Hampton Inn (Daniel Island) – Charleston, SC

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Destination: Charleston, SC
Date: July 2014
Hotel: Hampton Inn (Daniel Island)
Brand: Hilton
Status: Gold
# of travelers: 4 (2 couples)

Hotel & Brand – Making the Decision

from the Hilton website

I had mentioned to Justin when we returned from our trip to Panama City Beach that I really wanted to go to Charleston for my birthday. THEN my husband's parents mentioned wanting to go camping sometime during the summer in Charleston. As is normal for my husband and I, our schedule quickly filled and we ran out of weekends to go on our own for my birthday. The only weekend we were truly available was the same weekend we were supposed to go camping. If there is anything to know about me, it is this: I hate heat. And bugs. Camping during the month of July when roaches prowl the ground at night (and roaches are HUGE in Charleston btw) and there is no air conditioning in a tent sounds like a nightmare to me. (Can someone invent a tent with AC? I mean – come on! Please?)

Luckily, the in laws came to the same conclusion as myself a few weeks prior to the trip. The camping sites were filling up quickly, and we weren't making decisions quickly. With my in-laws both working retail jobs, they have sporadic schedules that they aren't too sure about prior to the specific work week they are on. Unfortunately, rooms and campsites, especially in popular destinations, don't wait on you to know your exact schedule. So even after my in-laws decided that we would be staying in a hotel, we were still booking a room last minute and I was attempting fate/attempting to beat the clock to get a room before they all filled up. It was almost enough to make me go crazy.

Finally it came down to two hotel brands – IHG or Hilton. The two hotels cost the same, but the IHG hotel was closer to the city and the Hilton hotel offered breakfast… Decisions, decisions. :)

There were three other factors that led to our decision:

1. At the time there was a promotion with Amex to get $50 off a room if you booked a Hilton hotel. I only later discovered that they quite literally meant Hilton and a Hilton brand hotel did not count. Oops.

2. I had stayed at the IHG downtown hotel many, many years ago. I knew it wasn't an amazing hotel for the price, and I wanted to try something new.

3. The year prior we had stayed at the downtown Charleston Hampton Inn and absolutely loved it. We truly felt like royalty at that hotel, so we thought if that hotel was so phenomenal than perhaps the Daniel Island one would be as well.

So we booked a room at the Daniel Island Hampton Inn a week before our trip and prayed it would be as amazing as we anticipated.

Getting There

This section seems silly when I'm not talking about Europe. Nevertheless we drove about 6 hours from Atlanta. There is a local airport not too far away from the hotel, but there are no trains or metro systems within the vicinity of Charleston or Daniel Island. It looks like there is a courtesy bus the hotel has that you can use from 7am - 10:30pm going between the airport and hotel, but obviously ymmv.

Price, Location, Rooms, & View

image from TripAdvisor

Price was a main factor in our choosing this hotel. My husband and I are trying to get out of debt, and our in-laws have retail jobs … We don't have a lot of extra money for luxuries, so a $500 hotel room wasn't going to make the cut. (Or at least not for this trip.) With Daniel Island being approximately a 30 minute drive from the beach and Charleston, the prices were much lower than the prices in downtown Charleston. We got a little bit extra for our money since we were staying at Hilton with status, but I would honestly recommend the Mount Pleasant Best Western over the Daniel Island Hampton Inn IF they are the same price. You get practically the same value from both hotels except that the Best Western is closer to the beaches and Charleston.

The rooms were your typical (American) size and not at all gigantic like the room we stayed at in Panama City Beach. There wasn't a whole lot to the rooms: bed(s), desk, tv, normal size bathroom, and a few chairs. The rooms were a bit dark and dingy making the hotel look old. Even the view from the room we stayed in wasn't too great unless you like to see the parking lot. Overall, this hotel was just not impressive in the least especially in comparison to the downtown Hampton Inn.

Amenities, Disability Access, Parking, Staff, & Status

Given my status upgrades from previous Hilton hotel stays, I was hoping for something amazing (or at the very least – fun). In Venice we had a room upgrade and free breakfast, and when we stayed at the downtown Charleston Hampton Inn we were put in a first floor room with a door that led straight to the pool. At the Daniel Island Hampton Inn, they barely even recognized my status other than to offer us a free water bottle. I suppose you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you, but technically I am "feeding them" with money, so am I really "biting" when I complain that they aren't really offering much incentive to return? They did give us permission to check out late as well as providing me with a *free* rubber band to put my hair up with after I left my hairbands at home, but overall the service from the hotel was about what I would expect from any other hotel. And no, we didn't end up checking out late anyway. It started raining and there is absolutely nothing to do on a Sunday in Charleston during the summer when it is raining.

This hotel seemed pretty easy to navigate with close parking for those with handicap stickers as well as elevators and first floor rooms. There was nothing that noticeably made it difficult for those with disabilities to get around. It is worth noting, however, that platinum status members also have closer parking spots than regular Hilton members if a close spot is needed and you do not have a handicap sticker or don't want to drive a vehicle that has one.

from the Hilton website

One of the real perks of the hotel, if you can call it that, was the free breakfast. I always hate paying the additional cost of adding on breakfast at a hotel (typically $30+ for two), but when breakfast comes with the hotel room and other hotels in the area are of a similar cost, it's hard not to think of the breakfast as being "free". Breakfast at this particular hotel I would say is similar to what you would receive from a fast food restaurant … except that it's served buffet style. There was a variety of breads (bagels, biscuits, scones), sausage, eggs, fruits (strawberries, blueberries, oranges, apples, assorted melon), oatmeal, yogurt, waffles, fruit juices (orange, cranberry), hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate), and milk. The food is so-so and depending on your creativity, you can come up with some pretty exciting meals (think blueberry waffles, for example). If we had been visiting this hotel with my parents, the breakfast would have been pretty normal, but Justin's parents are incredibly creative and well-versed with food. They would always return with some surprising concoction on their plate that you wished you had thought of.

Although the hotel does have a pool, no one in our group went to check it out. There was so much rain while we were up there and we stayed so busy that we just didn't take the time to find it. We did see it from the parking lot though, so it definitely exists for those of you truly curious folk out there. :) There is also a business center and fitness center in case you need them.

Overall Review:

★★1/2 (below average)

This hotel, for me, scored somewhere between the Holiday Inn near the Notre Dame in Paris and the Intercity hotel we stayed at in Augsburg, Germany. It was a basic hotel out in the middle of nowhere that really had a lot of potential that they just weren't living up to. The hotel staff and breakfast were nice touches to the somewhat rundown hotel. Overall, I would classify this Hampton Inn as the place you stay when visiting out of town relatives or doing business in the area. It's not a place you go to relax or vacation … unless you are trying to save money.

Your Turn

Do you have a trip to Charleston planned in your near future? Will you be considering a Hampton Inn?

** As of the publication of this blog post, the Daniel Island Hampton has a notification on their website that they are in the process of renovating their rooms one by one this month with "minimal guest disruption". Please keep this in mind if you are planning a trip here. It seems I may need to take another trip to this hotel to see what they change and update my review after renovations are finished. Will the renovations raise my star count? Only one way to find out! :)

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