Photo: Joe Thomas + The Ryder

Coastal Living Meets City Life at This Stylish Hotel in Charleston, SC

Epic Stays
by Janelle Lassalle Jul 10, 2024

“Target just finished shooting a commercial here,” a staffer at The Ryder in Charleston, South Carolina, tells me, beaming with pride.

I can immediately see why. Twinkling back at me against the backdrop of the summer sun was a grand, magnificent pool complete with jaunty pink umbrellas and ice-cream-shaped floaties. Spurts of water poured out of the jets as families took turns running across, basking in the cool water. The poolside bar jingled and jangled, alive like a jukebox with the tunes of cocktails being shaken, stirred, poured.

I smiled and took a sip of my frozen coffee, a luxury treat I’d snagged from The Coffee Counter downstairs.

“It’s the place to be in Charleston.”

A beachy getaway in downtown Charleston


Photo: Josie Derrick + The Ryder

As I stepped into my room I immediately felt a sense of calm wash over me. The aesthetic was clean, simple, and elegant, with sandy beach browns set against cool white linens. Earthy terracotta reds popped out here and there, adding a bright splash of color. Pictures of sunny coastal shores lined the walls while clean wooden floors completed the seaside vision. It’s an aesthetic inspired by Charleston’s coastal beauty: relaxed and sophisticated all at once.

I spied a writer’s desk nearby, which only temporarily distracted me from the large, luxurious shower peeking out from the bathroom. And lo and behold, the greatest thing of them all: plush, cozy robes hanging neatly on a hook, just waiting to be worn. Soft, silky and smooth, that robe was truly the most comfortable thing I’ve ever put on in my life. It felt like a warm hug I never wanted to end.

Amenities that encourage exploration


Photo: Joe Thomas + The Ryder

The Ryder takes its commitment to beach life and relaxation seriously, so much so that it has an entire store devoted to it. Welcome to heaven, friends, aka The Gear Garage.

The Gear Garage is a one-stop shop where you can get all your beach needs met. You can rent a beach cruiser to bike through Charleston, check out a Rift longboard, or pick up a boombox. You can even check out Polaroids to snag candids of your trip, a sweet little touch that I can’t say I’ve seen anywhere else. And if you’re like me and tend to forget to bring along sunscreen, you can grab that here, too, complete with lawn chairs and yoga mats if the fancy strikes.

Once you’re all geared up, consider heading to Folly Beach, Charleston’s most charming beach town, located about 30 minutes from The Ryder. There, you’ll find a number of amenities, classes, and restaurants. Try out your hand at surfing lessons, charter a boat if you’re feeling fancy, or delight in discovering a new restaurant to sink your teeth into.

Proximity to South Carolina’s coast is certainly a perk of staying at The Ryder. There’s Folly Beach to the west, Morris Island and its historic lighthouse to the south, and Sullivan’s Island Beach to the west, not to mention seaside landmarks like Fort Sumter National Monument all within driving distance.

For me, the perfect day is as simple as a boombox and a sunbathe, listening to the city buzz around me as I feel the rays on my skin — warm, golden, and radiant. And I suspect that’s something many guests of The Ryder and I have in common.

Poolside dining at Little Palm & The Backyard


Photo: Joe Thomas + The Ryder

The Ryder’s got you covered when it comes to dining. Pressed up against the pool is The Little Palm Bar, a glorious establishment that serves brunch all day. Yes, that’s right: all-day brunch.

At Little Palm’s poolside, guests can mozy up to a long, marble counter to order one of many refreshing, novel drinks on the menu. Beer, wine, and cocktails are available. The cocktail menu harkens to coastal shores, featuring a number of standout options pairing together bright, fruity flavors with dark rum and tequila. And when temps are high, frozen liquor options can help guests soothe the savage heat (liquor float, anyone?).

Walk across the threshold of the bar and Little Palm transforms into a sit-down restaurant in an open-air courtyard: The Backyard. Cool teal tiles and coral umbrellas lead you down the way to an oasis filled with plants, palm trees, a bubbling fountain, and cacti dotting the tables. Lunch and dinner are served here daily, with a menu that shows off simple Spanish-style eats: grilled octopus, fish, chicken croquettes, and salt potatoes conjure up visions of a tapas feast.

How to get to The Ryder


Photo: Joe Thomas + The Ryder

The Ryder is just a short ways away from Charleston International Airport (CHS). Guests can grab an Uber directly from the airport and arrive at the hotel in less than 30 minutes. You can also opt to hop on a bus or public transport instead, which puts travel time at one hour but cuts down on costs pretty significantly.

Not flying into CHS? You can also drive over if you fly into the Hilton Head Island Airport, which should take a little over two hours.

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