The Charleston area boasts close to 18,000 hotel rooms, and apparently almost all of them are booked.
With the Family Circle Cup being played on Daniel Island, the rush of spring tourists during the busiest month of the year and the crush of national media pouring in to cover the Walter Scott shooting, lodging is hard to find.
“We were full before then,” Dan Blumenstock, chairman of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said of this week’s news events. “This is the busiest month of the year as a whole in Charleston.”
Blumenstock, director of operations for Lowcountry Hotels, which owns three logdings near the airport and another downtown, said his firm’s rooms were sold out long before this week. He called Charleston area hotel’s no vacancy signs “a good problem to have.”
Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery might feel differently. He flew in Wednesday, worked all day chasing the Scott killing and decided to look for a room late in the evening.
“When I drop into a place, the hotel is the last place I look at,” Lowery said.
He started searching online and kept finding sold-out hotels close to Charleston, so he began looking one city farther away and then one city farther. He finally found a room at the Country Hearth Inn in St. George.
Lowery called the staff gracious and accommodating.
The number of visitors to the region jumped more than 37 percent from 3.5 million in 1998 to 4.8 million in 2014.
Feeding off the flood of new tourists, developers will add 394 new rooms this year in downtown Charleston as the Midtown project brings two Hyatt brands, and The Spectator and the Grand Bohemian welcome guests.
In Mount Pleasant, another 400 rooms are planned through four other projects. The closest one to opening is the 90-room addition to the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, which will be completed this fall at Patriots Point.
It is sold out as well through the weekend, according to its website.
Other hotels soon to check in are at the base of the Ravenel Bridge and beyond the Isle of Palms connector.
A new 133-room Hilton Garden Inn opened last month just across the bridge in Mount Pleasant.
“We are completely sold out through the weekend,” desk attendant Michael Nelson said.