Market Pavilion Hotel

A traditional Charleston hot spot
Market Pavilion Hotel looks like a historic property. You’ll see 18th-century colonial details throughout the downtown Charleston hotel — from the club-level parlor with toile wallpaper and dark wood furniture to the guest rooms with mahogany beds and matching armoires. You wouldn’t guess that Market Pavilion only opened in 2002. That was the intent of its owners, the Palassis family.

Matriarch Cookie Palassis tried to make everything look traditional, handpicking the boutique hotel’s more than 300 pieces of original art, including the George Washington portrait in the lobby bar and other oil paintings of former U.S. leaders line the walls in the Presidential Suite.

Cousin Demetre Castanas is at the helm of Grill 225, the sole steakhouse in the city to serve all high-quality USDA Prime beef. For a drink, head up to the fifth-floor rooftop Pavilion Bar. It’s the hottest, most modern spot in the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • At East Bay and South Market streets, the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel is next to City Market. One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the market is open daily with more than 100 vendors selling woven sweetgrass baskets, silver jewelry, sweet benne wafers and more.
  • Market Pavilion is also a five-minute walk to Waterfront Park and a 10-minute stroll to shops such as Kate Spade and Louis Vuitton on King Street.
  • Grill 225 serves juicy cuts of New York strip, rib-eye and more in the dark-wood-walled formal dining room. The fine-dining restaurant also prepares Maine lobster in every way you could want it, from steamed to Asian style (with ginger, miso, soy and chile-cream sauce).
  • During the day, swim in the outdoor pool or sit under the white umbrellas to have lunch and a view of the harbor. At night, the space transforms to a hot spot where locals come to dance to the beats of a DJ and to mingle over blueberry mojitos (blueberry puree, Cruzan rum, mint-infused simple syrup and lime juice).
Things to Know
  • You will always be able to find Market Pavilion; it’s across the street from an easy identifier, the stately, all-white U.S. Customs House with its distinctive Corinthian columns.
  • On weekends, it’s not unusual to see a line outside of the boutique hotel wrapped around the sidewalk with people waiting to get into the fifth-floor Pavilion Bar.
  • The best time to visit Market Pavilion Hotel is in the spring and summer, when you can take advantage of its hot rooftop bar and pool (it’s the only rooftop pool in Charleston).
  • you may want to time your visit with one of the city’s popular events, such as the Charleston Wine + Food Festival (March), one of the South’s best culinary gatherings, or the Spoleto Festival USA (May and June), which showcases theater, dance, visual arts and more.
The Rooms
  • The 70 rooms at Market Pavilion Hotel have a traditional 18th-century colonial look and feel, even though the hotel only opened in 2002.
  • Mahogany two-poster beds with matching armoires and desks, white crown molding, oil paintings and floral-patterned armchairs decorate the rooms.
  • Bathrooms have black granite countertops with a gold-framed mirror hanging above them and separate tubs and showers in white Italian marble. All of the bathrooms come with luxurious Hermès toiletries.
  • For the best rooms in the boutique Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel, choose accommodations on the fourth-floor concierge level. They come individually decorated — walls are covered in everything from rose paint to toile wallpaper — and some have their own Jacuzzi tubs.
  • Of course, the top honors go to the Presidential Suite. Its full-sized living room offers a view of the harbor, rich red brocade sofas underneath a crystal chandelier, a dining area that seats six and, fittingly, portraits of U.S. presidents lining the walls in thick gold frames.
The Restaurants
  • The main restaurant in Market Pavilion Hotel is Grill 225, which serves lunch and dinner. The lobby restaurant gives off an old-school steakhouse vibe.
  • Grill 225 also offers a menu of Maine lobster prepared in almost any way you could want — steamed, thermidor, brandied, scampi, piccata.
  • At the Charleston restaurant’s bar, there are more than 430 bottles of wine, but try one of the 30 Nitrotinis, the restaurant’s own unique concoctions. Liquid nitrogen chills the cocktail to -320 degrees, and when the condensed water vapor hits the warm air, it causes a cloud of smoke to waft from your martini glass.
  • The Nitrotinis come in flavors such as the Sweet Tea (local Firefly Sweet Tea vodka with lemonade and a lemon wheel garnish).
  • Another lunch and dinner option at the luxury hotel is its rooftop hot spot, Pavilion Bar. Sit under one of the big white umbrellas in the metal high-top tables near the pool to order casual eats, such as pizza topped with lobster thermidor, portobello, truffle oil, mozzarella and Parmesan.
Getting There
225 East Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401
CHS (18-22 min)  
Market Pavilion Hotel
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