Holiday Inn Riverview – Charleston, SC

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Destination: Charleston, SC
Date: May 2015
Hotel: Holiday Inn
Brand: IHG
Elite Status: spire elite
# of travelers: 4
nights: 1

Making the Decision

Approximately one month in advance, Justin and I learned that instead of going on a family reunion tour of Boston, we would instead be seeing my little brother graduate in Savannah, GA. A big change indeed! But, one caveat, because the whole trip was designed around Justin's parents anniversary, Mother's Day, and Justin's mom's birthday, they decided to take the trip without us and conclude with a drive down the east coast meeting us in Charleston for the last weekend of their vacation. And so, along with hotel searching in Savannah, GA, I also began searching for a great hotel in Charleston, SC.

I must admit, I was a bit lax with the whole hotel search thing. I was busy (as I always am) and frustrated with the lack of low prices I was seeing in Savannah for a last minute trip during a graduation weekend that also included Mother's Day. Why couldn't we have been forewarned about the graduation any earlier? (Apparently four years isn't enough!)

Rather than spend all my time looking for a hotel in Charleston that wasn't falling on a holiday weekend, I picked a hotel that I had stayed in before. I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that with my new status with the IHG brand, I would get a fantastic room with a unique view of Charleston! Who know what other treats I would be in for? (I didn't know at the time that there would be a coke promotion with IHG in which I would get an additional 8,000pts for staying there! Yay!)

So, like that, the hotel decision was made and I was able to focus on finding hotel deals in Savannah, GA during a holiday weekend.

Getting There & Location

Ever get tired of hearing me say "We drove there"? Well, we did. Again. Four hours and done!

The hotel provided a shuttle to get to downtown Charleston, but there was no shuttle to/from the airport. (Disappointing for all of you frequent flyers, I know!) I suppose once downtown, you could use public transportation to get around and then head back to the location where the shuttle dropped you off. We didn't use the service, as awesome as it sounds.

Located just before the bridge that take you from downtown Charleston to Folly Island, we thought the hotel had a great location! We could get anywhere we wanted within 10 minutes! Tops! :) And boy did we! Trips to the beach! Trips to downtown! We went everywhere!

Checking In, Room, Elite Status Perks, View, & Amenities

Justin and I arrived long before his parents getting to the city by 10am. We went to have breakfast at Callie's Hot Little Biscuits and then drove to the hotel to check in. Unfortunately, we were informed our room wasn't ready. :( So, the front desk clerk offered to call us when it was. We gave her our number and just as we were about to leave the desk, she informed us that we would have all of the amenities checked-in guests have. We could hang out at the pool, change in the bathrooms, go up to the restaurant for breakfast, use the shuttle service, or grab coffee from the table in front of the front desk. We very much appreciated her kindness. :)

While waiting, Justin and I went on a walk at Folly Beach, had lunch with Justin's parents at SNOB, and did a little shopping. By 3 o'clock, when we hadn't heard from the hotel, we called the front desk. "Is our room ready?" "No, and if you'll wait a little longer we'll get you a room with a better view!" "Ok!"

More meandering, shopping, exploring.

Finally, the hotel called us for check in around 4pm.

Justin and I were the first to arrive to the hotel. We grabbed the key, rode the elevator up to the second highest floor (the restaurant being on the top), and immediately went to juliet balcony to check out our view. Impressive, it was. But no, in answer to your unasked question, we could not actually access the balcony since the sliding glass door was forever bolted shut. (Yes, we tried. When you are married to an engineer, all possibilities are investigated thoroughly!)

The room itself was so-so. The hotel itself was quite dated, and showing it's age. The room was on the small-ish side, but still big enough for a family. Even the bathroom was tiny compared to what I've become used to!

The only real perks I could see that we received for being a high-level IHG member were extra points and two bottles of water.

It was nice, however, having access to soaps, shampoos, conditioners, a hair dryer, and iron in our room making it easy to feel right at home. We also had access to a tv and phone (see? outdated.), but who wants to be on the phone or watch a tv when you have a view of Charleston from your room? Not me! :)


When I booked the room, I booked it with breakfast. At a cost of $10 more, why not? There was no way we'd be able to find breakfast for two under $10 in Charleston anywhere! :)

However, Justin's parents did not buy breakfast with the room. They instead paid $15 per person to eat in the restaurant with us.

I have to admit though that the hotel did a great breakfast buffet! Everything was tasty and delicious – much more so than your typical hotel continental/buffet breakfast. We had potatoes, bacon, eggs, pancakes, grits, fruit (strawberries, pineapple, melon, blueberries, black berries) biscuits and gravy, muffins, cottage cheese, yogurt, and corned beef hash. Coffee was included with the buffet; orange juice was not. The meal was wonderful for being a hotel meal, but perhaps not worth the price. Definitely think twice before paying at the hotel, but if you get a good price as an add-on to your room, don't be afraid to take advantage and save some money! :)

Parking, Lobby, & Elevators

The one night we were there, we found parking to be hard to come by. There was an event going on in the restaurant that filled every parking space in the lot! We definitely had to drive around a few times to find good spots!

Other times during the day were okay though. The closer you park to the front of the lot (at this time of year), the more shade your car will see and the cooler it will be when you get in!

As for the lobby, we thought it was kind of small, and, like the rooms, outdated. There weren't many places to sit, and there were always people sitting in there. Usually with luggage.

The elevators ran kind of slow. There are two and they are on the small-ish side. Justin and I have definitely experienced smaller though (@ Hotel Brighton in France), so these were nothing to complain about. It was easy to press the button, run back in your room to get something you forgot, and be back out in time to catch the elevator. (Yes, that's verging on the ridiculous side.) We never managed to find the stairs though…

Overall Review
★★★ (average)

view from room

There are definitely better hotels to stay in Charleston, but if you get a good price on this hotel, it's not bad. Outdated, yes. But the view is nice and the breakfast is good. We didn't see any palmetto bugs (cockroaches but of an even bigger size!) in the room, and, it was, more or less, clean for the age that it is. We thought the staff was incredibly nice offering to give us a better room (one facing Charleston, on a higher floor) than we might have otherwise had.

Would I stay here again?

… Probably not. I'm wanting to try all of the hotels in Charleston just to see. Ideally, I would choose the Charleston Harbor Resort and Inn or the Hampton Inn in the historic district, if I were to return to a hotel I've been to recently. But, for the right price, or even if this was the only hotel available during a weekend I knew I would be in Charleston, I wouldn't hesitate. :)

Your Turn

Are you a fan of the IHG brand of hotels? Would it aggravate you to have a balcony you couldn't walk out onto? Have any of the hotels you've ever stayed at had a restaurant with a view?


  1. I like your style - a great, comprehensive review, with that touch of humour too. Laughing at the idea of pressing the button for the elevator and having time to go back to your room if you've forgotten anything.
    I think the last time I stayed in an IHG hotel was a basic, functional Holiday In Express in Exeter in the UK. I'm sure I have an IHG members card somewhere! Glad to hear about the nice touches from the reception staff regarding the check-in.

    1. Thanks! :) It is pretty ridiculous that the elevators were so slow. While IHG isn't my favorite chain, I definitely recommend pulling your IHG card out if you have a bunch of future stays planned so that you can get points and possibly free nights! While smaller hotels can be great (sometimes even better than chains), it's always nice to get a free night!

  2. Hey friend! As you know my middle name is Miss Holiday Inn (Express), mainly because they typically have accommodation at the locations we want to stay at. I do not appreciate the outdated ones, though. They usually have a bit of a filthy touch. But as you're saying, depending on your individual situation and the availability...
    I don't need a balcony, but if the view is stunning, I would love a window that can be opened - for picture taking reasons, you know 📸
    Hey, at least you go the water bottles! 😎

    1. I could be wrong, but I think all of the rooms at this hotel have a balcony. I was just frustrated that the balcony I couldn't get to intruded on my picture taking ability. Know what I mean? But at least there was a restaurant/bar even higher up with windows and no balcony, so much better for picture-taking! :)

      Yay water bottles! Everyone likes free! :)


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