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History in the making: Circa 1886 restaurant, at the Wentworth Mansion in Charleston.

By Mark Chesnut

The cities of Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia are tourism magnets, thanks to their Southern hospitality and beautifully maintained historic attractions. But they can also be great places to hold a business meeting, as many of their most attractive landmarks are also available for private events. And that includes hotels in both cities, where Southern charm and stunning settings combine to create unique venues for a variety of gatherings.

Charleston hotels
The Wentworth Mansion, built in the 1880s as a private residence, is today a magnificently restored 21-room hotel where guests just might feel like they’ve stepped back in time. A small boardroom and lovely restaurant, set in the former carriage house, provide memorable spaces for group events, as does the Grand Mansion Suite, which can host 20 people for private receptions. In Charleston, even the mid-priced hotels are historic — including the Hampton Inn Charleston-Historic District, which is set in a former railroad warehouse, and the Embassy Suites Charleston, housed in a castle-like former military college.

Savannah hotels
The chic Mansion on Forsyth Park combines historic 19th-century architecture with trendy décor; guests can make use of a ballroom that has 15-foot ceilings and a marble garden courtyard that’s perfect for private events. Or check into the Planters Inn, a 60-room, 200-year-old boutique hotel on historic Reynolds Square, or the lovely Hamilton Turner Inn, a former private home that dates to 1873.

Wherever guests stay in the historic districts of these two southern gems, they’re never more than a short walk — or a horse-drawn carriage ride — from other noteworthy event venues, including museums, markets and restaurants.

Mark Chesnut is a freelance writer, editor and publisher of, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He became addicted to shrimp and grits in Charleston.

Tagged: Family time, Hotels

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Mark Chesnut
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and photographer. He's written for Fodor's, the Huffington Post, the Miami Herald, Travel Weekly, various inflight magazines and the New York Times best-seller "1,000 Places To See Before You Die." He also operates a travel blog,, which focuses on travel to Latin America. Find more from Mark on Twitter @munderamedia and Instagram @mundera

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