I slid into an immensely comfortable wicker chair beside a crackling fire pit. Despite the twinkling lights strung overhead I immediately dozed off after a long day exploring Beaufort and the Sea Islands. When I jolted awake a few minutes later the only thing that got me moving was the thought of the comfortable bed in my luxurious room at the Beaufort Inn.
Beaufort is a wonderful place to visit. It’s a coastal town where visitors can set their own pace while exploring history, food, shopping, and recreation. The options are plentiful and diverse, almost a guarantee there is something for everybody who visits.
But one thing everybody needs is a comfortable place to spend the night. That’s exactly what brought me to the Beaufort Inn boutique hotel for one cozy night I’ll never forget.
The Beaufort Inn
The three-story pastel pink house makes a statement on Port Republic Street. Surrounded by oak and palm trees, decorated with hanging fern baskets, and inviting outdoor furniture on the covered front porch, the boutique hotel was immediately welcoming and refreshing.
The former living room of the Smith Wallace Mansion had been converted into a lobby for the boutique hotel. A pitcher of fresh homemade sweet tea sat on a dark wood table along with a dish of cookies. As the hostess checked me in she invited me to help myself. It wasn’t a bad start to the next eighteen hours.
The hostess beckoned me to follow her to my room. This was just one of the ways I discovered the Beaufort Inn is different in wonderful ways. But we didn’t head upstairs of the Main Inn as I thought we would. Instead she took me out the back door, across a private courtyard, and into a separate building. Where was she taking me?
The Garden Cottage Luxury King
If my jaw could actually hit the floor it would have. After the hostess opened the door to my room and ushered me inside I found myself in the most charming room I have ever spent a night. She giggled at my reaction, explained a few details, and left me to gawk at my surroundings.
The spacious room had a vaulted ceiling, benefit of getting a room on the second floor of the two-story Garden Cottage. Four big windows flooded the room with daylight. The four-poster king bed dominated the center of the room along with an armchair, dresser, wardrobe, and desk.
The bathroom was something else entirely. The modern bath featured a clawfoot tub beside a ginormous walk-in shower with glass door. The all-white interior with a single window made the bathroom bright and airy. The next morning, I would take my longest shower of the year, savoring every single moment.
I was already tickled pink with excitement about the room, and then I stepped out onto the private balcony. The small covered balcony had a commanding view of the Garden Courtyard below. Late evening sunlight filtered through the trees with twinkling lights strung across the courtyard. I realized I had the entire place to myself, so I pulled out the comfortable wicker chair and enjoyed the peacefulness for awhile.
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The Beaufort Inn began as a bed and breakfast with rooms upstairs in the Smith Wallace Mansion. The original B&B has expanded over the years to cover an entire city block, and a little bit more, with 48 rooms throughout more than a dozen buildings.
The original mansion has been renamed the Main Inn. The lobby, offices, and common space are located on the first floor. The upper two floors feature the Historic King, Historic Queen, and Traditional Queen Rooms. Each room includes unique furnishings and décor, and a private bathroom.
The Garden Cottage, where I stayed for one cozy night, is located behind the Main Inn across the courtyard. The two-story brick building has two rooms on either floor. The bottom rooms have a private patio while the upper rooms a private balcony, otherwise they offer the same experience.
I think one of the most charming places to stay on the sprawling campus would be the Port Republic Cottages. These two identical one-story cottages are located directly on Port Republic Street beside the Main Inn. Each cottage is divided into two units, each with a living space with a sleeper sofa, bedroom with a king bed, and private bathroom.
When booking a room at the Beaufort Inn be sure to browse through all the options. The 48 rooms are spread throughout over a dozen buildings like the Craven Cottage, Female Benevolent House and the three-bedroom house at 808 Bay Street.
The Beaufort Inn has all the amenities of a hotel and most of a bed and breakfast. It’s a well-balanced act between luxury and convenience.
All of the rooms are self-contained suites with everything you would need, including a private bathroom, that will put introvert travelers at ease. In each room is a coffee maker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and free Wi-Fi throughout.
Pulling away from traditional boutique hotel amenities and leaning more toward bed and breakfasts, each of the rooms feature a unique design style. All luxurious, but each different, the furnishings, bedding, and décor of each room plays on that room’s qualities.
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The single greatest amenity at the Beaufort Inn are the various private courtyards. The Garden Courtyard, with large tables and plenty of chairs, would be the perfect place to hang out with friends and family before turning in for the night.
An adjoining courtyard would turn out to be my favorite place at the Beaufort Inn. After a long day of exploring Beaufort and the Sea Islands I was exhausted. I found a courtyard with a crackling firepit in the center surrounded by inviting wicker chairs. Those chairs were ridiculously comfortable and within a few minutes of slouching into one I dozed off.
When I jerked awake a few minutes later the only thing that got me moving was the thought of my luxurious room in the Garden Cottage. The silence of the night was like a warm blanket on a chilly autumn day. It was probably my most peaceful night of rest that year.
The last step the Beaufort Inn took to move away from bed and breakfast and firmly establish itself as a boutique hotel was the end of hot cooked breakfast in the morning. I have to admit I was rather fond of the chef who prepared my omelets that day and the view with my meal on the courtyard.
But Southern hospitality comes into play as the Beaufort Inn refused to allow their guests to start the day off hangry. They introduced breakfast vouchers that could be spent at three locally owned eateries within easy walking distance. Guests are provided a voucher for one breakfast each day of their visit so choose wisely!
Not only does Common Ground Coffee House have a full breakfast menu with a gorgeous view of Chambers Waterfront Park, it also happens to my favorite place in Beaufort for coffee.
Blackstone’s Café has a full breakfast and lunch menu along with some pretty decent coffee. Give their Cajun Shrimp N Grits a try to understand the essence of that simple southern meal.
Not to be outdone is Rain-N-Bagels, one of the best places in South Carolina for bagel sandwiches. The key to their delicious creation is the fact they make all their bagels from scratch every single day.
Walking Distance to the Historic District
The Beaufort Inn is located in the very heart of the Beaufort Historic District. Most of the retail shops and restaurants are located along Bay Street, just one block to the south of the boutique hotel.
Bay Street is the “main street” through downtown. The two-lane street is lined with palm trees and local shops. One of my favorite places to visit is the I. Pinckney Simons Gallery, an artist co-op with a rotating inventory of photos and paintings. Monkey’s Uncle is a great place to find cool gifts for children while Bay Street Outfitters is the place for adults to shop for outdoor clothing.
Inside Tip The Beaufort Visitor Center is located one block north of the Beaufort Inn in the old Arsenal. The visitor center has plenty of brochures and a friendly staff to help you plan your trip to Beaufort.
Beyond the row of shops along Bay Street is the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Take a stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the beautiful views of the harbor along the marina. Take a seat at one of the benches and enjoy it for awhile.
When hunger strikes you won’t have far to go. Plums Restaurant gets a lot of their ingredients locally for their menu of sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Q on Bay is my kind of place with pulled pork, burgers, tacos, and wings with an outdoor seating area. My favorite place to eat when staying at the Beaufort Inn is the Old Bull Tavern. The gastropub changes their menu frequently based on what they can find in local markets but the wood fired pizza is always an option.