The 92-room harborfront, boutique hotel The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor opened in fall 2016, is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and the recipient of multiple hospitality awards. It’s a contemporary building with wrap-around porches and balconies that face the marina and city skyline and/or the imposing Arthur Ravenel Bridge. Inside, there’s a definite feel of southern charm from the entry to the back porch, with white columns, planked-wood floors, shell-bedecked mirrors and an airy ambiance. The nautical-chic décor is bright white with blue and coral accents. Spacious accommodations include family parlors that provide a twin-bedded room behind a door and all have wonderfully large balconies and impressive views.
Amenities feature The Estuary Spa — a petit-bijou (little jewel) with a duo-treatment room for couples — reached from the lobby — and the private, 33-seat theater equipped with comfy recliners and surround sound for the family movies screened on Saturdays. The Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary boasts a bocce court, a life-sized outdoor chess board and two pools; private cabanas flank the family pool, the casual Beach Club Tiki Bar borders the other. There’s a sandy beach for sandcastles; fire pits; volleyball; and ladder golf, but no swimming allowed, as the harbor is a major shipping channel. The USS Yorktown and other naval vessels docked at the adjacent Patriot’s Point seem within touching distance through the window walls at Charleston Harbor Fish House, on the property.
The children’s club emphasizes crabbing, hunting shark’s teeth and investigating bugs, typical coastal Lowcountry adventures. The hotel also offers typically Southern traditions, such as pig roasts and etiquette classes. Bikes are available for cycling on nearby trails, and the marina offers opportunities to sail.
The city of Charleston pleases children of all ages, especially if it’s reached via the Charleston Water Taxi, which picks up guests at the marina behind the hotel and stops downtown and at the South Carolina Aquarium. Downtown is also conveniently reached by car or the complimentary hotel “trolley.” It’s worth visiting for a few hours look-see, an outstanding Lowcountry meal or a visit to The Gibbes Museum or nearby riverfront plantations, Middleton Place and Drayton Hall.
When my daughter and I stayed at The Beach Club, we took our Charleston Heritage Passports (it provides entry to nine sites and is for sale at the Visitors Center), boarded the water taxi, wandered downtown and scheduled a horse and carriage ride past the Holy City’s churches and a synagogue and through a residential area past pastel, antebellum mansions. We admired unique front doors, large-scale wrought iron work and double porches on homes separated from neighbors by huge trees, gorgeous gardens, hidden alleys and narrow passages.
The next afternoon, we traveled seven miles to downtown in the hotel jitney to the four-block City Market, where local African-American descendants maintain their Gullah heritage by handcrafting sweetgrass baskets. More than 40 percent of the Africans who became slaves passed through the port at Charleston; part of the city’s heritage is their culinary influence: she-crab soup and staple ingredients, including peanuts, okra, red rice, yams, peas, hot peppers, sesame seeds and watermelon. For our dinner, we chose Lowcountry specialties at Hanks, where we shared she-crab soup, shrimp and grits and crab cakes.
Charleston’s past incorporates slavery, wars and fires; in its present incarnation, it’s a beautiful and thriving culinary destination.
While large areas of Colorado are experiencing exponential growth with far too many trees being clear-cut (it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country), it’s still the home for great businesses striving to make the world a little greener. Those businesses include Sherpani, creators of women’s day bags, backpacks and travel bags, including a line of sophisticated, beautifully crafted items made from recycled plastic.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
By Hainan Airlines
My youngest daughter and I arrived from Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train (in less than three hours) and entered Westin Palace Madrid in time for the Sunday Opera Brunch — which takes place under the stained-glass cupola of La Rotonda, where daily breakfast and cocktails are served. I’d heard about this event on several occasions when I toured the hotel in 2015, and when my granddaughter and I stayed there in 2017.