Bad weather was no match for Charleston's hotel industry in January.

Despite the Polar Vortex storm that threw a wrench into many travelers' plans that month, Charleston County hotels were 56.5 percent occupied in January, an 8 percent increase from the same month a year ago, according to the monthly hotel occupancy report prepared by the College of Charleston Office of Tourism Analysis.

Hotel occupancy typically hovers around 50 percent during January, one of the slowest months of the year for travel businesses, according to the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Also, hotels in Charleston County were able to charge about 3 percent more for rooms than in January 2013.

"January provided a great start to 2014 as every submarket posted increases in room nights sold and average daily rate," said Perrin Lawson, deputy director of the CVB.

Downtown Charleston had the strongest hotel performance of all the local markets that reported January figures. Hotels on the peninsula were 64 percent occupied, and guests paid an average of about $150 for rooms. Prices for rooms in downtown Charleston have been hiking upward for the past 44 straight months, according to the report.

Hotels in West Ashley were 59 percent occupied, a 14 percent increase over last January. North Charleston hotels were 54 percent occupied and Mount Pleasant hotels were 46 percent occupied, which reflect year-over-year improvements for both markets.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906.