Steeped in the history and charm of Charleston’s French Quarter waterfront is The Vendue Inn. A boutique hotel so graceful in its welcome, it will leave you with the impression that The Vendue may very well be the reason that the south is renowned for southern hospitality.
Formerly a warehouse where the aristocratic French Huguenot, Mr. Prioleau began his business in 1785, welcoming sailors, merchants and bankers with an array of devices to spend their wages. As the French Quarter evolved, so did the warehouse, trading in dry goods. The advent of the civil war brought another identity to the historical site as it was utilized by the blockade runners who eventually pushed the warehouse into also providing some accommodation. The Charleston community eventually petitioned for the building to be included in the National Register of Historic Places cementing its position in American history and its current incarnation as a luxurious boutique hotel.
The charm of a stay in Charleston at the Vendue Inn begins before you arrive. One of the helpful concierges will ring you a few days before your scheduled arrival time to inquire about any assistance that can be offered. It would be recommended to accept the service and allow for a dinner reservation be made for your preferred evening at the Vendue Inn’s highly acclaimed Library Restaurant.
Charleston is a foodie heaven whose gates begin and end at the Vendue Inn. You can take in a romantic sunset on their rooftop bar in perfect relaxation and enjoy some tasty classic crab dip, a dozen oysters washed down with one of their signature cocktails (lookout for the Maggie McQuade and the Charleston Sweetini).
Fine dining is taken street side at the refined Library Restaurant where executive Chef Jude Wagner has assembled a seasonal menu of Lowcountry flavors paired with an adroitly curated wine list. Pink Eyed pea & Country Ham soup served along the Vendue’s house made duck sausage will get your appetite piqued for the delicacies that will follow. Tempura fried shrimp and grits, pan seared sea scallops along a sweet corn flan and asparagus puree or the wagyu beef burger will leave you in conundrums that may only be settled with a second visit. It goes without saying that a tree of hand crafted artisanal house sorbets and ice creams will always be the perfect follow up to entrees of gastronomic perfection.
Though you may not dine every night at the Vendue guests will always be entreated to a reception with the genuine and attentive General Manger, Susie Ridder. The cocktail social of bubbly and wines aside an array of cheeses and local hors d’oeuvres is the perfect way to transition into the evening. Later, when you are winding down, there is a nightcap of mouthwatering freshly baked cookies and milk. And if that were not enough, a second nightcap awaits you in your room, where a stocked crystal sherry decanter beckons a moment savoring the evenings exploits, while watching the flames dance in the fireplace.
The Vendue Inn is a jewel in historic Charleston that is located a stone’s throw from all the places you will want to explore. The waterfront path along the battery will lead you to a rare place where you can watch dolphins feed and play as the sun sets and the renowned antebellum mansions will inspire visions of possibly leaving NYC for the gentler south.
Should you chose, Jaunts of further distance will lead you to pristine beaches and historic plantations.
There is a lot to discover just a short flight south to Charleston, and there is no better place to bring it all to life than the Vendue Inn.
– Jeffery Owens
Photographs by Jeffery Owens for Socially Superlative