The Best Hotels to Plan Your Summer Vacation Around

Keswick Hall
Courtesy of Keswick Hall

Hooked on Hookville

Charlottesville, VA | Our Pick: Keswick Hall 
For summer and chill, there’s “Charlotte” with the “ville.” Lap up quiet luxury with a seamless stay at this blissful retreat—what with its Forbes five stars (soft flex), three-star Michelin chef (hard flex) and champion golf course (on-par flex). But if you’re lookin’ to add some rev to the R&R, top stops should include sips through Virginia’s wine country (Pippin Hill, King Family, Veritas and Barboursville are go-tos); off-the-beaten-path local fave Duner’s; Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (because ’Merica, duh); peak pours (and views) at the Quirk hotel rooftop bar; an alfresco hang at the Historic Downtown Mall for street vendors, boutiques and dining aplenty (s/o Bizou and The Whiskey Jar); and, when in the ’ville, a UVA walking tour (she’s a beaut!)—and barhop for the brave. Then bring it home to the Hall for a spa sesh, on-property pickleball or dip in the picture-perfect pool. See, Virginia really is for lovers.

All the Riches

Richmond | Our Pick: Quirk Hotel
Stay quirky and classy via an enriching jaunt to River City, named after the 348-milelong James River that twists through VA’s cap city, also popular for its walkable eccentric museums, galleries and breweries. Call artsy Quirk Hotel home base, which—aside from the on-site Q Rooftop bar and Quirk Gallery—provides a pretty-in-pink stay for you and Fido (OK, pooch package!). After Sarah James Barker is settled in, waltz the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, or keep it casual (and bring your pup) to embark on the “ultimate walkable brewery crawl” through Scott’s Addition. Then, bring it home with a taste of James Beard-nominated L’Opossum’s affinity for cocktails, French cuisine and being wild at heart. Je t’aime! 

Courtesy of Kessler Collection

Give a Dam 

Greenville, SC | Our Pick: Grand Bohemian Lodge
Yeah, that Greenville. You know the one—a perfectly midsize up-and-coming city centered around a breathtaking waterfall (an attraction in its own right) that effortlessly blends natural excursions with primo culinary marvels, award-winning sips, and arts and culture gems. In short, a feast for the senses—no matter what type of traveler you may be. Hot, dam! 

Fall in love: One look at the Reedy River Falls and you’ll be head over heels—and take a picture, it’ll last longer. Take a walk: GVL’s extensive Swamp Rabbit Trail boats 28 miles of greenway for walking and biking, traversing through several parks and other hot spots. Drink up: Beer lovers are gonna wanna giddy on up to Yee-Haw Brewing Co., while rooftop resto/bar Juniper is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Entering euphoria: Happiness found via this four-day foodie fest Sept. 19–22 spotlighting 200+ chefs, bev professionals and musicians. Luxury lodgings: A boutique experience awaits at the Grand Bohemian via on-site upscale cuisine and cocktails, a tranquil spa, art gallery and more—with gorge views of the falls to boot.

Photo by Andrew Cebulka, courtesy of hotel

Hammock Time

Georgetown, SC | Our Pick: The George Hotel
Costanza, Clooney, Washington… adding to a roster of iconic Georges—and with equal relevance and rizz—boutique newcomer The George Hotel unfurls a whole new way to experience one of SC’s oldest cities. For a seaport slumber situated along the storied waterfront straight out of a Nicholas Sparks book, tuck in to boutique luxury in Georgetown’s Historic District hideaway on the Hammock Coast—the quintessential Lowcountry stretch between Charleston and Myrtle Beach boasting the Palmetto State’s most pristine award-winning beaches. OK, George… we see you swayin’.

Pier to plate: Get low on some classic Lowcountry cuisine and shuck among yourselves with a vintage oyster plate at The Independent—or get hooked on Southern seafood dockside at River Room Restaurant. Safe harbor: Soak in the sights, sips and shops from America’s Best Coastal Small Town on a Georgetown Harborwalk stroll along the Sampit River. Par excellence: Fairway to heaven found. Let out your inner Tiger Woods and tee up for some of the best golf in the U.S.—par none. Gone fishing: It is that deep. Score *reel* impressive catches via Silver Tuna Sport Fishing deep-sea fishing adventures. Feelin’ nauti: Drop an oar on a guided kayak tour of the beaut that is the Black River—and its enchanting cypress swamps!—with Black River Outdoors Center. 

Photo courtesy of hotel

Chuck It

Charleston, SC | Our Pick: The Restoration Charleston
Our summer crush is Chuck(town)… and he’s pullin’ out all the stops for the summer fling.

Restore Yourself
If Carrie Bradshaw had a Charleston crash pad, this would be it. Positioned off King Street with two distinct stay ops, the choose-your-own-adventure historic The Restoration will lull you, woo you and restore you with spacious hotel suites or homey one- and two-bedroom suites—then send you off into the bosom of the retail district to shop, eat and drink your heart out. (Jimmy Choos not recommended.) 

Le Rooftops
You haven’t seen The Holy City until you’ve seen it from a roof. Find perspective at a range of rooftops—from the vibey The Vendue to a lookout from The Watch, you’ll no doubt be living on a prayer.

Horsin’ Around
Less corny, more living out your The Notebook fantasy (set in nearby Seabrook = close enough), find the Noah to your Allie and slow hoof it around the Holy while you get schooled on history, like the “haint” Carolina blue piazza ceiling paint that spooks the ghosts. Oh, and those famed ghost tours are worth a scare too.

Dine Like Kings
Chuck 🤝 James… Beard that is. The Southern short king has no shortage of celebrated—and celebrity—spots worth a nosh. Musts include Fig, Millers All Day, XO Brasserie, Rancho Lewis + Lewis Barbecue, 167 Raw, Leon’s, The Darling. … Basically, Chuck’s a total food mood.

Culture Vultures
It really is a colorful life. From Rainbow Row and Pineapple Fountain to the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum (and water taxis while you’re at it), endless ops abound for cutting to the regal city’s historic bones.

To Market
Chuck has all the spoils—and promises to spoil you. From boujee boutiques to the famed City Market vendors, even the “I don’t shop” types will wanna take in some retail cardio.

Photo courtesy of Perry Lane Hotel

So Savvy

Savannah, GA | Our Pick: Perry Lane Hotel
Life is like a box of chocolates indeed at Georgia’s sweetest coastal city, where cobblestone streets, Spanish moss-covered oak trees and antebellum architecture elicit enchanting fairy tale vibes—echoed within the charming Perry Lane Hotel, what with its elegant rooms, innovative dining ops and botanical rooftop oasis serving views for days. NTM Sav’s biggest draw: Its open-container policy—meaning you can stay sippin’ with a traveler from any bar, restaurant or hotel and along any trolley/walking tour… or while just perusing the scores of shops along Broughton or River streets (pralines at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen are a nonnegotiable). Here, five must-dos to stay savvy beyond the sip ’n’ stroll.

⚾️ Savannah Bananas game: Go bananas for “fans first” baseball—aka a-peel-ing entertainment in the form of dances and other antics. 
🍽️ The Olde Pink House: Think pink for an elevated Southern dining affair feat. fried green tomatoes, Lowcountry she-crab soup, crispy lobster tail, pan-seared salmon and the like. 
👻 Haunted pub crawl: Booze and boos collide in this combo ghost tour and pub crawl feat. double the spirits. 
🍦Leopold’s Ice Cream: Did you even go to one of the “World’s Friendliest Cities” if you didn’t get a treat from this nee-1919 sugary scoop haven? No. No you did not.
⛲️ Forsyth Park splash: Do it for the obligatory “when in Savannah” pic—and to say you were at the setting of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. P.S. Nearby Chippewa Square is also the site of the park bench scenes in Forrest Gump.

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.