At the beginning of December I traveled across the U.S. to Charleston, South Carolina for a multi-day seminar and conference. This was my first time spending any real time in the state, and my first time ever to Charleston. As I have a friend in the Navy who is currently training in Charleston, I decided to add a couple days to either side of the trip to hang out with him and also do a little sightseeing. My first night was spent near the Charleston Airport, as I had a very late flight in, but for my second I chose The Mills House Charleston, a Wyndham Grand Hotel.
The cash cost wasn’t all that bad at $176 after taxes for my one night. But with plenty of Wyndham points to spare and a value greater than 1 cent per point, burning 15,000 was absolutely the way to go. Other nights that same week were sold out. Wyndham seems to play games with inventory, especially with their condo, timeshare and upscale properties. So I made sure I jumped when I saw the one night was available. I really wanted two. In general, I would consider this one of the better properties at which to redeem your Wyndham points, given Wyndham’s single-tier award “chart” where all awards cost the same.
Check-in at The Mills House Charleston
After a rainy day of catching up on work and then spending the evening hanging out with my friend, he dropped me off at the Mills House in the historic district of downtown Charleston. I’ve only ever been to one other Wyndham Grand hotel. The last stay was a couple years ago in Colorado Springs at The Mining Exchange.
The Mills House was very festively decorated for Christmas. The lobby and the public spaces are charming. It is a hotel that has a real Southern charm.
The front desk is around the corner. I found that there was typically only one agent staffing it, which resulted in a small line a couple times. The Mills House Charleston isn’t all that big, but I would have figured they’d have at least one other person available.
Once I’d checked-in and was given my key, I made my way to the elevators. Super cool, as they have the old vintage brass dials.
Deluxe King Room at The Mills House Charleston
At most Wyndham properties, only base rooms are available on points. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and be able to book a superior room type, but this is typically not the case. If it is, it will be something with more than one bedroom and cost additional points. I was given exactly what I’d reserved, a Deluxe King Room, which is the base room type available at the hotel.
The room is small, but very nicely appointed and plenty comfortable.
I mean, there isn’t a lot to describe besides the fact it had the standard bed, nightstands, sitting area, desk and television. A perfectly nice hotel room, and definitely worth 15,000 Wyndham points for one night.
In room coffee is a Keurig, which is definitely what I prefer. I’m not keen on the systems in general (they’re pretty wasteful), but making single-cup coffee in a hotel room is the perfect application. One of my side hustles was in full swing over these few days, so I ended up making myself a cup and plugging away on my computer for a couple more hours.
The bathroom is pretty standard and fairly small.
The shower is the only part that receives less-than-passing marks. But it is one of the few things I am particular about. The flow rate wasn’t quite up to the deluge I like to enjoy.
Hotel amenities and character
I loved the character of the Mills House. Actually, I loved the character and history of Charleston on the whole. It catapulted to the top of my list of favorite cities in the U.S. The traditional stylish interior is charming and the hotel staff were welcoming and warm. After dropping my bag with the bellman in the morning, I had a chat with the concierge about what to do and see. We also had a humorous conversation about the weather. Apparently the 40s are pretty cold for this area of the country. I used the business center computer to print my ticket for my walking tour.
Adjacent to the front desk and the entrance to the hotel restaurant is the “tea cozy”, which offers coffee in the morning and water in the afternoon.
Outside the tea cozy and restaurant is a courtyard. I’m sure it is a popular place in the fall and spring when temperatures are better, but not oppressive like a South Carolinian summer.
The Mills House Charleston has a pool located on the second floor, as well as a fitness center. As I was entirely set on exploring the city with the limited time I had, I did not use either. Valet-only parking is offered for $36 per night. I would avoid a car entirely unless you are driving into Charleston. It is the quintessential walking city.
The Mills House Charleston Dining: the Barbados Room
I’m sorry to report that I did not end up dining at the in-hotel restaurant at the Mills House. During my morning there, I opted for coffee and a pastry as a light breakfast since I’d slept in a bit. Breakfast at The Mills House isn’t astronomically priced, but it is definitely above what I prefer to pay. This was serendipitous in its own way, as I randomly chose a coffee shop just a few blocks away called Bitty and Beau’s. This amazing establishment employs intellectually and developmentally disabled people that greet you, take your order, and make your beverage. It is not only a great experience but an amazing vision to support. You should read about their story.
I honestly had every intention of venturing back down to the Barbados Room later in the week. The rest of my time in Charleston was spent at the Hyatt Place, which was the location of the conference. However, given the number of fantastic restaurant options throughout the city, there was simply no reason! We ate at 167 Raw, Coast Seafood, Five Loaves Cafe, and Cane Rhum Bar, among other establishments. Never did my coworkers and I have a bad experience. If you’re a foodie, Charleston is for you!
If you haven’t visited Charleston before, you must add it to your list of domestic must-go destinations! I fell in love with the city in just a few days. Between an excellent walking tour, delectable dining at every turn, and a historic charm that rivals any other in the nation, I have nothing but good things to say about this southern gem.
Amid it all, the location of The Mills House Wyndham Grand is excellent. It is one of the closest hotels to the heart of the historic district, just blocks from Rainbow Row, the Market, and Broad Street. An additional perk of booking with Wyndham was a significant discount on a walking tour of Charleston. More on that later.
My stay at The Mills House Charleston was excellent, overall. Even though Wyndham doesn’t offer much in terms of a loyalty program or elite benefits, their points have some great uses depending on where you are going. This was a property I identified many months ago as a great award option if I ever managed to make it to Charleston. Looking back now, I’m so glad I was able to visit this city and stay at this particular property.