Charleston, S.C., October 18, 2022 – The iconic 218-room Mills House, located in the heart of downtown Charleston’s historic French Quarter neighborhood, officially relaunches following a complete renovation and conversion to a lifestyle hotel under the ownership of RLJ Lodging Trust. With the relaunch, The Mills House transitions to Curio Collection by Hilton as the portfolio’s first property in South Carolina.
The transformation of this landmark hotel includes a complete reimagination of all original guest rooms and the addition of premium suites, while maintaining the old-world charm and warmth for which Charleston is known. Guests enter through a lush hidden garden, one of the hotel’s many new bespoke spaces, which also include a new rooftop bar and terrace. The Mills House now offers multiple new food and beverage concepts, including The Black Door Café, aptly named for its paneled door on Queen Street that offers a quintessential Charleston moment for visitors to The Holy City. Tucked inside the hotel’s walled courtyard, and soon to be one of Charleston’s favorite hidden gem eateries, is Iron Rose, a new signature restaurant where guests can enjoy Southern coastal cuisine by an outdoor fireplace.
“Celebrating its 170th anniversary in 2023, The Mills House has a long and storied history in Charleston, and we look forward to introducing guests to this new and exciting next chapter,” says Michael Linder, general manager. “With the complete, top-to-bottom transformation, the hotel offers an elevated take on Southern hospitality, making it the perfect homebase for visitors seeking a genuine Charleston stay. From the moment you enter the hotel, it’s as if you’ve been invited into a friend’s home, complete with an evocative sense of charm and warmth that’s carried throughout the entire guest experience.”
“We are thrilled to introduce Curio Collection by Hilton to South Carolina with the debut of Mills House,” said Jenna Hackett, global brand head, Curio Collection by Hilton. “Curio Collection by Hilton hotels offer guests authentic, curated experiences in some of the world’s most exciting destinations through elevated food and drink, best-in-class amenities and design inspired by the local area. The Mills House, Curio Collection by Hilton will set the stage for southern hospitality with its prime location in the heart of Charleston, bringing the best of the city into the guest’s stay.”
A Charleston Icon Reimagined
As Charleston’s iconic and beloved pink landmark, The Mills House exemplifies a timeless commitment to Southern hospitality. Originally established in 1853 by local entrepreneur Otis Mills, the hotel was later reconstructed in the 1960s. Continuing its legacy in this exciting new chapter, the hotel’s current renovation is overseen by Ealain Studio, an award-winning hospitality interior design firm with projects across the country.
The newly reimagined Mills House offers modern, sophisticated design aesthetics with comfortable yet upscale touches that elevate the Southern lifestyle. Upon arrival, guests enter through a lush, intimate hidden garden complete with an outdoor fireplace and shade canopies. Throughout the first-level communal areas, including the lobby and courtyard, the hotel’s design seamlessly blends the indoor and outdoor living style synonymous with the Lowcountry. Inspired by a traditional southern porch, the lobby captures rich natural light through expansive glass windows to offer guests an inviting, approachable space in which to start or end their day. Just beyond the lobby, the hotel’s courtyard represents an extension of the interior space that pays homage to its original design by famed Charleston landscape architect Loutrel Briggs while providing a tranquil, elevated gathering spot.
A standout amenity, the hotel’s renovated rooftop pool and terrace, features sophisticated, bold touches of black and white with hints of the building’s signature pink throughout the design palette. With a newly added outdoor terrace bar, guests can conveniently enjoy beverages and light bites from chaise lounges and secluded cabanas that line the pool, surrounded by lush landscaping. Daily yoga classes are also offered on the terrace, led by certified local instructors, for guests to take advantage of the scenic, serene setting.
On the hotel’s upper floors, the fully renovated guest rooms bring a fresh, timeless elegance and residential feel. The redesign incorporates modern, stylish furnishings; custom cabinetry; pops of rich color in the city’s namesake Charleston Green; original artwork by Southeastern artist Tracy Murrell; and sleek, multi-functional elements in the upgraded bathrooms.
Holy City Dining Destination
Alongside updates to the community spaces and guest rooms, the hotel also introduces two new dining concepts – The Black Door Café and Iron Rose.
The Black Door Café is The Mills House’s vibrant all-day café, with an intimate, casual coffee bar atmosphere. Open to hotel guests and locals alike, the café features a robust coffee program alongside renowned roasters La Colombe, artisan pastries and indulgent treats, light yet satisfying breakfasts and lunches, thoughtfully prepared grab-and-go items, and a selection of culinary retail items sourced from local purveyors. Situated at street level on the corner of Queen and Meeting Streets, The Black Door Café is more than a hotel coffee shop – it’s a true neighborhood gathering spot that’s cozy and welcoming, with comfortable seating and high-speed internet.
Iron Rose debuts as the hotel’s signature, full-service restaurant offering a vibrant, convivial atmosphere for both indoor and outdoor courtyard dining. Led by Executive Chef Gary Mennie, Iron Rose features contemporary Southern dishes, rotating seasonally and spotlighting local ingredients. With Charleston’s exemplary dining scene garnering national acclaim, Iron Rose is the newest culinary destination worth seeking out in the city.
Meet Me at The Mills House
When it’s time to gather, The Mills House provides the ideal setting in the heart of downtown Charleston. The hotel offers more than 15,000 square feet of flexible, multi-use meeting and function space across the Signers Ballroom, Hibernian Hall next door, and several smaller breakout rooms. Versatile spaces are filled with natural light for seminars, workshops, conferences, and intimate get-togethers such as social celebrations and corporate parties.
When it comes to weddings, no place does romance like The Mills House. Intimate venues with indoor and outdoor spaces and photo-worthy backdrops set the hotel apart, including the courtyard, a stunning rooftop, and the Planter’s Suite balcony overlooking Meeting Street with original ironwork from 1853. The Mills House is also the preferred caterer for the adjacent Hibernian Hall, providing food and beverage and audiovisual services to the venue.
Premier Location in the Heart of Charleston
The Mills House is located on the corner of Queen and Meeting Streets in Charleston’s historic downtown, in an irreplaceable location on the peninsula within walking distance of local art galleries, world-class shopping, renowned dining establishments, and historic city sites. The property is also just a short drive from attractions off the peninsula, including area beaches, famed gardens, event venues, and more. A top leisure destination with more than seven million visitors annually, Charleston has been named the “No. 1 Small U.S. City” for the eighth year in a row by Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards and the “No. 1 City in the U.S.” for the tenth year in a row by Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards. With daily non-stop flights from 37 cities across the U.S. and easy drive-in access from major markets throughout the Southeast, including Charlotte and Atlanta, Charleston is beloved for its rich history, southern charm, and a deep culture rooted in hospitality.
A True Charleston Experience
With the relaunch of The Mills House, guests can take advantage of new opening offers, including the “Mills House Reimagined” package, which includes a custom in-room welcome gift and cocktail; dinner for two in Iron Rose; and a credit to Black Door Café. Please contact the hotel at 843-577-2400 for additional details.
As a Curio Collection by Hilton hotel, The Mills House joins a global portfolio of more than 120 hand-picked and one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries and territories. The collection provides authentic, curated experiences through distinctly local and elevated amenities, while offering the benefits of Hilton and its award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors.
For more information about The Mills House or to book a reservation, please visit www.millshouse.com, and follow along on Instagram at @millshousehotel.
High-res imagery for the hotel can be viewed and downloaded here.
About The Mills House:
Charleston’s iconic and beloved pink landmark, The Mills House exemplifies a commitment to Southern hospitality with a refined, elevated guest experience. Widely regarded as one of Charleston’s premiere properties, The Mills House offers world-class accommodations, dining, wedding and event space, and amenities suited to a range of travelers. The Mills House relaunches as a luxury lifestyle hotel in October 2022, following a multi-million-dollar renovation that transformed the property from top to bottom, and marks South Carolina’s first Curio Collection Hotel by Hilton.
About Curio Collection by Hilton:
Curio Collection by Hilton is a global portfolio of more than 120 one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts handpicked for their distinct character. Curio Collection properties offer guests the ability to experience independent hotels, offering authentic, curated experiences through local offerings and elevated amenities, while providing the benefits of Hilton and its award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors. Experience Curio Collection by Hilton by booking at curiocollection.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Curio Collection by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/curio, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Pivot is the lifestyle operating vertical of Davidson Hospitality Group. With a deep-rooted passion for continuous innovation, Pivot offers exceptional service delivery, revenue generation, integrated marketing and financial responsibility. Constituted by some of the most accomplished leaders in lifestyle hospitality, Pivot caters to today’s independent, adventure- minded traveler through approachable design, locally-inspired food and beverage, intuitive, heartfelt service and authentic experiences at each of its properties. In 2022, Davidson Hospitality Group was ranked #1 in Guest Satisfaction among Third-Party Hotel Management Companies by J.D. Power. For more information, visit www.davidsonhospitality.com/pivot. Follow us on Instagram: @davidsonhospitality and Twitter: @DavidsonHospGrp. Like us on Facebook: @DavidsonHospitalityGroup. Connect with us on LinkedIn: @DavidsonHospitalityGroup. #PivotHotels
About RLJ Lodging Trust:
RLJ Lodging Trust is a self-advised, publicly traded real estate investment trust that owns primarily premium-branded, high-margin, focused-service and compact full-service hotels. The Company’s portfolio currently consists of 96 hotels with approximately 21,200 rooms, located in 23 states and the District of Columbia and an ownership interest in one unconsolidated hotel with 171 rooms. For more information, please visit the website at www.rljlodgingtrust.com.