Charleston's French Quarter Inn, an upscale hotel near the historic City Market, has made travel site TripAdvisor's list of "Best Hotels in the U.S." before.
But this year marks the first time the four-star hotel claimed the top spot — and landed sixth on the rankings of the world's best hotels.
The Travelers' Choice Awards, which the site rolls out annually, are determined from the millions of reviews left on TripAdvisor throughout the year.
The list quotes a recent user's review of the French Quarter Inn, which praises its proximity to Charleston shopping, dining and sight-seeing. The reviewer also noted the hotel's edible amenities, like complimentary milk, cookies and port at night.
For the last couple years, the French Quarter Inn has stepped up in the ranks, from No. 6 in 2017 to third place last year. The Spectator, another four-star Charleston property that's near State and Linguard streets, took this year's No. 3 spot.
Carlo Carroccia, the dual general manager of both the French Quarter Inn and The Spectator, said recent improvements made at the French Quarter Inn may have helped push the lodging to the top this year.
For example, the hotel has refurbished its outdoor terraces and started offering tranquil sleep machines and bath products from Johns Island-based Deep Steep in all of their guestrooms.
The Holy City was well-represented overall in the rankings with seven Charleston hotels named on winning U.S. lists, including The Dewberry and Wentworth Mansion.
Rooms at the French Quarter Inn average around $463 per night, according to TripAdvisor.
Lowe, the Los Angeles-based development group behind Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms and a hotel planned for Charleston's waterfront, launched a new hospitality management group last week.
CoralTree Hospitality Group is fully-owned by Lowe and will be staffed by veterans of Lowe-affiliated management companies. The group is kicking off with a 17-property portfolio of hotels and resorts across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The group is also the asset manager for the Charleston area's Wild Dunes Resort. Lowe is currently working on an expansion at the Isle of Palms getaway, including a new 150-room hotel with a conference center and rooftop wedding venue.
CoralTree will also be an asset manager for the 225-room lodging proposed next to the city's Waterfront Park on the site of the State Ports Authority's former headquarters. The Concord Street project, which includes a 400-foot extension of the public walking area along Charleston Harbor, is still going through the approval process.
Plans for the waterfront hotel came before Charleston's Board of Architectural Review for a preliminary thumbs-up this month, but the project was deferred to study building materials.
Lowe's announcement comes just a few months after its sale of Two Roads Hospitality, which, since its formation in 2016, had grown to become the largest collection of lifestyle hospitality brands.
In October, Lowe sold the hotel management company to Hyatt Hotels for $480 million. That sale transferred management agreements to the majority of Two Roads' 85 properties, spread over eight countries.
Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., CoralTree launched with a staff of about 3,400 nationwide. Its president, Thomas Luersen, has worked for Lowe, Two Roads and Two Roads' predecessor, Destination Hotels.
In April, a group of 85 British travel journalists will make a trip across the pond for four days of exploring and reporting in the Holy City. All of them are members of the British Guild of Travel Writers, an organization of professional travel writers, bloggers, editors and photographers.
This will be the first trip the travel writers' group is making to the U.S. since they visited Boston about 15 years ago, said Helen Hill, CEO of Explore Charleston, which worked with the guild to arrange the trip.
Their visit is directly connected to the launch of the British Airways flight between Charleston International and London's Heathrow Airport which takes off April 4.
The writers come from British publications like The Daily Telegraph, Irish Daily Mail and the BBC. Many already have assignments and specific reporting focuses determined for their four-day stay.