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Charleston is one of America’s most beloved cities, a Southern jewel rich in history and exploration, but it’s also a great place to relax and rejuvenate. In between visits to Charleston‘s classic bucket list attractions like Fort Sumter, plantation homes and museums, take some time to unwind in the Holy City, where new activities, hotels and restaurants offer a relaxing and fulfilling getaway.

RELATED: First timer’s guide to Charleston

Meet new icons

Hotel Bennett, Charleston

Hotel Bennett

Hotel Bennett is destined to be an icon in the Charleston lodging landscape. This hotel is definitely the South’s grandest new luxury hotel and at not yet a year old, it already has become an icon. The property exudes luxury, from their club lounge to their new urban luxury spa, locally inspired artwork and beautiful sunset views from its Fiat Lux, its rooftop bar.

Pop a few corks

Camelias at Hotel Bennett | Photo: Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal

Champagne bars are popping up everywhere and Charleston is where you can taste some of the finest bubbly around. One of the most Instagrammable spots around town is the champagne bar Camellia’s inside the aforementioned Hotel Bennett. The stunning pink hue reflects the history of the building. The pink marble found in the library where Hotel Bennett now stands was reclaimed and restored. It now sets the tone of the egg-shaped room. When you visit you feel like you are inside a Faberge jewel box surrounded by camellia flowers and cascading crystal chandeliers.

Bourbon N’ Bubbles | Photo: Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal

Some of the best champagne flights around town can be found at the Art Deco Bourbon N’ Bubbles on King Street. Yes, you can find a bucket list trio of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, Dom Perrignon and a new favorite of mine Herbert “Bouzy” Beaufort, but you can also find some great food too. When dining here, take your crew and hang out for a while. This is a top place to relax with pals and enjoy food, friends and bubble watching. I found myself relaxing to the sight of all the refined bubbles in my flutes.  

Find your style

These gals found their style at Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant. Check out the styles on Diana, Ava and Mac.

Style, you either have it or you don’t, but there are many places to seek it out in Charleston! Be sure to stop by Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant. Time tells the story: This family owned department store was established back in 1967 and is still the top legendary location for everyone in Charleston to find their style, whether attending a gala or a low country boil.  

Get fishy

SC Aquarium Photo: Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal

The remodeled South Carolina Aquarium has now become a must-do when in Charleston. It is conveniently located right downtown and beckons all ages with highlights such as sharks, an albino alligator and the sea turtles that reside there as part of the aquarium’s rehabilitation program. If you visit only with adults, arrive at opening and be done before having to dodge any strollers.

Break a sweat

Going on a vacation definitely doesn’t mean you have to abandon your wellness journey. Boutique fitness is the rage in Charleston, thanks in part to unique pop-up classes like the Rooftop Sunset Purre Barre Charleston class at The Restoration. There, one gets to sample what is in store at the fitness studios before even walking in the door. These classes are usually free in conjunction with various other businesses and hotels. Another options is the new Barre3 Charleston. If you are not one who likes to spend time in dreary hotel gyms, get out and try a local fitness class. You can find a class and sign up easily for Barre3 and other types of classes on the app Mind Body

Relax, already

Rooftop pools are everywhere in Charleston! One does not usually expect a pool when they are on an urban getaway, but Charleston has changed that mindset. Charleston’s hotels know that guests love to lounge by the pool, so they responded by raising the bar on this amenity. My top pick is the rooftop pool at Hotel Bennett because if you can’t decide if you want to have a pool day, lounge at a cocktail bar or get a quality bite to eat, their rooftop pool areas delivers all. Hotel Bennett is also a perfect place for the solo traveler. It was easy to make pals during the daily wine and cheese social, and at the rooftop fitness events. Check their calendar for events happening on the rooftop and by the pool! 

Bliss out  

Ava Roxanne Stritt of Spa Travel Gal relaxing at Hotel Bennett’s Spa

The newest place to zen out in Charleston is Hotel Bennett’s Spa. This luxury wellness retreat can be easily accessed right from their King’s Street storefront. Spa folks will feel exhilarated as they are whisked up the private elevator to this luxury urban oasis. Their services feature world-renowned skincare products, which will renew your face and body allowing you to enjoy the rest of your Charleston bucket list refreshed. Nearby you will find the dreamiest boutique hotel in Charleston, The Restoration. Their Amethyst Spa offers peace, calmness and positive energy—all of which I found during my time there. My massage was one of the best of my year so far! Get the 90-minute Restoration Massage, then continue your downtime by relaxing in the hotel’s Culture Library with a Lavender Latte from the in-house coffee bar The Rise.  

The Woodhouse Spa in Charleston | Photo: Ava Roxanne Stritt

Looking for a true low country tranquil setting for peace and relaxation? One of Charleston’s ultimate day spas is The Woodhouse Day Spa. They believe that health, wellness and beauty are intricately linked. From the moment you place the luxurious robe onto your body, you can feel the tension leaving your shoulders. From beginning to end this place exudes Southern hospitality. They offer more than 70 rejuvenating treatments.

 

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