The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island is getting its first dose of competition this weekend after nearly a decade as the sole hotel on the upscale island.
The Andell Inn, a new 100-room boutique hotel in the Freshfields Village retail center, opens Sunday.
Owner Donald Semmler is a former executive with Marriott Hotels, and he oversaw a third of the company's locations in the United States. The Andell Inn is his first independent project, which cost about $15 million and is in the town of Kiawah.
A franchise of Marriott, the hotel will operate behind the Residence Inn label, although guests probably won't realize it's part of a corporate brand. The signage, marketing materials and guest accessories will all be branded with the Andell Inn logo, Semmler said.
That's perhaps to emphasize the hotel's focus on the local community. The establishment is named after the Andell family, who owned Seabrook Island in the late 19th century.
And like many other boutique hotels, there's an obvious focus on local art. The walls are festooned with works by Robert Lange Studios, Dog and Horse Fine Art, and several other local art galleries.
Although it has many markings of an independent boutique operation, Semmler chose to stay with a corporate flag for his first project because Marriott provides a vast international customer base, he said.
The Andell Inn is perhaps one example of how corporate flags are cozying up to unconventional lodging concepts.
The hotel is essentially a hybrid of an upscale boutique and extended-stay lodging. The design is luxurious with unique details- such as porch-style swings instead of couches in the lobby. But its rooms include living spaces and kitchenettes, which is typical of more value-oriented hotels such as Hilton's Homewood Suites.
"This is sort of a pilot," Semmler said. "My candid feeling is if it's successful, why not move forward with this model?"
An online search Friday found that rates for the property start around $250 a night for an early April weekend.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail