Charleston, S.C. will be home to a new 5-star hotel this fall. Located on the site of the former Charleston County Library and former Citadel military college, the 179-room luxury Hotel Bennett is part of a major redevelopment of King St. by Michael Bennett of Bennett Hospitality Group, which owns the property. The Bennett family roots trace back generations in Charleston. In fact, Bennett’s father once shined shoes across from the hotel’s site during the Great Depression.
The property’s design draws on European influences with a local, historic twist. For example, guestroom casegoods are based on 18th century furniture pieces from the Charleston Colonial period. While the bed and upholstered fixtures reference a transitional style, the window treatments feature a crewel work fabric, a traditional embroidery technique common to early Charleston. Bookcases will be focal points and nods to the library that stood on the site from 1960 to 1998.
The lobby’s design is an updated take on an Englishmen’s Lounge and references the Connaught Hotel bar in London as the primary source of inspiration. Mixing traditional Southern detailing with modern wing chairs and Chesterfield sofas, the fully paneled space is accented with antique mirrors in the beams and columns. The entry to the space is flanked by two large faux statuary white marble columns.
Food and beverage outlets include Camellia’s Bar, which derives its name from Charleston’s most iconic flower, the camellia. Four art panels that are situated in alcoves behind the banquets depict the flower, and the space features an etched-mirrored ceiling and reclaimed pink marble from the former library. Design inspiration for the bar was drawn from Russian jeweler Carl Faberge’s egg-shaped jewel boxes. Oval in shape, the space’s French Art Deco and Art Modern overtones are represented in the furnishings, flooring and plaster palm columns.
Adjacent to the lobby is the two-tiered Signature Restaurant, which will be led by executive chef Michael Sichel who most recently served as executive chef at Galatoire’s in New Orleans, opens onto terraces overlooking Marion Square below. A modern take on a Southern dining room, the space features traditional chairs upholstered in brown leather and marble-topped dining tables banded in bronze. The restaurant continues the traditional paneling of the lobby but has Chippendale-style fretwork screens updated in polished metal.