Streisand, Dennis Quaid, and Demi Moore have all stayed here at one time or another. Owner Steve Harrison is also a local realtor and no doubt has helped many a guest relocate to town after they’ve fallen in love with it while staying at his inn. As if Beaufort’s great restaurants weren’t caloric enough, you can put on a few pounds just staying at the Rhett House. Of course you get the requisite full Southern breakfast, but you’ll also be treated to afternoon tea and pastries, more munchies at cocktail hour, and homemade late-night desserts.
There’s nothing like enjoying the view of the Beaufort River from the expansive porches of the
Cuthbert House Inn (1203 Bay St., 843/521-1315, www.cuthberthouseinn.com , $205–250), possibly the most romantic place to stay in Beaufort . This grand old circa-1790 Federal mansion was once the home of the wealthy Cuthbert family of rice and indigo planters and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. General Sherman himself spent a night here in 1865. Some of the king rooms have fireplaces and clawfoot tubs. Of course you get a full Southern breakfast, in addition to sunset hors d’oeuvres on the veranda.
Situated in a restored 1890 farmhouse smack in the heart of Port Royal’s little downtown, the Beaulieu Guest House at Port Royal (1103 Paris Ave., Port Royal, 843/770-0303, www.beaulieuhouse.com , $155–225) has three suites to choose from. They claim to have the oldest live oaks in Port Royal  on the grounds, which are right next to the historic Union Church.