Sitting on the eastern banks of the Congaree River, Columbia is as stately as the American south gets. The capital of South Carolina, Columbia today is a trendy city that’s still very much in touch with its roots. It’s not only one of the country’s first planned cities, but also has among the country’s widest streets! So, it’s no surprise that Columbia is seeing an increasing number of travelers who want to explore its history, culture, and modernities. The best hotels in Columbia South Carolina range across character, budgets, and neighborhoods, including the effervescent Downtown. You’ll easily find a hotel depending on what you’re looking for – and therein lies their beauty. So, whether you spend the night in a swish hotel room or a historic cottage, you’re sure to have a great living experience here.
There’s so much to see and experience in Columbia, right from timeworn architecture to state parks to excellent museums. What’s more, Columbia is also one of the best-placed cities in South Carolina. In fact, it lies exactly midway between the cities of Charlotte and Charleston. So, pack your bags and head to the charming capital of South Carolina for a wonderful trip to the American south. To that end, here are the 11 best hotels in Columbia South Carolina.
Where to Stay in Columbia
Columbia has many varied neighborhoods, so it’s very important to pick out the right neighborhood for a good vacation in the city. So, which is the right one for you? We begin with scintillating Downtown, which is the historic and cultural epicenter of the city. It’s home to the famed Columbia Museum of Art The Vista, as well as many of its other sights. What’s more, it’s also known for its vibrant nightlife as well as excellent, if slightly expensive hotels. Next, we have The Vista, a gorgeous neighborhood on the banks of the Congaree River. Once industrial in nature, today it’s a buzzing and gentrified district that’s a hub for entertainment, nightlife, and shopping in Columbia.
Thirdly, there’s the charming Lexington which is west of Columbia’s Downtown. It balances its rural roots and cosmopolitan and modern elements well and is close to Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Cayce is another region by the Congaree River and is where outdoorsmen would love to live. It’s home to the lovely Riverwalk, a 12-mile long path around the river. What’s more, there’s a lot to do here, including picnicking, fishing, and more. Finally, we have Five Points, an important area near Downtown. It’s the site of many firsts for Columbia, including its first supermarket, first Chinese restaurant, and even the first bar to put a cocktail on the menu!
Tru By Hilton Harbison Columbia
We begin with what is not just one of the best hotels in Columbia South Carolina, but also one of the best West Columbia South Carolina hotels, Tru by Hilton Harbison Columbia. A 24-hour front desk welcomes you to this modern hotel, which offers a hearty continental buffet breakfast spread to start off your day on a high note. The fitness center will appeal to fitness fanatics. Even though there’s no pool, the hotel has a collection of puzzles and board games to help you pass the time.
Even the rooms are exceptional and especially spacious. Sleek wooden floors and huge windows flooding the room with natural light brighten up the room. Spacious work desks with ergonomic chairs, plush beds, and cable flat-screen TVs are the mainstays in all rooms. Even the private bathrooms are great with slick vanities, highlighted walls in fun colors, and huge shower areas.
Comfort Suites Columbia At Harbison
Another of the best West Columbia South Carolina hotels is the Comfort Suites Columbia At Harbison. It lies just off the I-26 west of Downtown Columbia and is one of the best hotels near the South Carolina capital. The affordable hotel is a great budget choice for travelers who don’t mind staying away from the bustle. In an otherwise basic setup, the lovely indoor pool and gym are excellent perks. In fact, the indoor pool has a large deck with seating so you can relax a bit after a swim before heading up to the room. What’s more, the hotel offers a host of full-service features and amenities including free coffee, free local calls, and free weekday newspapers.
The icing on the cake is the free hot breakfast buffet, which makes for the perfect way to start your day. Think choices of hot waffles, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, meat, eggs, and more. Plus, if you’re leaving early, the hotel will even make up a Grab-and-Go bag for you two hours before breakfast. The rooms are great too, complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, minifridges, and cable TVs. If you want to splurge, go for the king suites which have bathtubs. Also, did you know that this place even has a turndown service for everyone? Yes! Keep your electronic devices charged with the recharge device including AC and USB outlets provided in all guest rooms. King suites feature bathtubs. The hotel has a free turndown service.
Hampton Inn Downtown Historic District
Nestled right on the main Gervais Street of Downtown, the classy Hampton Inn Downtown Historic District is within walking distance of Downtown as well as The Vista neighborhood. So, if you want to explore the city by day and its nightlife after dark, this is an excellent base. Despite being a chain hotel, Hampton Inn makes an effort to stand out from its brethren. For instance, the standard wood furnishings in the rooms up the ante in comfort thanks to Cloud Nine bedding. Besides that, the rooms also have cable flatscreen TVs, fridges, and coffeemakers for a comfortable stay.
Aside from the attentive service, the hotel has a long list of pluses and amenities. The best of them all is the outdoor saltwater pool, which sits in a large fenced-in deck. Orange deck chairs and alfresco seating under umbrellas help you lounge around a bit after a swim. The free hot breakfast is a great way to begin the day. Rounding up the facilities here is the gift shop and the on-site gym.
Aloft Columbia Downtown
Lying smack dab in the heart of downtown, Aloft Columbia Downtown is one of the best hotels in Columbia South Carolina. What’s more, it’s also one of the Top Pet-Friendly Hotels In Columbia SC. So, if your pet pooch is accompanying you on your vacation, you know where to stay. It might be a short walk from the best nightlife and restaurants in town, but Aloft has a lively and very popular bar of its own, W XYZ. Just like the bar, the rest of the hotel features whimsical light fixtures and contemporary art.
The rest of the hotel is equally impressive, especially its natural light-flooded loftlike public spaces. The compact but well-equipped gym will suit the younger set who loves not missing their fitness regimen. Fun social spaces, such as the shared lounge and the billiard tables in the lobby make this an excellent centrally located hotel for younger travelers. The ground-floor Mexican restaurant is a great place to enjoy meals. Even rooms and suites boast a sleek and minimalist look. Oversized showers in the bathroom are geared towards relaxation and recharging. So are the cloud-like beds, floor-to-ceiling windows, coffee machines, and fridges.
Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel
Standing tall at more than 200 feet, the Sheraton Columbia Downtown was the town’s tallest building when it was made in the early 1900s. Formerly a bank, this hotel has remnants of its historic past, such as the vault that’s now a martini bar, which is a hidden gem in the town! The striking exterior façade of terracotta and carved limestone stretches all the way up to the snazzy rooftop bar, which enjoys stunning views of Columbia’s Downtown. It’s a great place to grab a sundowner and even a nightcap. The rest of the amenities are equally great, especially the well-equipped fitness center. The full-service restaurant not only serves a delicious breakfast and meals but even has a great wine list.
Albeit traditionally furnished, rooms and suites at the Sheraton are spacious and very comfortable. Plush-down comforters, cable flat-screen TVs, and huge windows that flood the room with light make for a delightful stay. Finally, the rooms even include helpful amenities such as a coffeemaker, a work desk, and spotless modern bathrooms.
Sitting right across from the Columbia Museum of Art, Marriott Columbia is one of the best brand hotels in Columbia South Carolina Downtown. Even the South Carolina State House is a mere five-minute drive. Snag rooms with balconies for a prime view of the capital city. Nevertheless, all rooms are extremely spacious with ergonomic desks, coffeemakers, fridges, and immaculate bathrooms. The hotel offers an upmarket and well-rounded stay, peppered with plenty of nods to local culture, which is what makes it so great. For instance, the on-site Midlands restaurant serves up a bevy of classic dishes, such as ham hock collard greens, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits. Further, there’s even a lounge that serves lighter fare, along with a large-screen television to enjoy while you relish your food.
That said, the Marriott outpost has a slew of amenities laid out for your convenience. The best of them all is the heated indoor pool, which has all-glass walls that practically make it feel like an outdoor one. Comfy deck chairs sprinkled on the deck allow you to lounge after a refreshing dip. Do you have electric cars? There are even two complimentary car charging stations.
Yet another of the best hotels in Columbia South Carolina Downtown is Hotel Trundle. The stylish and sleek hotel is where a Western Auto formerly sat. So, when you enter, you’ll see incredible touches such as a wraparound staircase painted with what looks like cross-stitched roses. You’ll also see a stunning matte-black feature wall and svelte green booth seating. besides these superb features, metal accents, exposed ceilings, and brick walls only celebrate further the hotel’s industrial past. In fact, all of the furniture here, including the reception desk, breakfast table, and even the beds has been custom-built by a local craftsman. Clearly, every bit of the hotel is a true testament to owners Marcus and Rita’s attention to detail. The best part? They even provide every guest with a guidebook full of curated recommendations! Talk about personable service.
The hotel offers a slew of modern amenities such as a shared lounge and a bar perfect for sipping on drinks. The fitness center will appeal immensely to workout fanatics, while the private parking is a blessing for those with cars. Aside from free Wi-Fi, you’re served a hearty continental breakfast to start your day on a great note. Even the rooms are exceptionally spacious, with exposed brick walls, chic bathrooms, flatscreen TVs, and swanky work desks.
One of the absolute best hotels in Columbia South Carolina Downtown is Graduate Columbia. Not only are you right in the thick of Downtown, but you’re actually staying on the University of South Carolina’s campus! The hotel radiates a distinctly local feel, such as Gamecock-inspired headboards. What’s more, you’ll even find portraits of former alum and famed country music singer Darius Rucker. For those who don’t know, he’s the founder and member of the popular band Hootie & The Blowfish! The lobby sees bright hues and pops of florals against dark wood, oozing a warm and inviting feeling. The lobby-level cafe not only serves great coffee but even has books which you can borrow to read. For those who love working out, the fitness center is excellent.
Touches of grasscloth and plaids come together in the rooms, all of which are classically furnished. Seating areas and work desks aside, you’ll find carpeted floors, plush linens, and the cutest lampshades ever. Bathrooms are equally chic with a gorgeous movie star vanity-like setup and huge shower areas.
Embassy Suites Columbia – Greystone
The seven-stored Embassy Suites Columbia-Ghamptreystone is one of the best hotels near Columbia South Carolina. Featuring an open atrium, it’s one of the best West Columbia South Carolina hotels. Furthermore, it even has a free shuttle to and from the airport. Thoughtful hospitality is the motto here, such as bespoke made-to-order breakfasts served right in your rooms. The airy courtyard feels much like a sanctuary with plants, a pool, fountains, and skylights. You can even enjoy your breakfast here if you do want to step out, as well as complimentary evening cocktails! The hotel’s huge indoor pool area is particularly wonderful, and you can enjoy a refreshing swim any time or season that you want.
The rooms at the hotel are no exception and come with coffeemakers, fridges, and in-room microwaves for heating or storing quick meals. What’s more, since all rooms are suites, they come with cushy sleeper sofas in the living room. Even if you aren’t sleeping here, it’s an excellent place to relish meals while watching TV. Also, since the hotel lies right across from the Riverbank Zoo and botanical gardens, it’s a great base to explore the sights and attractions of Columbia.
Doubletree by Hilton Columbia
One of the best hotels near Columbia South Carolina is Doubletree by Hilton Columbia, which lies around 10 minutes west of the city center. Lying close to two major interchanges, this Hilton hotel is an excellent base for travelers who want convenience as well as Hilton-standard comfort in equal measure. This is an especially great hotel for nature lovers, with the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Lake Murray, and the Saluda Shoals Park close by. Rooms and suites are exceptional, just like other DoubleTree hotels. Moreover, they all come with coffeemakers, seating areas, and dark wood furnishings. Windows with lovely views and large and chic bathrooms complete the place.
The hotel outdoes itself in terms of amenities. For instance, food is taken care of by two restaurants, an all-day one and a fine-dining Italian one. There’s even a lounge where you can sip on wine or cocktails for a nightcap as well. The outdoor pool is particularly picturesque, complete with sun loungers and umbrellas by the side. The best part? There’s poolside service offered, which makes this one of the best West Columbia South Carolina hotels.
Chesnut Cottage B&B
Travelers who love history, legend, and stories, this place is for you. Behold the gorgeous Chestnut Cottage B&B, one of the most gorgeous hotels in Columbia South Carolina Downtown. That’s because this Classical Revival-style cottage has an extremely deep and storied past. This five-room guesthouse, which is named after its former owners, was one of the new structures that were spared from the 1865 fires that swept Columbia. Today, it’s every bit a class apart from its competition through a plethora of features. Think plush four-poster beds and the front porch’s wood-and-iron-clad balustrade. The best bit is that some of Columbia’s best sights such as the South Carolina State House and the Columbia Museum of Art are a stone’s throw away.
The charming inn is set in a lush and blossoming garden, which is a great place to enjoy a morning walk. Begin your day with a hearty American breakfast with southern touches. The rooms are very spacious, especially for a home, and are very, very dreamy in character. Drapes on four-poster beds, period-era fixtures, and bathtubs in chic bathrooms make for a very romantic ambiance.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Columbia:
- Little Pigs Barbecue: Barbecue is a way of life in South Carolina, and Little Pigs is one of the best places to dig into it. They serve a huge range of chicken wings, pork chops, brisket, ribs, barbecue, and numerous other home-cooked dishes. What’s more, they use not one but three different styles of barbecue marinade!
- Saluda’s: A mainstay on the Columbian restaurant scene, this is the perfect fine dining with a southern twist spot in town. You’ll love sipping a drink at the gorgeous 1880s mahogany bar. Later, tuck into delicious creations such as shrimp and grits topped with fried green tomatoes. Also, don’t forget to order the ever-popular sweet tea pork chops.
Recommended Activities in Columbia:
- Columbia Scavenger Hunt: Discover the delights and sights of Columbia in a different way on this fun-filled scavenger hunt. Helmed by Capital Culture, this activity sees you walk to all the hidden gems and well-known landmarks in the city. What’s more, you do so by solving challenges and answering trivia questions. Create memorable experiences while learning all about the architecture, history, and culture of this city.