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The Market Pavilion Hotel at East Bay and S. Market streets in the city’s historic district earned a No. 1 ranking from readers of Travel + Leisure. Buy this photo

Charleston the destination dominated last week’s “World’s Best Awards 2013” by Travel + Leisure, as it was named the No. 1 city in the U.S. and Canada and No. 7 worldwide.

All that attention overshadowed the fact that six local lodgings also were recognized in three categories by the magazine in its annual rankings.

Among the top 100 hotels worldwide, T+L readers rated the Market Pavilion Hotel at No. 52 while Wentworth Mansion was No. 80.

The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort took the 27th spot of the top lodging brands in the continental US with 40 or more rooms.

In the large hotel category with 100 or more rooms, Charleston Place was No. 33.

Market Pavilion made a second appearance as it topped the small hotel class of properties with less than 100 rooms. In that same category, Wentworth Mansion was No. 3; French Quarter Inn was No. 4 and Planters Inn was No. 7.

Digging in


It’s been less than three months since the inaugural Dig South Interactive Festival went off around downtown Charleston to mostly positive reviews, but organizers are already planning for next spring’s follow-up fest.

The schedule for the April 9-13 event is up on digsouth.com, and the festival began accepting applications from prospective presenters at present.digsouth.com last week.

Expanding on this year’s three-day concept, next year’s version is themed “#mobilize” and will include an interactive conference, expo and a “Culturama featuring… micro-cinema, dine arounds, craft beer gardens and unlimited networking opportunities.”

According to Dig South, the April 2013 festival hosted 134 presenters, 454 conference participants and 3,162 total festival attendees.

While some groused about the cost of tickets, others were impressed with the rookie effort, and organizer Stanfield Gray has vowed to keep improving the Southeast regional get-together as it becomes an annual event.

Taking stock


The Columbia company that’s merging with Charleston’s oldest and largest homegrown bank has joined an exclusive club of publicly traded lenders, insurers and finance firms.

SCBT Financial Corp. announced last week that it’s been added to the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index.

The group is made up of 100 of the largest domestic and international financial securities listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Inclusion is based on market capitalization — or the stock price multiplied by the total number of shares held by investors. Nasdaq reconstitutes the index annually.

SCBT’s market “cap” was about $882 million as of Friday, when its shares were trading around $53 and hitting a new 52-week high.

The company plans to merge with First Federal Bank parent company, North Charleston-based First Financial Holdings Corp., in a deal that would create one of the largest lenders headquartered in South Carolina. Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposal later this month.

Separately, the parent of Southcoast Community Bank also is being added to a stock index: Mount Pleasant-based Southcoast Financial Corp. is joining Russell Investments’ Russell Microcap Index, which consist of the smallest 1,000 securities in the small-cap Russell 2000 Index and other tiny issuers.

Coincidentally, SCBT is being deleted from the broad-based microcap grouping, presumably because its market cap has gotten too large.

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