After a six-month renovation project, the hotel and popular rooftop bar near Charleston's Waterfront Park has reemerged with more than just a new look.
The Vendue, formerly known as the Vendue Inn, is now billed as a boutique hotel split between properties at 19 and 26 Vendue Range. The rooms have been updated, two new dining concepts have been added to the first floor, and it's now the Lowcountry's first boutique hotel with a program centered around local art.
"We hope to make The Vendue an integral part of the Charleston art community," said Jonathan Weitz, president of Avocet Hospitality Group, the parent company of The Vendue.
All of the guest rooms and hotel spaces at The Vendue are festooned with more than 300 artworks, according to a release. And they're not just for decoration - they're for sale.
The program, designed and managed by local artists Megan and Robert Lange of Robert Lange Studios, will display exhibitions featuring local artists and galleries that will rotate a few times per year.
"It should hopefully draw even more artists than ever to the Charleston art scene," Robert Lange said. "It shows Charleston doesn't only show regional work, but they also support really progressive art from around the world. And it shows the camaraderie between different galleries around town."
The first exhibit on view through October is "Here Now," a collection of 65 works by artists featured in six local galleries.
Weitz said he's been surprised recently by how many people think the Vendue is an art museum instead of a hotel.
"That has exceeded my expectation as far as how much people are embracing the art and actually engaging with it," he said.
The hotel has also introduced an artist-in-residence program complete with an on-site studio inside 26 Vendue Range, where artists can create works and teach art lessons. Charles Williams, a Georgetown-based contemporary painter, is the first participant.
Avocet Hospitality, which also owns and operates The Tides hotel on Folly Beach, bought the lodging properties that sit across from one another on Vendue Range in 2012 to "reposition" the luxury hotel, Weitz said.
The company began a $5 million redevelopment project in November, which involved combining the four historic warehouses at 19 Vendue Range that comprised the Vendue Inn, the Library Restaurant and the Rooftop Bar.
Now connected with a long hallway on the first floor, the warehouses are home to the new lobby, a coffee shop serving Starbucks coffee called The Press, and an upscale restaurant, The Drawing Room.
The Rooftop Bar, a popular watering hole among tourists that offers views of Charleston Harbor, is now a little easier to access from the lobby. A new elevator was installed, which opens onto the roof instead of in a hallway leading up to the restaurant.
The Rooftop has been updated with a new bar and furnishings, but patrons can still expect a menu of casual meals and shared appetizers, Weitz said.
At 26 Vendue Range, 18 guest rooms have been added to the property after Avocet acquired the neighboring Anchorage Inn for $3.9 million last year. All of its 39 rooms have also been updated and decorated with original artwork.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail
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