Charleston eyes fall opening for European-inspired Hotel Bennett

Charleston’s Hotel Bennett is slated to open this fall. The property is named for the Charleston-based Bennett family, and is owned by local hotelier Michael Bennett and his company Bennett Hospitality. It is managed in collaboration with Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which was founded by Sheila Johnson.

The hotel’s architects on record are Buck Lindsay of Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford & Associates in Atlanta, and Chris Schmitt of Schmitt Walker Architects in Charleston. The hotel’s design architect is Fairfax and Sammons Architects of New York City. Balfour Beatty Construction, the second-largest hotel contractor in the US, is the project's general contractor, while the interior designer is Design Continuum from Atlanta.

European-inspired in its design, Hotel Bennett will have guestrooms and suites opening onto Marion Square, a two-tiered restaurant with outdoor seating, a bar and lounge, rooftop pool and bar, spa, patisserie, and over 12,000 square feet of event and meeting spaces.

The lobby lounge will be an updated take on an Englishmen’s lounge, with the hotel referencing the Connaught Hotel bar in London as the primary source of inspiration. Mixing traditional Southern detailing with the juxtaposition of modern wing chairs and Chesterfield sofas, the fully paneled space will be accented with antique mirrors in the beams and columns. The entry to the space will be flanked by two large faux statuary white marble columns.

Adjacent to the lobby lounge, the hotel’s two-tiered restaurant will open onto terraces overlooking Marion Square for an outdoor, European-style dining experience. This space will also have traditional chairs upholstered in brown leather and marble-topped dining tables banded in bronze. The restaurant will continue the traditional paneling of the lounge but will have Chippendale style fretwork screens updated in polished metal.

Each guestroom’s case goods will be based on 18th century furniture pieces from Charleston Colonial period. The bed and upholstered pieces will reference a more current transitional style, and the window treatments will feature a Crewel work fabric, which was a traditional embroidery technique common to early Charleston. Bookcases will be placed in each room to give the space a more residential feel while paying homage to the Charleston County Library that originally stood on site.

Camellias Bar will have an etched-mirrored ceiling and reclaimed pink marble from the former Charleston County Library. Inspiration for Camellias was drawn directly from Russian jeweler Carl Faberge and his egg-shaped jewel boxes. Oval in shape, the space’s French Art Deco and Art Modern overtones will be represented in the furnishings, flooring and plaster palm columns. Four art panels will be situated in alcoves behind the banquets depicting Charleston’s iconic flower, the camellia.

Photo credit: Hotel Bennett