Images: The Pinch is Charleston’s Most Stylish New Boutique Hotel

Images by Christian Harder Photography

Images by Christian Harder Photography

Unsurprisingly, we regularly find ourselves covering Paris restaurants opening in Las Vegas, New York hotels making a home in London, and London nightclubs debuting outposts in Ibiza. But a Philadelphia hospitality company setting up shop in Charleston is likely a first – though the former has seemed to capture the spirit of the latter impressively well in the form of The Pinch, the city’s most stylish new boutique hotel.

It’s the latest from Philly’s Method Co., who made a splash back home with the hipster/luxe Wm. Mulherin’s Sons restaurant+hotel, as well as the Omakase hotspot Hiroki, both in Fishtown. The Pinch, however, isn’t trying to motivate the cool kids – rather, it is forwarding a brand of trend-aware, low-key chic that is the perfect alternative to some of Charleston’s slightly stuffier historic sleeps. (It even has an on-site spa, unusual for this town.)

Sure, one can pick through a smartly curated selection of books and vinyl in the lobby, the latter a feature that has become practically de rigueur in this category. But rather than trying to replicate some Brooklyn-y concept of hip, the hotel is instead an immediately historically immersive experience, by way of being spread over a pair of Victorian-era (1840s) buildings (plus one new structure), on a fairly secluded, residential stretch of George Street. It feels very now, but also very Charleston.

Size-wise, it’s actually only a few notches up from B&B, boasting just twenty-two rooms and three long-stay residences, with full size kitchens, washers + dryers, etc. – perfect for touring bands with really good taste, or anyone who just tends to travel with an entourage in tow. And since size matters (as it does everywhere outside of New York and Paris, apparently), the basic King Rooms come in at a full 372 square feet; some even have balconies, perfect for soaking up those sultry South Carolina evenings over an icy Charleston Fizz or two. One bedroom suites top out at 761 sq. ft.

The aesthetic throughout is a sort of cozy/cool-elegance, with warm woods, plush couches, strikingly patterned wall coverings by Lewis & Wood / Farrow & Ball, original artworks by the likes of Lucas Reiner and David Salle, Turkish style rugs and hand-painted terracotta Moroccan floor tiles in the bathrooms. Eclectic, then, without being too cleverly postmodern.

It’s no secret that Charleston regularly ranks as one of the nation’s top food destinations – so there’s hardly a lack of intriguing/excellent dining choices. But The Pinch will debut a pair of restaurants this summer that will seek to bring something genuinely original to the scene. Indeed, its flagship/namesake eatery will wed French culinary principles with local flavors in a free-standing, 19th Century gabled house; and the The Quinte will be a distinctive, casual-chic destination for upmarket seafood and cocktails, with an 18-seat marble bar (there will also be an open-air bar on the patio).

Charleston is balmy in summer, certainly – but ducking into its top class cultural institutions is always a perfect way to avoid the heat. Notably, The Gibbes Museum is currently showing Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice, a 1940s series paying homage to African American activists, scientists, teachers, and performers (through August 7); while the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is featuring Kukuli Velarde’s CORPUS, a collection of sculptures by the Peruvian artist referencing indigenous pre-Columbian forms and iconographies.

Still and all, The Pinch has enough to recommend it that a stay here might just be all the motivation one needs to visit South Carolina’s most alluring city in the coming months.

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